Annunaki Rising – An Interview with Sar Isatum 

Sar Isatum are not messing about. When this preview track by the US trio of JP Dalkhu, Damothi and CC landed in my inbox my eye was immediately caught by their use of Sumerian themes; upon checking out the music itself I was far from disappointed. Great symphonic black does not find its way onto my radar as often as it should these days but the ritualistic drumming leading into a blistering, well produced assault of technical obsidian majesty felt like a clarion-call charge into battle and served well as a savage statement of intent. So, being a fan of both Sumerian mythology and good black metal, I was intrigued enough to investigate further and shoot off a few quick questions before the full-length debut ‘Shurpu’ descends upon the Earth. Luckily, the gentlemen were happy to oblige. Have a listen to the eponymous preview track and opening salvo from the upcoming album below, and read on for a fleeting glimpse into the mythos and minds of Sar Isatum.

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Greetings Sar Isatum, thanks for speaking to us. First, some history: What is Sar Isatum as an entity, where did it come from and what is its purpose?

– Sar Isatum came to be as a musical force with the intent to make an intense and ethereal experience to the listener and an intense live performance and force to be reckoned with within the black metal realm. Our purpose is to personally conquer our musical creation and combine different elements within the genre.

You’re about to unleash your debut intonation upon the earth, ‘Shurpu’. Shurpu means ‘Purification by Fire’; in Sumerian, your emblem Sar Isatum means ‘King of Fire’ and the lyrics are inspired heavily by the Sumerian empire. Can you explain the use of Sumerian mythology behind the album and its importance to you?

– The Sumerian topic has always been interesting and it is a topic that not a lot of black metal bands represent and/or write about. Sumerian metaphysical and spiritual ideas also pre-date Christianity and have a dark occult nature to them, so we gravitate towards that rather than the topics that are overdone in today’s black metal.

There’s some great symbolic cover art from Mindrape Art as well, continuing the apocalyptic fire theme. What was it like to work with him, are you pleased with the result?

– We are highly pleased with what Mark did for our cover, I personally have worked with him for many years with other bands and he always delivers an amazing and fitting art. For this cover I sent him the finished album and explained our lyrical content and what we were looking for; needless to say, he envisioned exactly what we had envisioned ourselves. Mark Cooper is an art genius.

The eponymous preview track ‘Sar Isatum’ sounds like a call to arms. Is there a particular reason you selected this track as an introduction?

– We wanted to capture our listener with the first track to release to the public; a song that best represents the band, album, and the different elements that we apply to our writing.

There’s also what appears to be a demo for another great album track on YouTube, ‘Celestial Diaspora’, which sounds altogether colder. What can we expect to hear from the rest of the album?

– That was the demo track we released when the band was created. The album in itself has variation within the songs, we don’t intent to copy any band and we use our different influences to write music and you will be able to tell in this album. At the same time we are always working on evolving musically and do not intent to always sound a certain way.

The album was produced at Sawn & Quartered studios. How did you find the process, and is the final sound exactly as you envisioned?

– Shane Howard is a professional producer and it was great working with someone that knows exactly what a band wants when he’s presented with the music before the recording process. He was able to capture the sound we wanted for this release and we are planning to work with him once again in the future.

You’ve had some shows recently with the likes of Uada and Inquisition. How has the reception been to the material in a live setting?

– We have been received rather well, we have left a mark in the Denver black metal scene and we have created a great following in the short period of time we have been performing live. We just got picked to play with Belphegor, Cryptopsy, and Hate for a show on November 19th.

What’s the state of the Black Metal scene in Colorado? Are there any other underground artists you believe deserve more attention? 

– It’s a growing scene, a supporting scene and it’s definitely one of the best USBM scenes in the country. There’s many amazing bands in Colorado but the ones right now that deserve the recognition are our friends in Mount Cairn and Crafteon, great bands, go listen to them.

Are you currently shopping the album around to labels? Any word on when we can expect a release?

– We are casually shopping around but as of now we have not found the right deal and label to call home, so it’s looking like we will self release the album. Web release date is set for November 20th and the CD release will be on December 21st.

What lies in the future of Sar Isatum? Have you started writing for the next album, and will the Sumerian inspiration continue through future releases?

– Yes, we have started writing new material and as of now we have not made the decision to only continue with the Sumerian inspiration. We don’t want to limit our music and lyrics to one subject.

And lastly: Do you believe the Annunaki will return?

– I believe it is a possibility; to me, it’s more believable that we were created by an alien species than a bearded God.

Sincerest thanks for your time. Any final words?

Thank you for the interview and check out our pages in Youtube, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Instagram and Facebook.

~

Pre-Order the debut album ‘Shurpu’ from the Bandcamp link below.

Support Sar Isatum:

~

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Email: blackmetaldaily@outlook.com

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Transmuting Darkness – An Interview With Theurgia

Music, and sound itself, can be a powerful catalyst. Innumerable studies have taken place regarding the effect listening to it can have on your emotions, moods, concentration, IQ, learning ability, even its utilisation as pain relief. Sonic waves have been used as a weapon, certain sub-audial infrasound frequencies can induce physical sickness. Then there is the ritualistic aspect; since time immemorial music and rhythm has been used to aid in occult and spiritual works, acting as a conduit and facilitator for certain energies or altering the physical and metaphysical planes as an energy itself. For Theurgia, this is an integral part of their stunning debut album ‘Transformation’. 

Formed in Venezuela 2014 from the ashes of Daemonhorn before relocating to Columbia, Theurgia take the energy of music and sound and wield it masterfully to achieve their dark goals. Whereas their great 2015 EP ‘Anti-Perpetuo’ was straight up second wave black fire, ‘Transformation’ melds the second and more avant-garde third waves with equal savage influence and walks the fine line between being a ripping black metal album and a ritual, subversively infiltrating every fibre and atom of your being, inviting them to vibrate at at higher level.

The album has an incredible dynamic flow from beginning to end. The more you listen the more it works on you, altering your consciousness. The cataclysmic fury, the transcendent rhythms, verses and chords; whether you realise it or not, you come out the other side irrevocably changed. The album transforms you.

Released on 16th August through Throats Productions, Worship Tapes and Esfinge De La Calavera, it’s a superb work of devotional mysticism that hopefully won’t fly under the radar for much longer. This deserves to be experienced. We were incredibly privileged to sit down with main composer Daemonae to delve deeper into the album and its esoteric power. Prepare yourself, and read on below.

~

Greetings Daemonae, sincerest thanks for your time. I’ve recently had the pleasure of an aural assault from your magnificent debut full-length ‘Transformation’. From the title to the lyrical content, the theme of this album leans towards metamorphosis and transcendence. Is this symbolic of any internal changes within you or the band?

– I’m so grateful to you for taking the time to listen to us, my friend. 
TRANSFORMATION has affected, in a positive way, in all members perceptions. I have an absolute deep liberation of my spirit in the moment of translating a word and a rhythm for this album. Every idea captured on it is a kinesthetic fluency; something I cannot describe in words, but maybe I can describe it with this album.

The album as a whole is fascinatingly infused with an almost devotional, ritualistic quality, and the name ‘Theurgia’ is taken from the Lesser Key of Solomon Book II, ‘Ars Theurgia Goetia’. Do you follow any particular spiritual paths or philosophy as individuals?

– Hellbeats walks on his own path, influenced by existentialism, he is just a simple guy but very focused on his dogmas. Mortum P. and Teuterastus are more influenced by Satanism, which I respect. I am a soul hungry for the truth. Today I have a strong inclination for the Aghori ideology, Spiritism, Luciferian Occultism. But my mind exclaims that nothing is enough and everything must be questioned in every way.

It’s a powerful release, you can feel it having an almost physical effect on you as you listen. Do you believe black metal, or music in general, has the ability to affect/alter reality or mental states to the point of eliciting transformation?

– Your own voice is a constant flow of frequencies, some not detected by one’s ear. Other frequencies affect our psyche positively or negatively (as you wish to use).

Lately I’ve been very deep on these experiences, on how my own voice can vibrate my cranial cavity causing a state of relaxation on my brain, helping me make a deeper meditation.

Music is a flow of feelings, feelings that you can touch under those frequencies. Frequencies that transform you and make you feel what that person wanted to carve into the song, or the album. And yes, I believe the music can transform us (Black Metal and any music genre).

Your great 2015 EP ‘Anti Perpetuo’ was composed entirely by you, while this time we see a collaborative effort in the writing stage. How did you find that change in the creative process and any resulting effects on your sound?

– Nothing has changed, brother. I’m still creating all the music of THEURGIA in every aspect. This album was written about 2 years ago, but we had to stop recording it. And this is due to our relocation in Colombia (I mean Hellbeats and myself). In just a few months, we recorded the album in Fenix Estudio in Barranquilla / Colombia.

But in this case, the collaboration of Hellbeats on drums was fundamental to the album. Giving him an aggressive and heavy sound he was looking for.

Despite the influence of both second and third wave styles in your sound you’ve never appeared to conform to any typical sonic or image based standards, and always operate on your own terms. Is this something you’ve consciously sought to cultivate in the band?

– This theorem it is create under this dogma, something that has persisted since we started. A way to lose our spirits in an eternal sea, hidden on cosmic energy, flowing our energy together into a blackened galaxies. 

No Corpse-Paint, no Inverted Crosses, No Goat headless, Long Spikes!

I respect a lot of those bands that follow these same stereotypes. Even more if this bands carry this on, all the fucking life. But I don’t wanna be the same.

