The Cleansing Flame – An Interview with Nox Desperatio

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Incineration of the Nocturnal Mysteries

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The sound of crackling flames and slow, somber chords drifts from your speakers… is this the aftermath of destruction? Has the end of the world already occured, and we have somehow missed it? Sadly, no. We are not to be spared this horror, as it is only just beginning…

Venezuelan duo Nox Desperatio are all aspects of the end times. The apocalyptic inferno, the agony… the soundtrack to wandering the ruins and revelling in the destruction of not only earth but of self. The fulfillment of ancient prophecies and arcane knowledge. They aim to open pathways to facilitate the carnage so that the earth can be reborn, so that we can be reborn… a return to primordial power. Formed in 2015, D.V. is the mysterious being behind all music and instrumentation whilst Vel deftly handles vocal intonations and crafts their lyrical themes. Their depressive debut album Anima Veritas Vita Morte was great, sure (we briefly looked at it here late last year) but now the diabolical dyad return with an even more impressive sophomore offering: Incineratio Arcana Nocte.

Still inflicted with a deep melancholia but now with even deeper shades and more vivid textures, it’s a surprisingly affecting and emotive album that doesn’t stay entirely mired in depression and instead takes you on a journey through multiple (albeit mostly negative) moods. The omnipresent lead guitar that rises stark and clear from the darkness is a major catalyst of this, as its plaintively melodious tones alternately tug at your soul or infuse it with an impassioned fire – perfectly matching the emotion roared and rasped by Vel as he tears his throat to pieces. I’ve no idea how he manages the sonorous clean vocals that close out ‘Emanaciones de la Destruccion’, I’m surprised he can even speak, but they’re honest and only add to the raw human element of their sound. And it is perfectly raw and human; everything sits in this wonderful zone where it doesn’t sound like total shit but is still nowhere near a “nice” production. Very little studio polish; you could almost be sitting in the same room as the band while they play, none of this cavernous reverb-drenched rawness (well, maybe a little). It’s refreshing, and easy to connect with as it reaches inside to set your heart alight.

Incineratio Arcana Nocte is an album you really should devote some time to and give it a chance to work its ways upon you, I guarantee it’ll surprise you in numerous exceedingly pleasant and painful ways. To help convince you of this I’ve reached out to the band for a chat about all things Nox Desperatio… read the results below.

INCINERATIO ARCANA NOCTE is available now on CD and digital via Unpleasant Records.

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Hails Nox Desperatio! Thanks for speaking with us today. For all the people who have not yet heard of you, we’ll start with a little history: how did you two begin playing music together, and what were the motivations that led to the formation of Nox Desperatio?

– Greetings, thanks to you for taking the time to write us.

Well, we came together in 2015 united by similar tastes, music, and the power it had and has in us, so we decided to create a different project that managed to be as emotional as powerful. The balance of both factors was achieved over time until what is today, Nox Desperatio.

After a great debut in Anima Veritas Vita Morte you’re back with your second album, Incineratio Arcana Nocte, which Google tells me translates to “He Return To Dust The Secrets Of The Night”. Is this correct? What is the meaning of this name?

– It can be read it that way, but the main one and to which we refer is “The Incineration of the Nocturnal Mysteries”.

The lyrics are performed entirely in Spanish, but I believe there is a fascinating esoteric theme to the album – could you tell us a little about that theme?

– We decided to keep our native language because we have a certain strength in the pronunciation, vital for the expression of this lyric, and that in the same way the sound must be correct for us. We are not closed to presenting future works in another language, since in the same way the sound transmits what we want to transmit…

Nox Desperatio in this opportunity is manifested lyrically by a journey to the states that, through fire, reveal the hidden mysteries; feminine principle like water always present in different realities. The merger of the shadow of being with the conscious capacity of realization, the evocation of the ancient forces that dwell in each one of us whose source is no more than our own ancestral nature, a deep connection with the essential, is proposed. The Night Kings that possess the throne of the consequences, we against the established high giving the elements their place in the operations of the transformation, beyond all this illuminated by the great flame “the Pyra”, that ignites the spirit from the base to the finite point, from the density to the sidereal sublime. That, granted by the ancestral, the first to offer to man the forbidden knowledge, which guides us on the path of transmutation, freeing all earthly ties, thus of all paradigms established by the cosmic order.

A hypocritical duality where only the trip to the center is the true meaning, the location in space and time, the primary source of desire. The projection of our capacity as a whole to the darkest of our psyche, where all knowledge is stored magic of time.

Evoking the Serpent on the other side of us, primordial of the original world of the forms and of the hidden one it saw carrying the dark fire, it must burn everything imposed and out of the ashes will come the keys that will open the doors for all those who, with fire, decide to enter.

The sound of Incineratio… is rawer and possessed of a more intense melodicism than your debut album, although both are excellent listens. Some of the depressive elements are also no longer as pronounced. Was it a conscious stylistic choice to change in this way? What instigated this evolution?

– This work took a little more time to compose and record. The intention of this work was to tear inside and in the depths of the listener, melancholy sounds, raw and in turn with a touch of hatred and despair… We wanted to create a much more complete and longer-lasting work! I would like to say that Incineratio Arcana Nocte is the direct continuation of the first album Anima Veritas Vita Morte.

The cover art is intriguing. Who was the artist? Can you tell us a little about how it relates to the themes of the album?

– The artist who made the cover was Bryan Maita from BMS Illustration. This artwork was created from suggestions and ideas contributed by us, and Bryan achieved this atmosphere with painting. I believe that the enigma is the focal point, it is the mirror that is not seen, it is very subjective for those who contemplate… it is only the invitation to enter.

Your sound is deeply rooted in the old school traditions of black metal – would you say you take inspiration from any of the past masters in particular?

– We are faithful listeners of the music of the past decades. We can not mention direct influences for this work, I would say rather, that it is the result of certain currents that interest us and based on that, we are just maintaining that classic rawness that we enjoy, especially in the final quality of the recording.

The CD of the album is out now on Unpleasant Records, a relatively new label and champion of the underground who also released your debut album on tape. How have you found working with this label so far?

– It has been very gratifying for us, such an honor, that Unpleasant Records is the one that has been in charge of materializing this and our previous work. We hope to continue working together for future projects…

You are from Venezuela; home to some incredible bands. I briefly interviewed N of Unpleasant Records late last year and he made mention that you have “sacrificed a lot, and still do, even with all the crap situation that my country is currently experiencing”. What sacrifices does he speak of, and what are the obstacles or crap situations you have to deal with?

– All of us who remain in Venezuela are going through great adversities, and only the ones who are here or has left recently knows the situation in detail. We still believe that in the midst of this chaos we can stay firm. It is a very steep slope that makes even simple things difficult like going to rehearse. It has been rough for everyone in different scenarios, and very unfair. As for sacrifices, everyone sacrifices one thing for another … you just have to make it worthwhile.

In your opinion – what is the black metal scene like there at the moment?

– The Black Metal scene in Venezuela nowadays is at a very fragile point. There are still some projects that have arisen doing their best to materialize their works, other new projects have been born but are in a slow process since this requires the necessary equipment to obtain decent quality to record. This point is a little relative from the point of view of each person because it will depend on the monetary resources with which it counts, of course taking into account the economic and political situation in which we find ourselves at the moment, which is no stranger to any of us who still live here…

And finally: have you received much attention from across the seas? Is the spread of your black arts to foreign shores one of your goals?

Nox Desperatio has had some attention at national and foreign level. The main objective is to achieve the consummation of it, to the extent that allows time and space, we will continue to create and materialize works to achieve this end. If it is heard in other continents, cool. We are not sure if at some point we can take this project to a stage… everything is possible.

Sincerest thanks for your time, Nox Desperatio. Any final words for us all?

– We can only say, thank you for giving us the opportunity to participate in your interview and for your time! Incineratio Arcana Nocte is now available via UNPLEASANT RECORDS and by us in Venezuela.

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Purchase Incineratio Arcana Nocte on CD or digital from the Unpleasant Records Bandcamp here.

Support Nox Desperatio:

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Email: blackmetaldaily@outlook.com

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ALBUM PREMIERE + Interview: An Exclusive Full Stream of Voëmmr’s ‘O ovnh intot adr mordrb’

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The Red Wine of Death

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Have you ever experienced supernatural phenomena? Heard footsteps down the hall when nobody else is home, or seen objects move of their own accord? Perhaps even encountered the shade of a lingering spirit? The feeling that envelops you when you’re exposed to such otherworldly occurrences is quite indescribable; a mixture of fear, wide-eyed wonder and blood-draining, dry-mouthed dread… which is also a fair approximation of the sensation one is gripped by whilst listening to the sickly, disharmonic depravity emanating from the mysterious Portuguese entity of Voëmmr.

An integral part of the clandestine Aldebaran Circle (a name that should be spoken with increasing reverence these days) alongside Ordem Satânica, Occelensbrigg, Degredo and Trono Além Morte, all their work thus far has been bestowed with an intrinsic sense of the “other” – a sound barely on the edge of this reality, a strangeness exactly unlike anything you’ll have heard before. Their debut album Nox Maledictvs along with the following Sombr Moebrd demo and split with fellow raw sorcerers Sanguine Relic were all superb examples of their queasy, mangled glory that seeps like poison fluid through the gossamer-thin veil between worlds, and now they return crawling and retching from beyond with another unparalleled slab of hallucinogenic ritual madness: O ovnh intot adr mordrb, which Black Metal Daily is incredibly proud to be presenting you with the exclusive full stream of today – alongside a very rare interview with the enigmatic group themselves.

In regards to the album if you’ve been exposed to their conjurations before then you’ll no doubt have an idea what to expect, but not exactly – these men never do the same thing twice. The stale air crackles with alchemical reaction as opening occurence Coecr od Doemrz (part II) creaks and crashes to life, straight into insanity, howling and crazed. Is that a door slamming at 13 seconds in? Are we trapped in here for the duration? Their distinctively unhinged triple-vocal attack and malformed post-punk-esque rhythms begin to place your mind into a state of involuntary spiritual dysphoria as it becomes apparent they’re back with a renewed focus; the rotten organ unsettlingly draped over frantic-yet-detached raw black gives off the bewitching scent of decomposition and burnt sage.

The intro to Vin ad Mordrb showcases their talent for creating a vibe with minimal actual instrumentation. A solitary guitar and the hiss of tape is all you hear for at least 30 seconds, yet it’s unsettling as hell and when the song itself breaks out, it doesn’t so much “break out” as collapse into a shaking, rattling display of shambolic violence and preternatural terror. Del ed Ovtmn revolves around a repeating motif and frantic, minimalist beat which builds steady anxiety… then the ten minute Profvndr is simply stunning as the vocal torment reaches spectacularly inhuman levels and the track itself is layer upon layer of overwhelming melancholia and abject misery.

No matter how frequently you submit yourself to their sound, it never fails to be shocking. O ovnh intot adr mordrb is no different and proudly stands on it’s own; with a murkier blood than Sombr Moebrd it’s a subtly more menacing assault on the senses and exudes a more evenly spread assortment of necromantic vibes than the split-down-the-middle Nox Maledictvs. You may find yourself questioning: is this madness, the deterioration of my mental faculties? Nay – just the subterranean wraiths of Voëmmr infecting our reality with all the malignant malevolence usually hidden on the other side. For O ovnh intot adr mordrb isn’t just an album – it’s a portal to another plane of non-existence. You don’t merely listen to Voëmmr‘s black work, you experience it. You feel it. Let the spirits of the dead flow through you via the streaming link below… and read on for the briefest of glimpses beyond the dark curtain.

