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.


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,



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

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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.


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.

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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.

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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.


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.

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Break Us, Destroy Us – An Interview with Brahdr’Uhz

The mysterious Swiss entity of Brahdr’Uhz plays black metal the way it should be played. Their songs sound like all your favourite raw bands of years gone by, rolled into one but with three times the hate. And you may not have even heard of them yet.

This however, is how they’ve liked it. Releasing their first self-titled demo in late 2017 and the two after that in a grand limited total of ten copies each, this music was only meant to be heard by a select few… Until recently. When I saw that Grimm Distribution was releasing a CD compilation of tracks from their first three demos I almost fell off my chair; I don’t believe I’ve ever hit the “shut the fuck up and take my money” button so fast in my life. I simply had to attempt to reach out to main man Brahz for more information. To which he graciously, and to my slight surprise, obliged; so read on below for the briefest glimpse into the fresh hell and true subterranean fury that is Brahdr’Uhz.


Hails Brahz! Thanks for taking the time to speak to us. I’ve recently discovered your work and the pure expulsion of hate, nihilism and utter sonic darkness is refreshing. For the unaware: Why was Brahdr’Uhz formed, and what is the message you wish to convey with your art?

– Brahdr’Uhz is a big “FUCK YOU ALL”. A way of expression, a way of suffering and a journey to death. Quite usual, BUT it is the only reason why Brahdr’Uhz exists…

Brahdr’Uhz is an evocative name. Where did it originate, and what is the meaning behind it?

– It’s an old dialect and you can translate it more or less like “break us” or “destroy us”. The opposite of “bless us”. But it’s not in the depressive way like, I’m crying and I’m waiting to be killed! It’s more like “come on and try to destroy us! We are immortal and fuck you”.

I was at first under the impression that Brahdr’Uhz was the product of one man, but a recent press release noted that there were two members: Brahz and Penetranalattak Deflagramicide. Can you clarify who plays which role within the band?

– Brahdr’Uhz is a one man band. Penetranalattak Deflagramicide play drums in couple of songs but as a session drummer. I probably will continue alone again for the next demos.

Your sound draws heavily from the darkness of the past, but in particular bears some similarities to the great Les Légions Noires bands. Do you consciously draw inspiration from these or any other artists when you compose? What other influences do you have while you write?

– Viva Les Légions Noires. I love them as I hate them. I don’t know what to say when it’s about inspiration. For sure some Judas Iscariot and some TNBM bands… But my own life is my main inspiration.

In true underground spirit you have traditionally duplicated your own extremely limited tapes for your releases, but have recently worked with two great and vastly different labels: Medieval Werewolf Antiquarium and now Grimm Distribution. How was it working with Medieval Werewolf Antiquarium (who also release in extremely limited quantities)?

– MWA is totally devoted to the underground. I respect him a lot. But, I wanted to release more than 10 copies so I asked Grimm to release a regular album.

But I still like to release stuff by myself like in the old good past. It’s so easy today to find a label and to release a CD of 500 copies limited. Today we are back to the demos and the limited homemade stuff, for the better.

In my opinion this masterful display of obsidian filth also deserves to be on wax. Are there any plans or hopes for a vinyl release in future?

– I’m a tape and vinyl lover. Yes I hope I’ll see something out on wax one day, but nothing is planned yet. Just have to find a label as crazy as me to release it.

You have also just released another two track demo: the great ‘Alkeldama‘. This is the fourth Brahdr’Uhz demo, and all of them have been excellent. Are there any intentions for a proper full-length release one day?

– I just released a split with Trefihrat couple of weeks ago and the next step will be a full-length probably, yes. It will depend on the inspiration and the time I can put into it.

You tap into a rare and raw primal black flame, far away from the progression (or arguable dilution, depending on your point of view) that the genre has undertaken over the years. What is your opinion of the modern varied strains of what is now known as black metal? Do you listen to many current artists?

I have an old school vision of black metal I guess… Maybe because I’m old? Black metal is here to fuck the commerce, to say fuck religion and to say fuck you all.

I don’t need a well produced album. I don’t need a good mix and mastering, I don’t want to sound like radio music. The sound is primitive and I record everything with one mic only.

I don’t get why Black Metal bands start to be commercial and well produced. Isn’t that the opposite of why we exist?

And finally: Will Brahdr’Uhz ever play live, or are your rituals intended as more of a solitary experience?

– As a one man band and as an asshole I don’t think live will be possible, but who knows.

Once again, sincerest thanks for your time. Any final words?



Purchase Brahdr’uhz‘s ‘Land of Darkness’ on CD or digital from his Bandcamp here, or from GrimmDistribution here.

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Meaningless Dust – A Chat with Alex Wills of Dark Doom

A while back, a preview copy of UK melodic black/death project Dark Doom‘s debut album ‘Dust’ materialised in my inbox. The sole product of one Alex Wills, it turns out he’s already had a few demos out on tape, is partial to throwing up the odd black metal classic cover on YouTube (check out his rendition of ‘Mother North’ here, which I’m not one hundred percent certain he’s going to be happy I’ve linked) plus upon further communication has turned out to be a good guy.

The most crucial thing, though: The album is surprisingly solid. Self-releasing on 29th June with two preview tracks available as we speak, the varying hues of black, melodic death and many other delightful strains of carnage mesh together into an enjoyable listen. I had to hit him up to ask: What’s it all about?

“The main theme for the album is the idea that everything and everyone is made up of the same materials that were created at the beginning of the universe. We’re all the same at birth and when we die we all decompose and become the same again. Because of this everlasting cycle, nothing that we do really has any meaning or purpose in the grand scale of the universe as even events that define the human race will be forgotten in time to come, making them meaningless. In the album I refer to the materials that make everything as ‘cosmic dust’ and reference it in a number of songs.”

That sort of nihilistic approach always works for me (and the stirring ‘Cosmic Dust’ is actually my favourite track on the album, too). Did he find anything in particular that inspired his creative process?

“The only real memory I have of a specific moment when inspiration struck, was when I arrived at work one morning (I work on the top floor of an office building) during October. It was extremely foggy. The view of fields and hills shrouded in fog from my office window was very atmospheric, and I could imagine a huge creature striding amongst the fog. This was the inspiration for the track ‘Roaming Creature’.