From where do you derive inspiration while you write? Were there any specific pieces of music, art, or visions that influenced the conceptualization and creation of this album?

– I have been more influenced by cultures like the Aghori for their adoration and love of death, their vision of the flesh is obsolete, life must be measured by their spirituality as a whole.

In Tibet and Mongolia, by the connection with Spiritual & low frequencies, a totally hermetic knowledge.

Other philosophies or doctrines such as hyperdimensionalities, Kabbalah, Alchemy, Astrology, etc. Some authors like Zecharia Sitchin, Samael Aun Weor and I’m very much influenced by H.P. LOVECRAFT.

Maybe you’re asking, why?

Because I am a faithful believer that Howard did not just write science fiction. There was a lot of reality hidden in his writings. For example: Dagon/Enki and the origin of this water world (influence of ILV – THE VERB OF WATERS).

The album has been released on tape through Worship Tapes and soon on digipack CD through Throats Productions. Worship Tapes in particular does some fantastic work handcrafting his products, are you happy with both labels? Any plans for a vinyl release in future?

– In this case, the tape was released by Worship Tapes and ESFINGE DE LA CALAVERA from Spain. The work besides of these labels has been rewarding. All of them are magnificent lovers of “devout metal” so to speak. I have had incredible support on our short road. In the case of THROATS PRODUCTIONS, they have been a heavy support to promote TRANSFORMATION in every unimaginable way. The work of all labels has been impeccable and faithful.

And I hope this alliance continues for many years more!

The physical editions of the album contain a stirring bonus cover of Dissection’s classic track ‘Retribution – Storm of the Light’s Bane’. Why cover this particular song, what special meaning does it hold for you?

– This track was recorded for a tribute album. But for some strange reason (that I still do not know) it has not concreted as of yet. I was not informed more about it. In order to not lose it, we took the decision of including it on the album as a bonus track.

More than a tribute, it is a thorn that should be drawn. For years I always wanted to make a tribute to Dissection. For me, Storm of the Light’s Bane is a big influence.

Link: https://www.facebook.com/atributetodissection/

The cover is an great piece of art by John Quevedo Janssens, in perfect synergy with your created work. Is it better than you imagined? What was it like to work with him?

– I did not expect that art to be so magnificent.

John worked with me on the album of my other band (Funebria), performing the art of our last album DEKATHERION. Realizing an incredible art. Upon this magnificent artwork I made the decision to work with him on the art for TRANSFORMATION.

A great friend with incredible talent, no doubt.

The last track is not only the final part of a numbered trilogy of songs (Procesio IV, V and VI) but has the only Spanish-language lyrics on the album. Is there any significance to this?

– I’m a big fan of Spanish lyrics with a grammar and a solid concept.

In Anti Perpetuo, all subjects were in Spanish except one. Many people in Europe thought that we should create the lyrics in English and, well… It was something that we didn’t ignore in this work. But I will never deny my native language since I love writing good lyrics in Spanish and so far, this has left me great satisfaction.

The band was originally from Venezuela but has now relocated to Columbia; many excellent artists have come from both over the years. Selbst is a personal favourite of late. Are there any other local acts that you believe deserve more exposure?

– The situation in our country is really heavy, and that shit starts to create a very unstable tension in people’s minds. This situation has strengthened black metal bands and some others are born under the path of the occult.

Bands like VeldravethIgni DareSagothSelbstGutirothSeoj. I could say that Funebria, and other new projects such as Nox DesperatioMonarchianvs Clavstrvm CastificatioNekro Cvlt Desecration. For me, one of the best projects born of the Orthodox style in Venezuela is MORITURIO. Which I highly recommend.

After letting loose this incredible work of nihilistic, hermetic and ascendant majesty upon the world: what is next for Theurgia? 

– Our devotion to the darkness and death will remain eternal. We’ll return to the place where we came from, the womb of our mother death. Exhaling his glorious words.

Our next work may be a heavier version of TRANSFORMATION. For the moment we have not thought of writing something new. But I can tell you that we have a SPLIT programmed to be released with very close band from our native country and a re-edition of ANTI PERPETUO, maybe a Studio Album (with No-Sequenced Drums).

Sincerest thanks again, your time is very much appreciated. Any final words?

– I hugely appreciate your support for spreading our words for your continent. I invite to all the readers of Black Metal Daily to remain very attentive to the news of THEURGIA. 

All the best to you!

~

Purchase ‘Transformation’ on CD from Throats Productions here and on cassette from either Worship Tapes here or Esfinge De La Calavera here.

Support Theurgia:

~

Like Black Metal Daily on Facebook for more kvlt sounds and tonal blasphemy.

Email: blackmetaldaily@outlook.com 

Abandon All Hope – An Interview With Aversio Humanitatis

“Transcend a fraudulent reality – 
let fear and pain penetrate and go through 

Deconstruct your being – 
resign all perishable aspirations 

Dissociation from all that surrounds you – 
become an impassive entity 

Accept your purpose in this world –
you are here to destroy and suffer”

– Aversio Humanitatis, “Advent of the Inescapable”

~

Back in March, enigmatic Spanish nihilists Aversio Humanitatis released an unequivocal contender for EP of the year. Originally only available in their home country, ‘Longing for the Untold’ was their brand of subtly mind-bending black metal continuing its metamorphosis into a cavernous, devouring new form: a perfect sickening balance between abyssal, disassociative chaos and an undeniable physicality as if punishing you for simply existing. Now the wretchedness is unleashed ever further as it sees a full vinyl, CD and die-hard cassette release through both BlackSeed Productions and Sentient Ruin Laboratories; expanded with the three great dissonant and sonorous tracks from their 2013 ‘Three Ways of Conciousness’ split with Selbst and Nihil to boot. 

We all know black metal has, by its very nature, always contained an element of the ‘anti’: anti-christian, anti-music, anti-trends, anti-life. Well, Aversio Humanitatis go one step beyond; you’ll understand when you listen. This is an EP that will pull your skin off slowly to force you to see what’s underneath, directing your gaze both inwards and outwards. I can’t get enough of it, I simply had to dive into the black infinity to make contact and find out more.

So direct your senses towards the official video for the title track ‘Longing for the Untold’ to prepare yourself, and read on below for a glimpse of clarity in the maelstrom of terror and introspection that is Aversio Humanitatis.

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Hey guys, hope you are well. I’ve recently experienced your latest EP ‘Longing for the Untold’, a imposing release of progressive and powerful destruction. Given it’s been out for a few months now, are you happy with the reception it’s had?

– Absolutely, ‘Longing for the Untold’ has been a great step forward in all aspects, what we have achieved with this work is better than anything we’ve done before and that’s been reciprocated in terms of recognition and popularity.

The main EP itself is four tracks of punishing, cerebral despair and bleak agony. Can you shed a little light on the creative process behind such madness? Were there any specific inspirations that informed this release, or any particular challenges/influences that affected its writing/recording?

– Well, the composition of this EP started after some important events and changes inside the band: a member in a new very complicated personal situation, another one having to move out of Spain, etc. Personally, being the main composer in the band, I wasn’t able to create a song during 2-3 years, until 2015 when I managed to gather enough riffs to complete ‘The Ever Shifting Path’ and later the rest of the songs during 2016. We wanted to make a full-length but as result of what I’ve said things were going too slow; so when we had those four songs finished, we felt that we had to record them and give a push to the band as soon as possible. To restart our work after some difficult times, wounded but stronger than before.

Usually the composition process starts by me -S.D.- doing a fundamental structure of the songs with my guitar riffs; then I show them to the drummer -J.H.- who almost always suggests changes and contributes with ideas that end up modifying those first versions of the songs. -A.M.- is responsible of creating and performing all vocal aspects, bass lines and many of the lyrics. Although we barely rehearse together, except just before concerts.

The production is especially impressive to me, it sounds absolutely monstrous. Terrifying yet still deliciously obscure. Where was the album produced and who took care of the whole process?

– The EP was completely produced at The Empty Hall Studio, which I personally run. The studio was founded around a year and a half ago and ‘Longing for the Untold’ was the first full production ever done there. Of course this has many advantages and gives us complete control during the recording and post-production processes.

Some things went pretty straight forward, for example almost all vocals you can hear were recorded by A.M in the first take. J.H. also recorded the drums for all the four songs in a single day. But other things got complicated, I had to re-record the bass and guitars a couple of times until I found the right sound, and also made countless versions of the mix. We knew exactly how it had to sound and we got pretty close. It was a tough but satisfactory process.

I’ll take this opportunity to blatantly promote myself and tell all interesting bands to visit http://theemptyhallstudio.com and get in contact if they want to work with me for their album.

The EP originally came out on CD through BlackSeed Productions and is now seeing a vinyl and tape release with Sentient Ruin Laboratories also on board. Two absolutely killer labels, are you pleased with this arrangement? How did Sentient Ruin become involved?

– Sentient Ruin got in contact with us just after the CD was released and proposed us to do the vinyl and cassette editions. We didn’t know the label but after checking it has edited a bunch of interesting bands in the last years we had no reason to say no. BlackSeed was already going to do the vinyl on their own but they thought it was a good idea to cooperate. So now each label is focused in their own distribution, that is SR in America and BS in Europe.

There’s an added bonus on this enhanced re-release, included is your side from the great 2013 three way split with Selbst and Nihil. I love the idea, showcasing previous work. What was your thought process behind including the older tracks?

