Unsettling Vibrations – An Interview with ‘N’ of Unpleasant Records

UNPLEASANT: /ʌnˈplɛz(ə)nt/

(adjective)

causing discomfort, unhappiness, or revulsion; disagreeable.

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Continuing the theme of great underground labels in this run of BMD Label Spotlights, today we have an excellent newcomer that deserves your unwavering attention: the Chilean Unpleasant Records. Only active for a year thus far, the label does exactly what a good label should – dig up the best artists from deep in the caverns of musical obscurity (some of these artists have no social media pages or much online presence at all) and drag them into the sunlight for the world to appreciate.

It’s also run by none other than the enigmatic N from Chilean/Venezuelan black masters Selbst, who took the time to sit down with us and chat about all things Unpleasant. But before we get to that, let’s have a quick look at the label’s first triptych of killer cassette releases:

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First, FOSA. Demo MMXVI was originally recorded in 2016 and this nihilistic carnage definitely deserved a revisit. Punishing, relentless crusty black fury with crushing tones meets a deep, deceptive melodicism and even a sliver of slithering dissonance and black noise; all capped off with hellish, proselytizing vocals and riffs that could crack open the earth, this celebration of all things negative is a winner from start to finish. Seriously, every track is incredible and the raw power in their sound is immense. I really fucking love this demo, and I’m shattered that by the time I discovered Unpleasant Records I’d already missed this tape. Jump on this at name-your-price download… while crossing your fingers for a repress. Oh, and it’s their only release of their four year existence, too. Perhaps it’s time for a full-length?

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I did, however, manage to grab a tape copy of both of these next two releases, the first of which is Nox Desperatio‘s austere debut album Anima Veritas Vita Morte. This duo summon raw, enflamed black metal done the old way, emanating esotericism and hatred from the shadows to drain you of all life. Some welcome depressive elements pop up here and there but overall this is nothing but old-school obscurity with no frills and no fucking about; just the way it should be. Name-your-price download and tapes are still available. Prepare thyself, for darkness and despair falleth over the Earth.

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And finally, Moriturio‘s Luminatione Exaltat Serpens – nothing but pure black metal. The songwriting shines through on this one, dark tension and ancient glory oozing from the tremolo-heavy compositions while the vocalist shrieks like a creature of the night. As N says below, these few tracks comprise all of their recorded material and might very well be their swansong; which, if true, is a crying shame as the atmosphere and energy they summon is something special. Raise your claws to the moon, grab a free download and/or buy a tape of this now before they all sell out – then read on below for our chat with main man N.

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Greetings N! It’s great to speak with you today. Some people may know you from Venezuelan/Chilean project Selbst, but you also run a label, Unpleasant Records! So, let’s start with the intent behind the label. If Unpleasant Records had a mission statement, what would it be?

N: The one of giving to know dark and terrible gems. Unpleasant, for the majority. Of black metal and related music in general, that only those who are prepared to receive in their hearts would listen and comprehend properly…

Hails. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the label has been active for about a year now; what made you finally decide to start it up?

N: For a long time I wanted to start in this, nothing ambitious but dedicated! I wanted to give an opportunity to bands that were looking to start and acquire a physical release to begin showing their work and to give them some support.

Especially thinking about good bands from my country, Venezuela (which are really, really few).

Well, I know one great band from Venezuela. As mentioned, you’re also a member of Selbst and I’m sure have many, many other things that also keep you busy. How do you find balance between your art, life and your label?

N: Sometimes I can hardly find a balance, I am a natural procrastinator… but beyond this, I am someone very null, a normal work-home-etc guy. I’m not into partying a lot, I’m a bit bitter in that aspect. This year I had another issue that I also had secretly between my eyes and for a long time, and that is playing live with SELBST. About that, it has been a bit year moved.

Unpleasant Records’ first three releases are: Fosa’s Demo MMXVI, Nox Desperatio’s Anima Veritas Vita Morte, and Luminatione Exaltat Serpens by Moriturio. Can you tell us a little of your personal feelings about each one?

N: Let’s see…

FOSA was a revelation for me. I loved their demo and their 100% nihilistic and anti-showbiz-egocentric attitude (a rare occurrence in the Chilean scene). They go against everything and everyone. It is a band with true attitude, created by true nihilists and fucked-up people. For me it was an honor to give them this little support. Besides, their songs were sung in SPANISH!!!

NOX DESPERATIO is very important for me because they are from Venezuela. Anima Veritas Vita Morte is a work with composition quality, totally sung in Spanish as well, and done in a masterly way! This is always a difficult language to work with for metal music, especially in black metal, but it seems that it flows naturally. Also, the people involved in this project are super talented and dedicated to black metal. They have sacrificed a lot, and still do, even with all the crap situation that my country is currently experiencing. That is not a little amount.

Finally, MORITURIO is one of my favourite and best-achieved black metal acts from my country. Unfortunately, they don’t have a wide or constant discography; this work feels like a goodbye (maybe?) for a great project that many people out there should know. Also sung in Spanish, although inspired in my opinion by the typical black metal like Sargeist, etc. it has an original and frightening touch. Catchy and deeply, extremely atmospheric riffs.

I hope to get more works like those in the future!

So far, you have released all three of those albums on cassette. What is the appeal of this format to you? Is this your preferred listening format, and do you have any plans to branch out into vinyl or CD for future releases?

N: I would LOVE to release vinyl formats in the future. But I’m working with cassette tapes now for several reasons. On one hand for a matter of costs, it’s much easier to start up. Also because it is a format I like; it is small, and it facilitates storage and shipping.

I like to buy cassette releases from bands and labels. Like vinyl, it has that classic touch that the CD does not have, and much less a digital download…

I agree, analog for life. Also of note: all three albums have been pressed in limitations of 50. Are you open to the idea of represses, or is it going to be a one-time-only sort of deal? What do you think about each option, which appeals to you more?

N: Of course, I’m totally open to reissues, but as you can notice, I am a normal person who wanted to start a independent small label with short editions. It was like a experiment. Therefore, if everything goes well, I could make more copies if necessary. One learns on the fly…

You should reissue FOSA so I can order a tape, haha. Anyway I hope it goes well – the releases are amazing. Some labels end up with quite an eclectic roster releasing a variety of genres, will Unpleasant Records take this path? How do you decide which bands or artists to release on the label?

N: I would like to, as long as it’s something unpleasant! Haha. The truth is I have little time and, mainly, I release projects of people more or less close to whom I want to support.

Especially, as mentioned before, bands from my country with a brutal sound, that touch my fibers, will have an advantage for me.

Is it only yourself that runs the label at the moment? If so, would you ever take on any help?

N: I took this decision on a personal basis, so I prefer to work and keep it like this. Even when some extra monetary help is always welcome, I prefer to take longer and do it on my own, to be able to work freely in any way I want, without waiting for second opinions from anyone!

The best way. Something that I guess many readers will want to know: Are you accepting demos?

N: Yes, although I have already planned the next releases for 2019. But you know, even so, my humble door is open for any not-shitty proposal!

Be prepared for an influx of shitty demos, haha. Now, I notice Unpleasant Records also acts as a distro. Are you open to trades with other labels?

N: Trades are, definitely, an important part in the underground! It helps the band, it helps the label, and even helps with promotion I think. You will not always get something good, but it will help you to promote unknown bands and keep the interest of potential buyers alive in the material that you bring constantly to your distro. Apart from strengthening ties and making contacts or some shit like that.

Given that the label is fairly new, you might be in a good position to answer this, as I’m sure you’ve come across at least a few problems: Do you have any advice for those aspiring to start their own label?

N: I can only say that if you want to make a living from this, you better get away. This is something that is done for the sake of Art. With passion and dedication. You can always recover, in some way, what you invest; but it is not likely to make you a millionaire haha.

Simply do it! And convince yourself to not worry about money. If you find music created with the soul, with approach, then support it and work hard in the promotion of it and it will find, for sure, a place in this world’s shitty metal scene with a lot of fucking bands coming out every day. That’s very important!

And finally – Everything you’ve released so far is superb. Can you drop us a hint of any future black gold you have lined up?

N: I can tell you now that I am working on a tape reissue of the second album of the Chileans ANIMUS MORTIS, and the second full-length of NOX DESPERATIO!

Two impeccable works!!!

Nice. Okay, I lied about that being the last question. While I’ve got you here, I’m going to sneak in a quick one regarding Selbst, as I fucking love Selbst: You’ve just released Secular Compendium – a remastered compilation of your demo and splits, which is excellent but serves to whet the appetite for more. So… any news on a new release?

N: For the moment I can only say I’m working on the next full album. But like the first one, I’ll take it easy, I want something worthy of showing!

But before that, next year will see to light the vinyl edition of my beloved “SELBST”! And more live performances as well…

Excellent, I can’t fucking wait. Sincerest thanks for your time, N. Any final words?

N: Many thanks to you for your interest in UNPLEASANT RECORDS and SELBST!

And don’t forget folks, “Without drugs, life would be a mistake”… Or was it music?

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Support Unpleasant Records:

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Hope and Permanence – An Interview with Unreqvited

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By Myrdin Cerphas

Anyone who has been following Unreqvited’s unique journey through melancholy, glittering atmosphere and intriguing contrasts through previous releases such as Disquiet and Stars Wept to the Sea will listen to his latest album Mosaic I: l’amour et l’ardeur and find a more mature and grown-up take on depressive black / post-rock and orchestral music. It soars and grants the listener with a deep feeling of hope and longing, warmth and gentle caresses. The orchestral arrangements alone are composed with wonderment and awe. I really feel as if (as he is known) has really created a modern masterpiece not too dissimilar to traditional composers. Mosaic I: l’amour et l’ardeur is the first installment in a two part series. I had a few questions for Canada’s own, so let us see what he had to say about everything.

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First and foremost I would like to tell you how much of an honor it is to be interviewing you and how much i enjoyed the dreamscape that is Mosaic I: l’amour et l’ardeur. It has a deep sense of romanticism to it. To start with I’m going to ask one important thing: Your name is a kanji symbol that means ‘ghost’, if I am not mistaken. What does this name represent or mean to you?

– Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it. The anonymity is something that was inspired by tons of other one-man black metal bands. It adds a shroud of mystery around the music and the person/character creating it that I always found alluring. I chose kanji because of my interest in Japanese culture, and I chose the ghost kanji specifically because it just seemed to work with the atmosphere of the music. It’s very ethereal and otherworldly, like the character that creates it.

What inspired you to write this album, and what general emotion were you trying to convey in its sound?

Mosaic is split up into two parts. Mosaic I is inspired by all of the positive emotions I felt over the past year, like joy, love, warmth, etc. The album maintains this atmosphere up until the second half of the final track, “permanence”. The second half of this song foreshadows the sound of Mosaic II, which will completely oppose the vibe of Mosaic I. Both records were written together, so whether I was feeling positive or negative emotions would determine which album I would work on.

I have noticed that in your music synths, piano and a general passion for what some could call score is prevalent. Have the classical arts always been an interest for you? If so, when did it start?

– I got heavily into neo-classical music and film scores at a young age, so that sound has always been prevalent in all of the music I write. I always want the music I write to sound as layered and full as possible, so there’s usually quite a lot going on arrangement-wise.

With black metal as a genre taking many forms and sub genres in recent years, what does black metal mean to you, and how do you feel Unreqvited reflects how you define black metal?

– Honestly, the term doesn’t really mean a whole lot to me. I’m not exactly trying to write black metal music (I think that’s fairly obvious, given the sound of Mosaic I), I just write what I want to write and hopefully it resonates with other people. It’s just experimental music to me.

I have noticed that Patreon is something you use to get more intimate with your fans. It seems that your fans are quite important to you, where as some black metal artists are more hate filled and do not acknowledge the fans as you do. With that said, is Mosaic I: l’amour et l’ardeur (which means “Love and Passion”) a “love song” to the fans, in a sense?

– I don’t use it as much as I should, but I do want that space to be more personal with the fans. I keep everything pretty much exclusively about the music on other social medias, because that’s the way I think it should be. Hence the anonymity.

Considering I’ve already released a record this year, in a sense, yes. This is a gift to everyone that has been supporting me since this started back in 2016. As I stated in the beginning of this interview, the album is inspired by all of the love and happiness I felt over the course of this year, and a great deal of that has come from the fans that support the project.

What type of art outside of music has influenced your sound with Unreqvited?

– Film has been a big one recently. Visual art in general always inspires me to write. I don’t really play any video games, but there are a couple that I’ve recently gotten back into that I used to play as a kid that are really inspiring me.

Now, onto the album itself. I have noticed that the album begins in an ‘awe and wonder’ type sound that starts softly, with a aura of ‘love’, and as you continue the album the ‘passion’ sound comes more into play. is that intentional, to have the music flow from ‘Love’ to ‘Passion’ as one listens to it?

– I don’t want to get too deep into the meaning behind the records. What it means to me may not be what in means to someone else, and I don’t want to ruin that interpretation for anyone.

While I listen to Mosaic I: l’amour et l’ardeur I hear a sense of hope, yet longing. Was the emotion that the music invokes any representation of your own feelings towards life? If so, what is it like to make music personal to you that touches others from around the globe?

– My music will always be a representation of my own feelings towards life. Everything I write tends to have the melancholic, longing feel to it. Mosaic I is no exception, I just wanted it to be more hopeful sounding than what I’ve done in the past. I honestly never really thought my music would reach as many people as it has. I’ve only ever written music because it was therapeutic for me, but seeing how much it helps other people as well has pushed me to want to write more and more.

Mosaic I: l’amour et l’ardeur is a very grand album. How do you go about composing and arranging such a complex work while still conveying something so powerful? It’s as if you do it so flawlessly. I must say, I am impressed.

– Tons of practice, I suppose. I’m absolutely addicted to the composing aspect, but I sometimes struggle with the actual production of the albums. That usually takes the most time to get everything sounding the way I want it to. Composing is by far what I’m most passionate about though, so the arrangements and everything come very naturally.

How did you originally gain the attention of Avantgarde Music, and did you enjoy being on a label with such a long history in black metal music? What made you then switch to Northen Silence Productions for this release?

– I think I just sent Rob a message once Stars Wept was completed and he really enjoyed the album and wanted to work together for its release. I’m a huge fan of tons of the artist on the roster, and had heard nothing but great things from friends that were on the label, so I was really happy and excited to work together. I wanted to experiment a little with this record, that’s why I went with Northern Silence for its release. Torsten and I have been talking about working together since Disquiet, and I always like branching out and working with new people. Avantgarde and I are working on something for 2019 though that the fans are really going to love. Very excited about it.

Is there anything you would like to say to the readers in closing?

– First off, I just want to say thank you to you for the interview, and for giving me a platform to talk more in-depth about the music. Thank you to everyone that has picked up the new record, It truly means the world that people all around the world are listening to and supporting the sounds that I make. I have so much more in the works for 2019, I hope you all stick around to see what’s in store.

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Purchase Unreqvited‘s Mosaic I: l’amour et l’ardeur on CD, vinyl or digitally from the band here, or through Northern Silence Productions here.

Support Unreqvited:

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Into the Unknown – An Interview with Wilt

“You forget what you want to remember, and you remember what you want to forget.”

― Cormac McCarthy, The Road

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Canadians Wilt are one of those bands that are far and away deserving of a great deal more attention than they receive. Their 2015 debut album Moving Monoliths was a subversively stunning slab of doom influenced, intense black bleakness that to this day receives regular spins on the BMD turntable, while their recent follow up Ruin takes that formula and infuses it with even more gut-wrenching misery and yearning atmospheric melancholia than ever before. Inspired by loss and Cormac McCarthy‘s The Road, this is one of those rare albums where you can hear the pain that went into its creation; it also somehow gets better and better each time I hear it so to say I’m ecstatic that the vinyl edition is finally dropping (and beginning to ship as we speak!) would be a massive understatement. I was lucky enough to grab founding member/vocalist Jordan Dorge to wax lyrical about the album and its themes for a while, so read on below and pick up a copy on digital/CD or a vinyl pre-order from the always-quality Vendetta Records… Releasing October 25th, shipping now.

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Greetings Jordan! I hope you are well, thanks for taking the time to speak to us. Strangely, I can’t find many existing interviews from you guys online, so I’ll start with a basic question: How did Wilt form, and why does it exist?

– Wilt was formed in the winter months of 2010. Brett and I have been actively involved in the scene and playing with each other’s bands at the time and finally got together for a collaboration. We were writing music and conjuring some ideas in his basement. It was only going to be a studio project initially. When we released our first MLP the popularity of it kind of took us by surprise; so, with the momentum we enlisted a live lineup, played a few shows to test the waters and sure enough it was very well received. So with our follow-up album we had more of a band persona as opposed to a ‘studio only project’. And now, the idea has morphed into what you hear and see today.

Your second full-length Ruin has been out for a while now and in excellent news, the vinyl is finally almost upon us. Now that some time has passed, how do you feel about the album and the overall response to it? I personally think it’s great, I snagged a copy of Moving Monoliths, and you can bet I’ll be grabbing this one too!

– We are very very pleased with the response to it, quite honestly. It is our first concept album. Something I have never, ever done. Coupled with the events surrounding the recording, it is kind of therapeutic that people are understanding it and ‘get’ it.

When I first heard Ruin, I was struck by how much more “black metal” it felt than Moving Monoliths. It still has your trademark atmosphericism, but exchanges many of the more overt doom sections for even more depressive or post-black touches. However, in the lead up to writing these questions I did something I had not yet done: I listened to your 2012 self titled debut, which changed my whole perspective. I now have the full picture of where you have come from and I’m not sure how you yourselves may see it; but to me, Ruin appears much closer in tone and style to that melancholy debut record than anything else. Was it a conscious creative decision to return to a more concentrated atmospheric/depressive black sound after those crushing total doom moments that lined Moving Monoliths? Or, was it just something that flowed naturally throughout the process?

– Bands constantly evolve and if you stay the same from album to album it could get pretty monotonous. Obviously there are exceptions to the rule. We always wanted to have a bit of the black metal/depressive side in there somehow and I think we always had it; just our rendition of that. Funny enough a lot of people think we are a doom band more than black metal. When writing this piece it seemed to be a time when our lives were in the most tumult and lots of painful things were happening around. So with that a lot of anger, pain and agony came through the writing.

The album is also a concept album, thematically based on Cormac McCarthy‘s 2006 novel The Road. Now I must shamefully admit that I have not read it; I’ve only seen the movie and while the movie is incredible, I’m sure the book tops even that for sheer soul-shattering bleakness. For those who are unfamiliar with both, could you expand a little on the overarching theme and why you have used it as inspiration for Ruin?

– Well, Cormac McCarthy is a fantastic writer. He has a very unique style that can be very hard to crack sometimes, but he has an impeccable way of describing atmosphere and feelings. Now with this in mind, the story is about the bond of a father and son through a seemingly apocalyptic event, leaving next to no one around and little to no resources as well. A lot of fight for survival moments. Now, I kinda twisted the myth a bit in the writing for Ruin. Used it as HEAVY inspiration but also wrote my own narrative alongside it. The book itself is such an inspiration because stories about survival against the odds are very inspirational to me, and I especially love the bleakness that Cormac captured. Something I really try and capture in Wilt a lot. I strive to create bleak yet hopeful lyrics, and this was just a perfect inspiration to surround the creation of Ruin.

I feel
Ruin is a more emotionally charged piece than Moving Monoliths, which believe me, is saying something. I hope this isn’t prodding a wound and feel free to not answer, but I think I may have read somewhere that this album was also informed by a great loss. Is this album dedicated to anyone in particular?

– Yeah it is. During the recording process of Ruin we lost a dear friend of ours by the name of Chad Alsop who was the phenomenal guitar/vocalist of the sludge/rock band Dead Ranch. He was such an inspiring individual. Always smiled, always supported his friends, just the best person you can ever imagine. On a very unfortunate night he took his life. Someone who otherwise has been a giant beam of light in everyone’s eyes. Shook me to my core and the scene was rattled, and the whole year just couldn’t shine as bright as it did. When recording the vocals all the feelings of loss, anger, pain and guilt came to a head. It was almost therapeutic. Also, our former drummer Myke learned of the news the night before he went in to record drums and we had 2-3 days booked at the studio. He finished drums in 1 day. I’d like to say this loss was partly due to that.