Speaking of ‘Roaming Creature’: that’s a great opener. The first thing that really made me sit up and take notice of the album was that ace little guitar solo, artfully placed yet totally unexpected. He clearly has some compositional and playing skills, so I wondered where his musical background lay?

“I started playing guitar at 13 and studied music composition and performance up to university level. In 2015 I got my Batchelors degree in popular music and music technology.”

You can definitely tell, it stands above many other one-man project’s debut albums. There’s also a variety of styles and influences present, from the expected black rage to really solid melodeath to some nice melodic parts and soaring leads, so I’d safely wager a tenner he doesn’t only listen to black metal. I asked what some of his musical influences were:

“I listen to a lot of music (mostly metal) but some of the main influences for this album came from bands like Satyricon, Behemoth, Insomnium, Time Lurker, Alcest, Uada, and Ghost. As well as this I also took inspiration from local artists from around my area that I enjoy, such as Abduction, Suodeth and Ubiquitous.

When stumbling upon this project, the first thing you’ll probably take into consideration before even giving it a listen is its moniker: ‘Dark Doom’. Those of you expecting some average gloomy black/funeral doom be prepared to be both disappointed and pleasantly surprised. I had to ask what the story behind it was:

“Why the name Dark Doom? The project was originally set up as a bit of a joke/experiment. I was trying to see if I could make black metal myself so I picked two words that sounded evil and threw them together. Hence, Dark Doom. After I got a bit more serious about it I just kept the name as I liked it at that point.”

And how does he feel about the album itself?

“It’s the first full-length album I’ve ever created myself. I’ve been working hard on it for around 9 months and I’m very proud of how it’s turned out. It’s the first of what I hope to be many.”

I’m sure there will be many more. Is writing already underway for the next one, or does he have other, more immediate plans?

“Writing hasn’t begun for album two as of yet, but it won’t be long until I start writing again. The next step is to take Dark Doom live. I already have my first show booked and I’m looking for more. As a solo metal project this presents challenges but I’m ready to overcome them and start taking my music out there.”

I hope it goes well. Have any labels shown interest?

“I have not yet seen any interest from labels but I would be interested in having a discussion with any that are interested. I do plan on putting out physical copies of the album if people express an interest.”

Personally, I’m sure there’ll be plenty of interest. One last thing I was curious about: he claims Dark Doom to be “Part of the FOS666 Horde”. What’s this all about?

“FOS666 stands for Fist Of Satan 666. It’s a blog/website service run by Fist who promotes artists and bands that he enjoys. As for the ‘horde’ part, Fist currently hosts the Dark Doom official website as well as the sites for a number of others. In return for this I put ‘Part of the FOS666 Horde’ on all Dark Doom social media to let people know about him. I’ll put links to my site and the main FOS666 site below:



Nice one. And his final message to anyone reading this:

“Thanks to everyone who has supported Dark Doom so far and to anyone who hasn’t heard it, please check it out. This is just the beginning.”



Pre-order Dark Doom‘s ‘Dust’ digitally from Bandcamp here.

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Thriving In Arrogance – An Interview with Sammath

If you’ve never heard the smooth sounds of Dutch crooners Sammath, prepare yourself: this shit is not for the faint hearted. In our initial message exchange, guitarist/vocalist/songwriter/lyricist/champion bloke Jan Kruitwagen sent me a recent live clip and asked the question: “did your ears fall off?”. I played it coy with my response, but the truth is they didn’t so much fall off as be ripped forcefully from my skull, flung against a wall, stomped on repeatedly, burnt, spat on, then run through a meat grinder for good measure.

Black/death metal is the game, and these fine gentlemen’s aim is utter fucking decimation. I’d heard their 1999 debut ‘Strijd’ around fifteen years ago and liked it but somehow never heard another peep from them after that, so catching up on their discography in the following days was a total pleasure. When I then found out that they not only have a live tape on the way but their debut had recently also copped a vinyl reissue through Hammerheart Records, I figured I’d be an idiot to not ask Jan to sit down for a chat about it all. Luckily, he agreed. So read on below and do yourself a favor by checking out their stuff; you don’t need your ears anyway.


Hails Jan! Cheers for speaking to us. Your absolute weapon of a band Sammath recently re-released your debut album ‘Strijd’ on vinyl. Can you tell us a little about that? What led to this happening?

– Thanks mate. Strijd had been sold out on CD for years. The re-release on vinyl from 2002 was also sold out as well as the tape re-releases. I kept getting requests from people who wanted it. So Hammerheart did a great job getting it out. Gold vinyl. The thing looks bloody brilliant.

‘Strijd’ was actually the only Sammath album I’d heard up until recently, back then it was absolute carnage and in my opinion it still holds up perfectly today. How do you feel listening back over it now? Is there anything you would change, or anything you’re particularly proud of?

– Thanks. Well, mixed feelings to be honest. Some of the keyboards suck. But overall I’m still proud of the sound and atmosphere on my debut album. It’s rough as hell and we still play some songs live now after 20 plus years. I still like the flow and mood of the songs and some tracks like ‘Drakenbloed’ sound killer live.

Listening through your output since, you’ve not only remained just as uncompromising but have somehow clawed to all new levels of savagery with every release, becoming faster, streamlined, more lethal. Is this a conscious thing? Do you actively try to outdo yourselves with every album or are you just naturally becoming even more violent with age?

– I think the last, haha. I’m never frustrated or pissed off in life, so it must be the music. I live for this style of music. I have enjoyed black, thrash, death and speed metal since ’85. I can get totally fucked up on stage or while writing tracks. I do try to make each album different so I don’t end up like other bands constantly making the same CD. As savage as possible is correct. I’m still trying to create the most ruthless album. Maybe this time… ‘Godless Arrogance’ was close though.

Going back to that last album, 2014’s ‘Godless Arrogance’: This might be an odd one to pick as a standout but I keep returning to the track ‘Death (Hunt Them Down)’. That churning riff is fucking great. Do you have any personal favourite tracks off that album, or from the entire Sammath discography? Are there any that you love ripping out live?

– Cheers. That track is the most death metal I’ve ever done. I like most tracks. ‘Thrive in Arrogance’ and ‘Nineteen Corpses Hang in the Mist’ along with ‘Shot in Mass’ are the tracks that I like to play live, even though ‘Shot in Mass’ is so fucking fast that I almost need oxygen afterwards.

