EMBRACE OF THORNS are now counting more than ten years of thunderous presence in Hellenic underground scene. Each and every one of their releases had (and still has) things to say, yet their more recent effort, entitled “Praying For Absolution” is ready to establish them amongst the contemporary leaders of international black/death metal. During our very interesting (and enlightening) communication, Archfiend DevilPig (vocals/guitars) talks to the Anti-Flesh Nimbus about the creation of the new records, the lyrical context as well as some of his general observations on the scene.


Xaire Archfiend! After three months, mostly full of positive opinions and comments, where do you hold your new record? Absolutely pleased or will there always be some minor detail that could have been better?

“Xaire! We are really satisfied that our record, as well as our works as a whole, do not sound like your average, typical bestial metal (ha, ha) and as an addition to that, it’s the fact that emotions and the atmosphere that emanates from this band, point to an era when playing black or death metal still held some significance. Beyond the fact that the situation within this genre has become utterly shallow, we still embrace it and live for it 100%, so we are 100% satisfied with our last record; otherwise we would not release it. It’s the best that the band could offer in the year 2011. “Praying For Absolution” is not -in any case- an “easy listening” album and demands continuous attention as well as time from the listener. Unfortunately, customs and traditions have changed nowadays and the average “fan” prefers stuff more easy to understand and to categorize; we can do nothing about that.”

 “Praying For Absolution” sounds to me more spiritual or devout maybe, than your previous releases. In what esoteric state were all of you during its creation?

“In the band’s first steps we were younger and more hateful, to put it that way. This approach began to change with “Atonement Ritual” and since then our recordings bear a greater sense of spirituality. Up to now, we have achieved total emotional necrosis, with blind hate giving way to the absence of emotion and the presence of other things in the air. I’m obviously speaking for myself here and I don’t know what the other band members are feeling about this situation, but I’m trying to describe it in the best way that I can. For me, now, the band is a path of dark meditation, this is the aura I get during our rehearsals and recordings; something out-human given with out-human music. When chemistry is ideal, there is magic in the atmosphere, it’s something hypnotic and dark and it doesn’t scare you because it has become part of yourself.”

Your musical direction has followed a long path from the more minimal blackmetal days of the early demos until the contemporary more technical and dark death/black style Does this have to do with you influences, specific directions that you have in your minds or is it just the inspiration of the moment?

“It has to do with the inevitable personal and musical development. Apart from that, we still like anything we have recorded in the past.”

What procedures do you normally follow when composing? Do you bring whole tracks ready to be recorded or do they come out from rehearsals?

“Basically, we work on almost done tracks, brought by some member. Each one of us has his own role in the procedure of preparation and orchestration, with the main part of the ideas coming from Herald Of Demonic Pestilence (guitars) and me. The tracks take their time to grow up and become mature and this is what rehearsals are for. Lyrics are a different situation, I write them myself and they come up literally everywhere; usually I write them without any dependence to the musical part and certainly not over ready music. In any case, this approach works…”

Tell me some things about the cover art and the rest of the artwork. One can observe various “altered” religious symbols and images, such as the horned, third-eyed Jesus. Are you involved with any kind of the occult in general.

“In a scene full of “apprentice wizards” give me the right not to feel obligated to start referring to lists of books or theological manuscripts of any kind. Some people seem to forget that black metal is music mainly created around a clear ideological base (Darkness) and they believe that it’s some kind of thesis on theology. This is a misconception, an excess and a great trend as well. I hold much respect for those persons who possess good knowledge of occultism and similar –isms, yet my opinion is that they are very few amongst the scene. Those who express themselves with arrogance on everything they can, have forgotten the Law of Silence and probably only care about their personal promotion. I do what helps me develop as an individual and have no interest at all in doing any dialogue or proselytize anyone nor do I have any illusion that I address to people with similar ideologies.”

