“SERMONS is a work which expands the mind, stretching it to its inevitable death and dissolution, paralyzing the flesh.”
There’s a good chance that what you are about to experience is unlike anything you’ve heard before. A qliphotic horror so monumental that the label Sentient Ruin Laboratories, not usually known for unnecessary hyperbole, called it “a turning point in the story of Sentient Ruin“. They also issued the statement that opened this article, which I’ve used as the introduction because it is startlingly, terrifyingly accurate – Sermons, the latest emanation from shadowed Satanic black ambient/death industrial Clavicvla, will tear your mind apart.
Not through violence or any frenetic dissonant atonal craziness however, this annihilates through nothing but sheer fear and hallucinatory transcendence. The instructions for listening to this otherworldly series of abstruse celestial rites are simple: maximum volume, quality speakers to properly experience the infernal detail in the compositions (largely comprised of demonic sub-bass drones and wretched ritual atmospherics), and complete and utter darkness. I have a friend who attempted to listen to it for the first time under these conditions, immersed in the early hours of morning. He was unsuccessful, because as I quote: it scared the shit out of him.
Black Metal Daily was privileged enough to make contact with the conduit and vessel for this reality-destroying madness: the sole disciple of the third face, Ittiel himself. As far as I know this is the first ever interview he has granted, so read on below for the initial tentative lifting of the veil of Clavicvla.
Greetings Ittiel, sincerest thanks for taking the time to speak to us. I’ve been listening to your latest Clavicvla album Sermons a great deal lately and to be frank, it’s fucking fantastic. I guess we’ll start with a little history: How long has Clavicvla been active for, and why did it come to exist?
– Clavicvla started in 2014 as a solo black/death metal project, but I personally always felt there was something missing when listening to what I was throwing… Until, during the recording of Arsonist Prophets, I made ‘Invertio Transfiguratio’ and the track poured out with no hassle. Since I started to make more death industrial stuff I’ve turned more productive, as everything comes more spontaneously.
The Latin word “clavicula” can refer to a human collarbone, but there is another interpretation that I feel may be closer to your intended meaning for the project: A key. Would this be correct? Is this moniker symbolic of your intentions for the art of Clavicvla?
– I received inspiration from the Clavicula Solomonis or ‘Key of Solomon’ which is one of the most popular grimoires known, however the meaning to me refers to something deeper, as it could be considered as the key or gateway to access acausal dimensions. Since I started the project everything fell where it was supposed to go, as I’m not considering myself as an “artist” but rather as a tool that acausal forces act through.
On to the album itself. Sermons is instructed to be listened to in the dark and at maximum volume. I’ve done this and the sensory deprivation whilst experiencing your monolithic compositions is incredible, but in your own words: What is this instruction designed to facilitate?
– The concept is to face the limits of the physical and limited form. When a mantra is performed and repeated over and over, it helps to reach higher levels of consciousness because the vibrations of that very mantra run through your body. Through the listening of Clavicvla I’d like the individual to face the metaphysical void and leave an experience that goes beyond the music itself.
The period of creating Sermons must have been intense. What were the recording sessions like? Did you utilise any unusual instrumentation or techniques in the creation of the sermons?
– I record everything at home with my own timing and in actuality everything was very relaxed, as it just poured out.
In terms of instruments I do everything with my computer so I do need the time to research the sounds I want to obtain certain types of vibrations, but everything comes through experimentation. Apart from the lyrics, that I write beforehand.
I came across some issues during mastering as certain tones were not designed for the physical market.
I’ve noticed there are certain Satanic writings on the artwork for the album, and given the track titles and general feel of your work I’d safely assume you have an interest in Satanism and/or possibly some kind of hermetic mysticism (I saw acosmism mentioned in a track premiere on Indy Metal Vault – the denial of the reality of the universe). You can go as deep into your answer here as you like, but how important are these themes to you in your everyday life? How do you view humanity and the world, and what is the particular significance of the scripts included in the album artwork?
– Under a social point view, I see Satanism as a way to deconstruct all the rules built from christianity throughout the centuries; I see it as the ultimate form of rebellion that stands not only under a social point of view but also as a spiritual one. In our world of dualities it’s easier to see life and the fullness given by creation but it’s an endless research when it comes to the acausal, as we tend to translate such shapeless forms through our limited senses.
To release such energies every culture throughout the centuries gave it’s own part, but what humanity lacks is the will to understand something that goes beyond creation itself and beyond us. Humanity should come back to worship and respect the Great Mother and re-enter in a mindset of “cycle of life”, that we completely forgot because human kind has no longer experienced a great plague in centuries. Only when close to death we can experience real life, otherwise that’s only an illusion and 90% of the population is living this illusion.
“To be immortal in good, one must identify oneself in God; to be immortal in evil, with Satan. These are the two poles of the world of souls; between these two poles vegetate and die without remembrance the useless portion of mankind.” – Eliphas Levi.
Whilst doing a bit of research and checking out your Bandcamp, I discovered you also have another release available to the public: Arsonist Prophets, and that release would be described as raw black metal. The dark ambient/death industrial emanations of Sermons on the other hand, whilst definitely blacker than almost anything else in spirit, is in no way traditional “black metal”. Have you left black metal behind for good? What made you seek out new ways of expressing the darkness?
– I didn’t leave black metal as I consider it part of myself, but when it comes to dark emanations sometimes the classic instrumental music could be considered limited compared to the opportunities that electronic music can offer. I think it is also a generational thing, as when I was a kid approaching black metal, it was something scary. I wanted to get people to approach and experience certain types of music not because it could be fun, but because beyond the initial fright may lay the beginning of a new path and way of life.
You no longer go by any other name, apart from “Ittiel”. If you don’t mind me asking – what does this name mean, and why did you leave your others behind?
– Ittiel is the entity ruler of the third world created by god, according to the Qabalah.
I also want to ask about something possibly inconsequential, but that caught my eye – in the blurry artist promo photo for Clavicvla you appear to be holding a human skull. Is this real? Where did you obtain it?
– It might be real, it might not. I leave it to interpretations.
Whether real or not the skull is what we are and will become.
The album has been released through Sentient Ruin Laboratories. How did that come about? Are you pleased with the results of the partnership?
– To be fair I got very lucky, I suppose. I posted Sermons on Bandcamp last summer and in a few days I was approached by Sentient Ruin. I’m really happy with the partnership, as I have a lot of freedom and I get guided through the more commercial stuff.
Have you ever given consideration to performing the sermons of Clavicvla in a live setting? Listening to these tracks performed in a ritualistic live setting, at ear-splitting volume in pitch blackness, would be something else altogether.
– As I started Clavicvla as a studio project, I want to see how things will develop in future as I want it to be a ceremony to experience. As it’s something I don’t want to play with, everything has to be perfect.
And finally… What are your future plans for Clavicvla? Will there be more material in the same vein?
– I already have a lot of material ready as, regardless of Sermons, I always keep myself active and productive. I will see how things develop in order to expand my limits and avoid stagnation. Clavicvla goes along with my studies, so it is in constant development.
Once again, my gratitude for your time spent with us, Ittiel. Any final words?
– Thanks for showing interest in this project.
Purchase Clavicvla‘s Sermons on vinyl, cassette or digitally from Sentient Ruin Laboratories here.