Speaking of playing live, you’ve also got a live album dropping soon on Zwaertgevegt, which I reckon is ace and more bands should also release them. When will that be available and what made you decide to put one out now?

– That’s coming out on tape in a few months. Alex from Zwaertgevegt was in front banging his bloody head off during most of our shows, I’ve known the bloke for years and he also released our demo tapes and ‘Godless Arrogance’. That was his first pro tape. He simply deserves it. I really wanted a live release so people know how we sound these days. Peter Neuber mastered it all. It sounds so damn filthy, but you can still hear it all perfectly. Pure primal madness.

Next year will be the 25th anniversary of Sammath. Does the fire still burn as brightly as it did a quarter of a century ago? Is there anything planned to mark the occasion?

– I feel like we’re only getting started. We have a new drummer, Wim from legends Centurian and Inquisitor. So we sound like a machine now. Nothing special about getting old. All I want is a next release. Sometime Feb would be 25 years. That would fit well.

With a quarter of a century of ineffable black metal power under your belt: What does black metal itself mean to you? Has the meaning changed at all over the years, and how do you perceive the genre now in comparison to the ’90s?

– The same as always. Living life how I want. Wandering my own path. Never listening to anyone except some close friends and family. Not being touched by opinions. Simply not giving a fuck is total freedom. Something my Dad taught me when I was young: follow your own path. I’m teaching my son the same. Its all pretty much turned into fast food for some in today’s scene, but in general the scene is alive and kicking. Many new good bands.

Something I noticed while researching this is the fact you were born in Australia, which is where I’m from myself. Were you here for long and do you head back at all? Any chance of a tour decimating Down Under shores one of these days?

– I’d love to mate. I grew up in Berowra. Northern suburb in Sydney. From 6 to 17, I loved it in Aussie.

Best youth you can imagine. Rowdy bastards everywhere back in the 80s. Bloody loved it. Still miss it, but over here it’s great. 5 hours from Paris, Berlin, London. Australia made me metal and I’m proud as fuck of that. That country was and still is amazing. I’ll always feel a strong connection to Aussies. Whenever I meet one at a concert we always end up pissed.

A while back you made the switch from Folter Recs to Hammerheart Records. What instigated that, and have you been happy with the result so far? Will you be with Hammerheart for future releases?

– Hammerheart is huge. I’m on the same label as Pestilence for fuck’s sake, haha. I got a call from Guido and I said yes and left Folter Records after 18 great years. I’m more than happy with Hammerheart, I even work there now. I do the promotions.

About those future releases… Any news on a new album? If so, what can we expect from it?

– Almost half is done. Totally relentless fuck-you-kill-everything black death metal. It’s going to make the last album sound like nursery rhymes. I have a new drummer as written above. New guitar sound. It’s all dealing with the different action seen here during World War 2, from the places nearby to where I was born and now live again. On the Dutch – German border. All the lyrics deal with death. Hatred. Utter chaos and describing the events.

And finally, a kid (your own, even) comes up to you and says they want to start a black metal band. What advice do you give them?

– Get a job ya shit. Buy a guitar and write riffs cunt.

Sincerest thanks for your time Jan, looking forward to more Sammath annihilation! Any last words?

Always follow your own path. Fuck religion. Thrive in arrogance. And send me a case of VB.


Purchase Sammath‘s ‘Strijd’ on vinyl from Hammerheart Productions here, and latest album ‘Godless Arrogance’ here.

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When Darkness Enters – An Interview with Höstblod

‘Mörkrets Intåg’, the debut offering from Swedish one man project Höstblod, is an unexpected album. From the minute you push play you’re constantly surprised in the most pleasant of ways. Black Metal is often restricted and weakened by perceived ‘rules’ that must be followed, and both the artist and listener are often guilty of falling into this trap of expectations. Listening to this album you get the feeling the man behind Höstblod has absolutely none of that anywhere in mind. This is him creating solely for himself, and the result is something beautiful and hidden.

With fantastic instrumentation, composition and arrangement, frequent (and great) clean vocals and even children’s singing, the album can be as stripped back and captivating as to have your heart in your mouth while you listen then seamlessly transition to unleashing an elemental, tortured fury like few others. Being a non-Swedish speaker I was unaware of the deeply personal side to the album until he mentioned it in this interview too; that knowlege has imbued further listens of the album with an immense and powerful, yet delicate emotional weight. It’s honestly breathtaking, and I guarantee not what you will have expected going in.

With not even a demo to his name, this man has gone all out with no fear and crafted something hushed and unique, something truly special. So either listen to the full stream below or the tracks embedded in the interview, and read on as Johan Nilsson walks us through the shadowed glades of ‘Mörkrets Intåg’.


Hello Johan! Thanks for speaking to us, hope you’re doing well.

– Hi! I’m doing very well, thank you, but a full schedule to say the least. Didn’t really think the record would get this much attention to be honest.

Your debut album ‘Mörkrets Intåg‘ has just been released. I believe it has been quite a journey, how does it feel to finally be holding the physical product of all your work in your hands? Can you tell us a little about its creation?

– The creation of ‘Mörkrets Intåg’ has taken a long time. I think its getting close to two years since I started the recordings, so actually seeing it now feels very surreal and emotional. Alongside its becoming I have had tremendous support from Rog Jarl from Le Narthécophore, so sharing these moments with him is very nice.

The album is stunning; loaded with beautiful and varied instrumentation. You seem to be an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, what’s your musical background? Is this your first project?

– This is indeed my first black metal project. I played in some bands in my youth, mostly alternative rock, but then my interest for the classical guitar took over. So after a long classical guitar education I started working as a guitar teacher and I think it was at this point my passion for black metal started to blossom. Probably as a reaction to the stale and rigid world of classical music.

And, yes, I play a lot of instruments on this record but the actual playing isn’t really that complicated. I practised the drum parts a bit but the hard part is composing the music. If you have a band you can try stuff out when you rehearse, but as a one man project you have to visualise the music in your head and just do what you can to make it come alive.

There’s a great folk-ish, natural sound to it all. A certain integrity and authenticity. Music is a universal language but my Swedish is unfortunately poor, so I’m not able to gather too many clues as to the exact lyrical themes; could you share some wisdom about the topics the album touches upon and what they mean to you?