Fuckin’ Chad.

Since the first EP that was recorded as a two-piece, your lineup has expanded markedly. How have you found working as a full band? Who takes care of the writing, or is it a shared load and a more democratic process?

– The writing process has been a bit more collaborative, but mostly the same. Brett handles the composition, guitars, rough drums etc. and I write lyrics, then the changes are made collectively throughout the writing and learning process.

I’ve also noticed that you now have another new drummer in

Jordan, who from the outside certainly does a stellar job (I’m a particular fan of his work in ‘We Read The World Wrong’). What circumstances lead to Myke leaving the band, and how did you discover Jordan?

– Jordan hasn’t recorded with us yet and he has been doing an incredible job. Quite honestly best case scenario since Mykes departure. Myke absolutely destroyed the drums on Ruin. We really got lucky that we found Jordan as it was very hard to find someone of that caliber. And as far as Mykes departure: He has been struggling with some mental health issues and was taking on way too much, so he felt it necessary to take a step away and focus on family. Which we completely respected.

For the vinyl release of Ruin, you have again partnered with Vendetta Records. You seem to have a wonderful relationship brewing there, how has it been to work with them?

– Vendetta has been absolutely amazing to work with. Stefan is truly a godsend when it comes to physical product. He saved Moving Monoliths from being on waitlist limbo, and this was the first CD and vinyl release we did with him and we couldn’t be happier.

The album has some great cover art that is very representational of the sounds contained within. I also like the title matching and almost incorporating into your logo; that’s a really nice touch. Who was the artist? Did you provide them with much conceptual direction, or did they have free reign to create based upon the music?

– Super funny thing about the artwork. Samuel Nelson is really great at what he does. I worked with him on our very first album and some stuff for my other bands. He does really great work. When I described this album art I didn’t want to tell him that it was inspired by the road. I told him the idea and he nailed it. I wanted to capture desperation, drear and desolation in this because of everything surrounding this album. I later learned that he happened to be reading The Road while doing the album art for us. SUPER strange coincidence, haha.

Hearing that a band or artist is Canadian always makes me prick up my ears; you have a killer and varied scene and produce some of the most compelling black sounds around. Nobody would know the scene better than a local, so are there any underground bands or close friends doing excellent things that you’d like to give a shout out to? Anyone you believe deserves far more attention than they’ve been getting?

– Oh man, there are far too many to name, honestly. But I definitely think Winnipeg itself has one of the better scenes across Canada, so I’ll start there. I’ll start with like-minded bands such as ourselves. Ogimaa is absolutely fantastic sludge/doom, some of the most punishing I’ve seen live. Ossific is a strange black metal entity. They capture a really unique aspect of atmospheric black metal, HIGHLY recommend. Then there is straight up black metal/death metal friends Cell. They are fantastic musicians and create this Immortal-esque cosmic blackened death metal sound. It’s always a treat seeing them. And transitioning into death metal we have a band here called Regurgitated Guts which is some straight up death metal, just a great band full of great multi-banded/multi-talented people. There is far more, but that would take another whole interview, HAHA.

So… what’s next for Wilt? Do you have any good shows coming up that you’re particularly excited about?

– We are really excited to announce our vinyl release show in our hometown on November 10th. We will be having Ogimaa, Ossific and new black metallers Nocturnal Departure at the event. We are extremely excited about it. Beyond that, we would really like to come Stateside if we can and do our usual festival runs.

Thanks again for your time, guys. It’s been a pleasure. Any final words or wisdom you’d like to impart?

– Upon answering these questions, I was just reflecting on Chad and I want to express the fact that if you’re depressed or suicidal please, please, please talk to someone, get help. You have someone there to help. Some people have said our music has helped them, of which we are incredibly humbled both to hear and to have helped.

Thank you so much for the interview and I hope people enjoy Ruin.

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Purchase Ruin digitally or on vinyl/CD from the Wilt Bandcamp here or from Vendetta Records here.

Support WILT:

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Surpassing Death – An Interview with Lichborne

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Turning away from all evidence

Turning their backs on human kind

This is an act of war deserving death

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Greetings, hails, word, and all manner of other delightful salutations. As you may or may not recall, DIY US label Realm and Ritual’s opening dyad of destructive black metal releases have already popped up on these filth-stained pages that attempt to pass off as a webzine. Well, dropping tomorrow is the next blackened delight on the schedule to cop a hand-dubbed in real time, numbered, folded and stamped limited edition tape: the debut album from US horde Lichborne. An outfit that has seemingly sprung up overnight with their killer first full-length ready to be unleashed, the fine gentlemen of Wesley Nolan, Austin Brattan, Dan Smith and Hunter Adams have in actuality been honing their craft since 2014, sharpening all their tools and creating a lethal, old-school influenced beast. After conjuring up an eponymous EP a couple of years ago they’ve since then been working on In Brightness Shadows Loom – hard work that has undoubtedly paid off in spades as the album is a definite surprise earworm, burrowing it’s way in unexpectedly with shrieks and riffs galore until immovably ensconced in your amygdala. I had to get in touch with them to pick their brains (only fair, seeing as they’d just lodged an entire fucking album in mine) and learn more about it, starting with: What is Lichborne, and why does it exist?

– Lichborne is an outlet, both creatively and emotionally. It’s a form of expression while also a means of coping with the struggles of life. We make music that best portrays and communicates our frustrations. As far as our name, a Lich is a creature from your regular fantasy titles. Essentially it is necromancer that binds his soul to some vessel and achieves immortality separate of his physical existence. At this point they have become undead, they have surpassed death yet also revel in it. In a sense they are a lingering spirit. Our name attempts to play on this concept. Lichborne means that you are destined for death, it is a birthright that no one can escape despite attempts to prolong it.

Fantastic. I love it when some thought goes into the name of a project. So, your debut full-length In Brightness Shadows Loom has just been released. Now that it has been unfettered and set free to spread and infect the world with its darkness, what is your opinion about the album? What does it mean to you?

– We are incredibly proud of the album’s outcome. We record, mix, and master in our own home studio. Thinking back to what we started with it’s clear that we have come a long way with regards to mixing. Musically, we think it is our best material yet. It flows naturally while also having enough variety to keep the listener engaged. It is introspective, atmospheric, and emotional; it has the darkest sound and direction that we have achieved thus far and we really like that about it. It holds a lot of meaning to us considering it was the work of nearly 2 years writing and recording. Much of the album’s lyrics are personal to us and deal with our own internal struggles which can be seen as the album grows darker and darker. It is a reflection of our own thoughts.

You should be proud, it sounds really solid for a debut. You speak of coming a long way – how do you personally feel In Brightess Shadows Loom differs from your first EP?

– The atmosphere, meaning, and thought behind In Brightness Shadows Loom is much darker and more in depth than what we accomplished on our EP. There is so much more emotion that can be felt through the new album, the lyrical concepts became closer, focused inwards rather than out. Our takes on song structure were very different on this album as we experimented to create more atmosphere. And of course, the mix of our new album helps in this as well as we have improved drastically since the EP.

I agree. I particularly like the opening track, you can hear the difference straight out of the gate. Speaking of the opening salvo, I’m curious: What does “Incipit Ignis Interius” translate to, and what is its meaning?

– Incipit Ignis Interius roughly translates to “the fire starts from within.” The meaning behind the song plays with the mythology behind Prometheus, how he gave humanity fire which then spurred further innovations and progress yet he was punished by the Gods for doing so despite how beneficial it was. It then draws comparison between Prometheus and Christianity’s antagonist Satan, how his rebellion was punished despite that rebellion being what was beneficial for humanity. It touches on the idea of society without the restraints of religion, how much progress could be made or could have already been made without it holding most people down and looming some sort of punishment over them. That progress, or that flame metaphorically, has to start from within from person to person.

Indeed it does. I personally do dream of that idea becoming reality… perhaps one day. Anyway, that track kicks off an absolutely killer journey – far from being a monotonous experience, we find a wide range of styles present on the album. What were some of your influences during the writing process?

– We all come from very different musical backgrounds which offers a lot of variety. Some of us are more thrash oriented, some are more death and doom oriented, and some of are more depressive-oriented and that makes for a diverse sound across the album. What we all come together on is black metal and we try our best to carve our unique atmosphere and sound in our music based on our influences. Sometimes in the studio we could be listening to Goatwhore, sometimes it would be Xasthur, or other times it would be Marduk. With everyone’s varying backgrounds, the music style and direction that we are engaged with at the time could shift fairly significantly which can offer a breath of fresh air sometimes. As the album progressed though and got darker with every song, there was a lot more depressive influences seeping in.

While all the performances on the album are great, the vocals are especially impressive. The layering and variety create quite the compelling listen; it’s actually what hooked me in to the album at first. From where have you drawn inspiration for this performance?

– Our vocalist’s background started in death metal. He had already established the typical death metal scream and growl. With black metal, the screams are more prominent than growls typically and they tend to drive the majority of the song so a lot of work was spent on improving with that. One huge influence vocally to expand beyond the typical scream was the performance of Onielar in Bethlehem’s latest album and of course this discography of Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult. Her vocals are tapped into something far different than the usual scream. So our vocalist worked on it and found a new type of scream, almost like mixing falsettos and screaming in a way that produced a bloodcurdling volume and sound (it’s actually extremely loud compared to typical screaming). So with that and his already established styles, we were able to combine those and mix and match across the album to find new combinations that flowed and added to the song. We found that changing vocal styles would sometimes add more impact, express more emotion, and just flow naturally in certain parts of the songs so we continued to try and analyze what would best benefit the song’s overall performance.

Well, it’s fucking astonishing and one of the definite high-points of the whole package. Anyway – the album is also being released in limited hand-dubbed tape format by cult label Realm and Ritual on October 19th. How did this come about? I’m a big fan of the old-school ethos this label has shown so far, how has it been to work with them?