Vinyl and digital pre-orders available now for a May 13th release through Harvest Of Death / Signal Rex, cassette coming soon when the official label store is back online after a brief hiatus. Hails.

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Hails, Voëmmr! It’s a true honour to speak with you today; communications with Aldebaran Circle members are few and far between, and I cannot find any prior interviews that you have done. So, please allow me to begin with a little history. I recall a recent interview with Degredo where they mention that they existed before the concept of the Aldebaran Circle was created, and that their members formed part of the genesis of many of the resulting bands. Did this have any bearing on how was Voëmmr was formed, or were you also active for quite some time beforehand? Do you share any members with other bands in the Circle?

– Hails. If you want to know, we share some members from other bands of Aldebaran Circle. But it is useless to talk about that, to talk about persons. What is important is the atmosphere of the music and its dark feelings. Black metal is not a vulgar “human” form of creation.

Honestly I think its wrong to listen to music and think about who is the human beyond that. We feel the truth is to get involved with the essence of music, and his demonic essence.

Now to the present. Your second full-length album O ovnh intot adr mordrb will be releasing soon; I’ve had the privilege of hearing it and it’s nothing short of a hideously warped, corroded and terrifying magickal masterpiece. How do you feel about the album in comparison to your previous works?

– We created it in a very natural way. We feel it sounds even more magical, hypnotic and dark and we don’t want to compare it with our other works because every single one has his moments and emotions on its way. It’s like every record has its own experience. We are very pleased with all releases so far otherwise we wouldn’t put it out.

I notice you once again use ‘gloatre’ for your titles, which is of course the esoteric language created by Vordb of Belkètre and utilised frequently by Les Legions Noires. There are many similarities between Voëmmr and Belkètre (and indeed the Aldebaran Circle and LLN) but in your own words, why have you decided to carry on the use of gloatre in your work? I also have to ask – is there a way to translate it?

– It was inspired by the “LLN” and “gloatre”, and of course they were are an inspiration among lots of Black Metal bands from the ‘90s because we breed about those days. Our lyrics have an approaching to “gloatre” but it’s not the same; I find it interesting to use a language not interpreted or recognized by the civil society. The Voëmmr lyrics talk about solitude, night and how it is to live isolated from the “normal” world in general. Translated to english this album is called “The Red Wine of Death”.

The album almost seems like a spell, starting off with intensity yet becoming more chaotic, queasily resonant and completely ensnaring the further you move through it. Is that part of what you aim to achieve? What is the intent behind this music you create?

– As we said before, our creations were done in a very natural way.

We had some riffs and compositions in mind, we can say half was composed and half was a bit improvised, but what is important is the ritualistic essence in our music.

It’s very important for us to create and record all the instruments at the same time with a ritualistic approach and atmosphere, like sort of a trance, drowning into the night.

Yours is a distinctive and highly unconventional approach to black metal; strange and otherworldly, with an almost improvised quality which continues strongly through this latest album. Does improvisation – or channeling perhaps – play a large part in the creation of your releases? How do you approach recording the work of Voëmmr?

– We feel our music as ritual. We do not think if it is unconventional or not. What is fundamental is that it sounds dark, occult, magickal, with deep devotion…

We find improvisation a very good instrument to get what we want, but not all the time of course. The recording process and mix is made by us as well we don’t want normal humans to touch our recordings and talk about production stuff. This is not for them.

Your 2017 debut album Nox Maledictvs was one of my favourites released that year, and if memory serves me correctly was recorded over two nights at an abandoned farm in the countryside. Were the circumstances for the creation of O ovnh intot adr mordrb anything like that this time around?

– Was created in two nights in an abandoned farm with a ritualistic atmosphere, black candles and under the influence of wine and death. The new álbum O ovnh intot adr mordrb had the participation from two new elements in a close studio known by us, recorded with our material.

The first composition on the album is ‘Coecr od Doemrz (Part II)’, which appears to be the follow on from your contribution to the Invicta Requiem Mass IV compilation from November last year. Why did you decide to do a second part to this track? Were they originally written together?

– Where the original was written, composed and recorded in the same night the two takes of it, one is a bit bigger and ends in a different way from the other and the vocals are different as well. We were very satisfied with both of the recordings, so it was the appropriate track for the IRM IV compilation before we release the album.

Speaking of Invicta Requiem Mass IV – that was absurdly good lineup for the festival and one I would have given my left arm to attend. How was that show for you? Does Voëmmr perform at many live gatherings?

– It was our first and only live gig. It was very special for us, with the appropriate dark and occult atmosphere.

We do not see Voëmmr to play in a live open air during the day light and don’t find reason to play live very often. We prefer to play from time to time in certain places with the right promoters and atmosphere.

As previously mentioned, I can’t find any information available about you anywhere, which is a fantastic throwback to the clandestine days of black metal – the mystery of who is creating this art helps with immersion into it, in my eyes. You clearly feel secrecy and shadow is still important in black metal today – so conversely, what do you think about the modern age of immediacy and connectivity, with fans expecting to know everything about artists and many black metal bands being all about how many likes/plays/follows they can obtain on social media?

– We think these days of modern Black Metal are a pure shit with no serious actions and loads of expeculations, and no devotion to the dark arts and music. The levels of lie are high.

We prefer to do our own stuff. We don’t need to put any names on our records and follow with our devotion.

We mentioned LLN earlier in this conversation, and they are often mentioned in the promo for your releases. Do you count yourselves as having been particularly influenced by them? Are there any other great past or present sources of inspiration for you, musical, artistic or otherwise?

– We think of everyone as influences. We listen to a lot of LLN stuff, but there are a lot of occult and raw underground black metal bands all over the world.

Yes, as I said before we are very influenced by the ‘90s Black Metal spirit and we do our own interpretation of it. We only listen to underground Black Metal as long as we find it true and evil with no bullshit.

You’ve also recently partaken in a great split with Sanguine Relic, another outstanding raw act. How did this collaboration come to pass? Do you listen to many current black metal artists?

– Yes, some Sanguine Relic material came to our hands and we found it interesting, and the more we knew about this act the more we identified with it later. Then we met the one behind S.L and it was natural to make a split. We are always looking for good and true Black Metal underground stuff.

The album, like all of your releases to date, has been released under the banner of Harvest of Death / Signal Rex. It seems to be a very strong partnership; how have you found the collaboration thus far?

– We are very satisfied with the work from Harvest of Death / Signal Rex in general, it have been released great part from all our projects. Things work, simple and straightforward, so we don’t need to change.

And one final question – Voëmmr has been a rather prolific entity over the last couple of years. What comes next for the band?

– We don’t make “future” plans at all. Things come when they had to come.

Once again, sincerest thanks for your time, it’s been a pleasure. Any final words for us all?

– Thanks for this interview. Keep the good work in order of the underground Black Metal.

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Pre-order O ovnh intot adr mordrb on vinyl or cassette tape from Harvest Of Death/Signal Rex here (once the store is back online), or digitally and on vinyl from Bandcamp here.

Support Voëmmr:

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Email: blackmetaldaily@outlook.com

The Blood Is The Life – An Interview with Peste Umbrarum

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Plague Induced Black Vampyric Atrocities

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Keeping up with subterranean/unsigned black metal in the current year, there’s such a constant onslaught of releases that sometimes you might fall into a slump and be forgiven for thinking you’re just hearing the same shit over and over again. Don’t get me wrong, being varying degrees of derivative is fine (almost everyone is, really), it’s the spirit and feeling that really matters and some bands have it, some bands don’t – it’s just an unfortunate truth. But sometimes, just sometimes, you might pick up and discover an absolute gem that makes it all far more than worth it. After lying dormant in the cryptal darkness of the BMD inbox for months, when I first pushed play on this little slice of obsidian malignancy I immediately felt more than the oft-apparent potential that a good demo usually emanates… I was immediately transported back to my days of youth in the mid ’90s.

Such is the magic inherent in Night Shines Eternal, the debut demo of vampyric USBM horde Peste Umbrarum. Actively drawing down the moon since 2017, their efforts thus far have coagulated into this one sole release that materialized on the earthly plane in July last year – but what a release it is. Tapping into and subsequently drenched in the arterial spray of the massacres the Finnish scene has left upon the genre, imagine Sargeist et al. imbued with the yearning melancholia and torment of endless millennia past, promising whispers of wretched knowledge and an eternity of solitary pain.

If you think that sounds right up your alley, I daresay it will be. I was that taken by it that I had to reach out for a quick chat with throatsman Cäassimolär; thankfully, he was happy to oblige and provide us with information on the demo, project itself, and sure-to-be-great upcoming full-length. Thus, read on below and listen deeply to these children of the night… what sweet music they make.

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Hails Peste Umbrarum! I’ve recently discovered and become enthralled by your 2018 demo Night Shines Eternal. You have a sound as ancient as time, yet you formed in 2017. Who are you, and how did Peste Umbrarum come into existence?

– Ave BMD! And thanks for the commendations! As of the moment the project consists of Cäassimolär/ vocals, Lord Andross/ bass & keys and Tenebrion/ guitars. We are currently in search of a new permanent drummer and have incorporated a live second guitarist in Obskuritas.

The concept began in mid 2017 out of the ashes of Daemoniis ad Noctum and the defunction of black/ doom band Hiding with a combined yearning {along with members of Panzergod) to express a more mournful medieval romanticism in the traditional black metal sonic spectrum. After a few setbacks, we were able to bring the project into fruition very late in 2017.

The demo was originally released in July last year. With so much time having passed to reflect on it, how do you view it now?

– Yes, it was a July release on the digital version with a physical release in digipak CD by the band in September of 2018 (which we have only a few left).

As far as our opinion on it, the whole thing was recorded and mixed by the band with some rush that we weren’t prepared for. Inexperience in the mixing process shines through a little bit and the mastering is shit. However, we do feel as though it was a good basic representation of the potential that exists within the project and has given us a platform to build upon along with something for the fans. Some of the songs have been rebuilt and will be re-recorded to appear on the full length coming out later in 2019.

I’ve seen that the lyrical themes on the demo apparently deal in literature. I’ve not had the opportunity to read them myself, but I’m intrigued – could you elaborate on the literary themes present?

– I, Cäassimolär, have always been fascinated with gothic & horror literature, film and aesthetics. Of course the staples e.g.; Shelley, Poe, Stoker, Fanu, Lovecraft, Howard, Radcliffe, etc. have a huge influence in the lyrics but there are also more contemporary dark gests and authors that have a place in newer writings. These themes, I feel, really shine through in our live performances as well.

The demo apparently also touches on occultism. Do you consider yourselves practitioners of any particular path?

– Different forms of the occult will always have a place in our lives and art, specifically Luciferianism. If there is a collective path we as a band are on, I would have to say the majority of our spiritual power comes from the morning star, the moon, worship / respect of death & nature, vampirism and the ongoing war against most monotheistic religions. So yes, predominantly Luciferian, but always exploring and expanding within the infernal streams of forbidden knowledge.