– The main themes are sickness, death and the feeling of emptiness that it brings. I started this project when my mother got diagnosed with dementia and seeing her fade away fuelled the creation of ‘Mörkrets Intåg’ (‘When Darkness Enters’). The lyrics to the last song ‘Tystnaden’ (‘The Silence’) were written just after she passed, so the whole album is basically therapy for me to be able to cope with the situation.

The whole thing is covered in some incredible artwork with a very symbolic cover, done by Tiny Dots of Death. What are your thoughts on it, and how does it all tie-in to the music within?

– I agree, the artwork turned out amazing. Rog and I have worked closely with Mark from Tiny Dots of Death, with both ideas and the symbolism of death and rebirth noticeable even in the very fabric of the cover. But the end result was made possible by Marks willingness to pour his soul into this, not compromising in any way. The font used on the inside of the cover is especially built for this album for instance. Not going into detail, one could say that it has a theme of motherhood and decay.

The vinyl is being dually released through Le Narthécophore and Vinyl Compvlsion, while the CD is on the way through Wolfspell Records (if that’s public knowledge yet). Have you enjoyed working with all of those guys?

– Well, it’s solely Le Narthécophore who has produced both versions of the album, but we made a special edition for the VC community (available only to members) to thank them for the support. And to that version they provided the stickers and Eddie Ruffles helped out doing the booklet. Working with Rog from Le Narthécophore has been crucial, even for this music’s existence. Supporting all crazy ideas from children singing to the ballad ‘Höstblod’. Which I never planned to make or put on the album, by the way. The melodies and the chords just appeared in my head and wouldn’t leave until I recorded them and then it became a natural part of the process of this album.

To release a VC special has been planned for quite some time and that also feels very rewarding, to give back a little to a community that has given me a lot of entertainment and interesting dialogue. Wolfspell Records have entered now in the end, and there will also be a tape released in fall from a Canadian label that are just starting up (follow Höstblod on Facebook if you are interested in updates). I am eternally grateful to these guys for getting my music out there.

Vinyl Compvlsion in particular are known for their limited edition clandestine variants and ‘Mörkrets Intåg’ has been bestowed with a gorgeous bone white. How does someone get their hands on one of these rare gems?

If you are a member of VC you can order that one from the VC cartel or from distributing members in the group. We have copies available in Germany, Denmark, Canada, US, Holland and by me in Sweden, plus on the Le Narthécophore bigcartel. The regular black is also available by most of these people and by Not Kvlt Records in the US. Or, simply private message Höstblod on Facebook.

Also packaged in the special edition are some unique photographs taken by you. I love this kind of personal detail, what was the thought behind putting these in?

– Regarding the photos I thought it would be a nice gesture towards the listener, to add something a bit personal since it is a very personal recording. The photos are from a lot of of places, for example the village where my mother grew up. And I also thought about getting the message out there that if you want to know something about the photo that goes along with your copy of ‘Mörkrets Intåg’, just send Höstblod a message on Facebook and I will do my best to explain the thoughts and whereabouts of that photo.

While researching this, I made the odd discovery that Höstblod has joined the ranks of those with the dubious honour of being blacklisted from Metal Archives for being “not metal enough”. Clearly they haven’t actually listened to the album; the title track and ‘Tystnaden’ for example are both some of the finest black metal you’ll hear this year. I’m sure it doesn’t faze you in the slightest, but what the hell is going on there?

– Well, this project has been quite secret and under the radar, so it just might be that no-one has bothered adding it yet. Personally I don’t care how you label my music.

After all this, what lies on the horizon for Höstblod? Any new recordings in the works yet?

– Well after this I thought that I would never be able to muster the energy to do something like this again. It has been exhausting, physically and mentally. But music is starting to grow in my head again, so in some way it probably forces its way out.

Sincerest thanks for your time and the incredible music, Johan. Any final words?

– Thank you to all you fine people that understands the beauty and darkness of Höstblod.



Purchase Höstblod‘s ‘Mörkrets Intåg’ on vinyl from Le Narthécophore here, Vinyl Compvlsion here, or digitally from Bandcamp here.

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The Blood of Life – An Interview with Helgafell

“At a time where cultural, historical and environmental values and heritage are often forgotten or ignored, the attempt must be made to resew what has been disregarded…”


I’ve spoken of this before, but once again: it’s not hard to tell when a project has integrity. You can just feel when the artist responsible for it believes in their message. Listening through ‘Landvaettir’, the debut atmospheric/pagan black metal album by Helgafell and sole work of UK man Feigsfar, you can hear in each note and every word that he has poured his heart and soul into his creation. The Pagan atmospheres and themes are sincere and give extra depth to its resonance; this man is living what he speaks of and it informs his art in a beautiful and compelling way. This IS the man and his beliefs. This is his life.

Originally released digitally back in March, it’s not hard to recognize the strength, quality and potential of this debut once you hear it and one who immediately did was Mark at the great Fólkvangr Records, who is now bestowing upon it the lavish tape treatment it deserves and aiding in spreading the word of Helgafell to the masses. The tape drops tomorrow (in a limit of 50, so sign up for an email notification here if you don’t want to miss out), and ahead of its release we were fortunate enough to grab a few words with Feigsfar, the man behind it all. Read on below.


Greetings Feigsfar! I hope you are well, thanks for taking the time to speak to us. Your debut album ‘Landvaettir’ was released digitally a couple of months ago now. Are you happy with the album and how it has been received?

– Hello, thanks for your questions, I am glad to hear you enjoyed the album. I am happy with the feedback I have received overall. It’s been a long time coming for me to finally release an album of my music after playing for around 10 years, so it’s a good feeling. I am hoping to have used this first release as a primary stepping stone towards getting my foot in the door as a Black Metal musician and musician in general. I have learnt my way along throughout the writing and recording process, as well as the communicative nature of having a solo project. YouTube channels such as Atmospheric Black Metal Albums, Metal Vault, Pagan Music Albums and Symphonic Black Metal Albums have all released my album on their channels, so I have been pleasantly surprised. I have received a lot of support so far and I look forward to working on more music for the future.

Helgafell is solely your work, and sounds remarkably accomplished for a debut. Can you shine a little light upon your musical beginnings and the origins of the project for us?