– Realm and Ritual contacted us after we released That Which Halts My Slumber as a single. They liked the sound and emotion of our music and started talks about cassette distribution which we were excited about. So we kept in touch while we worked on completing the album. We completed the album, began organizing with each other, and now it’s out there ready to be listened to. Realm and Ritual has been great to work with. They keep everything simple and straightforward while delivering a quality product. They were incredibly patient as our album’s completion was anticipated to be done long before it was actually done. They could have easily moved on but continued to support us instead, which we are thankful for.

They are doing good things, great to see a label backing you despite a delay. And finally… what’s next for Lichborne?

– We are not anticipating live performances yet although it is not out of the question. Our schedules don’t exactly line up as we would like them to for that to be possible as of now. But we are working on getting CD distribution for the album so that we can get that physical copy out too. For the future, we are already working on new material and we have great ideas for what we want to come of this new album. We are aiming for something stronger, darker, and more impactful. It will be full of emotion and atmosphere that we have not fully tapped into yet and we are excited to work on that and get it out as soon as we can.

Excellent. Looking forward to the new material. All the best guys, and thanks for your time.

Available now at Realm and Ritual for an October 19th release.

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Purchase In Brightness Shadows Loom digitally or on limited hand-dubbed cassette from Bandcamp here.

Support LICHBORNE:

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Email: blackmetaldaily@outlook.com

Of Elves and Men – An Interview with Tom O’Dell of Dwarrowdelf

Yes, you may recall we already considered UK one-man epic black metal project Dwarrowdelf‘s debut album The Sons of Fëanor some time ago. Indeed, the Wolfspell Records CD and digital versions of the album were released back then to great acclaim amongst fans of Tolkien and epic black metal alike. However, seeing as it’s on the cusp of copping a glorious October 19th limited cassette edition from the great Fólkvangr Records (sign up for a notification of its release here so you don’t miss out) plus I’m a sizeable fan of both Fólkvangr Records and Dwarrowdelf, I figured why not finally get main man and Tolkien fanatic Tom O’Dell in to talk about the album and upcoming cassette release?

Luckily, not only was he more than happy to oblige but he’s also one of the most genuine and down to earth artists I’ve ever had the pleasure of interviewing. Plus, he had a LOT to say; so without further ado read on below and enter the fantastic, mythical world of Dwarrowdelf. Oh and everybody flood his inbox with requests for that deathgrind album too – I need to hear that thing.

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Hello, Tom! It’s great to finally talk to you after reviewing your excellent debut full-length The Sons Of Fëanor a while back, I hope we find you well. So, the album has been out on CD and digital for over five months now… time flies. How do you feel about it now with the benefit of hindsight? I’ve personally seen a lot of hype for it, are you pleased with how it has been received?

– It’s been more positive than I possibly could have imagined! In the first couple of weeks of release it was topping a bunch of the Bandcamp tag chart things, so that was a little amazing! I’ve been blown away by the amount of support I’ve seen from reviewers and fans alike, so my thanks to everyone who’s said something nice about the album, wherever it may be. Five months down the line as an artist, you’re always going to look back at the album and think, “oh, why didn’t I do that bit this way?” but it’s in the hands of the fans now, and they seem really pleased with it! Another advantage of having been so lucky to receive so many reviews is that I’ve been able to approach album 2 with various perspectives of what strengths I can play to.

One of the first things that struck me about the album before I’d even heard a single note (and that actually made me want to check it out all the more) was your subversive little stab of humour in the promo blurb: “…walking the utterly untrodden path of Tolkien-based epic black metal”. I mentioned in the review that the self-awareness was refreshing; Tolkien’s work certainly hasn’t been short of a band or two taking inspiration from it. Why do you personally feel that his tales resonate so well with black metal, and what made you want to have a crack at the style for yourself?

– I think the first track I wrote was In Moria, In Khazad-dûm; I was rereading Lord of the Rings, and came across the Song of Durin that Gimli sings. I started absent-mindedly humming those lyrics to the tune of Land of the Dead, which I guess set things off… then a couple of weeks later I was at Wacken Open Air, and on the way back from something power metal-ly a friend and I started drunkenly singing “The Misty Mountains” from the Hobbit films. Obviously these two occurences meant that, by the eternal laws of metal, I needed to start a solo atmoblack project as a matter of urgency…

In all seriousness, I think Tolkien’s work resonates with so many people because of way that he presents such a detailed and fantastic world in such an accessible way. I don’t know if you’ve read Malazan Book of the Fallen (the source material for Caladan Brood), but it’s so ridiculously tricky to follow. Combine Tolkien’s accessibility with those stunning films (yeah, I love all six Peter Jackson films… fight me :p), and there’s such a wealth of material for musicians to explore, within the atmoblack scene and beyond.

I’ve loved Lord of the Rings for so long, and discovering Summoning shed a whole new light on the books. I know some people prefer Caladan Brood’s upbeat take on the Summoning genre, but I think people forget that a Summoning album doesn’t get old; every new listen reveals another layer, and it represents the complexity of Middle-Earth perfectly. So, six months after discovering them, I decided to be original and start a Tolkien epic black metal band!

Admittedly it has been a long while since I’ve read the source material The Silmarillion but it is on my list to read again soon, largely thanks to this album, in fact. For those who perhaps have not read the works of Tolkien and are thus unaware of the tale: could you briefly summarise the overarching theme depicted in The Sons Of Fëanor and tell us a bit about why you selected this particular story arc as the core of the album?

– Oh man, that’s a good question… I love elves in most fantasy worlds; they’re elegant, they’re fierce, they’ve got awesome hair… this list could go on. The seven sons of Fëanor are an exception to the classic good guy elf narrative though, which makes them really fascinating characters to explore. Essentially, Fëanor was living in the Undying Lands, made three really pretty jewels (like… really pretty), but Morgoth (aka Sauron’s boss back in the day) stole them and ran off to Middle Earth. Fëanor made his seven sons swear an oath to go and help him get them back, but said oath led them to commit a large number of atrocities, including three genocides and some mild kidnapping. In the end, only two sons were left alive at the end of the First Age when Morgoth was finally defeated. One of them, Maedhros, grabbed a Silmaril and then jumped into a volcano in agony; and the other, Maglor, was doomed to walk beside the ocean forever, lamenting the losses the Oath had caused.

Having done an EP about Dwarves, I was planning on sticking to the underground theme and doing a song about the second kinslaying (which is where the Sons assault an underground elvish kingdom, Doriath), but it swiftly became apparent that a song per son would be a great concept! I feel like I perhaps should have tied it together more with some leitmotif’s and thematic consistency, but I think I managed to give each son an accurate theme.

Going by some of the playing on display here I’m going to have a guess that you’re a guitarist/keysman at heart. When did you first pick up an instrument, and what is your musical background? Is Dwarrowdelf your first black metal project?

– I’ve been playing piano since I was 4, and had a variety of classical and rock singing teachers through school. I think I started self-teaching myself guitar around 16, and then I had to translate that into bass when I got drafted into a hair metal band at uni. As you may have guessed, I can’t play drums for shit, but I’ve learnt how to write basic drums through lots of trial and error! Oh, and I think a few years of French horn were in there somewhere too! Harsh vocals I sort of just learnt out of necessity; I wouldn’t say I enjoy doing them, and I guess that comes across in how average they are! I’d say singing and guitar are my twin loves; it took me a while to feel comfortable having a deeper singing voice, especially as so many prolific metal singers are tenors, but the reception to Dwarrowdelf has really helped with my singing confidence. Guitar is another one where I’ve had to accept that I’m not Yngwie Malmsteen, but I can actually bash out a decent riff; I’d advise any musician who doubts themselves to keep playing, keep exploring ways to play, and you will find your strengths.

I was in many bands through uni – the advantages of studying History, I had way too much free time! My first black(ened death) metal band is called Deavhronun, which, according to an online Black Speech translator, means “Dethroned”. We released a tongue-in-cheek album about Mayhem that has even worse drums than Of Darkened Halls, although it’s pretty fun and silly. We’re slowly working our way towards the next album, which is incorporating a bit of a wider pool of influence and leaning more towards death metal perhaps… kind of inevitable when our vocalist sounds like the lovechild of Johan Hegg and Nergal! As mentioned, I also spent time playing 80s hair metal in a band called P.I.N.K. Lüng, which was stupidly good fun; although that band has come to a natural conclusion we’ve almost finished a power metal album which I guess is a kind of spiritual successor. I still can’t leave fantasy alone though; the lyrics for that are all Elder Scrolls themed!

Oh, and I’ve made a 6 track, 8 minute long deathgrind album that exclusively uses Gimli samples as vocals. I’ll drop that one day!

On the debut EP it seemed like you were finding your sound and experimenting with what you wanted to achieve, whereas this album shows a lot more confidence. The rawer, darker and riff-heavy ideas on the three tracks that comprise Of Darkened Halls have been expanded upon and fleshed out with a more epic, grander scope; plus with more space/tracks to work with overall you are really able to take the listener on a wonderful and immersive journey. Even the production shows a solid improvement. I’d imagine knowing that The Sons Of Fëanor would be a full-length album changed your creative process at least a little; was there anything you consciously did differently from the EP, or any progressions made on this album that you feel you’re especially happy with this time around?

– You’ve hit the nail on the head there; Of Darkened Halls was about figuring out what Dwarrowdelf could sound like, whereas The Sons of Fëanor defined what Dwarrowdelf does sound like (at least until album 2 comes out…). I knew which bits I felt worked best from the first EP, and sort of just made sure I focused the sound a bit? I also spent a lot more time listening to different inspirations to broaden my area of influence, as I knew that keeping a listener interested for an hour is a bit of a task! It was also really helpful working out the tracklist sooner rather than later; for example, when setting out to write Maglor, I knew that it needed a massive outro to close off the album, and I knew that Amrod needed to be mysterious and intriguing from the start. Production wise, I also knew which synths I liked in hindsight, and which sounds were a bit bad! My favourite synth on the album is that Eldamar-esque key synth that has a moment of glory in Curufin – once I’d made it, I ended up going back and slipping it in most of the tracks!