– From a practical point of view there was enough space to include more music in a 12” vinyl, and since the EP’s length is only 21 minutes we thought it was a good opportunity to put new listeners in context showing them some of our previous work.

You can immediately hear the difference from the EP tracks when the older songs kick in. How do you feel your sound has developed, and how has your approach changed in comparison to the new material?

– You definitely can perceive a difference, but it isn’t something we were looking for, I think it’s due to the sum of several small changes. In the first place, there’s a lapse of 3-4 years between the composition of the previous split EP from 2013 and new songs (with the exception of ‘The Ever Shifting Path’, that was composed in between those), so this implies more experience as musicians, new ideas and, above everything, another vital state that is reflected in our creations.

I think there’s a common feeling in all our works, but there are also new nuances that appear or dissapear in every one of them, as well as new approaches to the same core ideas. Probably with the time we have given more presence to certain kind of riffs in detriment of others.

Finally, there are some more technical aspects that has changed our sound, such as a different guitar tuning, a lower vocal register, sporadic use of synths and the overall production, that makes everything sounds deeper and stronger. The result is that the new work is just better.

The EP feels like it transcends humanity and simple hatred, something alluded to not only in the lyrics but the name of the project itself. It’s a less misanthropic, more nihilistic feel. What are your thoughts on the current state and future of humankind?

– That’s correct, the lyrics of this EP are more oriented towards reflection on our existence, the passing of time, the capitulation of our pretensions before our own insignificance. I’d say that it’s beyond hatred, it’s closer to acceptance of our pain and the contemplation of our falling and the grandiosity of the universe. Our lyrics tend to be short but they ‘hide’ personal experiences and deeper reflections of what you can perceive at first. It’s also good to give enough space for everyone to find their personal meaning to the songs and own them in their unique way.

It’s difficult to make a diagnosis about the state of humanity, there are too many facts and data to ignore, it could be a really long discussion.

On a period of time the vocals have switched to a deeper deathlike assault, which sounds great and adds a whole other level to proceedings. What in particular instigated this change?

– Nothing in particular, as we started to make more low-tuned guitar riffs I think A.M. unconsciously adapted his vocals and started singing that way at some point, which is good since as you said it sounds deeper and stronger. With the years he has improved his vocals and got a wider range, which allows him to sound like that.

While listening through your discography I’ve been struck by thoughts of artists like Italy’s Lorn. Singular, subversive bands that work within a familiarity spectrum to ensnare but then create something subtly new and warped that infiltrates, unsettles and exhilarates. Quite unique. I know everyone takes something different from art, would this be similar to how you perceive your own work or hope it is perceived by others?

– You have a good ear and intuition, I’ve listened to Lorn since a lot of years ago and really enjoy it. I usually read a lot of absurd comparisons but this one makes sense to me. The funny thing about that band is that when I discovered their first album arround 2008 I thought it sounded similar to the band I had at the time (Eterna Penumbra), then they made a shift with the second album and when I listened to it I thought “this is kind of what I’m doing with Aversio Humanitatis right now!” so, there seems to be a ‘subconscious’ connection with them, hahaha. Although we don’t have any kind of relation.

I think your description hit the nail. We move in familiar territories for all who listen to extreme music, we are comfortable there and do not seek to transgress it but we definitely try to permeate our own personality into what we do; just enough to create something slightly new, as you said. I know everybody says this shit about their band, but whatever.

We don’t “hope” to be perceived by people in any particular way, I don’t even think the three of us conceive the band in exactly the same way, we just join forces and try to our best in every aspect. Once the work is finished, it’s an independent opus susceptible of being judged and interpreted in almost infinite ways. We don’t want nor need to like everybody, we’re confident of our ideas and skills, so we know that if we are satisfied with what we’ve done, other people will join us too.

The original cover showed a piece of Fabio Rincones art. However, for this reissue you’re using a sleeve of stunning, bleak photography; and I for one think the unexpected offset against what would be the usual genre tropes symbolises perfectly the music contained within. What’s the story behind the artwork, who is the photographer?

– That picture was taken by our singer A.M. during a journey he started just days after recording the voices for ‘Longing for the Untold’ (he hasn’t come back yet). By the moment I was doing the layout for the CD edition (in which this pictures can be found in the inner part), I had the Fabio’s figures, but we needed something more to complete the artwork, and there’s where these magnificent pictures appeared, they were taken just days before. I won’t say the exact place/country where they were taken to keep it more enigmatic, although perhaps someone recognizes it.
On one side, you have the Fabio Rincones’ art: deformed silhouettes that are being oppressed by their inner conflicts, by the pains of existence, although there’s also a certain attitude of opposition in their fall. On the other side, you have these impressive landscapes that transmit a relentless strength and beauty, they put us as beholders of what’s unknown and bigger than us. I think both parts of the artwork complement each other and make a good contrast, accompanying different aspects of our music and lyrics.

Your members have spent time in a few other luminary projects. Why does Aversio Humanitatis exist, how did it form, and what does it mean to you?

– It exists because we have nothing better to do, and probably there is nothing better to do. I don’t care about perpetuating myself through my art; as many says, I don’t want to perpetuate anything, especially not my name, but I do want to transcend as much as possible my everyday life full of stupid, useless and repetitive stuff, to create something out of my hands and head that can be appreciated by other people and make me proud of myself. A pinch of beauty and creativity in this world of shit. Having a band can be exhausting and very expensive, but it becomes an obligation to yourself, it’s a part of you and you can’t let it die, every time you want to make it better, bigger, more significant. It’s really hard to find another better way to spend your time, I will create music as long as I live. I can’t speak for the other members but I think they feel the same.

This EP is truly astonishing, and has definitely whet some appetites. Will there be another full-length materialising to shatter our realities any time soon?

– We are already working on new compositions for an album and probably a couple of other smaller releases. However, I don’t know how soon this will happen, since quality is first and a full-length are big words. So, except if the death interferes, we are definitely going to release an album at some point.

Sincerest thanks for your time and the incredible music. Anything else you’d like to add?

– Thanks for your interest in Aversio Humanitatis.

~

Purchase ‘Longing for the Untold’ on digital, cassette and vinyl from Sentient Ruin Laboratories in the US here, and on vinyl and CD from BlackSeed Productions in Europe here.

Support Aversio Humanitatis:

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Lucid Dreams in Savage Streets – A Review and Interview With Fell Ruin

Everyone loves a good story. But what if the story didn’t make sense? It sounded as if it did at first. At a cursory glance everything seems in order; but the closer you listen, the more things seem a little off. Words and sentences don’t seem to fit. Things seem to lose focus. The story drives on, but now something is definitely wrong. You aren’t following at all, are you losing your mind? Everything seemed normal. Why doesn’t this make sense? A feeling of dread creeps in. Is the storyteller insane, or are you? What’s happening? You begin to panic. Beads of sweat form. You have to get out of here, you can’t keep listening. What are they even saying? Why are they smiling? Their eyes seem dead. Your head feels like it’s unravelling. This isn’t normal. This isn’t happening. Run. RUN.

And so begins the musical journey that is US avant-garde four piece Fell Ruin’s harrowing debut opus ‘To the Concrete Drifts’. Released on March 17th through I, Voidhanger Records and Graven Earth, it follows a narrative and there are recurring motifs such as the gorgeous acoustic sections that lull you into a false sense of security; but that’s just a well calculated ruse to intensify the helplessness with which you tumble into its nightmare. The more you get lost in its intricacies, the more you realise it’s a staggering piece of art. 

Its five tracks begin with ‘Respire’, an intro of sorrowful and foreboding acoustic guitar before the terror begins to stir in second track ‘The Lucid Shell (Rite of Fertile Sand Coasts)’ with a savage, crawling doom rasping and grinding towards you. From then on the tale takes on a life of its own, subversively challenging your senses and nerve as it organically mutates from dystopian blackened doom to thrash to blistering pure black and even post metal, all within the same song. Brian Sheehan’s commanding, haunted and often sinister vocals drive proceedings; when he roars “I SUCCUMB” in third track ‘Spy Fiction Folds in Ready Streets’ you can almost literally feel yourself being swallowed by waves of concrete, shifting and crashing as the cityscape collapses and undulates, succumbing to the psychedelic horror.

Special mention should also be made to Jeff McMullen’s unique basswork and tone, winding around in fantastic interplay with Rob Radtke’s portentous guitar and adding a whole new level uncomfortableness, confusion and misery to proceedings as August Krueger expertly gives the songs what they need with dazzling progressive skinsmanship.

The whole thing works so well together, each listen gets better and better. Before you know it it’s dragging the pit of your stomach through the floor as it weaves a mesmerising spell, leaving you hopelessly ensnared by an unnerving and unhinged world you’ll be unsure of how you arrived at… and will never be able to catch your bearings enough to escape from.

I’ll be spending a lot more time getting lost in this album, I highly recommend you do too. In the meantime, check out the supremely unsettling official video for ‘Spy Fiction Folds in Ready Streets’ above; then read on below as we chat to vocalist Brian about all things Fell Ruin.

~

Hi Brian, I hope everything is well in the world of Fell Ruin. You recently released your crushing debut album, ‘To the Concrete Drifts’. You guys pleased with the reception it’s been getting?

– Better than we could have hoped. Glad to finally have it out there.

The songs are absolutely mammoth, kaleidoscopic slabs of blight and avant-garde decay. What was the creative process like? Does someone handle the bulk of the writing or is it more of a democratic process?