– My musical beginnings were primarily drums and guitar as a young teenager, which then evolved into any instrument I could get my hands on that I liked the sound of. Going from more mainstream metal, I quickly found my way into Death Metal and Black Metal as a mid/late teen. Since then, at the age of 24, I have stuck to enjoying those genres as well as Jazz, Blues, Classical and especially Folk!

The origins of Helgafell started in about mid 2017 when I decided to do a Black Metal project based on important issues I hold dear and around a solid theme. I created the project from within the spare room of my flat and therefore in the comfort of my own environment, where I felt I was able to comfortably express what I wanted to convey in the music. The primary goal for this first release was to create an atmospheric Black Metal sound with themes based around Heathenism, Nature, Environmentalism, Heritage and Autonomy.

Given that you alone play all instruments on the album, what is your composition process like? When do you know it’s time to work on Helgafell?

– My composition process always starts with me humming a riff in my head that I come up with when I’m at work, or out on a walk in the woods. It seems to happen easier away from home than at home. I think for me, being out of the house allows my mind to think more freely and come up with something I can take back to my writing and recording area. The composing itself is always done firstly on Guitar Pro 5, as I think it is a fantastic platform to write down the skeleton of your songs to refer back to and add to. Actual recording on DAWs (I use Cubase), isn’t done until the actual recording process later on.

Personally, my favourite thing about the album is your use of deep, affecting melody such as the plaintive single notes featuring in the first section of opener ‘The Envious Deed’ and then recurring throughout. This may sound a little odd but I find it pulls similar strings within me as older doom like early Katatonia or Paradise Lost. That feeling draped elegantly throughout your stunning and robust pagan black metal is simply wonderful, packing a huge, emotional yearning for times gone by and places not yet reached. It’s clear this is a very personal album; what do you yourself take from it or feel when you listen back to it?

– A lot of compliments there, thank you! I like to think I have released somewhat of a unique album, with influences of more than just a few bands in there. One of the main things I take from the album when listening back is the reoccurring melodic parts as my intention was to add thin, treble-based layers of melody that stuck out in the mix and gave a nice contrast to the rest of the heavier, distorted sound.

Ryo of Pure Wrath did a fantastic job of the mixing and mastering as well, and that’s also something I always remember whenever I put the album on.

You can also tell the lyrics are deeply intertwined with/expressive of your own beliefs and philosophies; reverent tales of Norse mythology like ‘Discovery and Sacrifice’ which speaks of Odin‘s discovery of the Runes and the god “sacrificing himself to himself”. How important is Norse Mythology and the old ways to you, and how do they feature in your life?

– As a Pagan, (and Norse Paganism being of a big thing for me) I have always gained inspiration from the philosophies, teachings, and ways that that specific branch of Paganism offers.

Aspects such as the Nine Noble Virtues and the Havamal stanzas are things I always relate back to in life to gain a better understanding of how to approach situations and better myself in life.

I will always believe that there is a lot that Europeans can learn from the old ways that can help to benefit them as individuals and others around them, as well as helping them to improve the areas around them and to ensure sustainability and resourcefulness within the things they do. My passion for Norse Mythology and beliefs are one of the concepts that made it significantly easier for me to write about naturally.

On the other hand, you also have tracks like the disturbing ‘Lifeblood’. In particular, can you tell us a little about the themes this song touches on and your thoughts on this?

– I consider Lifeblood to be the most ‘Black Metal’ song of the album, and it definitely the most raw. The theme for this song is based around humanity draining Earth’s resources, so I thought the title to be fitting as well as the relentlessness of the riffs to bode well with the overall emotions of the song. The actions of humanity have for a long time been an emotional thorn in my side, as I have found the stubborn ignorance of many people to be mentally draining as well as somewhat hopeless. I intended to express this within this song and I hope it came across!

Correct me if I’m wrong but the name “Helgafell” refers to the holy mountain in Iceland of the same name, where it is said not only Guðrún Ósvífrsdóttir’s grave is located but also the gateway to the afterlife, and if you pilgrimage to the top without looking back, will have three wishes granted. Why did this particular mountain speak to you so? Have you ever visited, or are you planning to make the pilgrimage?

– The mountain of Helgafell was a location that stuck out to me; from the beliefs, to the location, to the aesthetics. It is a location I intend to one day visit and indeed make the same pilgrimage to! It’s not the biggest mountain, and it’s not in the most beautiful, forest-filled landscape, but the simplicity of it and the integrity of the beliefs based around it (as well as the name of course) was more than enough for me to want to name this project after it in its honour! (I was happy to see it wasn’t taken either!)

After being self-released digitally last year, Fólkvangr Records is giving ‘Landvaettir’ the beautiful cassette treatment it deserves. To paraphrase a quote I have seen from label owner Mark, your album “pretty much sums up” what he’s trying to do with the label both “musically and aesthetically”. How do you feel about that, and what has it been like working with Mark and Fólkvangr?

– Mark has been fantastic with his show of enthusiasm, honour and support towards my project. I was delighted to see the artists involved in his previous releases and was more than happy to work with him. He doesn’t ask for money and puts a lot of time and effort into his work, and I feel that shows. I’m thoroughly looking forward to the tape release and to add Helgafell to his list of artists.

I was honoured when he spoke of my project fitting into his plethora of artists and his vision so well. I can only say thank you to him for his support thus far!

The album has undergone a cover art change for the physical release. Both are fantastic, can you tell us a little about both the original Fran Shum artwork and the new, more classically styled cover?

– I have previously worked with Fran on a death metal project a few years ago. She had drawn up and nearly finished a fantastic, gory impalement-filled piece which unfortunately wasn’t used, due to me and the vocalist falling out! Since then, I made it a primary goal to have her art work on at least one of my releases. She is young, and naturally gifted as an artist with a sub-conscious flare-filled vision. Her artwork I felt worked very well for the mp3 and hopefully CD release. For the tapes, Mark was going with a general artistic theme specific to the couple of tapes coming out at the time, and we conversed about using different art for the cassette version. After pondering for a while, I decided that it was common for many bands to have at least 2 different art works for various formats of release, and the art he chose I felt was simple yet darkly elegant and aesthetically worked much better for the size of a cassette.