So as previously mentioned, the CD and digital has been available for a while… but now the cassette edition is finally coming out through the great Fólkvangr Records. How have you found working with both Wolfspell and Fólkvangr? Are these both partnerships you hope will continue into the future?

– I mean, I’ll forever be grateful to Michał at Wolfspell for being keen to pick up the album; being able to hold a physical album with my music on is thanks to him and his belief in this project! Fólkvangr has been so awesome; I’d always heard great things about Mark and when he approached me to discuss a cassette release I only had to think about it for 0.0001 seconds. He’s so communicative, and the fact that we’re both massive Tolkien nerds has only made it better! I reckon album 2 will fit nicely into the Fólkvangr catalogue with the way it’s shaping up, so hopefully this is just the beginning.

This may also be a good time to highlight the fact that the first EP Of Darkened Halls has also just been re-released with remastered audio! What’s the story behind that? Where can we find it, will there be a physical release?

Of Darkened Halls got remastered for inclusion as a bonus for the vinyl release of Sons of Fëanor, thanks to Henri Sorvali at Trollhouse Audio. I did a fair bit of remixing too; replaced the awful drum sounds, slipped that Eldamar-synth in, replaced some of the more piercing flute synths etc. Ever since Sons got put on Spotify, I’ve had the occasional message asking if Of Darkened Halls will ever join it. I’m still really not sure what’s happening with the vinyl, so I decided to release the 3 remastered tracks for free, which tied in nicely with the anniversary of the EP and Dwarrowdelf. It also gave me a chance to make the logo on the cover art less… um… horrible!

One thing that I find rather neat and some people may not be aware of, is that you have your own Spotify playlist comprised of tracks that inspired the writing of The Sons of Fëanor. That’s a great way to offer a little bit more to interested fans, allowing a brief glimpse behind the curtain of what inspires your creative process. Can you run us through the sort of thing we will find on there, and how these tracks influenced The Sons Of Fëanor? Is the playlist something that you’ll likely continue for future releases?

– You have done your research, I’m impressed! Yeah, I make a habit of keeping the playlist updated with whatever is inspiring writing, whether it be massive influences like Wintersun or just a great atmosphere like Asira or Cairiss (check out those bands btw!). I’ve seen a few bands do playlists like that, and just thought it was a nice idea for those who are interested! It also means that, if I’ve been writing power metal or something for weeks, I can just put on the playlist and get back in the atmoblack zone! There’s some surprising songs on there, so definitely give it a listen if you’re interested.

I was also reading in a previous interview you did with OccultBlackMetalZine that you study Byzantine history, which is fascinating. I don’t profess to know much about it but that’s the Eastern Roman Empire, if I’m correct? I’m sure there’s some kind of correlation between an interest in history and Tolkien’s work; do you feel your studies have ever influenced you artistically?

– Yeah, Byzantium was the Eastern Roman Empire; a lot of people think the Roman Empire ended in ancient times but it clung on in the east till 1453, gradually getting more and more Greek! I guess I think of the medieval and ancient worlds in a similar way to fantasy like Tolkien. It’s so different to the world we know today, which means you can dive in and lose yourself. That being said, I’ve written two dissertations on the Byzantines totalling 25,000 words in the past two years, so I’m pretty done with writing about them for now! As Bilbo Baggins once said, I need a holiday…

I believe that thanks to your other projects you’re no stranger to a live environment; have you ever thought about taking Dwarrowdelf on the road?

– Oh man, that would be so logistically complicated… short answer is yes, if there’s ever the opportunity and I have the time and money to do it justice.

I’m stupidly busy most of the time now, and if I were to be offered a one off show or something, I’d really want to make sure I had an awesome group of musicians who were interested and we could do the songs justice, because that’s what they deserve! I know atmospheric bands like Sojourner have made the transition to live shows with aplomb, so I’m sure it’s doable for me too. I’d just hate to let fans down. I’d also feel morally obliged to do a Wintersun cover, so we’d need to find a guitarist who can shred like Jari, because I sure as hell can’t!

And finally: You’ve written about Tolkien’s Dwarves on the debut EP, while The Sons of Fëanor is all about the Elves… What will be the next tale you tell? Orcs, humans perhaps?

– Album 2 does have a theme, but in a different way to Sons. I don’t want to give too much away yet – this interview is to promote the first album after all – but I think it’ll grab people. It’s more conceptual I guess, but each song stands strong in its own right. It is, of course, Tolkien through and through.

Sincerest thanks for your time, Tom! It’s been a true pleasure. Any final words for everyone?

– Thanks to the readers for reading all of my ramblings, thanks to you for the fantastic thought-provoking questions, and thanks to everyone who’s supported the project! The cassettes look awesome, you should all totally go and buy one.

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Purchase The Sons of Fëanor digitally from the Dwarrowdelf Bandcamp here, on digipack CD from Wolfspell Records here, or sign up to grab a limited cassette on October 19th from Fólkvangr Records here.

Support Dwarrowdelf:

~

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Email: blackmetaldaily@outlook.com

Forgotten Kings – An Interview with Entropy Created Consciousness

You may have already heard of the mysterious one-person project Entropy Created Consciousness… or you may not. The debut album Impressions Of The Morning Star quietly materialised in digitalised form earlier this year and with its expansive, almost transformative style of avant-garde blackness, has affected everyone who has spent some time with it in unfathomable ways. We took a brief look at it back in Bandcamp Misanthropy – Volume 17, where I called it a ‘gargantuan, oppressive yet strangely hopeful exploration of the internal and external universes’ and said a track-by-track breakdown would result in thousands of words. Well, I’m not here to write those words just yet (it’s been months and the album still reveals new facets of itself to me with every return listen) but today we have something even better: what I believe to be the very first interview with the hidden being at the core of the maelstrom.

While the mist is only slightly cleared, with the information provided we can glean a much greater understanding of the work at hand – and an extremely small amount about its creator, who will perhaps forever remain in the shadows. While this may even be for the best (I personally find anonymity in art seems to enhance and almost ‘purify’ the intentions of the artist and its effect on me), one thing is for certain: with the forthcoming vinyl edition imminent via Throne Records and a beautiful cassette dropping through the great Fólkvangr Records on October 19th, you’ll soon be hearing many more people speaking about Entropy Created Consciousness.

So, read on below and grab a name-your-price download from Bandcamp while you wait for the physical copies to arrive – you’ll have heard nothing quite like it this year.

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First of all, sincerest thanks for agreeing to answer these questions. There’s barely any information available about Entropy Created Consciousness or you yourself, so it is very much appreciated. Your excellent debut album Impressions of the Morning Star was released some time ago now, and I have to start with something that’s been playing on my mind since I first heard the album… I’m not entirely sure the response I’ll get here, but: who are you? Who is the entity responsible for this magnificent, alien creation?

– I am someone who isn’t sure a name and a face is necessary for this music. Accountability isn’t an issue; if people know or find out who I am, it hardly matters to me. The anonymity has more to do with removing humanity and ego from the experience of this. Identity is in the sound and the visual accompaniment and whatever response it creates. Perhaps it won’t remain one person, or won’t remain the same person. Who is behind it doesn’t matter.

I find Entropy Created Consciousness an intriguing name for the project, and I’m assuming it could be referring to the theory and recent neurodynamics research indicative of ‘consciousness’ being in fact a mere side affect of our brains moving towards entropy; or in other words, attempting to maximise its own information content (as also evidenced by the use of psychedelics arguably increasing entropy to a primitive or ‘critical’ state; ie. higher consciousness). Should this prove true the implications are fascinating. Is this what the project moniker refers to? What are your thoughts on the matter, and what it could mean for us?

– The first level of inspiration was indeed the research itself. The second is that I see it more as the link between consciousness and chaos. It’s part of why humanity so easily veers in strange directions and can be so destructive. Black metal is inherently occupied with chaos and destruction against the external; these elements weave through the very wide variety of sounds and atmospheres across the genre. It felt appropriate to the material and what I sought to say with it, and is open to expansion ever forward. Things are already veering ever stranger as we speak. Best suited to a name that is not confined.

Another thing I’m curious about is the incorporation of a couple of machinery/technology sound recordings; the entire album itself opens with a brief clip of what sounds like an old-style laser printer. What was the reason behind these inclusions, are they intended to be representative of anything in particular?

– In whole, the sound of the record is an exploration in what technology aids or doesn’t aid in the conjuring of this music. The samples in question are from an ally with a similar curiosity for the sounds of this world, the ways they construct and deconstruct, what they mean and why they are. And with William Blake so central to the album, it seemed appropriate to begin with the temporal gate back to him: a contemporary equivalent to how Blake created his art and embodied his own mythos. It is a view of some of his work through a lens alive now. I have no interest in following the well-trodden paths through the woods already crystallized in the black metal orthodoxy. Only so much can be said using the same tools. With the palette infinite, what is black metal? What does it sound like? Familiar, yes, but also unfamiliar. With the entity currently so personal out of circumstance (or perhaps an unseen necessity), the path is naturally insular to one specific set of neural connections. The entropy in question currently is mine. So too is the path.

That opening track Forgotten Kings of Jerusalem straight up showcases everything I love about this album. From that opening sample to the skittering, shimmering drums over slow, doomy riffs and synth drones it all comes together into something unlike much I’ve heard before, and becomes quite the mind-expanding experience. It’s so subversively weird and wholly unique, I’m curious… Was all of this strangeness constructed by design, or is your creative process more fluid? How do you generally go about composing this intense, transformative cosmic art?

– I began the record and this poured out. It was the template and the proof of concept. And it was as unknown to me then as it is for anyone listening now for the first time. Some of the other material is 11 years old and didn’t make any sense until this was born from the ether. Something sought to be heard, so it was. I don’t know what it is – and I do.

Sticking for a minute with Forgotten Kings of Jerusalem, then we come to the piano melodies in the latter half of the composition that send an almost ‘Paradise LostOne Second vibe creeping under everything… That doom-y feeling carries throughout the album, too. Did you consciously draw inspiration from the old doom masters, or from any other artists or works throughout the creation of the album?