Although Night Shines Eternal resoundingly achieves your own cold, crepuscular vision, many different influences from the annals of black metal can still be heard – your art is heavily steeped in tradition. Have you drawn inspiration from or feel a kinship with any past artists in particular? Does modern black metal interest you at all?

– There are many genres and bands affluent in our writing that are intentional and some that are not… As we began Peste Umbrarum, we had really drawn inspiration from Swedish bands like Avsky, LLN bands and Celstia of the 90’s French scene mixed with the Russian tonality & ambience of the late 90’s/ early 2000’s. What emerged, however, has a bit more of a Finnish BM sound coupled with our own form of romantic audial dissonance.

As for modern Black Metal…meh. There’s good and bad. It’s hard to really boil that down to one general answer.

I believe, in some truly excellent news, that you are also working on an upcoming full-length album. How is that progressing? Can you tell us a little about it, and what we can expect?

– Yes, we are currently in the later part of finishing the writing process on a full-length with the working title Night Canticles of the Ancient Ana’thema that will harbor, as I mentioned earlier, a few of the songs off of the demo in an updated form and 4 or 5 new ones. The album will have an even more noticeable medieval feeling as we bring more Dungeon Synth / Keys courtesy of Lord Andross, riffs of Tenebrion being heavier on the draconian side and I will be adding some ambient pieces along the lines of the intro to ‘Umbrae de Gallows Dolor’ from the demo. We’re planning to start tracking in house late spring or very early summer.

As of yet, you do not appear to have any label backing. Are you intending to remain autonomous, or will you be seeking a suitable home for the release of your next works?

– Ah yes. For the demo we wanted to get something out there ourselves as an entirety. Tracking, mixing, producing and ultimately being self sufficient in the recording process was an intentional learning curve for future albums. As for the physical release, I have a little experience in that department running the Exile Music(k) label for a few years (currently on hiatus), so that presented no problem.

We are currently in talks with underground German label Astral Nightmare Productions to initially release the CD version and are really excited about that considering their past releases by Supplicium, Nattsvargr, Unhuman Disease, Gjaldur etc… are truly exceptional pieces of black metal art. As for future releases and other formats of the upcoming album, we’ll definitely be looking for a label to work with on a permanent basis.

I see you’re no stranger to the live setting, performing recent bloodletting rites to great success. Are there any more live rituals to come that we should know about?

– We have definitely spilled our share of sanguine fluid in past and present bands, which is why, especially as such fans of the genre, we feel it is so necessary to create an all involving presence in our live rituals. We take care to prepare for these dark sacraments, therefore, we only have had a few since our inception. This will be changing not in quality, but in quantity as we release the new recording.

We had our first rite planned this year to be in support of Horna and Cultus Profano as they came to the U.S., however, it seems the current bullshit climate rendered that rescinded. Currently Mysticism Black and Peste Umbrarum are looking to have something come together in Portland to run that loss back as both bands were scheduled for that show. We also are in discussion with a few bands from Seattle to do a leg of their August tour and are looking into a full West Coast tour in the fall after the full-length release.

Sincerest thanks for your time Peste Umbrarum, looking forward to your next album. Any final words for us all?

– Ad Aeternus et Satanas,

Omnia Culto Mors!

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Purchase Night Shines Eternal on digipack CD from Bandcamp here.

Support Peste Umbrarum:

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The Terrible End – The Final Primogenorum Interview and full stream of ‘Ye Last Ordeal’

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A decade spent walking the Path of Darkness.

A decade of in the thrall of Inhumanity and Madness.

A decade of devotion to the Throne of the Adversary.

2008 – 2019

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For the initiated, over the last ten years Ukrainian project Primogenorum has been one of the most wretched and thrilling hidden gems exuding from the subterranean raw black scene. A series of superbly torturous demos, abhorrent splits and two soul-rending full length albums have plumbed the depths of filth, impiety and agony like none other – and now, after more than ten years of existing as a churning black hole from which no light could ever hope to escape, head practitioner Lucifug has decided it is all over.

Primogenorum is no more.

Why is this so? Speculation on this matter is unnecessary, as today BMD is privileged to present not only the sole exclusive full stream of his horrifying parting salvo Ye Last Ordeal but Lucifug himself has granted us one last interview regarding Primogenorum, in which he delves into all the depraved details of the final recordings and the reasons behind the death of the project. The limited CD was already released today and is available for purchase via Lunar Apparitions (a division of Nebular Carcoma Records) as we speak, so without further ado – listen, read… and hail the infernal memory of Primogenorum.

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Hails Lucifug. It is an honour to speak to you today, especially for such a significant reason – after ten years of hell, Primogenorum is no more. So, I must start with the question everyone will be asking: why is this the end of Primogenorum? Has this decision been brewing for some time?

– I created Primogenorum in order to express my vision of Darkness and Inhumanity. This was the birth of the spiritual essence, expressed in a raw audio stream with a lyrical component that was most clear and relevant to me. It was also connected with some occult practices and their influences on me at the first time I performed them. At the moment I have said and expressed everything that I wanted with Primogenorum, and I do not want to repeat and stagnate. The decision came at the time of the last recording, and will not be reconsidered.

You aren’t leaving us without one final stab into the heart of humanity, however; you’re also bestowing one last curse upon us in the aptly titled Ye Last Ordeal. It’s a superb record, as loathful and miasmic as anything you’ve done before. How do you feel about it now that it is on the cusp of release? Were you mindful whilst creating it that it would be the last recorded moments anyone might ever hear of Primogenorum?

– I am pleased with the result of this recording, but there were no special settings for this release. Everything was recorded the same way as before, with a slight difference in mixing. I didn’t have thoughts that the latest release would be somehow special. Everything was recorded quite naturally for Primogenorum.

The album is only four tracks long, but does a fair job of displaying almost every facet of your sound – ‘Trail Of Black Fire’ is seething with mid-paced menace, ‘Ominous Nights’ is crepuscular melancholia incarnate, ‘On The Ground Of The Dying Man’ is aggressive and hate-filled whilst ultimate rite ‘Sacrilegious Atrocity’ heads deep into wretched, experimental noise-torture territory. Was this dynamic approach intentional from the beginning of the creative process?

– No, the first three tracks were recorded and presented in the chronological order of their writing, but in the last track I wanted to do something freezing and truly terrifying and weave into the guitar-noise the sounds of human life that are fading away in violent torment. For this, I used a real snuff movie. The idea is that after listening to the final track, an unsophisticated listener will remain with the CD like a corpse in his arms and feeling a little discouraged.

I can glean some fair insight from the track titles, but have not had a chance to read the lyrics as I don’t believe they are available; so for clarification – what topics do you cover on this release?

– All lyrics will be available in this release. It is more related to the personal vision of the Sinister Path. The first track is an allegory on the path of knowledge of the Black Work, the second track is a great ritual as a result of which the human essence will be irrevocably transformed into inhuman. Both together they form last ordeal of a pitiful human soul on the way to Perdition. The third track is the self-awareness among the suffering and dying humanity in whose veins laid murder and self-destruction. It seems to me that in the next century mankind will suffer a big and terrible bloody harvest, something like a world war or at least a very big war. There are too many contradictions in the human world, and they tend to spill out of from the cup in the form of bloody conflicts. The fourth track is strangulation and death. The corpse on a cold floor. The ordeal is completed.

Following on from that, have you felt a thematic shift in the project over the last ten years? Has the way you write lyrics changed at all?

– The subject of the project has always been in more or less the same plane – Darkness and suffering on the way to Her, dehumanization, depersonalization and rebirth in Perdition. Nothing much has changed. I just think that I said everything I thought and wanted to say.

In my opinion, Ye Last Ordeal might just be overall the best you’ve ever sounded; there’s a thickness to the guitars that hits me in just the right spot. Were your production methods or perhaps gear any different this time around?

– Everything was recorded under the same conditions on my modestly accumulated equipment as before, only a small difference in mixing. Also, some guitar parts are duplicated because there is no bass here. Vocals are recorded as before in abandoned underground locations (I no longer go to rehearsal rooms or studios for this).

Seeing as it is now the end times of the project, let us return to its conception for a brief moment. Casting your mind back – what made you first want to start Primogenorum, and how did it eventually come into existence?

– I have always been a fan of heavy & black metal, and since childhood I have been interested in themes of Satanism, black magic, and homicide. Gradually there was a need for self-expression, and along the way I got involved in a deeper study of the Black Work. Everything went quite organically and naturally for me. In Primogenorum, the principles of my understanding and desire for rebirth were laid. Thus was born the spiritual essence, which is perfect for me and is a standard. At the moment it is fully formed and I do not need to continue this further.

Do you feel those same motivations and intentions that you commenced the project with have carried on throughout the life of the band?

– To a greater or lesser extent yes.

The CD is being released by Lunar Apparitions (a division of Nebular Carcoma), a suitable home for this death sermon. How have you found working with them? Are there any further formats in the works to be released?

– We released a tape version of the Damned Hearts album with alternative mix on Nebular Carcoma before, and I am quite satisfied with the result. No other formats are expected yet, although I would not mind the same edition in 10” format.

What lies in the future for you now? You have another excellent project already in Dis Orcus, will you be focusing all your energies on that?

– In the «future» the fog covers everything and almost nothing is visible. There is an idea to focus on the Tangos des Todes project and turn it into a more traditional black metal project with some noise elements. But I will not guess anything and promise. Dis Orcus is project of Haruspex (he recorded bass guitar for the Damned Hearts album) I just wrote the lyrics and record vocals, and the new release of this project depends entirely on him. And I will gladly take part in this if the opportunity comes again.

One final question: Primogenorum has always represented to me the pure spirit of black metal, a channel through which all the hatred and negativity this world has to offer can pass. After a decade of dark art and destruction – how would you hope Primogenorum is remembered, if you have any hopes at all?

– Hope is for the weak. I don’t think too much about it. I always had a sincere desire to make ominous music without any compromises, since black metal has become considerably rotten and humanized in our days. I like to express myself in black metal and if someone else likes it, then that’s fine. If you don’t like it, then just go away and die.

And that is it. Sincerest thanks for your time Lucifug, and eternal gratitude for bringing us all closer to the abyss through the untouchable darkness of Primogenorum. I will leave the final words to you:

– See you in Hell!

Adalord Satan Haegl!

~

Purchase Ye Last Ordeal on MCD from Lunar Apparitions / Nebular Carcoma here.

Support Primogenorum:

  • No social media or official sites.

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Celestial Introspections – An Interview with Dylan Rupe of Evergreen Refuge

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Seeking wildness and solitude

In a self destructive world

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Hails. Now, it’s not a usual thing for us here at BMD to give coverage to the same release twice; I can easily count the amount of times that has actually occured on one hand. However it just so happens that Skyward, the remarkable tenth album from US solo atmospheric / post black project Evergreen Refuge, is far from a usual release.

Incase you haven’t read it, I gave it an absolutely glowing review a couple of weeks ago (check it out here) in which I said many nice things that were all extremely well deserved. Indeed, I liked it so much that the next logical step could only be reaching out to main man Dylan Rupe himself to dive deeper into the meaning behind the album and the mind of its creator; thankfully, it turns out he is both a lovely fellow and sterling human being, and was happy to oblige.

The full album is out now through A Moment Of Clarity Records and streaming in its entirety on Bandcamp, so click the link just below to begin your journey to the stars… and read on.