In my research for this piece, I stumbled across your sizeable Bandcamp collection. There are some solid gems in there; are there any recent releases in particular we should check out that have either inspired or affected you in any way, through the creation of ‘Landvaettir’ or otherwise?

– I have many fantastic albums that I have purchased through Bandcamp which have in some way influenced me in the creation of my debut album, as well as in the present and I’m sure future.

Just to name a few: Rur – ‘Rur‘, Blencathra – ‘These Bones Became The Roots of The Forest‘, Beorn’s Hall – ‘Mountain Hymns‘, Ildra – ‘Edelland‘, Pure Wrath/Onirism Split – ‘Endless Journey‘, Hermóđr – ‘The Howling Mountains‘, Grimoire – ‘L’aorasie des spectres reveurs‘.

Lastly, aside from being an excellent album in its own right, listening through ‘Landvaettir’ you can’t help but feel that this is only the beginning. What comes next for Helgafell? Are there plans for a follow up record?

– In terms of a follow up, I am hoping to get the bulk of an EP recorded for the remainder of this year, as well as perhaps a split written with Blencathra. We’ll have to wait and see! Ideas are always flowing, so that’s always good.

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

Thank you for the interview, as well as yours and everyone else’s continuing support!


Purchase Helgafell‘s ‘Landvaettir’ on cassette from Fólkvangr Records here and a digital copy from their own Bandcamp here.

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Fear & Loathing in Traralgon East – An Interview with Vahrzaw

“Old, bitter, late to parties and with one foot in an early grave…”

…So says the press release for ‘Husk’, the latest and third full-length album overall from Aussie bastards Vahrzaw. Some bands might be a little put out by that description, but Vahrzaw are not your average band: They’ve just celebrated their 26th year of existence, play the type of ripping riff-loaded old-school atomic black death that could level a small town, and do not give one single fuck what you or anyone else thinks. Consisting of esteemed axe wielder Scott Williams (ex-Elegeion, ex-Army Corpse), throatsman/bass general George Van Doorn and master skin pulveriser Brandon Gawith (Eskhaton, Hobbs Angel of Death), I had the dubious fortune of getting all three members to sit down at the same time to talk shit about… Well, everything really. The result is something… Special? Read on below to see for yourself. It may be my favourite thing published on BMD yet.

“Tired of trends and half-hearted ‘extreme metal’? Want ugly music, for ugly people, by ugly people? Then dive into the 36 throttling minutes that is ‘Husk’ and hail the legacy that is VAHRZAW!”


Hails Vahrzaw! Hope you’re all well. Your new third full-length ‘Husk’ is finally out through Sweden’s Blood Harvest Records. How does it feel that this thing is finally seeing some air?

GVD: It feels like that time we broke down on our tour of Antarctica and had to “keep warm”; something’s not quite right.

SW: Definitely won’t fall for that again. Well, I think relieved is the word I would use. Should’ve been out last year. It’s been complete since August 2017. I’m not too sure what the delay has been. You can tell where we are on their totem pole of significance.

BG: Get fucked.

The first two teaser tracks were great, black death assaults both heavily riff-driven and old school as fuck. A natural follow on from the excellent ‘Twin Suns and Wolves Tongues‘, and possibly even more violent. For those yet to hear the whole thing: is this what they can expect from the rest of the album, or is it packed with ballads and yearning emotional atmospheres?

GVD: Thanks. It’s all about the riffs these days. We’re the John West of Blackened Death Metal – it’s the riffs Vahrzaw rejects that makes Vahrzaw the best. Sadly, there are no ballads. I keep saying “If Primordial got away with doing a god-awful ballad in 1993, then we can do one now. It’s 2018! People are open-minded.” But, Scott refuses.

SW: Ballads are for poser wimps and symphonic power metal fans… who are poser wimps too. Yeah, I think this one is more focused in its aggression. It has to supersede the preceding record. I’m not a big fan of emotional atmospheric-type black metal… or emotions in general, which can be difficult in this age when everyone is a fucking sook.

BG: Get fucked.

Press play on ‘Fiends in the Ether’ for example and you’re immediately struck by how good it sounds while it rips your face off. Where was the album produced, are you personally happy with the sound?

GVD: The album was recorded in a studio in Gippsland (i.e., Spectrum Studios) and mixed in our Producer’s studio. I like how it sounds (e.g., it’s heavy and clear given everything that’s going on), but I was fighting off a lung infection during recording so there are vocal parts that I’m not overly impressed by.

SW: Yeah, it’s good. We run on a very tight budget so we don’t have the luxury of time. It is what it is. The pre-conceived notions I had before recording are forgotten. The guitars are nice and clear without drowning anything out. There’s one shit note bend… but fuck it eh. We’ve been working with Wayne and Brett at Spectrum for over a decade now. They’ve run a live music TV show out of the same studio the last few years.

BG: Get fucked.

What was the writing and recording process like? Has it changed a great deal from the early material, or even from ‘Twin Suns…’?

GVD: Writing takes a lot longer these days. We used to just throw riffs together, but we don’t do that anymore. Lyrics are the same. I wasn’t too concerned in the early days, but now my goal is to try to write better songs than on the previous release. Scott writes most of the music so he can describe his process.

SW: We’re better in the studio. We rehearse everything to perfect prior to it. A budget forces that line of attack. Writing… it’s a longer process. I try to weed out overly long parts (*coughs* Enslaved) or excess rubbish. Make the tracks more concise and punchy. Long songs are boring. Look at Iron Maiden… they have an 18min song about hot air balloons for fucks sake. Hot air balloons!! Most of the riffs are written with a looper these days, which makes arranging more interesting as I can split parts up and write new parts for parts that where once part of the parts I originally split. But in essence, it’s still me and a guitar sitting in my lounge writing riffs, exactly like the ’90s. I get a lot of ideas on the road in the middle of the night and I’m usually writing something down after work at 2am.

BG: Getting fucked up.

Taking into account a couple of line-up shuffles and name changes in the early days and then a few years hiatus, you fellas have been at it for over 25 years now. When you were fresh faced young ruffians, did you ever think you’d be still doing this decades later?

GVD: No.

SW: 26 now since forming. I think 19 active… and no.

BG: I wasn’t even a sperm cell.

You guys must have some stories after so long in the game. What’s the craziest thing you’ve had happen or seen in your past quarter century of raising hell?