– Doom metal is certainly one of the conspiring parties in what this is. The works of My Dying Bride, Katatonia, Anathema, Paradise Lost and other leading names in the genre are part of the foundation built upon. I would have a very different vocabulary without them.

When I saw the third track was titled Proverbs of Hell I was immediately keen to hear it as William Blake‘s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell has been a longtime personal favourite and affected me greatly as a young man. Please correct me if I’m wrong as I can’t quite make out all the lyrics, but I believe the track to be at least mostly comprised of recitations of the ‘Proverbs of Hell’ contained in that book. Blake’s work has long influenced musical artists, most notably Ulver and Judas Iscariot in the black metal realm in particular. What is it about the proverbs that speaks to you personally?

– The use of the Proverbs of Hell is a piece of the puzzle. Ulver’s use of his work introduced me but it was Blake himself who showed me the path of this album. The more of his work I studied, the clearer the vision became. It was merely waiting in mist for something, me, entropy, to see it and crystallize it. I sought to do justice to the vision.

Upon spending further time with the album I came to realise that you seem to reference Blake’s work in all song titles for the remainder of it, and possibly follow his mythical system wherein Albion, the primordial man divides into four ‘zoas’ including Urizen, the creator of the universe and who places laws upon humanity. There also appears to be a song about his counterpart Ahania. Is this correct? Not being able to read the lyrics myself, could you possibly expand on any of these themes and their significance for us?

– Blake is the constant. All the work refers and defers to him. Rather than cheapen his brilliance and reduce him, it felt more appropriate to show nothing and simply allow him to fester in the mind of the listener as he did for me; to present this ‘mist’ and allow it to conjure for others in their own way. Most importantly, I chose works highlighting characters from Blake’s mythology that are, stand in for, or are analogous to Satan. When I thought about his work and drew parallels across it, it became very essential, very clear to me. Mist cleared and all that stood was one shape containing both. If the earth cracked open and Blake dragged himself out from the soil today, what would be his voice? This is the vision, and why entropic consciousness and black metal became its vehicle. Everyone should read his work. It’s easily accessible now.

Given the intricate themes you delve into on other aspects of the album I’m sure there’s a reason it is entitled Impressions of the Morning Star, too. Is the ‘Morning Star’ here meant to reference Blake‘s painting When the Morning Stars Sang Together? Or, is it meant to be taken in another astrological or theological sense?

– With the concept concretely spoken now, the morning star probably has a clearer meaning. This painting is yet another in the long line through his work which this album takes extracts from. Why else are they called the morning stars?

The cover art is also interesting, it appears to depict a landscape with old buildings, perhaps a town. At first I thought it might just be a composite image but now I’m not so sure; does this location hold any special significance to you or the themes of this album?

– These are ancient images of Jerusalem. Rather than bastardize Blake’s artwork by simply reproducing it, there was something more genuine in linking the ancient and contemporary this way instead. The colours suited it. And it was important to depict a holy place twisted by the logo reaching ever downward and outward.

Themes aside, as previously mentioned, I love the unique sound of it all. Did you have any favourite gear, or any unusual instruments or techniques you used throughout the recording process?

– Things became more refined as the process went on. No rules exist. And so it was that a 5-string bass became a guitar too.

The vinyl should be out any day now through Throne Records and the cassette via Fólkvangr Records. The Throne Records vinyl was announced some time ago when the digital release was still fresh, while the cassette edition has only recently been announced. What has it been like working with both Throne and Fólkvangr on the physical releases?

– I sought both out specifically for their clear dedication to high quality presentation. There are many out there who take advantage of the dedicated by selling them cleverly disguised garbage. Throne was first to respond with interest to release it, which obviously meant a lot, given the total lack of establishment and the strange music involved. And Fólkvangr later responded with the same enthusiasm for it. I had no doubt given the track record of both labels that the work would be treated well.

And finally… what lies in the future for Entropy Created Consciousness? Have you been progressing on any more music, or perhaps working towards any live shows?

– Plenty of followup material is ready. The path is clear and specific. A 17-minute appendix to Impressions further examines Satan in Blake, and also bridges into the next album’s musical approach. I have moved on from Blake but he continues to colour what is made. Live performance is currently impossible.

Once again, I’m immensely appreciative of your time spent answering these questions; it’s been fantastic to have the veil lifted ever so slightly and I can’t wait to see where you take the project next. Do you have any final words for anyone reading this, or for someone looking to dive in to the infinitely expanding universe that is Entropy Created Consciousness?

– Expect change. Don’t expect change.

~

Purchase Entropy Created ConsciousnessImpressions Of The Morning Star digitally from Throne Records here, or on cassette from Fólkvangr Records here on October 19th.

Support Entropy Created Consciousness:

~

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Unconscious Aberrations – An Interview with D of Woeful Echo

When the murmur is no longer

The teething biting the dark

The Depths of Earth

Have been waiting for me

~

Astute readers may recall we covered US one-man DSBM project Woeful Echo‘s killer last EP Dreaming In Eternal Sleep in Bandcamp Misanthropy – Volume 18. If that seems like only yesterday, well, it kinda was; four months has barely gone by and the prolific D is already back like a man possessed to lead us further into the eternal void with a brand new full-length, The Emptiness.

If Dreaming In Eternal Sleep tapped into a particularly vicious and virulent strain of DSBM then The Emptiness definitely seeks to continue in the same black and bleeding vein, yet bumps everything up a notch once again. And, I mean everything. More tracks, more rage, more fury, more hopelessness. More blast, more atmosphere… And it all works, still tied together with a production that’s polished just enough to always retain that delicious DIY charm. The dynamics (and synth work) in tracks like A Single Tear Of Eternity are great and he can hit you with a seriously insidious head-banging riff when he wants, too; just check out that recurring stomper in Weakened By Life. Fucking hell.

The DSBM tag it may have and lyrics filled with self-loathing, suicide and hate, but this still isn’t weepy, anguished black metal. Seething within the melancholia is a powerful vortex of old-school vigor, violent tendencies and a core blacker than the coal you got in your Christmas stocking when you were a kid because your stepdad was an asshole (and so were you). I’ve seen many people giving this album respect lately, and it’s well deserved as a surprisingly accomplished debut album from a one man project on a steady rise. Seriously, it’s a cliche, but big things are ahead for this project.

With the CD just released a couple of weeks ago through Share Your Pain Records I took the opportunity to catch up with main man D to lift the veil on all things Woeful Echo; you can read the results of this chat below, and be sure to pick up a copy of the album and show him some support. Don’t be an asshole, he deserves it. Hails.

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Greetings, D. Sincerest thanks for speaking to us. Your latest album and third overall release The Emptiness has just dropped via Share Your Pain Records, and it’s great. How do you feel it differs from your previous work, and what does the album mean to you?

– The last thing I have released before The Emptiness was Dreaming In Eternal Sleep. I have added more synth and faster tempos, but still include a lot of atmosphere. It’s a new, unique chapter for me to continue creating an interesting atmosphere for myself.

At the time of writing these questions I haven’t had the opportunity to read the lyrics yet; what are the themes you touch on throughout the album?

– For this album (and the majority of my work) my songs are inspired by depression, self guilt and/or nihilistic views, or things inspired by Alan Watts.

Wait, as in Alan Watts, the British philosopher? I’m intrigued. How exactly has he informed your work, and why him in particular?

– His lectures on nothingness and negativity are very interesting and fall in line with the lyrical concept and vision of this project. I like the idea of the weird and abstract.

I agree, they are interesting, and the fact you draw inspiration from him is wonderful. But, getting back to it: now that you have a few releases under your belt, what was the writing/recording process like this time around?

– I would sometimes start with writing synth, than continue to write with guitar and/or do guitar first and write synth to it. I really enjoyed tracking bass to some of this and tried some new things in production with bass compared to the previous EP, but I wanted to keep production similar to how I did the EP because I really enjoyed the drum tones and overall vibe. The most fun of the recording process for me though is tracking drums, because it is my main passion in music. Vocals are something I also love to do, and I try to approach everything with something harsh.

You can definitely tell they’re your passion, and it’s refreshing to hear real drums on a solo black metal record as opposed to programmed (love your work on Cloaked In Darkness and the grooves on Weakened By Life in particular). How long have you been playing for? Is Woeful Echo your first project?

– I have been playing extreme metal for about 18 or so years, starting with guitar and bass first and then drums, I fell in love with drums because of blast beats. I have 2 solo projects, Woeful Echo and Succorbenoth in which I do everything. I also play for many bands on drums: Necrosadist, Lilin, Ravenfrost, Emptylife, Unearthly Torment just to name a few. I do a lot of session drum work.

You mentioned it in an earlier answer, and I’m loving that increased use of synths. I had a guess last time as to your influences (I think I mentioned Bezmir and Ajattara) but those synths are giving me a whole new view on the subject. Are there any artists in particular that you feel have strongly influenced either this album or you as a musician?

– Well Bezmir has played a little role, I like the intensity and vocals of Severoth’s latest project. But as far this this project is concerned bands like them and Lifelover, Ajattara. Although as a musician I am always trying to create something I would like to listen to, it’s why I prefer doing things solo, ‘though I like to collab with others as well. But it’s more rewarding coming up with my own stuff. Being influenced as a musician I have many, many, many to list. Just to name a few when it comes to drums: Frost and Derek Roddy, George Kollias, Fenriz etc. So many to choose from, all different styles and unique things to them that I really enjoy in their playing.

You’re releasing through an underground DSBM label not many may know about: Share Your Pain Records. How has it been to work with them so far?

– Very good. Always in direct communication with David Thery (the label owner) who is always on top of making sure everything is correct for art, final product and merch. They approached me when I put out a demo a while back. I had no plans to really release Woeful Echo as a physical entity, as it was purely just something I wanted to do for a passion of mine; they go out of their way to make it happen.

The album is adorned with some great pencil artwork, something I personally enjoy seeing as it really captures an old-school vibe. Can you tell us a little about the artist and how the cover relates to the themes within?