The lyrics of the new record, if I’m doing a correct interpretation, contain contempt for the most part of humanity and promote destruction of its rotten infrastructure. Do you believe that human stupidity will continue to prevail or is there any hore for some kind of Resurrection even if it has to come from the chosen few?

“Lyrics do not promote anything in a literal way. They are personal visions, open to any kind of interpretation. As I mentioned before, we are not occupied by human emotions anymore, so your interpretation is more applicable to records like “…For I See Death In Their Eyes…” than to our recent work. As far as the lyrics of “Praying…” are concerned, I can add that they are cold and obscure and promote the means for one to achieve that out-human mental situation (i.e. “Conscicide”).”

During 2012, you have appeared in Thessaloniki (with ACHERONTAS, DEVATHORN etc.) and Athens (with LITANY, NIGHTBREED etc.) while also having been confirmed for the third edition of Nuclear War Now! Festival. Are there any other plans for live gigs in Greece or abroad? Is it a conscious decision of the band to make few shows or does it also have to do with the conditions you consider ideal in order to produce your musical concept on stage?

“The overexposure of a band like us can only be harmful. So it is more of a specific decision we have made, although we enjoy giving live shows and I believe we have become considerably good in that part during the last years. We have booked a show with INQUISITION in Athens (May, 13th), then we have NWN! Festival vol. 3 and nothing else for the time being.”

How did the cooperation with Nuclear War Now! come up and how is it going so far?

“My contact with Yosuke goes way back before we signed to his label. Our first full-length which he distributed, was good enough for his musical taste in order to sign us for “Atonement Ritual”. I believe that as long as he’s keen on what we’re doing we will record for NWN!, since there are few labels equally devoted to that sound. We are very satisfied with the way our works are released and judging from the horror stories I’ve heard from other bands, I think we’re good enough with that issue.”

Is there going to be a tape version of “Praying…” like the one for your previous record? In addition to that, since you are owner of the Kill Yourself distro/label, would you agree that the tape format has gained back some of its popularity in the recent years? If yes, why do you think this might be happening?

“We like tapes very much and this can be certified by anyone who knows us as persons. I believe the new album too will be released as a tape but I don’t know yet when and from which label this will happen. In my distro, I always used to sell a good amount of tapes but it is specific people who buy them, mainly because they consider them a cult format. I don’t think that tapes have any revival similar to vinyls, some like it as a format but for me it’s slowly dying and this is something sad. Personally, I think it’s much more difficult to find empty tapes, in contrast to the past and they are more expensive nowadays. I don’t know whether this format will survive, but on the other hand you’re now talking to a person who’s still dealing with videotapes, so…”

Apart from EMBRACE OF THORNS, you’re also involved with NECROVOROUS as well as blackmetallers SERPENT NOIR who recently (late 2010) surprised us with an excellent “Sanguis XI” debut EP. Indeed, a few months ago two very promising tracks were uploaded on SoundCloud (http://soundcloud.com/daemon-worship/sets/serpent-noir/) and we also learn that Belfagor of OFERMOD/NEFANDUS has been added to the band. When is your new album scheduled to be released and what should we expect from it?

“SERPENT NOIR is a great band, an oasis amongst the overall mediocrity of black metal and Yannis (guitars) is a person I’ve known for many years and I support him in any way that I can. I feel deeply inspired by both the music and lyrics of SERPENT NOIR and I’m proud for “Sanguis XI” as well as for our upcoming album. The addition of Belfagor provided us with the necessary flexibility on drums and I expect the new record will bring to the band the recognition it deserves. The cover art has been created by Timo Ketola and I hope the album will soon be released by Daemon Worship Recs because it is a truly fantastic work.”


Archfiend DevilPig thank you for your time. The last preaching is yours!

“We thank you for the support. I think we have said what was to be said.”


Questions for merchandise availability and general contact at: embrace_thorns@yahoo.com

~ by antifleshnimbus on March 23, 2012.

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