– Writing is a collaborative process. Everyone brings ideas to the table, and we refine as a group. Listening back to rough recordings from the previous rehearsal for further elaboration. Everyone plays off each other pretty naturally.

The album title is a partial line from one of the songs: “To the Concrete Drifts, I Succumb”. All of the esoteric lyrics conjure up some great mental imagery, but can you explain why you chose that particular phrase to represent the album as a whole?

– Naming things has and will always be the bane of my (our) existence. Scouring over the lyrics, To The Concrete Drifts fit the album as a whole, ringing true to the synopsis of the story.

You guys have a unique and discombobulating sonic pallette, raw and immediate yet oddly disconnected and surreal. I find it occasionally akin to being on acid in a burning building, sitting surrounded by death as everything crashes in slow motion around you. How did recording go, did everything turn out exactly as you envisioned?

– Perfect! That’s relatively close to the atmosphere we sought to create. Recording, for myself anyways, is always the most trying yet rewarding part of making music. With that said, tracking this album was the most comfortable and confident I have been with my performance to date. I think as perfectionists, we all hear things later down the road we wish would’ve been done differently. Collectively, we have long come to peace with such sentiments and remain proud of what we’ve created.

Is there any particular piece of art, music or otherwise, that inspired your sound and/or themes on this release?

– We all have our influences/inspirations. Individually and collectively. Without naming dozens of bands, I would say we are all simply into a little of (almost) everything. Speaking for myself and lyrical content, I’ve always been into the raconteurial approach. Grand story arcs that span the album. To The Concrete Drifts was heavily influenced by pieces such as El Topo, The Dark Tower (specifically “The Gunslinger”), Begotten, The Seventh Seal, and a plethora of others. I don’t really get any inspiration from any lyricists in the metal realm.

The CD is out on I, Voidhanger Records; one of my personal favourite labels. How did that come about?

– Same here. Once we received the mastered version back in the fall, I inquired with a few labels that seemed like a suitable fit. Luciano got back immediately and enthusiastically expressed interest in collaborating. Same thing with Rachel of Graven Earth (whom released the cassette version). Both have been a pleasure to work with, and the finished products exceed expectations.

The suitably nightmare-inducing video for “Spy Fiction Folds in Ready Streets” also dropped recently. Can you tell us a little about that and the ideas represented in the video?

– Having grown up on old, black and white horror/art films, it always seemed natural to pursue similar aesthetics and themes. Including elements from the lyrics as well as the album artwork without painting too specific of a picture is difficult. Surreal horror that isn’t in the straight forward commonplace, allowing the spectator to come to his/her own conclusions. In this case, we are more than pleased with the result. As for specifics, I will let the viewer discern.

Were you there for the shoot? How was that experience, and how much creative input did you have throughout the process?

It was a collaborative endeavor between Nick Holland of Diamond Dead Media, myself and a few close friends. I wanted to make something that made me feel the same way I felt watching Begotten for the first time, without just ripping it off. Sampling bits and pieces from the lyrics, crafting masks and costumes, it was an elaborate endeavor that took weeks of planning and two days of shooting on location.

The album artwork is great, ties in fantastically with the video. And it was done by yourself (Legerdemain Art)! Did you have any prior ideas/direction for it all?

– Thanks! It’s been a luxury handling the visual interpretations of the music. I had a vague idea going into it, but it came down to experimenting with multiple elements and combining them. Once the main image was conceived, the additional art came together pretty naturally.

It’s been two years since your also-excellent EP ‘Devices’, which I felt was slightly more straightforward black metal influenced. This one seems like you’ve really let rip. What would you say the biggest change has been from the EP to the album?

– I feel like our songwriting has matured as a whole. Although, two of the tracks on T.T.C.D. were written before some of the songs on Devices. Refined and relentlessly revisited before making it to the recording.

‘Fell Ruin’ strikes me as a very emblematic name. What’s the meaning behind it?

– Again, naming things has never come easy. We completed the recording of Devices before agreeing on the moniker. ‘Fell’ in the old literary sense (savage, violent, cruel). ‘Ruin’ in its common use (decay, dissolution). Inciting the notion of empowerment through turmoil.

You’ve been around a few years now. How did Fell Ruin come into existence, and why does it continue to exist?

– Just three friends from various musical endeavors conspiring to do something new. In the fall of 2013, August, Jeff and Rob started writing songs. I tried out for vocals in the spring of 2014 and it’s been us four ever since. It will continue until we feel it loses its luster.

What’s the Black Metal scene like in Michigan, are there any other bands from the area that deserve more attention?

– There are some great bands, but very few black metal bands. We ourselves never really considered this band to be black metal though the influences are undoubtedly there. To name drop a few local friends and peers: IsenblåstDark WinterTemple of VoidMammonEndlingSunlight’s BaneHer Dark Host

And finally, what comes next? What lies in the future of Fell Ruin?

– Writing for our next venture is already well underway. More live shows in support of the album are being planned, but nothing we can share just yet.

Great news, looking forward to seeing the horror and wonder the next album brings. Thanks again for your time!

~

Purchase the excellent debut album on cassette from Graven Earth Records here and on CD from I, Voidhanger Records here.

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The Infinite Dark – A Review and Interview With Synodic

“Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark.”  – Carl Sagan

Those who have been reading BMD for a while may be familiar with the name Synodic; the debut single ‘Large Magellanic Cloud’ by US duo Imber and Myrdin Cerphas was featured back in the heady days of Bandcamp Misanthropy Volume 1. Since then I’ve followed the project with interest and remained in contact, and now I’ve been extremely privileged to hear the full-length realisation of their vision and speak with conceptual creator, lyricist and vocalist Imber about the massive ‘Infinite Presence In A Violent Universe”, finally unleashed upon the galaxy at midnight last night.

But first, a look at the album itself. Space themed black metal projects are close to becoming dime-a-dozen these days; write some spacey riffs, slap on some psychedelic sounds, add vague lyrics and Bob’s your astronaut. Straight off the bat, with their debut Synodic surpass the majority of those projects by means of one key ingredient: a genuine passion for astronomy and the universe at large. A great deal of attention is paid to the scientific content of the lyrics and everything from the sound and production to the huge, expansive songs seems carefully planned to give the listener the most authentic cosmic experience still skillfully balanced with the raw black metal ethos and aesthetic. It’s violent and illuminating, light and dark, crushingly solid and eerily ethereal all at once. 

Introductory track ‘Descending On Titan’ sucessfully sets up the journey ahead, implanting images of an unfathomably huge object moving through space before the titular second track explodes as though you’re witnessing the big bang itself from afar. Think if Anaal Nathrakh were floating on a distant space shuttle instead of puking in the gutters of Birmingham and you’re along the right track; it’s one of the more intense songs on the record. It’s here you’re introduced to the unique production too, which eschews just enough of the total rawness of low-fi black metal for a more modern, distant and intricate effect. The guitars sound like planetary noise, a dense yet distant roar of raw sound while mechanical drums not often suited to black metal click and whir with savage precision like intricate parts of a spacecraft gliding effortlessly through the black void; shimmering cymbal crashes echoing throughout immensity. 

The fury of the song eases up for a moment to introduce us to another feature of the album; a synth interlude with a sound that isn’t a million miles away from the delicate cosmic tones of Limbonic Art’s ‘In Abhorrence Dementia’ introduction but which seems far more fitting here. These synths make a welcome return for the start of the absolutely epic third track; the lead-in single ‘Large Magellanic Cloud’. 

With the dust settled from the fury of the title track, now the stillness and vastness of the cosmos dawns upon you and you’re in awe of its magnitude. You’re floating in space, its wonders reaching out into infinity. It’s an epic, trance-like song, dense and heavy. Named after a galaxy that orbits our Milky Way once every 1500 million years, you know that feeling you get when your mind grasps the enormity of a fact like that? When you imagine yourself, an inconsequential mote of dust, drifting through the endless, terrifying yet beautiful nothingness of space? That feeling is this track. Magnificent, cold and awe inspiring.

The album continues with the two-parter of tracks four and five, ‘Cosmic Cataclysm NGC 6357’ and the instrumental ‘Cosmic Perspective’. The vibes are still sky high and Imber’s vocals taking a breather only allows pause to fully take in the sheer overwhelming vastness of it all. Speaking of which, Imber shrieks and rasps with the best of them and matches the tone of the songs with detached fury, her voice a vortex with it’s own gravitational pull; a vocal black hole.

I won’t say too much about the last two tracks so there’s still uncharted planes for the interstellar traveller to discover, just that the riffs in both are absolutely killer and the closer contains one of the catchiest riff/vocal combinations I’ve heard in aeons.

Overall, it’s a truly excellent debut that knows its subject matter and nails it better than some artists with ten times the experience. The songs are massive, expansive and really given time to breathe; the production is just right and doesn’t fall into the all-too-common trap of being too gaudy or bombastic, keeping its black metal roots intact and deliciously prominent. One of my favourite underground releases of late; I’ll be honestly surprised if this doesn’t get snapped up for a physical release by an ace label very soon. 

So without further ado, pick up the album from the above link (all funds go towards a physical release) then grab some headphones, go outside, look at the stars and float off into the atmosphere. Or alternatively, give it a stream as you read our chat with vocalist Imber below to delve further into its measureless mysteries.

~

Hails Imber! I hope you’re well. Your debut album ‘Infinite Presence In A Violent Universe’ has just been released, how does it feel to finally have it unleashed upon the world?

– As someone who has been very passionate about music my whole life it feels really good to release something that I am part of. Not just to be a listener but to be part of the creation itself.