– I discovered the artist Ikhsan Baihaqi through a few Black and Death Metal pages on Facebook advertising his work. I gave him a lot of ideas to create me a unique album cover that played into what I wanted lyrically and my vision of what the album is: Death and Nothingness, the Emptiness thereafter.

I’ve seen a few people already saying they absolutely adore this album, one or two have even listed it in their early “top ten” predictions. How does it make you feel that people are connecting with it so strongly?

– Wow. It’s a pretty cool feeling, I wouldn’t know where to begin. It’s very humbling. I don’t know if it would be, there are so many great releases this year, so many amazing and talented artists in the great year of 2018. For me it’s been Bezmir and Marduk’s Victoria.

I’ve seen that you’re also in the process of compiling a tribute EP of classic Black Metal covers, Echoes of the Past‘. Great to see respect being shown to the old. So far you’ve done Darkthrone and Mayhem, any hints as to which old masters may receive the Woeful Echo treatment next?

– Well, I plan to continue to keep adding to that Echoes of the Past. Bands we may hear are like Marduk, Emperor, maybe even Windir… who knows. There are a lot of ideas brewing.

And finally, now that the dust has settled on this ‘The Emptiness‘ and it’s out in the wild… What’s next? Have you started thinking about the next album, or about putting together a live band to do some shows?

– I have been thinking about a possible live band, though if I were to do that I’d need to find a solid drummer comfortable playing traditional stamina blasting material so I could focus on vocals and guitars live. I would possibly sing and play drums, but some of the vocal patterns I think would be too hard to do while playing drums, it’s an idea maybe! Finding like-minded musicians that are ok to work with one guy writing all the material is a hard thing to do. I am already starting to come up with ideas for another album, I wouldn’t mind doing a split with a few bands, *cough* Bezmir or someone!

Thanks for your time once again D, looking forward to more Woeful Echo. Any last words or final wisdom you’d like to impart to us?

– Black Thoughts and Death Wishes,

Hails.

~

Purchase Woeful Echo‘s ‘The Emptiness‘ digitally from Bandcamp here, or on CD from Share Your Pain Records here.

Support Woeful Echo:

~

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Deeper Meaning – An Interview with Hænesy

There is beauty in simplicity; beauty in the pure, simple showing of human emotion too. With their debut album ‘Katrusza‘ Hungarians Hænesy are creating some undeniably beautiful things. Their songs are carefully filled with yearning melancholy and peaceful sorrow, all expressed via a well-produced, modernized take on the familiar templates of black metal.

The strength of this album for me is the skillful utilization of song structures that temper themselves to build and deconstruct in a way that strips back all unnecessary elements and unneeded trappings, allowing the emotion in the compositions to take centre stage and wrap you in it’s warm embrace. Warm might be an odd descriptor for black metal, I know; but this isn’t the type of suicidal fuck-the-world depression type of emotion. It’s bittersweet memories, hopeless dreams and longing for times gone by, perhaps even futures that will never arrive. It’s almost comforting. The nice post-black quality inherent in their sound invites that kind of contemplation but with moments of blasting, wild anguish and hope also shining through, the whole thing seems perfectly balanced; it ebbs and flows, surges and rages… The songs still move and change, but artfully so and never distract from the ultimate goal: simply making you feel. The wonderful spell woven by album opener ‘Katrusza I‘ is a great example of this and a personal highlight; over it’s 13 mesmerising minutes melodic themes slowly unfold, utterly captivating and tugging at your core the entire time.

You can tell the love and care that has gone into this work. The vibe is something truly special, immersion within revealing fascinating nuances and definitely reaping high reward. Enigmatic main man Henrik composes/plays all the music and contributes some vocals, so I reached out to him for a little more info about this remarkable debut (released about a month ago through Black Mourning Productions) and he was happy to lift the veil ever-so-slightly. Read on below for a glimpse into the world of Hænesy.

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Greetings Henrik! Sincerest thanks for taking the time to speak with us today. We’ll start with something a little abstract… In your own words: What is Hænesy, why does it exist, and what does it mean to you?

– Hænesy directly doesn’t have any meaning. It is just a fantasy name. But for me, there is one meaning. So, when I start this project there was one goal what I would like to reach: I would like to make music with a very deep instinctive energy. You can see it, that the themes are not too complicated, so this is what I say. Hænesy is a very dark, passionate deep down thing. I hope you understand me.

You’ve recently released your debut full-length album, ‘Katruzsa’. What was the creative process like, how long did it take to complete the album? Did you run into any problems?

– It was a 7-8 month working period. So, it wasn’t a simple thing. Every clever person makes albums step by step. Making demos, playing up drums, basses, guitars and vocals, mixing and mastering it. I made it with a mixed process. But there wasn’t any problems.

Given that ‘Katruzsa’ has been out for a month now, are you satisfied with both the fruits of your labor and how the album has been received by the public?

– I have to thank every single person who purchased it. It is amazing, that people could order my music from Japan or Australia. Yes, I feel good about it and it has satisfied me. But there was a little problem in the promotional period. The “Atmospheric Black Metal Albums” channel was taken down from YouTube after my album came out, so the promo is aborted. But, I hope this channel will be reborn and rise up as before.

I believe the album deals partially with themes of nature. I’d imagine there are some incredible natural places around Hungary, is there anywhere in particular you have drawn inspiration from?

– Of course there is, yes. I like hiking and really like the Hungarian mountains. The Mátra is my special favourite mountain, because my half family is living in the foot of the Mátra. The Hungarian mountains are not huge, but they are very nice.

I can’t find any translation for the album title anywhere, but I assume it is significant as each track is also named ‘Katruzsa I’, ‘Katrusza II’ etc. What does this title mean, and how does it relate to the themes of the album?

– Katruzsa is a place name in the foot of the Mátra. Otherwise Mátra is the greatest mountain in Hungary. This place symbolizes to me ancient values and traditions. Everything that is meaningless in this ‘consumer’ worldview that we have.

The average English speaker like myself may not be able to understand the lyrics, but the deep emotional content of the music transcends any language barriers. The construction of the songs themselves is quite effective in this way and you’re obviously a relatively accomplished composer, plus judging by some of the tones used and other small hints on the album I would also guess you don’t only restrict your listening or playing to only black metal. Would I be correct in saying this is not your first band or project, and that you draw influence from a wide variety of musical sources?

– Yes, you are right. I listen to many kinds of music. I’ve been listening to black metal for 2 or 3 years. So, this is not too much time. But in these few years I’ve established a strong linkage between me and the genre. I especially like the atmospheric black metal scene, I also like the old school ‘true’ Norwegian scene too. But my cultural roots are not coming from black metal. I have a Deathcore band called As Karma Brings. This is also an underground project, but we play live shows and we would like to go ahead. So, my cultural roots are Metalcore and Deathcore, but I also listen to a lot of genres. I really like sludge metal for example, and Ambient too.

Your also-great first demo ‘Mortals’ was a completely solo project, whereas for ‘Katruzsa’ you have now fleshed out the band a little with a fuller lineup. Can you tell us about the other musicians and their roles in the band? How do you feel their addition has affected your sound from the demo to this debut?

– Yes, on ‘Mortals’ I was just alone. But I haven’t got a full band now; two more vocalists have now joined me. I think their vocal sounds add a lot of pain and suffering to my music. So, I have to thank them for it: Gábor, who made most of vocals (he also made the cover of the album) and Attila from the label (Black Mourning Productions), who has an ambient project called Twilight of Emptiness and he had some black metal bands in the past, so he has vocal experiences.

Has this expansion of the lineup gotten you closer to any live Hænesy performances? Is this something you will be aiming for in future?

– After ‘Katruzsa’ was released, some musicians – in the city I live – applied to make the full live Hænesy performance. So, in the future maybe we will make it. We will not be locked away from it.

The album is released in conjunction with Black Mourning Productions, a fairly new label. How did this partnership come about, and what has it been like to work with them?

– After ‘Mortals’ was released, Attila from the label contacted me and he offered a digipack release option. I thought it was a great idea. After this, the Katruzsa digipack was released by Black Mourning Productions and it has a good run. If you would like to buy it, search our Bandcamp page.

Going back to the lyrics: not having them available for perusal and most likely not being able to understand them anyway, are there any passages or songs you are especially proud of writing or that neatly sum up the meaning of the album that you would like to share with us here?

– My especially favourite song is the ‘Katruzsa IV’, this is the last song that I wrote and I think this is the way that I would like to follow. The lyrical themes were written about passing, nature, anxiety and things like that.

The cover art is great; very simple and effective. I believe this is a photo taken by your main vocalist, Gabor Angeli. Why did you select this particular piece as the cover? Also: is this the first time his art has been used in this fashion, and is there anywhere we can view any more of his work?

– I don’t know. I just had a divination that it would be a great album cover. It was love at first sight. But he has many amazing photos in the same style. You can check Gabor’s work at this site: https://www.instagram.com/darklordsci/.

And lastly, how is the health of the local black metal scene in Budapest? Are there any bands or artists you’d like to give a shout out to, that you feel deserve far more exposure than they’ve been getting?

– Not so much. In Budapest mostly nothing. But in Hungary there are some good artists. For example Vvilderness, Realm of Wolves, Lepra, Sear Bliss.

Thanks again for your time Henrik, it’s been a pleasure. Any final words?

– No thanks.

~

Purchase Hænesy‘s ‘Katrusza‘ on CD and digital from Black Mourning Productions here, or from their own Bandcamp here.

Support Hænesy:

~

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Celestial Luminescence – An Interview with Aludra

Alighting on BMD‘s illegibly scrawled pages once more is ex-Synodic frontwoman Imber. Since we last spoke to her she’s been traversing the constellations, laying down vocals for a few other projects and has now returned from the infinite void with another of her own: the intriguing Aludra. Teaming up with Taryck (ex-Rituals of a Blasphemer) and this time emanating raw, solitary black vibes like gravitational waves across the vastness of the universe; the result is ‘Moons‘, a myriad of interesting takes on the cosmic black metal style. One minute bleak and depressive while the next blasting with the immensity of space, it’s all held together by a distant, solitary coldness that invites immersion and is handily up for name-your-price download on Bandcamp too, so you’ve really got nothing to lose checking the entire thing out. I had to invite Imber back to have a chat about her latest creation, so read on below and align your ear-holes with this promising raw debut. Hails.