GVD: I once saw a YouTube video of a rabbit fighting a snake. It was pretty crazy.

SW: I saw a giant seagull murder a pigeon in Venice… right there in front of me. That was as intense as the gelato I was eating at the time. We once hired a girl to dress as a cat and piss into… no, wait, that was Mötley Crüe. In all honesty, I’m quite reclusive and we don’t tour or play live often so there isn’t much to tell. I hate travelling.

BG: Seeing some dude slice his arms with a hunting knife then snorting speed from it.

I’ve heard whispered talk that you’re actually a band of intellectuals. Can you confirm or deny these rumours?

GVD: I can confirm that we deny these slanderous allegations.

SW: If ‘intellectual’ means watching Netflix and not regular shitty poor-person TV, then yes.

BG: Get fucked.

I believe your previous drummer Ben was also legally blind, which I find amazing. Did this present any particular challenges at any point?

GVD: He was legally blind, but he had an eye-transplant. An anonymous gorilla that was put down for inappropriately touching a zoo guest donated its eyes. As for challenges, it was always risky letting him drive to gigs while Scott and I got drunk in the back of the car.

SW: Fucking hell. Risky alright. It was a calculated risk though, being intellectuals and all that. The potential factors at play were discussed beforehand. What a whimsical hellride.
…and yes, moving that drum kit around was a real fucker.

BG: I’m blind all the time, does that count?

Ben was replaced in 2012 by Gawith. Did he have to go through any hazing rituals or perform any feats of strength to make the cut?

GVD: The standard. Take the drumstick up to the logo. Note: it’s been brought to my attention that some people may not know what this means. In the olden days, some young ladies wanted to get backstage to meet their favourite band member (it happens all the time at BM gigs). To do so, the road crew would politely ask these young women to insert a drumstick into a particular orifice. If the woman could take the drumstick to the logo, she got to go backstage. So, I’m saying that Brandon had to insert a drumstick into an orifice to get into the band. Explaining jokes makes them less funny, which (dangerously) assumes this joke WAS funny.

SW: I’d never heard that. “Can you make your mouth into a perfect circle” was the line I used… well would have… if metal had groupies and I wasn’t also a blithering idiot. Brandon is a gun on the kit. Kills it. He’s doing the last Hobbs shows soon and has a new album out with Eskhaton too. Ben is now a lawyer, the true dark side.

Who is the main lyricist in the band and where do they draw inspiration from, particularly for the themes present on ‘Husk’? And fuck it, I have to ask: Is ‘The Epitaph of Garmonbozia (Part I & II)’ a Twin Peaks reference?

GVD: I am. I wouldn’t trust the other two to write a review of a Grug book, let alone lyrics that I want to sing. I used to sing about Satan, ghosts, forests (i.e., very stock-standard BM topics), but now my lyrics can be about anything. If I think an idea is good, I’ll explore it. Husk has songs about TV shows, books, religion, personal struggles, historical figures, and cancer. As for Epitaph, the short answer is “yes”. It’s a reference to Twin Peaks. That was Nick’s idea. I thought it was clever.

SW: I’m not sure anyone would get the Grug reference anymore. I no longer write any lyrics. I was never any good at it.

GVD: Did you just call me old? I’ll get Antifa to boycott your shows… wait… that won’t work out well for me.

‘Epitaph…’ also features Nick from the excellent Greytomb lending his wretched screams to proceedings. How did you snag his services?

GVD: I’ve wanted to collaborate with someone outside the band (i.e., try something different) for a while now. We’d done a gig with Greytomb and we know Jack (guitars). So, I approached Nick. He was interested and so we bounced ideas/lyrics around until we were both happy.

BG: Get fucked.

GVD: Insightful. I’d almost forgotten you were here.

Speaking of vox, Van Doorn, you have some pretty versatile throatwork going on. Are there any vocalists in particular you’ve been inspired by over the years?

GVD: Maniac and Attila from Mayhem and Hat and Pest from Gorgoroth are favourites in BM. Old Chris Barnes is a favourite DM singer.

SW: Is he really? I didn’t know that. Barnes went to shit. He’s bloody awful. I think our older stuff had a real Sorhin/Setherial/Burzum-type vibe to the vocals. All the early ’90s demo days.

BG: The actors from 2 girls 1 cup.

GVD: Actors?! You’re setting a low bar for the use of that term. And yes Scott, Chris on Tomb is awesome. As for our older stuff, I (repeatedly) had people tell me I sounded like Jeff Walker (Carcass).

That cover artwork is great too, an evocative piece by Luciana Nedelea that matches what I’ve heard of the music perfectly. How did the collaboration come about? Were you fans of her work before you made contact?

SW: That was my doing. I had spotted her work online through various pages and checked her out. She does quite varied kinds of art so I picked an example and forwarded the basic concept that we fleshed out. It’s quite different from the original idea (a real emaciated human figure in the darkness) but I really love it. She’s since done work for Dark Funeral & The Satanic Temple plus countless others and it’s all quality stuff. Recommended. It was also a continuation of no digital art as it reeks now. Looks dated already. The booklet art is all original pieces from Jon Ernst too, a fellow Aussie.

The label press release states “VAHRZAW have really had enough of the bullshit associated with producing albums, and even EPs. Thus, ‘Husk’ will likely be the band’s final recording”. This can’t be true. Is Vahrzaw done, are you hanging up your boots?

GVD: No. The label asked us to write that just as we were wrapping up recording. We’re not major fans of each other after recording; there’s something about 5 guys being trapped in a small room for weeks on end that puts us on edge. As such, that write up reflects our animosity. We’re actually working on new material now… but that’s another story.

SW: The studio doesn’t bother me. It’s the fucking emails everywhere to do art and layouts for the various formats and label chat and mixing and organising time. It’s an arduous bore, especially if the communication is vastly one-sided.
That blurb pretty much sums it up… there was another one sent later that was ‘highly intellectual’ but they went with the humorous one, so fuck it.

The CD is currently out through Blood Harvest Records in the EU/worldwide, while you’ve just received your copies for all the slavering Australian maniacs. How has it been working with Blood Harvest? Any news on the vinyl version?

GVD: My mum always said “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. I don’t have anything nice to say.