Synodic is you and Myrdin Cerphas, who I believe is your partner, something you don’t often see in black metal. What’s it like working artistically with your significant other, do the creative fires burn brighter from your bond?

– It works well for us because we know and understand each other so well. When I presented the idea and concept to him he was able to translate that into music that was just how I felt it should be. He was able to create the right vibe and emotion it’s supposed to invoke. He is gifted in that way and we work well together.

It’s quite a strong debut, especially considering you take care of all aspects of the project yourselves. What roles do each of you play within Synodic? Do you offer any feedback on each other’s work or simply trust in each other’s ability and interpretation of the vision?

– A little bit of both. He writes the music and does all the sound engineering while I do all the vocals and lyrics. He always asks for my opinion and feedback on what he creates and vice versa. We take that into consideration and make something we both are happy as a result.

It’s been a couple of months since the excellent and trance-like first single ‘Large Magellanic Cloud’ was released. How long did the album take to complete? How was the recording experience?

– It took about 3 months from start to finish and since we record at home we can do it on our time so if we want to spend hours and hours creating and recording in a couple of days and then take a few days off we can. Recording at home with Myrdin on our own time is comfortable and it’s been a great experience because it’s something we do together creating music we are passionate about.

Synodic describes itself as ‘Cosmic USBM portraying the heavy, dark elements of the universe through music’. What is it about these universe that you find so inspiring, and why do you think these themes translate so well into black metal?

– There is nothing more violent, dark, and massive than the cosmos so it suits black metal perfectly. We are next to nothing in the grand scheme of things.

The lyrics of the album are quite unique; there are many space themed projects out there but this is the first one I’ve come across based largely on actual science. It really seems like you know your stuff and this is a genuine interest of yours. Have you had this project planned out for a while?

– I have always loved astronomy and the reality of the universe is so much more awe-inspiring than any fantasy or supernatural human creation in my opinion. Combining astronomy and black metal, my two favorite things, is really special for me. After listening to a few cosmic themed black metal albums last year we thought it would be perfect just do it in our own way using the science in a poetic way for the lyrical content.

One of the tracks contains a fitting sample of a Carl Sagan quote. What’s the significance of the quote, and what does it and Carl Sagan mean to this project?

– Carl Sagan is someone I admire and idolize really. He wanted the world to acknowledge our place in the universe and not fall victim to dogma. When you open your eyes and mind to the reality of the universe around you it is the most liberating feeling and he helped catalyze that during his time.

The instrumental introductory track ‘Descending On Titan’ has some interesting sounds in there. Can you tell us a little about this track, is it just something you knocked up in studio?

– We used actual sample sounds from the Huygens space probe that landed on Saturn’s moon Titan in 2005. It was part of the Cassini mission to Saturn. Sounds of the probe entering the atmosphere and the landing, so it was appropriate to name the track “Descending on Titan”.

Music-wise, are there any particular bands/artists that have had a profound influence on either you or Myrdin’s vocal or playing style?

– My biggest influences range from early black metal artists such as Burzum to the newer artists like Mare Cognitum. Myrdin draws influence from everything as early as 60’s rock to a lot of early black metal and newer black metal as well.


You’re self-releasing at the moment. Any plans to shop around for labels or would you prefer to remain independent for now?

– We would gladly sign to a label that is right for Synodic if the opportunity presents itself.

Are there any plans for Synodic to one day become a live entity? Is performing with session members something you’d be interested in?

– There are no plans for us to be performing live any time soon but who knows what the future will hold if we meet the right people.

What do you hope the listener takes home from this interstellar journey?

– An appreciation for what we create and hopefully they become interested in doing their own research into cosmos.

Do you guys have any other active projects we should check out?

– Myrdin has a black metal project called Revelation None that is a completely different animal from Synodic. You can look Revelation None up on FacebookBandcamp, and most streaming services such as Spotify.

So what comes next; what does the universe have in store for Synodic? Are you thinking about a follow up release yet?

– We hope to release an EP this fall so follow us and we’ll keep everyone updated.

Thanks again for talking to us, congratulations on a stellar debut! Is there anything else you’d like to add?

– We’d just like to thank you for the interview and review of the album. We appreciate everyone that has been there for us through the process and all those that will support us going forward.

~

Purchase ‘Infinite Presence In A Violent Universe’ on Bandcamp here.

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The Threshold of Pain – An Interview With american

Personally, I’m a sucker for blackened noise. It almost seems a natural evolution from the early ‘fuck you’ sonics of the old days of black metal, trying to find the harshest anti-music possible to represent the hatred and agony portrayed in the lyrical themes. What better than squeals of distorted feedback howling at the limits of human ear tolerance to carry on the legacy of pushing boundaries in search of audio evil? Well, here’s where american come smashing through the door with a rusty, disease covered chainsaw: Pushing the blueprint of black metal deep into industrial territory and experimenting further with each release, they’ve always been out to hurt you; but on the absolutely savage ‘Violate and Control’ (out through Sentient Ruin Laboratories/Fragile Branch/Shove Records) they’ve found a fresh new hell. The Leviathan-esque black is blacker, the sludge sludgier and the ever-increasing use of power electronics and soul raping distorted noise plunges everything to a depth so sadistic it should probably be kept away from animals and small children.

It’s an astonishing assault, seemingly laid out to inflict maximum cruelty upon the listener. Songs land like blows from an abusive partner; when you’re exhausted, broken and crying and think it simply can’t get any more punishing, it does. Oh, it does. There are brief moments of respite, great riffs break through the industrial chaos and the agony lets up for a nanosecond… But ultimately, this is pure suffering, emotional and physical.

Nothing can save you once you’re deep into the album, it demands your soul as payment at the very least. The beatings begin unchecked on 23rd June and in the meantime they’ve generously sat down with us to answer a few questions, hot on the heels of the premiere of opening track ‘Visions of Great Faith’ that’s scored an exclusive stream through Metal Injection. Go check that out here, and read on below.

~

Hi guys, sincerest thanks for your time. First, a little history: What’s the story behind american and why does it exist?

Jim: Thanks for talking with us – We met through mutual friends in high school. We wrote the first few songs under the “american” moniker 6 or 7 years ago with no intention of releasing them. I don’t think we even have the tracks anymore.

Mike: We just started recording songs for the sake of recording in high school and eventually we cranked out that first demo for the fun of it.

Your new album ‘Violate and Control’ will be released on 23 June, and I don’t think I’ve heard a more punishing release in a long time. How would you describe this release and its intentions?

J: ”Violate and Control” explores our influences outside of the black metal genre. We set out to make the record we’ve been wanting to hear but had never been recorded and released by anyone else.


The album feels like it somehow has much colder, harsher and more depraved blood running through it than its predecessor. Was this influenced by anything or simply a result of natural evolution in the creative process?

M: I’d say natural evolution. We wanted it to be heavier. 

J: Definitely heavier and something with a lot more impact. We challenged ourselves to create something a little more full and daunting, rather than just a second LP containing some songs we wrote over the last two years. I’d like to think we succeeded in doing that.

Do you feel the bleakness and negativity are a result of a mirror being held up to the external world and your environment, or is it more an expulsion of internal darkness?

M: Both.

J: american has always been and always will be self harm in the audio format for me.

How long did the writing and recording process take for this album, and do you have a particular favourite piece of gear you used to create it?

M: Way longer than the other releases. I’ve been using the same Jackson Rhoads for as long as we’ve been doing this so I’d say that’s my favorite piece of gear. 

J: We have a lot of gear and other random stuff lying around our space and it’s hard to say what was used where. I think my favorite piece of gear on the album is the sheet of metal sampled on the track Submission Psalm. As for the entire creative process for this record, the overall experience was pretty intense. The whole thing took a little under two years, and started right after the release of Coping With Loss. We experimented with sampling ourselves this time around and that was an interesting dynamic for us. 

The album is to be released on tape and vinyl through the excellent Sentient Ruin Laboratories. You seem to have a great relationship with them. At what point did they come into the picture and what drew you to each other?

M: M hit us up after hearing the demo and mentioned he was starting a label. I think we agreed after hearing the other tapes he wanted to release along with ours, at least that’s when I got on board. 

J: M believed in us for some reason. I’ll never understand why, but we appreciate everything he has done for us.

You guys have recently done an absolutely fucked up cover of Amebix – ‘Spoils of Victory’. Total savagery, I personally prefer it over the original and would love to hear you mutilate more classics. What originally drew you to choose this particular track, and do you have plans for any more covers in the future?

J: Sean at Cvlt Nation approached us about covering Spoils for a comp after another band had backed out. Writing that cover was tough because we actually lived about 200 hundred miles away from each other at the time and composed most of it over email and then recorded it in a friend’s basement in one night. In terms of covers in the future, we have a special plan we’re hard at work on.

 You seem to have a knack for discovering samples that plumb the very depths of human suffering then pairing them with annihilating sounds so soul-draining they crush any hope left in the listener; there’s one track in particular on this album that’s almost impossible to recover from once you’ve heard it. Where do you come across these samples, and how do you decide which ones are perfect for inclusion on the album?

J: To be honest, I just collect these things and store them away until I need them. Having a library like that is just really useful, especially for us, when it comes to staying on point with what we’re writing. Could never reveal where these things come from, though. That would ruin my fun.

Amidst the various other black/sludge/noise influences, in places I can hear definite Ministry vibes on this album. Are you guys fans? Are there any other artists you’ve been particularly inspired by that you’d recommend?