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Greetings Dylan! It’s wonderful to speak with you today. I’ve recently had the pleasure of discovering your work through Evergreen Refuge’s tenth album Skyward, which in my humble opinion is simply stunning. How do you feel about the album now that it has been released? Do you feel you achieved what you wanted with it?

– I am incredibly honored that so many people have connected to this piece already. In fact, I was very moved to see your poetic words on it. Sometimes there is an uncertainty to how people will exactly respond, but I am more interested in people feeling drawn to it or connected to it in some way than necessarily having a large number of people listen to it. In that way, it has been a success. Additionally, it seems as though the theme has really resonated with a number of folks, so I would say that I achieved what I had hoped. The unfolding of this album has been cathartic for me.

Whilst you usually deal in themes of nature and the earth, this time around you’ve been inspired by the stars and thoughts you’ve had whilst stargazing. What made you decide to write about this? Was this a gradual decision borne of many nights staring upward, or was there one particular revelatory moment when you decided to write Skyward?

– A more celestial album had been on my mind for some time, especially one that was still ultimately grounded on the earth. I did not want it to be “cosmic” in the way that a few other acts are. I was not necessarily interested in the science fiction or misanthropic aspects of space, but rather was more drawn to creating something from the standpoint of a human gazing toward the stars and the thoughts that ensue, if that makes sense. Evergreen Refuge has had a loose thematic “storyline” of sorts for a while. The “chapter” that Skyward is a part of began with Earthborn, which as you could imagine is very rooted in the earth. Throughout each recording, I have fleshed out a different topic and expanded outward. Skyward expands it even further and gazes toward the sky–pondering some of the same questions other recordings have, but within the theme of the stars and other celestial bodies. The theme was the result of many experiences in the wild, some somber and some very transcendental or “psychedelic” in a way. Much of what I drew from were experiences and memories of nights in the desert of the so-called “American Southwest”, where I found my “home” in many respects.

Skyward marks ten Evergreen Refuge albums in eight years. You’ve been incredibly prolific since the inception of the project, often with multiple releases in a single year – especially through 2016/17. However, the gap once again stretched out to over a year between last album Growing and Skyward. Was this for any particular reason? Did you spend more time with Skyward than you usually would whilst working on an album?

– This gap in releases was not from the recording process actually. I began Skyward around the same time I was working on Growing, in fact. This would have been the summer of 2016. I completed Skyward around March of 2017. After the release of Growing, I was spending some time working on other projects of mine, the biggest one being Arête’s full-length Hymnal which came out in November. We had spent a lot of time on that recording and there were a couple of delays in its release. Since that was the priority, Skyward was put on the backburner. There are a few other musical endeavors I am involved in that I wanted to give some attention to throughout last year, so Skyward was pushed back slightly because of these as well. In addition, I am very interested in releasing recordings at the right time, so Skyward had to wait for that time. I am happy I waited.

The project started with a more “regular” five track album on your eponymous debut Evergreen Refuge, but you made the move towards longform compositions fairly quickly and by fourth album As The Fires Burn you’d found your formula of one single piece that stretches the duration of the album. What made you begin to lean towards album-length compositions, and then to continue this as your modus operandi?

– Part of this was from the beginning stages of creating a project and feeling out what exactly the intentions of Evergreen Refuge were. After the third recording, Weminuchia, it became clear that the intention was introspection and immersion. I am personally very drawn to long form works and their ability to force you into immersion and transport you somewhere else. Thus I decided that this was appropriate for what I was doing. I want people to sit with the whole album and be immersed in it. The hope is that people sit and contemplate with the recording, though I’m sure this is not always the case. Another reason I started doing this was due to how I actually write the pieces. The theme comes to my mind and I write the whole thing as one. They are all “concept albums” I guess, and while I could split it up into several smaller tracks to make it more digestible, I like the idea more of having it all be one. I do not care as much if somebody listens to the recording a lot, but rather that they get something out of listening to it. Some of my personal favorite artists I actually listen to very rarely, because I prefer to sit and give the whole piece my attention. So I suppose that’s some of my hope with my stuff as well.

After hearing Skyward I’ve become especially interested in your creative process (incase the last couple of questions hadn’t tipped you off). Musically, do you have reams and reams of ideas saved that you sift through and piece together when the time comes for an album? Or, is it more that you perhaps find inspiration then get a clear vision in mind and create anew around it, fleshing it out and interpreting your vision?

– This is different with every recording actually. Almost every time the theme or intention of the recording is set first. Occasionally, the intention reveals itself while I am recording. For example, the intention for the next recording, which is already completed, did not come to me until the end of the recording process. It’s a strange process. But, like I said, it’s more often set prior. What usually happens for me is I have an idea of how I want the piece to begin and how I want it to end, and then I work on writing the rest. A lot of the recording process is sort of spontaneous and improvised, all based on the recording’s overarching meditation. So I suppose it is mostly the latter thing you mentioned.

If my ears do not deceive, there are some field recordings present. Where were these taken? It’s also a wonderfully naturalistic record – did you record any other parts of your performance out in the wild?

– Indeed! I am struggling to remember exactly where some of those were taken, but I know they were all recorded within the Rocky Mountains here in so-called “Colorado”. Unfortunately with Skyward, nothing was recorded in the wild itself. This is something I always wish I had more ability to do, but it is not always feasible. I have employed methods in the past, however. For instance, the frame drum that I play on my recording Earthborn was recorded solely by a stream in the La Plata Mountains. It is something I hope to do more of in the future.

Evergreen Refuge is solely you, as is your other project Cuscuta. You play everything in both projects and it seems you’re quite the talented multi-instrumentalist, not just restricted to the usual guitar and drums either – on Metal Archives you’re listed as playing 12 string guitar, mandolin and frame drum on a previous album. When did you first begin to pick up an instrument, and how long have you been playing for?

– My first instrument was, of course, guitar. I have been playing that for about 14 years or so now. I took lessons for a while and I am glad I did. I gained many skills from doing so that I still employ to this day. I learned a fair amount of classical pieces, thus had to learn a “classical” style of playing, at least slightly. For the most part, string instruments are pretty intuitive when you know one. I would not say I’m very great at some of them–mandolin for instance–but I have the skills I need to do what I want to do with them. The percussive aspects, on the other hand, have not been so intuitive. I try my best with these and have included them more and more on each release, but I am no drummer. Sometimes they are more choppy than they could be, but I suppose that brings more of the “humanity” into it.

As some may know, you run your own label with a friend; A Moment Of Clarity Recordings, through which you have released much of your work inclusive of Skyward. How has the label been going for you, and what made you want to start it up?

– I began A Moment of Clarity Recordings a number of years ago as a way to consolidate the many things I do into one place, more or less. As I mentioned before, I have several musical endeavors, some of them are just me and some are collaborative. I wanted a place to offer them all, or at least most of them, together. In the same year I started it, I helped my good friend Cooper release his first album by his project Thrall, “Hell is a Body”, on cassette. He and I have collaborated for a few years now on some dark spoken-word based dark ambient/noise. His intentions for his own creation really aligned with mine and I decided to bring him into A Moment of Clarity Recordings. The first thing we did together was a split between two of our projects, Thrall & Oneiromancer. This forged the bond between us and set the intention for AMOC.

I believe there is going to be a slight delay with the release of the tapes, but there will also be a nice special edition available too. Can you tell us a little about this?

– Oh yes, unfortunately we have just run into a couple of issues with that release. There were some delays on the duplicator’s part as well as some unforeseen issues that came up with what we initially had hoped for the packaging to be. I am a big fan of special physical copies, which is something Cooper and I share and strive for with A Moment of Clarity Recordings. So, these tapes are going to be a labor of love. The cassettes themselves will be a sort of translucent blue color, within o-cards that feature a photo from my great friend Patrick, who has been the photographer for almost every release of mine. All of that will be within a small jewelry box containing some pieces of juniper that I will be collecting. The boxes have some gorgeous art by my friend Derek Schultz screenprinted on them. Like I said, I like to personalize these physical copies when I can so I am looking forward to seeing how these turn out.

One final question: I noticed in the press release for Skyward you mention your thoughts that “humanity has not been here all that long – civilization even less so”, and that civilization feels insignificant. That’s both a sobering and inspirational thought that more people should have; I often absently wish we could all return to a hunter-gatherer society, although the likelihood of that actually happening is next to zip. So, forgive me if this is a little vague (or perhaps demanding of an essay-length answer to tackle effectively) but: where do you think is next for us as a species? What will happen to us, to our civilization? In which direction do you believe humanity needs to head in order for us to remain on this Earth for any longer than a blip in the endless expanse of time?

– This is a great question! The trajectory humanity is on currently is undoubtedly one bent on destruction. There has been a tremendous amount of species loss within the last hundred years and the implications this has for us is troubling to say the least. Certainly the path that we’re on will ultimately result in our own extinction as well, if we do not change something immediately. I struggle to believe that there is any way for civilization, especially industrial civilization, to exist sustainably while having a healthy earth. What the alternative is, I do not completely know. But I do know that as long as we’re so dependent on technologies that require the extraction of resources from the earth, it seems as though the only result is the total annihilation of ourselves and likely many other species.

I know it’s taboo to talk politics in this music world, but I tire of this. Politics are very real, very much a part of our existence, and are a huge part of what drives me to create what I do. That being said, I do not believe there is a way that capitalism and a healthy, livable earth can coexist. Capitalism’s only desires are growth and profit, and it does not care what or who it destroys along the way. Not to mention the division that capitalism fabricates–it creates unnecessary hierarchies and keeps us at odds and in competition with one another. This will ultimately lead to our own demise as well, I believe. So I think the direction we need to go toward is recognizing that these problems are related–that the same systems of power that seek to divide us also seek to destroy everything that is wild and beautiful.

I also think we need to spend more time listening and paying attention to the world around us. There is so much we can learn from the wild and from each other. There are other ways of existing in the world–ways that are far less destructive than ours. We ought to focus on building community with one another, rather than severing it and serving the desires of the systems of power. There are so many humans and nonhumans suffering and I firmly believe we need to come together to fight this. I would rather hope and fight for a better future for us and for the planet than to just sit back and say “that’s just the way it is”. It doesn’t have to be.

Sincerest thanks for your time, Dylan. It’s been a pleasure. Any final words you would like to share with us all?

– Thank you so much for doing this, my friend. I am truly honored and grateful for this beautiful exchange and the support on Evergreen Refuge. I hope it can bring more beauty and less suffering to the world, in some small way. Take care of each other and remember: another world is possible.

“We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art, the art of words.”

– Ursula K. Le Guin

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Purchase Skyward digitally from the Evergreen Refuge Bandcamp here, or CD, cassette and digital from A Moment Of Clarity Records here.

Support Evergreen Refuge:

~

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The Seeking of Knowlege – An Interview with Auri-El of Whore of Babylon

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If you aren’t, you really should be paying attention to Australian raw black metal. Our little sunburnt continent (for those playing at home: yes, I am Australian) consistently comes up with the best underground gems you’ll hear anywhere, and the latest obsidian unearthing from the subterranean mining caverns Down Under is another astonishing, synapse-shredding abyss of negative mental energies – Chapter I: Devotion, Adoration, Invocation from Whore of Babylon.