~

Greetings again Imber! Hope you are well. The last time we spoke was to do with your previous project Synodic, this time your new project Aludra has just released its debut album ‘Moons‘. Are you happy with how it came out, and the general reception of it?

– I’m really happy with the way it came out, considering we mic’d amps and used free software to record as far as the production is concerned. This is not ‘frilly atmospheric black metal’ as some would expect, so it is a different take on the cosmic theme. It is vastly different from my work with Synodic. We’ve gotten a fair amount of good reception with little promotion from YouTube uploads.

Given the album title and knowing that you’re deeply into astronomy, I’d say this album has a strong theme around it. Could you elaborate on this theme and what it means to you?

– Moons is a concept album about the moons in our solar system, the major planetary satellites. I love researching astronomical themes and missions so I do my research and write around those concepts.

I believe you’ve named Aludra after the star Eta Canis Majoris. Is there any reason you picked this particular star?

– I wanted to name this project after a star, so I looked through a list of names and picked one that appealed to me the most and Aludra was my choice.

I find the overall vibe of the album is one of cold desolation; with the juxtaposition of both organic, stripped back sounds and cold, mechanical drums also lending everything an odd otherworldly feel. When I first wrote about the lead-in single in a recent Bandcamp Misanthropy I surmised that this was rather fitting, given the subject matter. Was this completely your intent, or did any outside factors also have an influence on the sound?

– Taryck wrote the music with some great traditional black metal riffs. He programmed the drums for this album but all other future releases will have live drums (and we may re-release this album later on with live drums). I added ambient samples and arranged and recorded my vocals to it. The result is rather unique in my opinion; it is more raw with a cold feel to it rather than a more technical atmospheric sound. We plan to keep writing in that direction.

Tracks like ‘Red Planet Moon‘ really allow us to see a different side to your vocals; they’re rawer and more up-front than they’ve ever been. How did you find the vocal recording process this time around?

– I actually enjoyed recording vocals for this album more so than anything I’ve ever done before. With minimal effects added I was able to showcase my raw vocal style for what it is. This has given me a new found confidence that I will use on anything I do from now on.

I find the final ambient composition ‘Orb of Night‘ intriguing. Can you tell us a little about this track and the inspiration for it?

– Orb of Night is dedicated to Earth’s Moon. Our Moon has inspired a lot in black metal and a lot of art in general. I think this track just sums up the dark feeling the Moon creates.

Another small thing I really like about this project is the logo. It’s not often I ask about band logos in an interview, but it’s really nice work. You want to give a plug to whoever designed it?

– The Aludra logo was done by the talented Jill Colbert of Manfish Inc. She’s a great artist and does affordable work in a timely manner. I would recommend her to anyone.

Have you started thinking about the next release yet? Can you give us any information on it?

– We’re currently writing for a split that will be done by the end of this year. We’ll give more info about that soon.

And lastly: If someone hasn’t yet listened to Aludra, why should they?

– If you want to hear a unique take on Cosmic Black Metal check it out.

Again, sincerest thanks for your time Imber. Any last words?

– I just want to thank the people I’ve had along the way supporting my path with music.

Aludra is my baby now and no matter what happens this project will never die as long as I’m doing music.

~

Pick up a digital copy of ‘Moons‘ at name-your-price download from Aludra‘s Bandcamp here.

Support Aludra:

~

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The Powers of Evil – An Interview with Onda Makter

Diabolical triumvirate Onda Makter‘s moniker translates quite literally to “evil powers”. But what exactly is evil? Whether you charge at that complex question from a religious or ethical philosophy standpoint, you can (very loosely, since after Nietzsche suggested we ditch morality and go “Beyond Good and Evil” in 1886 the question has arguably obtained no further clarification) boil it down to two types: Evil not caused by man, and evil most definitely caused by man.

It’s with the latter of the two that these Swedes concern themselves, and this is what informs their debut album ‘Mardrömmars Värsta Mänsklighet‘. I know themes of misanthropia are the furthest possible thing from cutting edge in black metal these days, but to me, they’ll never get old. Satan and the cosmos are cool and all, but humanity mostly fucking sucks at the best of times and we honestly deserve the hatred.

Hatred is undeniably what Onda Makter dish out with their cold stream of black that for the most part follows the blueprint laid out by their Swedish countrymen before them. For those who don’t know what that means, their ruinous attack is injected with a solid dose of both melody and metal, with some seriously headbanging grooves and palm-muting sneaking in to the equation. Sounds enjoyable, right? It is. Some mighty riffs are to be found here and the songwriting scales some enviable peaks too; the soaring final track ‘Om Allt Bara Tog Slut‘ is a personal favourite and puts many more established bands to shame. WHAT an album closer.

Anyway, after hearing this album I simply had to grab these demons for a quick chat. So check out advance track and killer opening rite ‘Profetians Paradoxala Pagina‘ below (or the premiere of the also great second track ‘Dödens Rike‘ over at Indy Metal Vault here) before the CD and cassette release on 27th July exclusively through the great Fólkvangr Records, and read on for a taste of the darkness in man.

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Greetings Onda Makter. Sincerest thanks for taking the time to speak to us, I hope all is well there in Sweden. Your debut album ‘Mardrömmars Värsta Mänsklighet‘ will finally be unleashed in all it’s resplendent black glory on 27th July. I’ve heard it and it’s fantastic, but in your own words: What can we expect to hear from the album?

– Hey Black Metal Daily! Everything is fine here in Sweden. You can expect a varied, well produced and misanthropic themed album. There are both slow and fast songs with lots of melodies and with just the right amount of black metal spirit to the whole package; not too shittily recorded, nor too crystal clear.

Sounds great. If I’m not mistaken (and I very well may be, thanks Google Translate), the title of the record translates to “Nightmare’s Worst Humanity”. What does this mean?

– Yes, that is correct. The meaning of this title is a metaphor for how disgusting humanity actually is. We think that it is a well suited title to describe our album.

Agreed. With all that in mind and song titles also translating to “The Kingdom of Death” and “If Everything Just Ended”, I’ll assume the overarching themes of the album are definitely more misanthropic and nihilistic than anything else. Would this be true? If so, can you elaborate on why? Would this bear similarities to your own personal worldview?

– Yes, it’s Archon who writes the lyrics so that question goes mainly to him. In his own words; “When you bring the truth into pale light, you realize that it’s really everyone for themselves. Everyone is capable of acting in a way that could hurt others just to gain something for themselves, and people are doing this all the time. The reason why I have decided to write about this (misanthropy) is because I need to channel my feelings and I do not really know why, but I can see this every day and I feel that I need to do something with it.”

It is indeed a sad, inescapable truth. Now let’s get a bit more into the technical side of things: Given that opening track ‘Profetians Paradoxala Pagina’ was also the opening salvo on last year’s ‘Om Allt Bara Tog Slut’ EP, as soon as you push play the difference in sound smacks you in the face. It’s much more full and powerful. How did the recording sessions go, are you happy with how everything turned out?

– Thank you, we did have some technical problems in the beginning, but once that was solved everything went really smooth and we could not be any happier with how everything turned out this time.

You’ve had a few lineup changes over the years. Do you feel this has necessarily changed the overall songwriting from the first 2014 self-titled demo to this debut full-length, or has the creative core remained intact?

– Yes and no. The core has always been there but nowadays we, Archon and Malphas, cooporate with each other on the writing process. So the creativity has increased since the start in that regard.

The album is being released on both cassette and CD formats via Fólkvangr Records, I believe this is also one of the first CD releases for the label. What first drew you to work with Fólkvangr, and are you pleased with the results so far? Is this a partnership you hope to continue in future?

– We stumbled upon Fólkvangr records through some research on the web and sent them a message that we were interested in working with them.

Mark is a great guy who is very passionate about what he is doing. He is great to work with and we hope to continue work with him and Fólkvangr Records for future releases as well.

He is a legend. Another thing I’d like to note is the performances on the record, they’re all standout. What was your introduction to music, and how did you find your way to the blackened path? What then led to the creation of Onda Makter?

– Everyone found an interest in music quite early in their life and it later evolved to what it is now. We think it is a strong genre with appealing qualities to express ourselves with this kind of music, and this has led to the creation of Onda Makter.

I agree. Despite the variety of opinions on the matter this genre only goes from strength to strength for me, from the earliest days to the most modern black fury. Speaking of; you can definitely hear a lot of traditional black metal influences throughout the album. Do you have any particular artists (musical or otherwise) that you may have drawn inspiration from during the composition process, or simply who inspire you in general?

– We try not to have any particular artists influence us, but instead keep it varied. We take inspiration from whatever we think fits in and will suit our music, but just to name a few bands we enjoy: Immortal, Austere, Gorgoroth, Mörk Gryning, etc.

All superb bands, and as an aside it’s great to see Immortal come storming back through the gates with their latest this year too, corpse paint and all. There’s been much debate over the years on the merits of bands still wearing corpsepaint, actually; personally I appreciate it and it’s refreshing to see you guys are carrying on the tradition, but what are your thoughts on it and why do you wear it?

– We believe that it strengthens the live performance and adds that “old-school” vibe to it. It is an attractive tradition for those who are into the music and a kind of history as well that we would like to keep going.

More power to you, it should be kept going. And finally: What lies on the horizon for Onda Makter? I believe you played a couple of shows last year, are you looking to ramp up your live presence upon release of the new album?

– Yes, once the album is out we will go out and play gigs. We are preparing for new merchandise right now and we will keep on going with spreading our music.

Nice. Once again, sincerest thanks for your time and the excellent debut album, I daresay it will receive many more spins from me. Any final words you’d like to leave us with?

– Thank you for having us and keep supporting the underground scene!

~

Purchase Onda Makter‘s ‘Mardrömmars Värsta Mänsklighet‘ on CD or cassette from Fólkvangr Records here.

Support Onda Makter:

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