M: Yeah Ministry is sick. 

J: I’m a big fan of Ministry. Depeche Mode, FFH’s “Make Them Understand”, and most of the releases from the Australian label Fanaticism (https://fanaticism.bandcamp.com) provided a lot of inspiration for me personally this time around.

Has american ever caved in some heads by performing live, or are there any future plans to subject audiences to that kind of sadistic onslaught?

M: Never have. I’d like to. 

J: We’re writing music that keeps getting more and more complicated to reproduce live. Someday we’ll do it. We only want people who share the same vision involved.

I find your discography, and even this album alone, becomes more intense as you travel through it. What’s next for the band, how far can you take this brand of audio agony?

M: Only time will tell. 

J: I’m sure it will only get worse from here.

Thanks again for your time, I look forward to you causing more misery. Any last words?

J: Paw aka øjeRum did the art for this record and he killed it. His music is beautiful too. 

Thanks for talking to us.

~

Pre-Order ‘Violate and Control’ through Sentient Ruin Laboratories (US) here, Shove Records (EU) here and Fragile Branch here.

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The Oath of the Goat – An Interview With Goath

Some bands mean what they say. They live it. You can hear it in the music, the integrity gives the songs an extra level of power. Many artists dribble on about Satan for the spooky image, to get more fans or attention from a scene that drinks up any band with a remotely scary t-shirt. Many bands ape Darkthrone and Mayhem when they weren’t even out of shitting their nappies by the time Ravishing Grimness dropped.

Enter GOATH: Exploding into existence in a blaze of blasphemic glory as 2015 slowly collapsed into its grave, the Germans have now unleashed their first full-length assault ‘Luciferian Goath Ritual’ and they couldn’t be more sincere. No carefully sculpted pseudo-image here: They play no-bullshit black death designed purely to whip you into a frenzy as a fist in the face of God. They’re inspired by the ’90s scene because that’s where they’re from. And they sing about Satanism because that’s what they live philosophically; its what they know and feel in their core.

And their album is very, very good.

Released through Ván Records it’s a raw, ferocious riff-fest; even just these three tracks I’ve posted don’t do the primal intensity and dynamism of this album justice. Get it and listen; in the meantime, bassist and vocalist Muerte has generously sat down to chat with us about their new release and much more. Read on below.

~

Hi! Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us. You’ve recently released your debut album ‘Luciferian Goath Ritual” and it’s an absolute smasher, possessed with an incredible dark energy… I can’t listen to it without wanting to either violently headbang, scream at the night sky or hurl myself through a wall. I believe you recorded it live, was this the effect you were going for?

– Hi! Thanks for the words. Yes indeed, we wanted to catch the atmosphere and I guess it worked well.

It must have been intense in the studio. Do you have any crazy stories from recording?

– Well, we recorded the album like our demo in the Goath rehearsal room with a lot of alcohol and so on. We recorded the whole album three times and took the best, intense and possessed version of each song. Not really crazy stories happened, we were just drunk and when I finished my part of the vocals, I felt immediately asleep cause of too much booze. I can’t even remember the whole vocal recordings.

The atmospheric intro to ‘All Became Nothing’ is great, sets the scene perfectly for the carnage that follows. Were the sounds taken from any particular piece of relevant art, or were they created in studio?

– Most of the intro sounds were samples of the movie Catacombs and some sounds of real exorcisms. Catacombs is a horror movie with a great atmosphere. It’s the sound of hell, and hell is unleashed when All Became Nothing starts.

The riffs on this album absolutely slaughter. When you write, do you start with a great riff and work from there, or is there a different process involved?

– Thanx. I’m always jamming some riffs until I think I found a good one for a perfect start of a song. I record it, wait some days, listen to it again and continue writing more riffs for the track. Goathammer and Serrator listen to the song when it’s finished and I guess that’s nearly the same way Goathammer writes songs. We meet at our rehearsal room when songs are ready and see how they work. 

Goath has been active since 2015 but some of your members have been actively calling forth the sounds of hell for quite some time. What events lead to the creation of Goath?

– To say it simple, we felt not really fully occupied with the bands we are and were involved. We had some plans and visions, but it was hard or nearly impossible to realize these visions. I had the idea for a band like Goath months or even years before I told Goathammer about my thoughts. He was 100% into the concept from the beginning and we found an excellent drummer in Serrator who also shares our ideas and visions about our blackened death metal. 


I’d like to delve a little deeper into your personal belief system, if I might. You can hear a deep sincerity in these paeans to the Lightbringer, it’s obvious you guys live what you say. Can you elaborate a little on your own path, and what it means to you?

– Worshipping Satan, Chaos & Death is a very important part of my life and I actually don’t talk much about my views with other people, ’cause it’s a very personal thing. I’m not a person who wants to tell people what they should believe in or not. My interest in the dark arts started when I was a teenager. It’s like a dark aura which surrounds me all the time. I can feel it when I write songs, it’s present when we rehearse and when we play live. We are surrounded by his light!  

What do you think of black metal straying away from satanic themes? Do you believe it can be true black metal without a satanic flame at the core?

– Black metal is the music of Satan and most of the black, death and even thrash or classic metal bands I listen to keep the satanic flames alive. It can sound like true black metal, if it’s only about the music of course, but black metal is so much more than just music. I can’t and I don’t wanna listen to bands that play this art, but don’t have satanic or at least dark, antichristian or misanthropic lyrics, except some old releases of bands like Enslaved maybe.   

Looking at your live shots, you appear to perform covered in blood on occasion. Is this purely for aesthetic value, or more to aid the frenzied ritualistic part of the performance?

– Using blood is an important part of our live rituals. Celebrating a ritual surrounded by the stench of blood and death brings the whole ritual to a higher level, and sometimes we add torches which makes it more intense. It creates a special feeling and if you don’t feel it, you will never understand.

The artwork by Misanthropic Art is absolutely superb. Did you come to him with an idea, or did you give him free reign to create at will from his understanding of your music and themes?

– Chris/Misanthropic Art made also our logo and I had some rough ideas about it and about the layout of the album. I know that whatever we need and whatever we want will be great, cause I know Chris and his art for many, many years now. We also sent him some advance tracks for inspiration, I think that’s also important for an artist to listen to the music for inspiration.

Muerte and Goathammer had another great recent project, the more death metal leaning Deathronation. Do you guys have any other projects on the go, or is Goath now the sole outlet and focus for your creative force? Do you feel it’s necessary to channel all your energies into one project?

– Yes, we were both part of Deathronation and even Serrator helped us for the last gigs we played, but we quit couple of months ago. Serrator and Muerte have still some other bands, Goathammer is now focused on Goath only. Doesn’t matter if we are involved in other bands and projects Goath is our main band and the one we are focused on 100%.

Your sound is deliriously old school, you can hear the classic ’90s black/death metal influences within. How do you feel about the modern-day evolution and interpretation of the Black Metal art form, and are there any ‘newer’ artists you listen to or feel an affinity with?

– That’s the sound we grew up with and still our main inspiration. Nothing’s better than the late ’80s early ’90s black and death metal. There are many newer bands we listen to, bands that keep the flame alive with an old school sound. We don’t like especially the modern triggered plastic computer sound. Not all of them are new or black metal, but you should check German bands like VidargängrIIMalignoHellburstVitriolRekrucifixionHorns of DominationMorbid PanzerGraveyard GhoulVenenumIndian Nightmare or Sacroscum

Any plans for a follow up record yet?

– We have about 5-6 new songs ready and will start the recordings of our 2nd strike in autumn/ winter to release the new album in the beginning of 2018. 

I cannot praise you enough for this album, excellent work and I hope to hear more Goath soon! Any last words? 

– Thanx for the interview and your support. Hopefully we will play some gigs in your country sooner or later! Hail Satan!

~

Stream and purchase Goath’s ripping debut album and demo on Bandcamp here.

Purchase physical copies of ‘Luciferian Goath Ritual’ from Ván Records here.Support Goath:

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Walk the Forest Path – An Interview With Severoth

Some albums are, despite the creator’s intentions, simply background music. Others demand a little more involvement, they may grab you in a certain way. Then there are those rare, dark gems that speak to your very soul; from the moment you push play you become lost to this plane of existence. As you sit and listen it transcends mere attention and you become unwittingly and totally immersed in the experience; transported into the tapestry woven by the songs, another time and place. Relatively speaking there are only a handful of artists in the history of Black Metal that can or have achieved this effect. You know them. Now, with his stunning latest release ‘Forestpaths’, the enigmatic Severoth may just be added to those esteemed ranks.

Surpassing his first two already excellent releases under this project with ease, the Ukrainian maestro has crafted something truly breathtaking. You may recall that BMD recently shared a track from this new album; however, a release this beautiful deserves a much deeper look. Read on as we sit down with the man behind it all to glean further insight into its etherial, windswept mysteries and the mind of its creator.

Greetings Severoth, sincerest thanks for taking the time to speak to us. How are you, how is life?

– Hi! I’m ok. Thanks!

Your third full-length with the project ‘Severoth’ has recently been completed, ‘Forestpaths’. I dare say it’s a masterpiece. How do you feel about the album?

– I think I have achieved all goals that I wanted. Many days and nights were spent to build it. I like this album very much. It has part of my soul.

‘Forestpaths’ is again released through Werewolf Promotion, as with your other albums. They have some excellent releases, but what draws you in particular to keep working with them?