Thirteen or so minutes of total sonic alchemy, five tracks of black metal noise / ambient / dissonant head-fuckery that wouldn’t be out of place nestled amidst some of the weirder shit Les Legions Noires vomited out decades ago. But it’s not just a straight copy or bland “homage” to the ancients, oh no. This thing is overflowing with idiosyncratic flourishes that’ll make you sit up and take notice. Any self-respecting fan of the more abrasive, warped side of things really needs to hear it – and guess what? You can already, and soon own it too; because it’s not only available at name-your-price on Bandcamp but it’s also being released on limited cassette via brand new tape label Akashic Envoy Records in a couple of weeks. There’s only 50 being produced and there will be no pre-order period, so don’t sleep… but before that happens, check out our chat with reclusive sole practitioner Auri-El as he lifts the veil ever-so-slightly on the violence and mysticism that is Chapter I: Devotion, Adoration, Invocation. Hails.

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Hails, Auri-El. Your debut demo Chapter I: Devotion, Adoration, Invocation is out on digital format now, with a limited tape coming soon. First up, I know absolutely nothing about you or Whore of Babylon and cannot find any information anywhere, so I’ll ask: who are you, what is Whore of Babylon, and why does it exist?

– The title ‘Whore of Babylon’ derives from two sources, the most notable being the Bible, stated in Revelations 17:5, “As mystery, Babylon the Great, Mother of Prostitutes and Abominations of Earth.” (This can be found written in Greek running down both sides of the track listing on the physical copy). The other from the 1927 German silent film ‘Metropolis.’ In both sources, Christians have depicted a female as the deceiver of mankind, leading the blind and ignorant astray. I decided to use this title as I see this concept everywhere in Americanised western culture, in the media, celebrities and trends pushing forth their agendas. I chose this title for reasons involving said culture, lies… deception… all for reasons that are unknown, which brings forth many other subjects I explore, Hermes Trismegistus’ various sacred texts, King Solomon’s Clavicus etc…

Devotion, Adoration, Invocation – a powerful title. Is this a statement of the intent behind the demo? Which entity does this refer to?

– It is a statement of submission, worship and the seeking of knowledge for all things hidden to the crescent eye. I have tried to write and order the songs in conjunction to these three words to the best of my ability.

– ‘Devotion’ = Ἑκάτη & Saba-Azhaka.

– ‘Adoration’ = Fal’Zhardum-Djinn & Nchaund-Zel.

– ‘Invocation’ = Manifestation I: Distillation of Zosimos.

In terms of entities, I have left that referral for the listener to decide when it comes to those three words. Though in my personal life, these three words reflect a very deep and intrinsic moment in time that I wish to remain private.

The demo really is something else, halfway through the first track I heard I was completely taken by the queasy, anxious vibe of it all. It’s definitely raw black metal, but not as we know it – built on tension and discombobulating terror, with ascending/descending motifs and warped bends aplenty. ‘Fal’Zhardum-Djinn’ even makes use of sweep picking unless I’m mistaken, which is odd for raw black metal. Did you consciously attempt to create something against the norm, or were there perhaps other forces at play?

– For me it was never a conscious decision to create something against what individuals are used to in the realm of raw black metal; I believe the sound and style of this style created itself, to which, as I was writing, had no idea what that would translate to. I simply went where the tide pulled me and this was the end result. During this process I was certainly influenced both emotionally, sonically and spiritually by various sacred texts, art and fellow projects from my own Oceanic region. Some of which include: Hermetica and Quilpothic writings by Hermes Trismegistus as I mentioned earlier, the grandeur of David Herrerias and Denis Forkas’ artwork inspired me immensely, as well as bands/projects such as Impetuous Ritual, Grave Upheaval, Aethyrvorous, Portal and Striborg.

I quite like the cover art, it’s extraordinarily detailed and packed with symbolism for demo artwork. Who is the artist? What exactly is depicted on it, and what do the sigils represent?

– The artist goes under the vice of Alemsahim (aka Depravarts), based in Moscow, a profoundly talented artist who also did the Whore of Babylon logo. The design depicts a female face with ‘W’ embedded into it if you look closely enough; around it features spurs of sigils. The representation of the selected sigils is an intentional mockery of the Kabbalah. The Na’amah sigil at the very top symbolises feminine divinity, something very prominent to my own worship and practise.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the title of the opening ambient piece translates from Ancient Greek as ‘Hekate’, the Goddess of Magic and Witchcraft… How does Hekate play into the themes of this demo, and/or Whore of Babylon in general?

– This I wrote after a series of very intense dreams involving said torchbearer, the contents of what happened I wish to remain private, though at a certain point I was immersed by a sound sound similar to this track, I tried my best to mimic what I heard, though the dream was far more surreal as you could probably imagine.

The demo also ends in fascinating fashion, with ‘Manifestation I: Distillation of Zosimos’ entering into a dreamlike state, whispering what sounds like latin words of prayer into the abyss. I have two questions about this – what is the significance of this prayer, and which Zosimos does the title refer to? If I may have a guess, and I’m also quite prepared to be wrong here too: Zosimos the Alchemist?

– The prayer featured is referred to as the Trinitarian formula: “In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti”, denoting to the three persons of the Christian trinity, followed by “Amen”.

Yes, this refers to Zosimos of Panopolis, specifically inspired by a book he wrote about a sequence of dreams related to Alchemy, presenting proto-science as a much more religious experience. In his dream he first comes to an altar and meets Ion, who calls himself “the priest of inner sanctuaries, and I submit myself to an unendurable torment.” Ion then fights and impales Zosimos with a sword, dismembering him “in accordance with the rule of harmony” (referring to the division into four bodies, natures, or elements). He takes the pieces of Zosimos to the altar, and “burned (them) upon the fire of the art, till I perceived by the transformation of the body that I had become spirit.” From there, Ion cries blood, and horribly melts into “the opposite of himself, into a mutilated anthroparion”

The tape edition of the demo is being released by a brand new banner: Akashic Envoy Records. What drew you to this label, and how have you found working with them so far?

– It’s been an absolute pleasure working with Akashic Envoy Records thus far, Clayton (Owner) is an incredibly knowledgeable and mindful individual and I strongly believe he deserves more gratitude and praise for his service to the underground metal community. I initially heard of Clayton via his work with Indy Metal and social media, when I found out about the conception of Akashic Envoy Records, I was very quick to introduce myself to this highly talented man.

And finally, the title refers to this being the first chapter – is this the initial release in a planned series of adulatory offerings?

– That’s correct, this is to be a collection of three offerings, all of which are to be in conjunction with prolific moments of spirituality and reason in my personal life and practice, simply letting this project develop its own sound and style along the journey.

Sincerest thanks for your time, Auri-El. Any final words you would like to leave us with?

– Thank you kindly for having me and thank you for your support, I’ve very much enjoyed answering your questions. The physical artefact of Chapter I: Devotion, Adoration, Invocation will be available for purchase early April to my knowledge; both on a standard cassette edition, as well as a special edition (strictly limited to 10 copies) which will include wormwood, witch hazel, brimstone, human teeth and a number of other herbs and powders, so stay tuned… Thrall awaits…

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Purchase Chapter I: Devotion, Adoration, Invocation at name-your-price download from Whore of Babylon‘s Bandcamp here, or order it on cassette from Akashic Envoy Records soon.

Support Whore of Babylon:

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Divine Visions – An Interview with DEVENEROR, plus: win a copy of ‘Kenoma’

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Theophany:
/θɪˈɒf(ə)ni/
noun
plural noun: theophanies

“a visible manifestation to humankind of God or a god.”

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Now, I don’t know about you but I’ve been absolutely flat-fucking-out here at BMD since 2019 kicked off; this year has been absolutely batshit mental and we’re barely one knuckle deep into the thing, really. This article was supposed to see daylight a short while ago, so to make up for that we’re running a neat competition alongside it (details at the end of the piece)… but first, which delightful hidden gem that was released back on the 5th of January via Breathe Plastic Records are we belatedly unearthing and speaking to the esteemed creators of today? That gem would be Kenoma, the debut album of swirling, coruscating dissonance from US duo Deveneror.

The product of the prodigiously effective union of MR on vocals and NK (aka Kveldulf Bjalfason of ÆRA) on everything else, this is a truly great debut album that’s been slipping under far too many radars. Where to start with describing it? I generally hate noting comparisons in reviews but there’s an unmistakeable DsO influence at play in their unorthodox assault; caught somewhere between a subtle melodic genius and malformed malodorous malevolence akin to the gravitational pull of a devouring black hole, the aura of the Frenchmen lingers throughout all of these compelling tracks and fans of the ‘spell will find themselves slavering.

Enough of that, however – this is no mere copy and easily stands strong on its own two feet. MR‘s vocal performance is on point, impassioned, resonant and snarling. NK plays like a demon possessed and with absolutely zero weak points in his attack. The riffing is inspired throughout, the basslines in the misshapen, sickening ending of ‘Pleroma’ for example are stunning and the percussion is possessed of a wonderfully nuanced feel when required, especially in quieter moments like the latter passage in ‘You For the Æons’. From a songwriting and compositional standpoint he absolutely annihilates it, too. There’s not one dud track on the album, all working well either on their own or as part of the grand conceptual whole. Sure, you can pick your favourites – ‘Icon for the Lost’ is a synapse-snapping cacophonic maelstrom that’s relentless in its ferocity before collapsing into a queasily malicious piano outro embossed with the delightful sound of flies feasting on a rotting carcass, whilst ‘Grave Tactics’ simply wants nothing more than to rend the heavens asunder – but you’ll remain captivated from beginning to end.

Sound good? Here’s the best part – none of that is actually what I feel is the most intriguing facet of the record. When they announced the release of Kenoma on their social media, this statement caught my eye:

“Kenoma is the direct result of transcribing the first two of a series of Theophanies, using visual, lyrical and musical resources to properly translate the metaphisical and philosophical elements of our Experiences into a cognoscible narration.”

Remember the definition of “theophany” way back at the top of this article? If what they said is true, then “on the fifth day of the second week of a past October” (as they also note) these men saw divine visions, possibly of God, and transposed these visions into the art we hear today. I had to know more and reached out to them to describe in greater detail these visions they saw, and how these experiences manifested:

NK – Since some time, I’ve been “stricken” by a number of metaphysical experiences. My interest in Theology and the occult started decades ago, but as a literary approach. Once these experiences started to happen, some of those texts started to make more sense. These epiphanies, over time, started to link to each other and two of these experiences were the basis for the album. The first one provided the spiritual input and the second one the interpretation of the previous one; in other words, the first one turned on the music and the second one became the basic lyric narrative.

More than the experience itself, what matters in terms of understanding the album is that the first theophany originated the music in automatic writing. The album was “written” or, better said, translated, in one exact week, one track per day. Once I got into my workplace, the music started to flow and I recorded all instruments for each song non stop. Every instrument was recorded in single takes with no addition in terms of recording or arranging, except bass that was intentionally written and recorded by me. It was the only instrument that was composed in a traditional way, but still each bassline was a single take, the rest were being written/translated as they were recorded.

Did the process affect him in any way, either negatively or positively?

NK – The process had, indeed, effects over me. The terror felt over the course of these experiences never left completely, up to this day and further theophanies emphasize the previous ones. This is why we also have another album recorded already.