SW: Vinyl for HUSK and TWIN SUNS is on the cards to the tune of 300 copies each but I’ve heard nothing about it. The layouts were completed along with the album last August, so who knows. The album was actually written for vinyl, 4 tracks and a short clean outro per side.

All the pressing plants are backed up from big labels cashing in on the vinyl trend with the 500th press of a Bowie record & other assorted shit we don’t need more of. I think there’s a picture disc of two Fawlty Towers episodes at this years record store day. Who the fuck would buy that?!

Hopefully ours is out soon but I doubt it seeing as it took 9 months to print the CD. Ask Blood Harvest.

‘Husk’ isn’t the only fresh chunk of Vahrzaw that’s been excreted of late: Your ’96 demo ‘Black Resplendent Waters‘ has copped a well-deserved tape re-release through Swedish/German label Cirsium Kollektivet, complete with an art upgrade from the great Jeroen Van Valkenburg. Are you pleased with how this turned out? What’s it like having the old recordings in the spotlight again?

GVD: I haven’t seen it yet.

SW: Looks great. Jeroen is a legend. You are partly to blame for the re-release as I found the label through this very page and just asked if they’d be interested. Turns out it was a “yes”. He was fantastic to work with. Got the job done quick. As for old tracks back in physical form…*shrugs*.

Time for some opinions. The band was formed in the thick of Black Metal’s arguably best and most fertile period. What do you think of the Black Metal “scene” these days, and how do you see that things have changed? Is it for the better?

GVD: Honestly, I don’t have much interest in the scene. On the odd occasion we play a gig or catch up with friends from the 90s, it seems to me that the scene in Australia cycles. As an example, when we first started out, everyone had to be ‘tougher’ than everyone (e.g., we’re the most extreme BM band ever). Then people chilled the fuck out. Then the pissing contest is back and people think they’re impressing people by claiming to be extreme. Dull!

SW: There’s too many bands all doing the same concepts as 25 years ago minus the mystique and originality. But that’s music. New ingredients get introduced to an older formula. Slight changes over time. Is the scene any better? No idea. It’s certainly more saturated though. Doesn’t seem to bother anyone, people are happy with regurgitated death and black metal. Don’t fix what isn’t broken, I guess. There’s still an abundance of theatricality and lame lyrics which is always good for a laugh. Besides those ‘anti-fascist’ dickheads trying to ruin a few shows with threats of violence, y’know, like a fascist group would, I think the scene is relatively sane. I’m not sure anyone cares what a 41yo male thinks anyway…they should though because we’re clearly the better generation.

BG: Most BM bands in Aust are hipsters or play shit raw BM in the style of shitty Darkthrone. Hail to those who venture into the more extreme and violent side of BM.

SW: Old Darkthrone is fucking ace.

With the advancement of home/portable recording technology and software, it’s increasingly easy to churn out albums in your bedroom, or even on your phone. As a result, there are more projects out there than ever. What do you guys think of this phenomenon?

GVD: I think we’d be hypocrites to criticise people for recording in their bedroom. Back when we had absolutely no money, we used to record demos onto a tape recorder. Now we have slightly more than $0, we’d prefer to record in a studio. But, other people can do whatever they want. I don’t have the energy to care.

SW: I have so many tracks by so many bands on my PC… I hear a bit of music and think “What a magnificent riff, who is this band?”…so I check it out and it’s us! Haha! Happens a lot. The PC recording gear is fantastic now, so why not do it at home if you can?! A bit more effort than a TDK 60 and one mic and running off 50 tapes one at a time on high-speed dubbing… but far less KVLT.

Off the top of your head: the best black metal band currently active, and the band you think should give up and pack it in?

GVD: Mayhem. Behemoth are good too (but probably more Blackened DM). Darkthrone should give up. So should Satyricon. Rubbish albums are destroying their legacies. Note: Please send all hate mail to Scott.

SW: Best… don’t know. I like elements of a lot of bands but most black metal is pretty boring. I will say that 95% of it (black and death metal) shouldn’t ever be pressed to vinyl. It’s A-grade horseshit. There ARE really good creative ones with unreal musicians though. A few bands spinning of late (of various genres) are Deitus, Void Omnia, Belus, Virus, Tchornobog, Beastmilk, Squarepusher, Aphex Twin/AFX, Frank Zappa, Rope Sect, Extortion, Discharge… all good stuff. Band to call it a day. Satyricon… awful. Such disappointing output since Rebel. Not black metal, but I’m glad Slayer are packing it in.

BG: Dead Congregation, unrelenting sonic power. Bands that should pack it in are all the shit bands with beards and flannies!

GVD: What’s wrong with beards?

SW: He can’t grow one yet.

And finally, school the kids: What is true black metal?

GVD: Ha. Trve BM bands will probably claim we’re not trve BM. So, I’m not sure my opinion is worth listening to.

SW: Don’t know. The opposite of what is trendy?! I think it’s moved on from the misanthropic nihilism and existentialism to some degree… but maybe that’s the crux of the genre in its true form?! They certainly aren’t stabbing people anymore. It could also be leather, spikes, and beer. A guy once told me he couldn’t listen to us because “we didn’t hate jews, Australia was a jew cesspool and black metal is ‘white’ music”. We probably play exactly the type of music we play to stick it to cunts like that. The opposite of what people like or the music that they want me to play. But… I’m 41, I honestly don’t give a shit.

BG: Anything that is new and creative and sounds tough! Not the Norwegian rip-offs and clones!

Cheers gents, sincerest thanks for taking the time to speak to us and suffering through yet another bloody interview. Any last words?

GVD: Thanks for the interview. Buy our album you cheap fucks. And to all the zines out there, you’re not getting free copies. And no, we won’t pay 120 Euros to appear in your piece of shit zine. Lots of love. George.

SW: What he said… plus, you can grab the HUSK album (on CD or digital) plus any older recordings straight off our bandcamp or message us on Facebook. Vinyl should be out later in the year. Should. Hassle the label about it. Thanks Aaron. Keep your eyes peeled for giant murderous seagulls.
PS: …and a big ‘get fucked cunt’ to the pleb that runs Third Eye Cinema.



Purchase Vahrzaw‘s ‘Husk’ on CD from Blood Harvest Records here and the label Bandcamp here, and grab a copy direct from the band with a bonus 25th anniversary guitar pick here.

Support VAHRZAW:


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