– We have strong partnership from 2009 or 2010, since he released first demo tape of Endless Battle. WP is great, dedicated and reliable guy, who understands this type of music.

One of the incredible things about your music is its ability to take you far away. To make you forget everything; you’re in another world while you listen, the world of the music. Is this intentional? When you write are you consciously trying to transport the listener, or is that phenomenon merely a result of you conveying the music and feelings in your head? 

– I always do all music for myself at first place. I just build song, and then arrange it. When I feel some mood of riff, or hear melody in my head trying to “catch” it. I spend much time working with “atmosphere” of album, but I don’t create particular mood in purpose, I just transport my minds and feeling of this world in musical form.

The themes of Severoth are deeply rooted in nature. What is it that makes the natural world such an inspiration to you, and to black metal in general?

– When night falls, she cloaks the world in impenetrable Darkness… A chill rises from the soil and contaminates the air. Suddenly… Life has new meaning. 


Why did you adopt the name Severoth, and what significance does it hold for you? 

– It was when I was 16 or 17 years old. “Sever” is North in several languages so basically it’s made up word, but for me it’s like my second name already. For now it contains all specters of emotions that my albums can give. 

You have a strong creative partnership with your wife: she is a great artist in her own right and has provided the incredible artwork for your projects. Do you feel it has been of greater benefit to work with someone so close to you, as she would know you and your music so well?

– Yes, no one will describe my music in visual form better than UD. I just got lucky here… She is great artist. And also I can minimize influence on me and my music from other people. And this is important.

You have several other projects: MorokGaldur and you also play drums in Endless Battle. What is your creative process like? Do you sit down to work on one project specifically, or does the art just flow across multiple projects when inspiration strikes?

– When I compose some riff or melody I already feel for what project it will be, so I record all this small parts and sort it for every project. When I feel that I have enough material – I start to work with and album concept and ignore all other projects until I finish album. Usually at first I build demo and then listen it for some time and throw away half of material… 

Severoth/Morok/Galdur/Endless Battle releases.

Severoth’s music invokes strong feelings of solitude. Would you consider yourself a naturally solitary person? 

– Yes. I don’t like cities and people. I’m trying to avoid it as much as possible. Grim silence of mountains or whisper of winds in the forest is definitely for me. 

You’re a talented multi instrumentalist and play everything on your solo projects. Do you find it easier to write the parts for some instruments than others? 

– Some instruments just made composing process easier or more interesting. I think that around 70% of material I compose on guitar and rest on keyboards. 

When did you first pick up an instrument and what inspired you to start playing? 

– My father was a drummer, so I grew up in musical atmosphere of Hard Rock/Glam. First were drums when I was a kid and then synth in around 17 years old. 

I’ve noticed you had a great track included on ‘A Tribute To Summoning’, but you have now decided Severoth will no longer contribute to compilations or tributes. Is there a specific reason behind this? 

– Yes, I participated in this tribute with both Galdur and Severoth. It was fun at first but then I just realized that I don’t very like to do cover songs. And also this compilation thing is not for me – too many bands and all with different atmosphere and level of quality. I think for me is better to do full albums where I can do whatever I want. 

Is there any possibility of Severoth ever becoming a live entity, or will it forever remain a studio project only? 

– Never say never. But for now I don’t have such plans. 

What is in your future plans, will we be expecting more Severoth? 

– For now I completed album of my new project BEZMIR and it will be released in summer, also I have many material for GALDUR and MOROK. So maybe something from that will be ready this year. For Severoth – It was pretty huge work and I need to rest from it. I think that those 3 albums of Severoth have many common things and they can be called a trilogy. So next album is new beginning that requires different approach. We will see. 

And finally: What do you believe is the true spirit of black metal? 

– For me it’s way of life. You just feel it or not. 

Thanks again for speaking with us. I wish you all the best. Is there anything else you’d like to add? 

– Be yourselves. 

Regards, 

S.

~

Purchase/stream Severoth’s stunning new album from Bandcamp here.

Purchase physical copies of ‘Forestpaths’ from Werewolf Promotion here.

Support Severoth:

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The Rise of the Serpent – An Interview With Orm

A rumbling, deep beneath the surface of the earth. A new beast has awoken and starts to stir, its powerful boneless form rending the flesh of our world as it begins its ascent from subterranea, upwards towards humankind. A beast unlike any seen before, yet steeped in ancient tradition. That beast is ORM.

Hailing from Denmark they’ve recently released their debut full-length on Indisciplinarian, and what a debut it is. Taking the template of traditional black metal and expanding on it whilst telling tales based upon ancient sagas, it’s a release that’s been gathering much well-deserved attention. They’ve kindly taken the time to sit down amidst it all and answer a few quick questions about their self-titled album and its stirring take on the blackened arts. Jump in and be bitten by the ORM.

~

Hi guys! Thanks for speaking to us.

 

– No worries, the pleasure is ours.

 

We’ll start with some history: How long has the Orm been active and how did you form?


– The band ORM has been active since 2015 but we as musicians have been playing together for over ten years. The four of us were in a death/thrash quintet before ORM but after touring and releasing records for a number of years we kind of started feeling that the band had lived its life. When our singer quit the band after having recorded our third full length then we knew that we had to lay the band to rest. The four of us weren’t done with playing music though, and having experimented with black metal music on the last couple of releases it really felt natural to venture further down that path. We started rehearsing and writing songs just the four of us and decided to split the vocals between Simon and Theis (guitars), and we instantly loved the sound. It felt like we were finally home music-wise and so ORM saw the light of day.



 

What is the mythology behind Orm, and where did it come from?

 

– In both music, lyrics and imagery ORM is set around Scandinavian mythology. We wanted to tell the tale of a serpent (inspired by the Midgårdsorm or Midgaards Serpent in English) that arises from the deep to cast judgement on mankind. The story has a lot of similarities with the tale of Ragnarok and so the old sagas has been kind of a fixing point in our narrative. For most parts though we wanted to use the mythology as metaphors for personal and social conflicts that we see in modern society. The human race has commited hubris to such an extend that we are bound to be punished at some point. By climate change, nuclear war or by something otherworldly like a giant sea serpent. We chose to describe the latter.


Your self-titled debut album was recently released and it’s an absolute ripper! It’s scored countless positive reviews, which must feel amazing. Have you seen any negative reviews at all?

 

– Thanks! Yes, we have seen a lot of really great reviews and to our knowledge there hasn’t been anyone who absolutely hated it. I would have liked to tell you that we didn’t care about the reviews but having worked so intensely on the album of course we are interested in hearing what other people think of it. At some point though Metal Hammer or Pitchfork are going to come along and tear the album to pieces, but until then we are enjoying all the positive feedback.


It’s a remarkably accomplished album for a debut! It feels like you’ve nailed your own sound straight out of the gates, infusing a fresh take with a strong understanding of the power at black metal’s original source to create something exhilarating. What was the writing process like?

 

– Thanks again! As I mentioned we have been playing together for a long time, so even though this is our first take on this type of music it isn’t the first time we’ve done an album. I think that we’ve become pretty good at structuring our writing process and we’ve definitely become more skilled musicians and songwriters over the last ten years. It is always hard for me to tell when the process begins but with this album we were really focused on creating something that we hadn’t done before. We set up a small recording studio in our rehearsal space and just started experimenting. Over time something started to develop and we just went where the music took us. That’s probably why the songs are so long, once we got going the songs kind of progressed and took us in new directions. 

In amongst the melodic black metal fury are some soaring choral female vocals, a real surprise. I feel they mesh with and add to everything exceptionally well; you have such an honest sound and they don’t come off as cheesy or overly theatrical at all, which is sometimes easy for that sort of thing to fall into. What inspired you to include them, and who performed them?

– I think we wanted to do an album that had a lot of different layers and atmospheres. At the center of it all we knew that it should be us playing live, no bullshit, no triggers or sound replacements etc. But, we also wanted that extra layer that could inspire the listener and their imagination. The choir seemed like an obvious choice. Our producer, Lasse Ballade, is an old punk and surprisingly enough, one of his old friends is now a choir leader at a church in Copenhagen. We wrote down the sheet and a choir of six beautiful girls sang it to perfection. You can only hear a small part of it on the record but it was really majestic.


Pic Credit: Jacob Dinesen


Going back to the “honest sound” comment: the album sounds nicely organic, huge tones, warm but not overdone. I think it’s great, and works especially well with the rockin’ almost traditional doom-y passages you have peppered throughout. Did it come out exactly how you wanted it? Were there any hassles with recording?


– It did! And no there weren’t. That being said, it was the first time that we recorded live and that was of course an extra challenge. But it worked very well for us, and we feel that recording live better captures the nerve and energy in our music. Lasse, who recorded the album, works odd hours, so instead of 9 to 5 it was more like 5 to 3 am! But it turned out really great, and Lasse’s production really supports the music well.


What do you hope people feel when listening to Orm?


– We hope they get absorbed into the imagery and the sonic universe of the album. We’ve left it quite open to the listener to make their own interpretations of the music, so everyone’s experience will be different. But hopefully they feel the worm slithering from the underground into the world.


You just started playing shows last year, you have one coming up supporting Wolves In the Throne Room soon. How’s the material been going in a live setting? Have the shows been positive experiences?


– The shows have been great so far. All the material is written and recorded to be played in a live setting, so it is very natural for us to play the album live. We are a no-bullshit band, and we don’t use clicktracks or backing tracks, so seeing us live is a raw experience of four musicians doing what they do.


I’ve noticed you guys have a totem when playing live, which appears to be a snake with candles. What’s the special significance of this? 