While I was recording and translating them, my body and mind were weakening day by day. When I recorded the sixth track (now known as ‘Grave Tactics’), I had a high fever and nausea. In such state I recorded the last track the following day. After finishing the album I needed one full week to rest and recover.

What was the process then of translating these visions into what became Kenoma?

MR – The music of Kenoma was written and recorded very quickly, purely as a gut reaction to the visions rather than something academic or deliberate. After describing the visions he saw, NK took many of the themes and emotions from his visions and turned them into a loose narrative. The narrative follows a man who is torn from his faith by a theophany which mirrors NK’s visions. NK used the narrative to create the general subject of each song. I interpreted these concepts through my own perspectives to write the lyrics, which were largely inspired by the texts NK provided, a book called “House of Leaves”, and the recent suicide of a close friend.

Another interesting thing the album led me to research is the concept of “Kenoma”. I asked, in their own words: what is Kenoma and why did they select it to title the album?

NK – The title of the album was the last thing we did, although the concept is the most basic explanation of what the theophanies that inspired it is about.

According to the interpretation I did of the second theophany, the very basic narrative I discussed with MR was that the whole concept of what Christianity is based on is just a misunderstanding of the real intentions of God and Jesus and the roles of them and Satan into Mankind’s lives.

Jesus, being one of the three “parts” of God, descended to Earth not to sacrifice himself to wash away our sins, but he endured a process of transformation. This process was basically to relinquish his divinity, turning himself into his minimal possible form and be reborn as a renewed being, empowered by the myth of our salvation.

In the Bible and other Christian texts, the role that Satan and other “aberrations” describe is about teaching men to follow the true example of Christ: not to sacrifice for others, but to “empty oneself” to find our divine essence and grow, bloom and emerge as superior beings, capable to rival even God himself. This is the journey that the main character of Kenoma takes, until he finally rises at the end of the album. Let’s take Sodom and Gomorrah. Were those cities, instead just mindless perverse and blasphemous places, actual temples to understand and finally reach the most basic nature of men? Let’s think about Satan and God’s game regarding Job’s faith. Could have been an attempt from Satan to tear apart his mundane shackles and made him illuminated vs God’s imprisonment of men by faith? The examples of this are endless.

Endless indeed, which made me wonder: what will the subject of the next Deveneror works be? Would they continue to write about the visions?

MR – Our future music has been inspired by nightmares by NK. Lyrically, we are more interested in channeling the emotions felt in the wake of the visions, rather than creating and telling a specific story or concept. These emotions will likely be interpreted through my perspective. I am particularly interested in discussing the unjust oppression of minorities, the social isolation and personal darkness brought by Christianity, and the ridiculous rising perception of conservatism as a modern counter culture.

Well I, for one, cannot wait for more.

MR & NK – Thanks for the interest in our work.

Deveneror.

~

…Competition time. You’ve read the words, now own the tape… for free. That’s right, courtesy of the excellent Breathe Plastic Records we have one copy of Kenoma to give away and it could be yours, at zero cost to you. We’ll even post it to you. To be in the running to score this tape you simply have to do three things:

That’s it. The winner will be drawn in a few days from the shares on the Facebook post, so make sure you have your privacy set to public on the share or we won’t be able to see it. Hails.

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Purchase Kenoma digitally from the Deveneror Bandcamp here, or on limited cassette from Breathe Plastic Records here.

Support Deveneror:

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

Email: blackmetaldaily@outlook.com

Primordial Rage – An Interview with Thecodontion

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the structure of the cervical vertebrae

allowed lateral flexibility but restricted vertical

it swept its neck in long arcs at ground level

moderate blood pressure, radiating excess body heat

~

If you’ve noticed that I like to begin these interview pieces with a small, meaningful sample of lyrics from the artist we’re speaking to that day, then you might be slightly perplexed at the verse above. The heck? Is this a quote from a paleontology textbook or some shit? Not quite, my friends – it’s a sample of the scientifically-infused content churned out by Italian war metal duo Thecodontion, who not only utilise solely bass guitars in their stringed attack, but sing exclusively about prehistoric themes. Yep, a bass-only war metal act about dinosaurs… and they’re fucking great.

Eschewing any typical posturing for a more scientific approach, they’ve hit on a formula that’s far away from the novelty that may be suggested on paper. The visceral, groove-laden, maniacal rumble is one to be taken seriously; not least because it will rip off your fucking head and shit down your neck if you don’t, but also because the lyrics might actually teach you something. It’s surprising and oddly beautiful how well it all clicks together.

While debut EP Thecondontia certainly laid down the fossilized blueprint of their attack in astonishing form (check that out here if you haven’t already) the four short tracks of upcoming second EP Jurassic push their aggressive, ancient roar even further – and today we are exceptionally pleased to have both G.E.F. aka ‘Heliogabalus’ and G.D. aka ‘Stilgar’ here to tell us all about it. Have a read, listen to the embedded teaser track Barosaurus lentus (Sundance Sea Stratigraphy) for a taste of the carnage and grab one of the limited Jurassic 7″ that are now up for pre-order from Xenoglossy Productions, Wooaaargh and Glossolalia Records before they sell out and are consigned to history forever. Full EP unleashes March 22nd. Hails.

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Hails Thecodontion! I’ve just heard your second demo EP Jurassic, and holy hell is it fantastic. Violent and primordial, there’s nothing quite like it out there. How have you found the reception to it has been so far?

– [G.E.F. – vocals] Thank you Aaron, I’m really glad you like it! Yes, the EP is even more violent and primal compared to Thecodontia. Both works were recorded during the same sessions, but for this EP we used the fastest and most straightforward material we had. The reception has been quite good so far: Thecodontia sold out in a few months (some distros still carry some copies though), and the announcement for Jurassic was met with further positive response, especially abroad. We are quite satisfied with that thus far.

Your first demo Thecodontia was about Thecodonts – ancient crocodile-type beasts that pre-date dinosaurs as we know them. This time around you’ve selected four creatures from the Jurassic period (hence the title). You’ve previously stated in interviews that you’ll continue to write about various prehistoric creatures for each release, but what led you to select these four beasts and the Jurassic period in general? How do you select which creatures you will write about next?

– [G.D. – bass] A sense of chronological continuity, first of all. Thecodonts – or, more precisely, archosaurs, since “Thecodontia” is actually an obsolete term, but a cool sounding one – lived from the Upper Permian and went extinct in the Triassic, so I wanted to explore four creatures from the period that followed: Jurassic indeed.

I didn’t want to use well known Jurassic dinosaurs like Stegosaurus, Allosaurus or Apatosaurus as subjects, but rather some more obscure creatures. It’s way more fascinating that way, I think. The Breviparopus (track 4), for example, might have not actually existed. The only thing we know about it are its footprints.

I chose those four also because I wanted to separate side A and side B conceptually: the first is about two pterosaurs – flying reptiles and not actual dinosaurs – side B is about two lesser known sauropods – those giant herbivorous dinosaurs with long necks and tails.

Actually, I’m not going to always write about creatures, and the chronological concept won’t always stick around: in fact, our full length will be about supercontinents and superoceans, and we have a couple of tracks for split releases about creatures from the Triassic and Cretaceous periods. It just depends on whether there’s a creature/concept I really want to write about or a spare lyric I’d like to use.

I’m fascinated by the detailed content of your lyrics. You already deal with quite unusual topics for war metal, but you don’t even treat them in a typical “war metal” fashion – you literally delve into scientific terminology and in-depth descriptions of the subject matter of the track. How much of Thecodontion’s prehistoric themes do you have to research, or are you all just hugely knowledgeable history buffs / secret paleontologists?

– [G.D.] Writing “war metal lyrics about dinosaurs” would have turned us into a gimmicky comedy metal band, and we didn’t want that. I like when lyrics are vital part of a band and not just mere filler, so I tried to put scientific terminology into the verses. If we managed to raise interest in this subject it’d be really great, thus the lyrics can’t be just “dinosaurs are brutal” and such.

I don’t have a degree in paleontology, ancient history, or archaeology for that matter, but I’ve found prehistoric creatures fascinating since I was a kid, so I’ve read and watched tons of material about them.

I do have to do some research because I can’t remember all of the details and don’t want to write down bullshit. I’d have done that if I had a paleontology degree anyway, research is always important! And sometimes I like to write about a concept I’m still not familiar with. It’s inspiring in a way.

You also do something quite unique musically, in that you utilise three different bass guitars and a drummer… and that’s it. It sounds fucking great, I’ve never had such a good time as brutal grooves pulverize my cranium. I’m know you’ve been asked similar questions a hundred times, but please humor me a moment for those previously unaware – what inspired you to only stick to the low end attack of bass? Is this rumbling carnage the audio equivalent of how you imagine prehistoric life to be?

– [G.D.] Yes, one reason is exactly that: low, distorted frequencies give that raw, prehistoric vibe, but it was also a sort of necessity since I suck at guitar and don’t have the proper equipment for that. We didn’t want to water down our vision, so we preferred remaining a two-piece for songwriting, recording and lyrics.

The cover art appears to be a fossil and was created by a certain Giulia Ajmone-Cat. It’s great, you really couldn’t get a more perfect match for the EP. Could you tell us a little about it, such as which ancient animal it depicts?

– [G.D.] Giulia is a dear friend and an amazingly talented artist. She did the artwork for both the demo and the EP. Check out her work on Instagram (@mud_enthusiast). It depicts a fossil of Rhamphorhynchus muensteri – a pterosaur – the second song of the EP is about it.

Its distinctive feature is the tail. It looks like a demon’s tail, and it used that as a helm to keep balance while flying.

The base for the artwork was actually a real fossil of a Pterodactyl antiquus that can be found at Museo Capellini in Bologna, Giulia changed things a bit and turned it into a different animal!

The release has some great label backing: Wooaaargh is taking care of Germany, Xenoglossy Productions in Italy and Glossolalia Records is covering USA. How did this come about, and have you enjoyed working with these three great labels?

– [G.E.F.] Wooaaargh has released material from Italian bands we appreciate, like our buddies Seventh Genocide and other acts like Viscera///, so we knew about them already. They then proposed we look for two other labels to co-release Jurassic. Xenoglossy Productions is the label I run together with G.D., so we decided to participate in the co-release to also have more copies for ourselves. The third label involved is Glossolalia Records, run by our dear friend Kenneth Parker, who is also our bandmate in Batrakos. He’s been enthusiastic about this project from the beginning and we’re thankful for that. With this three-way collaboration we managed to reach our goal: we really wanted to release a 7″ EP. Moreover, the physical copies turned out to be of really high quality.

Returning to inspirations for a second – you really are helping to push war metal into hitherto unseen places (who knew dinosaurs would be the perfect fit?) whilst skillfully avoiding falling into the possible trap of being viewed as a novelty act to boot. I feel you’re proving that people don’t always have to write about the same old shit, as good as that same old shit may be. Do you feel the genre is stagnating at all and would benefit from some more adventurous creativity rather than cranking out the usual tropes, or is that blasphemy (pardon the pun)? How far left of field do you think it could go and still be taken seriously?

– [G.E.F.] This is a really interesting question. Actually, I’ve always been interested in unusual themes and concepts, but the most important thing is to remain coherent with the genre you’re playing. For example, we play together in another band where we use a similar approach: Framheim. It’s atmospheric black metal about polar expeditions. Our approach with prehistory has always been natural and not just a gimmick. I had the idea of adapting extreme metal without guitars to an ancestral, primal and prehistoric imagery from the start. I don’t think there’s a better theme for the music we play, and I find it to be more fitting compared to other “clichés” like Satanism, blasphemy, or warfare. Besides, we’re not even the first band to have a similar imagery. Antediluvian sometimes use prehistory as a concept, and they’re one of our main influences.

Overall, I think creativity is always important. Genres and subgenres are undergoing constant evolution, and there’s nothing wrong in using well-established themes, but sometimes someone is always going to try adding something to the history of the genre. I think it would be quite hard to predict how could the spectrum of themes in war metal or black/death metal will evolve in the future. In my opinion, it’s of the utmost importance to believe in what you do, no matter what kind of artistic or musical approach you have: if you don’t do that yourself, others will never believe you.

I believe as of late last year you have also taken Thecodontion to a live setting and begun playing shows! I’d imagine they’ve been going down a treat – have people been enjoying your prehistoric assault?

– [G.E.F.] Yes, we had our debut in December at a gig in Rome together with Bedsore, Sepolcro and Verano’s Dogs. Among the attendants there was Metal Carter, a well known rapper from Rome who played drums in a death metal band in his youth and has always been close to the metal scene: it was a really nice surprise! The response has been great thus far: our style is quite weird, but that’s exactly why people are always curious about us at shows. I’ve seen people having fun at every gig and it’s really satisfying for us. We hope to play other high-level shows with bands we like soon. We’d also like to play some shows abroad. Hopefully that will happen soon as well.

And finally – after two EP length releases, what comes next? Will be ever see a longer form version of Thecodontion, a full-length album perhaps?

– [G.D.] Yes, our next release is going to be a full-length album. We’re recording it this Spring/Summer. It’s a concept album about supercontinents and superoceans. The songs are way longer, more complex, and darker now.

Thanks for your time guys! I’ve really enjoyed the EP and look forward to more from you. Any final words for us all?

– [G.E.F.] Thanks to you Aaron. It’s been a real pleasure for us! I hope fans will appreciate our new EP Jurassic. You can pre-order it on our Bandcamp page or from the labels involved in releasing it. In the meantime, you can follow us on our social media pages: we are on Facebook, Instagram and Bandcamp. NO GUITARS – ONLY DEATH.

~

Purchase Jurassic digitally or on 7″ vinyl from the Thecodontion Bandcamp here, from Wooaaargh here, Xenoglossy Productions here, or Glossolalia Records here.

Support Thecodontion:

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

Email: blackmetaldaily@outlook.com

Apocalypticism, or: A Tenebris Ad Lucem – An Interview with GRAFVITNIR

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Let justice flow like a river

and blood like a never-ending stream

Streams of consciousness from worlds afar

burning holes in this cosmic dream

~

The Swedish occult black metal constellation of Grafvitnir is one of those projects intrinsic to the existence of black metal in general. They sum up the very essence of it, every release surging with the mystical power of forces unseen and calling to things beyond sight and comprehension; a grand maelstrom of hate, worship, violence and hyper-melodic intensity honed to the point where it could slice a hole in the fabric of existence itself. I’ve followed the path the mysterious triumvirate of Niantiel, Tishin and Modrius have carved out for a while now and await each new opus they bestow upon this miserable earth with extreme interest, as in my humblest of opinions they just keep getting better – a pattern that only becomes stronger with the recent release of sixth album Venenum Scorpionis.

Unleashed a few weeks ago on the 22nd Feb through Carnal Records, Venenum Scorpionis sets free the astral scorpions of the Netherworld to wreak destruction upon the cosmos – it’s so fucking good I simply had to reach out to the band, who were happy to chat and provide some fascinating information about the album and more. So read on, listen deeply, pick yourself up a copy now… and unleash the primordial fires within.

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Greetings, Grafvitnir. Thanks for speaking with us today. Your latest album Venenum Scorpionis was just unleashed on Feb 22nd, and in keeping with your incredibly consistent track record – it is excellent. The latin title translates literally to “Venom of the Scorpion” which aptly sums up this lethal, virulent and violent beast… in hindsight, are you pleased with the album and how it has been received? How do you personally feel it stacks up against your previous works?

– Greetings! Yes, we are more satisfied with this album than the previous ones actually. This one was actually already recorded early 2017, before our previous album Keys to the Mysteries Beyond. For some reasons we decided to release that album before this one, mostly because we thought the artwork we had at that time was more suitable for the music on Keys…

Speaking of consistency, you seem to release an album every year almost on the dot, and usually in December. Venenum Scorpionis is perhaps the first album to break that pattern, having been released a couple of months later than usual in February – was there a hold up? Were you originally intending to release the album in December, and if so and past release schedules have not been mere coincidence, what is the significance of that month?

– To be honest, of course the first album’s release on Winter Solstice was intentional, but for some mysterious reason that pattern has been followed by all our releases after that.

We intentionally did NOT want Venenum Scorpionis released in December so we delayed it purposely to break the spell. We also noticed that many bands wanted to release their albums in 2018 for numerological reasons, so we just took a pause and looked for some suitable date for the release in 2019 instead, and are quite happy we did.

The significance of Winter Solstice is of course that this is one of four times a year when the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest, and the Spirits of the Dead and ancestral Shades communicate with ease to the mortals.

You are one of the few acts around for whom black metal has never been just about the musical aspects. Every album is deep and almost like a summoning of certain forces, and Venenum Scorpionis continues this – it feels like a conduit or portal, facilitating the entry of “other” energies into the cosmos. Is this what you are trying to achieve with your art?

-Thanks for your appreciation and your recognition.

Indeed we are trying to spread the light of the true Divine in this World of demiurgic darkness, and we are of course extremely thankful if you are of the opinion that we somehow are succeeding in doing so. Thank you!

It seems that for this album you have polished the production ever so slightly; everything sounds more vivid, more intense, and the increased clarity makes the songs hit harder than ever. Was this intentional? Did you do anything else differently during the creative process this time around?

– Thanks again! Yes, actually we changed the guitar sound and cut some “ugly” frequencies to get this album slightly more listenable. This was something we came up with during the recording process, but it’s not like we changed our soundscapes dramatically, but I agree with you and are thankful for your recognition (yet once again).

The cover image is stunning; once again you have worked with Daniele Valeriani, who was also responsible for the cover of your last album Keys To The Mysteries Beyond, and both are fantastic. How closely do you work with him to achieve the desired result, and what does this cover symbolize in relation to the themes of the album?

– We do not interfere with his work in any way, but we have close contact and friendship, and our cooperation runs ever so smoothly. He knows our preferences extremely well, and the very moment we saw the first draft of what was to become the cover artwork of Keys to the Mysteries Beyond, we instantly knew that his artwork would fit the album as a golden crown upon the scaly head of the primordial Serpent.

Continuing with the theme of repeating occurences, Venenum Scorpionis flies under the banner of Carnal Records, like its predecessor Keys… and your earlier work Semen Serpentis. They are a great label, but what draws you to keep continuing your partnership with them?

-Carnal Records is simply the best and most professional label we have ever been in contact with, both concerning our personal communication with its owner Björn and his respect for our art and everything else, be it distribution, promotion or whatever. We have not the same elevating words to say about some of our former co-workers unfortunately, with people running labels because of self-promotion or greed, so this is truly a blessing!

On this record the lyrics are all in English, bar ‘Ormeld‘, which is performed in Swedish. Is there any special significance to this track being orated in your native tongue?

-No, definitely not. On the contrary, we are often asked by our countrymen to sing in our native tongue as it seems to fill them with elation, but the lyrics just come to me like gifts from afar, and thus far, most of these muses of inspiration have been English speaking ones obviously.

You also once more have contributions from Chadwick St. John on the album, who laid down some synthwork on Keys… and created the cover art for Obeisance To A Witch Moon. Coincidentally, I recently spoke to Werian who had nothing but the highest of praise for Chadwick (aka Inkshadows) – he is a very talented individual. What was his input into the record this time around?

– Our very good friend and comrade Chadwick did us the honour and composed the title track for the album. We are also great admirers of his art and hold him extremely high. The man is a genius indeed, and a very good friend.

You seem to play arguably the purest distillation of Swedish black metal in its most vicious form – although I recall reading once that you do not keep up with any of the black metal from your country, or even modern black metal in general. Does this still stand, do you consciously avoid modern black metal? If so, why?

We mostly listen to old favorites. Of course I can appreciate newer black metal bands from time to time, but our source of inspiration music-wise (if any) exclusively derives from the first and second wave, and we are simply not very big fans of modern “black metal” celebrities waving their tails like dogs for the establishment, swearing allegiance to certain forces the originators of the (real) black metal scene swore to fight to the Death against and recognized as their deadly foes.

In ‘Throne of Blackened Domains (and elsewhere on the album) you briefly speak of “a world in turmoil, on the brink” of “apocalypse”; you also mention the gods/great dragon returning to usher in a new age, in Ragnarök or the coming of Azerate to return the earth to Chaos. You also allude that this would be justified (which I’m personally in agreement with). I’m particularly interested in this and how you view the world in general: in your opinion, is the world truly about to collapse? Why do you feel this is so?

– Good question!

Yes, indeed, I certainly believe this illusional World of imprisonment of the mind and flesh to be on the brink of total collapse. Apocalypse (Ancient Greek: ἀποκάλυψις apokálypsis, from ἀπό and καλύπτω) literally means “an uncovering” or a disclosure or REVELATION of veiled and/or lost knowledge. In religious and occult concepts an apocalypse usually discloses something hidden and concealed. I can seriously not wait to see this World go down in (Luciferian) flames and joyfully listen to the panic filled screams of the preservers and upholders of this spiritual prison.

Ad Finem – Moti Ragnarokum!

Following on from that: the aforementioned track (and indeed the rest of the album) also mentions finding esoteric knowledge or realms, and it has been well documented that you deal exclusively in themes of occultism / chaosophy / theistic satanism due to your beliefs and traditions. So let me put this to you, if I may: somebody has heard your albums, read your lyrics and feels the power seething in your work – and now they want to know more about the things of which you sing. I know this is usually quite a personal thing, but what advice would you have for someone who is interested in starting along this path and finding this knowledge?

– Well, what can I say? Books can serve as inspiration by all means, but the true answers are within yourself and in the cracks and crevices to the Otherworld, everywhere to be found. The genuine occultist and practitioner of the dark arts always ends up a hermit and an isolationist – there are few (if any) exceptions to that rule!

The true revelations are to be found in the wilderness, both within and without, but far away from sweaty and drunken metalheads and braindead and pretentious “rockstars”. Listen not to false preachers and pretenders, as these are not what they claim to be. Judge people by their actions and not by their (empty) words, often uttered to provoke or to appear as edgy. Lucifer is the Light of this World and has nothing to do with demiurgic darkness and filth.

A Tenebris Ad Lucem.

One final question. Given that you have proven yourselves to be quite reliably prolific, have you started composing for the next Grafvitnir album yet? Any hints as to what we can expect? Aside from another supreme slab of glistening black majesty, of course.

– Actually, we have not composed a single song since 2017. We have some songs recorded years ago meant for compilations of different sorts, but we do not have the next album planned at this very moment to answer your question properly.

Sincerest thanks for your time, it was an honour to speak with you. Any final words for us all?