– It is actually a golden viking ship with candles. We feel it brings a nice touch to the live show and captures the atmosphere of the music, and it also focuses the audience’s attention to the center of the stage. We really want the music to carry the live experience.


Any plans to tour further abroad?


– Not so far, no, but we’re open if someone wants to book us!


When you aren’t doing Orm, do you guys have any other projects going on?


– Not as of now, but we’ve had other commitments in the past. Simon played in the rock band Förtress, but they’re calling it quits this May.

 

What’s the Danish Black Metal scene like? Any other local bands we should check out?


– The black metal scene in Denmark has seen a small revival in the last couple of years. In particular, bands such as Solbrud and Slægt, and of course Myrkur, have gathered a lot of attention within and outside the country. Solbrud and Slægt are releasing new albums this spring as well.

 

What lies in the future of the Orm?


– Hopefully a lot! We’re playing some shows in Denmark this spring and summer, and then we’re planning to record an EP this autumn. Hopefully, we can push our music further outside the small country of Denmark. Our music has been very well received, so we definitely hope that someone in the countries surrounding Denmark will work with us and listen to our music.

 

Sincerest thanks again for speaking with us! Any final words?


– Thank you for doing this interview with us and the detailed questions! We appreciate the work you’ve put into creating some meaningful questions for us to answer. See you out there!


~

Download Orm’s incredible self-titled debut at name-your-price from here:

Stream/buy Orm on various formats here.

Purchase Orm Vinyl direct from Indisciplinarian here.

Support Orm:

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Unfailing – An Interview With Départe

Black metal is an ever-changing beast; shifting, writhing and evolving, but always with the same cold heart. With last year’s stunning album ‘Failure, Subside’ on Season Of Mist, Tasmania’s Départe have made it their own: its cold heart is surrounded by swathes of gorgeous emotive post-metal and howling lashes of dissonant death, creating something both harrowing, uplifting, and wholly unique.

This also nestles them in quite nicely to the incredible and varied line up for Direct Touring‘s fifth birthday celebration, ‘Direct Underground Fest’: Marduk, MGŁA, Ulcerate, Gorguts and Départe. Vocalist/guitarist Sam Dishington was kind enough to sit down amidst preparations for the Friday night Sydney show to answer a few questions.

~

Hey Sam! Thanks so much for your time. We’ll start with the shows you’re doing this weekend, Direct Underground Fest: Marduk, Gorguts, MGLA, Ulcerate and Departé. That’s the greatest line-up Australia has seen in years! How did that come about?

– It really is a massive line-up isn’t it? We are all very excited, and I’d be lying if I said we weren’t also pretty nervous – to be sharing the stage with some of the best in the business is not only a huge honour, but it’s a pretty big responsibility! We heard about the tour in its very early stages, back when it was only one or two bands. We eagerly expressed our interest in being a part of it, and thankfully David at Direct Touring found us to be a suitable support act.

You’ve toured with Ulcerate before. Which of the other bands are you personally the most excited to share a stage with?

– We have played with Ulcerate many times since we started this band, they are good friends of ours and we are incredibly thankful to be able to share the stage with them again. We also played with Gorguts once before in Melbourne back in 2014, and that was an amazing and humbling experience. I know everyone in the band is extremely excited to see Mgła, given that we are all huge fans of their work and we never thought we’d get to see them play, let alone in Australia. To top all that off, being given the honour of supporting someone as long-standing and influential as Marduk is very exciting for us.

Your last album “Failure, Subside” was an absolutely crushing, emotional beast that simply demanded its inclusion on many end of year ‘best of’ lists, my own included. How do you feel about the overwhelmingly positive reaction to it?

– Releasing ‘Failure, Subside’ to such positive response has been a very exciting and humbling experience for us. We didn’t know if anyone was going to like it, we worked so hard to make it happen, it took a very long time, and it’s a very personal album, so even handing it over to the label when it was finished was terrifying – at least for me. I remember starting to get really anxious when I heard about it being sent out to various websites and magazines for review, I felt like I wasn’t ready to know if people thought it was good or not. But, when the first track was premiered, and all the positive reviews started coming in, it felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. The support and encouragement we’ve received from this release has been a real blessing to all of us.

For an album so bleak and dissonant, the fascinating flipside of it is that it packs an incredible emotional weight, helped in no small way by the inclusion of your clean vocals. They’re quite frankly great. Do they come naturally to you, or is it something you’ve had to develop?

– Thank you! For some reason, I’ve always liked the idea of clean vocals in metal, though it’s not always particularly well executed. I used to be really awful at it, as is evidenced on the first album by Separatist, the band I used to do vocals for. Regardless, I stuck with it. Over the years my voice developed into something far more mature, and when Départe came to be my voice just happened to sit well in this style. As we developed the band’s sound we knew that that kind of emotive clean singing in our genre would be a little divisive, but as with everything we do in this band, we’re just doing what we love, and we loved that sound. Thankfully, it wound up being a fairly substantial point of difference for us, which has proven beneficial.

It seems to be a very introspective, cathartic album; and from a technical standpoint I’m a huge fan of the sound. Can you shed some light on the writing and recording process?

– I’m really glad you like the sound, we are incredibly happy with how the production turned out. Half Moon Productions, the folks that mixed the album, is composed of a friend of ours, Jamie Marinos, and his business partner Lance Prenc. They specialize in more of the modern metalcore/deathcore/djent style mixes – in fact, if I’m not wrong, I think we were the first band in the realms of black/death/post metal that they’d ever mixed. But, we had heard their previous work, and we decided they were the right fit for the job, especially based on their ability to dial in a really thick, heavy bass tone. So it was something of a gamble, but we really believe it paid off and that they nailed it. Drums were recorded at Red Planet Recording Studio in Hobart by a friend of ours, Nic White, and everything else was recorded in my bedroom, with assistance once again from Nic, who helped out with mic placement and allowed us to borrow some of his gear.

There seems to be a fair amount of great black/blackened Tasmanian bands vs. population. Do you reckon there’s truth to the thought that being amidst the isolated forest peaks at the bottom of the world fuels inspiration?

– Yes and no. I think being in such a small community that’s somewhat isolated from the rest of the country has the potential to cultivate particular styles and movements, but at the same time with advances in technology and connectivity we’re really not that isolated any more. 

Recently you guys have been doing a bit of charity work, raising funds for White Ribbon, which I reckon is fantastic. Is that something you’ll continue to do in the future?

– We plan to continue with that sort of thing, yes. It’s important to all of us that this band amount to more than just music and lyrics. People are starting to pay attention to us, and we all believe that in that situation, even though we’re still relatively new, it’s our responsibility to try to make a difference to the community around us. It’s all well and good for us to play music because we love it, and we do love it, but it’s far more fulfilling to know that we are able to reach beyond ourselves to make someone else’s life better through our words and our actions. We hope that our actions will encourage more people to do the same, not necessarily for the same causes that we stand for, but to find something that they’re passionate about, something that affects their community, their loved ones, and make a stand for change.

I’d imagine you guys have a wide range of influences and great listening tastes, I think it may have been you Sam that got me on to Hexis in an article I read once. Any other ace recommendations of artists you’ve been particularly inspired by, or have just been jamming lately that everyone should check out?

– Ah yes, I remember that article, that would have been the Bandcamp Bargain Bin list I contributed to. As far as bands that have particularly inspired me, and probably shaped what Départe became over the years, I’d have to say Celeste, Isis, Rosetta (we got our name from one of their early songs), Altar of Plagues, Deathspell Omega, Plebeian Grandstand, and Ulcerate. I’ve also always been a big fan of Deftones, they are a huge influence on my writing, and they have been ever since White Pony came out. As far as stuff I’ve been jamming lately, right now I am listening to ‘A Perpetual Descent’ by Greytomb, which is excellent. They’re good friends of mine, and it’s great being able to listen to and enjoy something so much that your friends have created. In addition to that, lately I’ve been listening to Dodecahedron, Ulsect, Varaha, Old Solar, Skáphe, The Drowned God, Zhrine, Kollwitz, Gevurah, Pianos Become The Teeth and, just to shake things up, the score to The Revenant.

Being that you guys are at the forefront of the current metamorphosis of the archetypal black metal sound twisting from its origins and assimilating other influences to devastating effect, what’s your opinion of the current state of the genre?

– I think this genre has so much potential, as is evidenced by the vast amounts of different bands moving taking the style in all sorts of different directions. There’s always trends, as with any genre, but above all I really believe the genre is growing, shifting, and evolving. It’s very exciting.

What’s in the forseeable future for the band after this run of shows? Thinking about the next album yet?

– We’re working on getting back overseas hopefully in the near future. Aside from that, I’m sure there will be a few more Australian shows before too long, though nothing confirmed yet. We actually plan to start work on writing for the next album fairly soon after Direct Underground Fest. We want to try some new things, new techniques, and get better at working together as a band as far as writing is concerned, so we are allowing ourselves a great deal of time to get used to that.

Thanks again guys, can’t wait to see you decimate this weekend! Anything else you’d like to add?

– Not really mate, we’re very much looking forward to seeing everyone at these shows on the weekend!

You really should catch Départe and the rest of the excellent line up at either The Factory Theatre Sydney on Friday 17th, or The Corner Hotel Melbourne on Saturday 18th. Tickets still available from http://directtouring.oztix.com.au/

Support Départe: 

Donate to White Ribbon: https://www.whiteribbon.org.au

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