– Thank you for the interview and all the best into the future! Good luck with Black Metal Daily! To the Death’s head true!

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Venenum Scorpionis is available now through Carnal Records. Hails.

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Purchase Venenum Scorpionis on digital and CD from the Grafvitnir Bandcamp here, or on CD via email from Carnal Records at carnalrecords@hotmail.com

Support Grafvitnir:

~

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

Email: blackmetaldaily@outlook.com

TRACK PREMIERE – Dwarrowdelf’s ‘The Line of Thrór’

Indulge me for a moment, dear readers, for I must tell a tale. When I first was given the opportunity to listen through the upcoming Dwarrowdelf album Of Dying Lights I was exhausted after a particularly trying day, but I simply had to listen. Previous album The Sons Of Fëanor was one of my low-key favourite albums of last year (and epic black usually doesn’t float my boat, so that’s quite the feat) so there was no way I was putting this one off – I started my first playthrough before bed. Naturally, as one is oft to do when extremely tired and safely ensconced amidst downy blankets and soft pillows, I fell asleep.

Now, I always sleep with music on. Every single night and usually the more intensely hyperblasting/drone/trance-like the better. This time, however; something happened that has never, to the best of my memory, happened before.

The music from this album infiltrated my dream. Nay, not infiltrated, as that’s not entirely unusual – it became my dream. As I slumbered I was transported to a realm within the sound, surrounded by these unbelievably stunning melodies, completely entranced as the energy of the audio filled my entire being. It felt like I had by chance discovered the ultimate music, or the perfect song; every note so precisely selected and placed it created an overwhelming, magical sensation. I remember being in tears, a flood of endorphins exploding in my mind simply from experiencing its simple sequence of immaculate notes – total rapture.

Crazy dream, right? Well, imagine my surprise when after waking and dismissing it as the fanciful exaggerations of a consciousness at rest in the arms of Morpheus, I later threw Of Dying Lights on in the car for a second attempt – and the exact melodies and songs that so entranced and intoxicated me in my dreams began to caress my ears. Let me tell you: I almost crashed the fucking car.

It’s always wonderful to experience a project develop from the first demo stages into the more fully realised vision of the artist. It’s even better when the artist happens to be nice guy like Tom O’Dell, and what he has achieved on only the third Dwarrowdelf offering makes me genuinely happy to see and is nothing short of amazing. If his first two releases were finding his sound and perfecting his formula, Of Dying Lights sounds like he is perilously close to achieving his final, ultimate form – everything is more confident, and from the refined songwriting to the fact that he’s made the decision to sing almost entirely in cleans, the aura emitted is one of total control and command over his talents. When opening track ‘Arien‘ kicks into its superb galloping midsection the hairs stand up on the back of your neck, and that is by no means the only time that’ll happen throughout the journey – the album is overflowing with moments that will at least make you sit up and take notice, and at best leave you breathless. This isn’t just another solid improvement, it’s Dwarrowdelf on the verge of becoming completely world class.

But you don’t have to take my word for it – not only are we premiering the second advance track from the album here today in ‘The Line of Thrór‘ (ahead of the full release on March 30th through the twin excellencies of Flowing Downward and Fólkvangr Records), but our favourite Tolkien fan Tom himself is back to have a chat with us about all things Of Dying Lights. So listen, read, and get ready for another thrilling journey deeper into the ever-expanding lore of Dwarrowdelf.

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Hello again Tom! It’s an absolute pleasure to have you back; I hope this day finds you well.

As we spoke about last time, the theme of the first Dwarrowdelf EP was Dwarves, the debut full-length centered on Elves… this time you’ve stated that your superb new album Of Dying Lights “loosely revolves around themes of light and darkness in Middle Earth”. Does this mean there’s no overarching concept? What sort of tales are touched upon this time?

– Hi Aaron, great to be back! Thanks for having me again, I’ll try not to waffle on for too long… Thematically this album is really just a bit of a variety, to be honest. ‘Where Daylight Dies’ and ‘The Line of Thrór’ are almost a two-part tale of the Dwarves and their expulsion from Erebor, but the others are all standalone. ‘Arien’ is about the sun rising and symbolically representing the Age of Men, ‘Minas Anor’ is almost about the sun “setting” on Gondor, and then ‘The Withering Woods’ is about the plight of the Ents. The Sons of Fëanor was obviously very story driven, whereas this time I decided to just let the lyrics be more thematic and add more to the overall atmosphere than push a narrative.

One of the biggest changes that’s immediately apparent is your vocals – you’ve ‘done an Akerfeldt’ and ditched the growl! In my opinion it sounds fantastic and works exceptionally well with the new material, but what led to the decision to sing almost entirely in cleans for this album – and even get Jack Reynolds (of Asira and Bykürius) in to perform some harsh vox instead of yourself?

– I think I may have mentioned last time how harsh vocals have always been something I’ve done out of necessity; whilst I love listening to them, I’ve never particularly enjoyed doing them! Maybe that’s the classical singer in me… The music I’ve made as Dwarrowdelf has always been intended to be a soundtrack of sorts, and it became apparent quite early on in the writing for this album that I wanted the vocals to be smooth and melodic. Couple that with the fact that most of the reviews of the last album seemed to focus on the singing as a strength, and my mind was all made up!

That’s not to say that Dwarrowdelf will be a totally harsh vocal free zone from now on; the Bathory cover I’ve done for the upcoming Fólkvangr Records compilation album has plenty of them. Being a cover, the last track, needed harsh vocals, and Jack’s been a firm supporter of the project from day one (not to mention awesome vocalist), so I sent him the instrumental to see if he’d be interested. The semi-clean ridiculous/brilliant glam scream before the final chorus was entirely his idea and all blame can be directed squarely at his feet.

The album contains some material written before The Sons of Feanor yet somehow seems like an even larger step up than its predecessor did; it now almost feels like Dwarrowdelf has evolved into its epic final form. In our last chat you sounded like you were already well into the planning stages for this album whilst polishing off the first one – did you purposefully hold that material back for Of Dying Lights, or was it just excess goodness that happened to work well here?

– I think maybe ‘The Withering Woods’ was half written before Sons came out, as well as a song that featured bits of ‘The Line of Thrór’ in a different arrangement. I spent a lot of time honing everything to ensure it all worked; disciplined self editing is an essential task in a solo project, no matter how painful it is. That being said, I really didn’t expect it to come together so quickly! I fully intended to spend a while slowly perfecting the songs, but luckily things just clicked into place.

I absolutely feel like this is a major step forward for the project. In hindsight, Sons relied a little too heavily on Summoning-worship, especially in the first few tracks; these songs feel like I’ve blended my influences in a more unique manner to create a distinct niche in the epic/atmospheric metal pantheon. The all-clean vocals approach probably helps with creating that distinction to be fair! I’ve updated the Dwarrowdelf playlist I curate on Spotify to reflect the different influences that went into this one; hopefully there’s a few surprises on there for people!

I have to say, that cover art is spectacular. You’ve utilized the considerable skills of Jordan Grimmer Art again and it’s almost unbelievable how perfectly emblematic it is of the music itself; before you even hear a note you’re already being helplessly drawn in to the atmosphere of the record. Had he heard the album before creating the piece?

– He hadn’t actually, although maybe I should offer… although I have no idea if he’s into metal! Jordan’s an awesome artist to work with; he’s great at really talking through the designs in detail so that everyone’s on the same page, and absolutely took my vision on board. We discussed how great the play between light and dark is in the imagery of Balin’s Tomb in The Fellowship of the Ring, especially considering the lyrical themes of the album. He then went above and beyond with the details, adding elements of the land of the dead, and his own little details… as you say, it absolutely draws you into the atmosphere of the record!

It turns out Of Dying Lights has a heavy Sojourner connection – the talented Mike Lamb produced the album and Chloe Bray contributes some beautiful guest vocals to the stunning Where Daylight Dies (one of my personal album highlights). How did these collaborations come about, and what was it like to work with them?

– Mike’s a good friend, and he’s always been super supportive with offering advice for Dwarrowdelf. When he started up his studio (Onieros Studio), I asked if he’d be interested in mixing this album for me, and he jumped on the opportunity! He really understood the vision I was working towards, and was so instrumental in shaping the details of the production… with the amount of layers going on, there was a lot to discuss!

The part in ‘Where Daylight Dies’ where Chloe sings was originally a deep bassy chant, but it just didn’t fit with the ethereal nature of the section. I think Mike suggested Chloe, and I certainly didn’t take much convincing. She rewrote the vocal part, adding some mystical harmonies that I absolutely love! I can’t thank the both of them enough for the support and work they’ve put in, the album wouldn’t be the same without them… I definitely owe them both a drink or three when Sojourner play near me later this year!

Continuing the Sojourner love-in, the album closes with a cover of not one, but two songs rolled into a single composition: Sojourner’s ‘Homeward’ and Summoning’s ‘Land Of The Dead’, seamlessly blended to create the epic journey of ‘Home Of The Dead’. That’s something you don’t see too often; what was your inspiration for this grand alchemy and how did you go about pulling it off?

– Believe it or not, this actually started as a joke… However, after messing about and roughly throwing the two together, I realised that it could actually be an awesome closing track for the album. The two tracks fit together creepily well, albeit with a few note changes here and there, so most of it was quite easy to combine. It was then just a case of figuring out which vocals to put where, and adding little details – I also slipped in a little trill from ‘The Shadowed Road’, but I won’t say where! I’m really hoping people like this one, it’s certainly a different approach to a standard cover and I’m so pleased with how it turned out; Jack’s vocal performance absolutely makes it.

The great Fólkvangr Records is once again handling the tape edition, but this time you’ve also teamed up with Flowing Downward for a digipack CD and shirt release. Given that Flowing Downward is the sub-label of the legendary Avantgarde Music I’d imagine you’d be quite pleased with that! I’m also hoping for a vinyl edition… is there any news on that front?

– I was planning on sending the album to Avantgarde once it was finished, but Andrea from Flowing Downward got in touch about halfway through the mixing phase, asking if I’d be interested in working together! I’d heard great things about the label, and really love some of the releases they’ve been putting out (Abstract Void being a personal highlight; synthwave and black metal have no business working that well together!). Flowing Downward have been great to work with, and I’m confident that it’s only the beginning of a great working relationship!

I hope there’ll be vinyl too – it all depends on how the CD and shirt sales go I believe, so you should all buy many, many copies for you and all your friends.

And finally – we’re premiering the second preview song from the album here today, ‘The Line of Thrór’… tell us a little about this particular track, if you would!

– This is one of my favourites on the album; it was originally a lot slower, but I figured that most of the songs were quite slow and atmospheric. After a major Wintersun binge, I upped the BPM and really brought out the melodeath influences to create a nice change of pace. As mentioned, it goes hand in hand with ‘Where Daylight Dies’ as a story of Dwarven misfortune, although this one is more of a triumphant march!

Sincerest thanks once again for your time, Tom; Of Dying Lights is an absolute triumph. Any final words you’d like to leave us with?

– Thanks again for having me, it’s always a pleasure; your questions always get me talking for ages in the best way! I’m really glad you like the album, and I hope everyone enjoys the new song. Stay tuned for the full release on March 30th!

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Pre-order Of Dying Lights digitally or on CD from the Dwarrowdelf Bandcamp here, on CD from Flowing Downward here, or on cassette from Fólkvangr Records here.

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