ALBUM PREMIERE & INTERVIEW: ‘Wrath Of Wraths’ by ENEPSIGOS

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The plague is here.

Before you jump to conclusions, no, I don’t mean the virus that’s currently upending the entire world (although that does also tie in with it all). This particular plague to which I refer has been here all along, seething and spreading and withering all that it touches with its fetid, quivering tendrils.

The plague is us.

Humanity. Destroying itself and the planet. That was the theme behind Plague of Plagues, the debut album of Norwegian annihilators ENEPSIGOS. We are filth, the worst of all life and we deserve all that is coming our way. And now, premiered in exclusive partnership between Black Metal Daily and the esteemed Black Metal Promotion YouTube channel, our inevitable penance has finally arrived… the Wrath of Wraths is here.

The second album of these demonic beings (V.I.T.H.R. aka Doedsadmiral of Nordjevel, Doedsvangr & Svartelder on throat, Thorns of Blut aus Nord, Chaos Invocation, Frostmoon Eclipse & more on the skins, plus fresh acolyte Rituul on guitars/bass) exists only to vomit anger, disgust, hatred and loathing upon a humanity dying by its own hand. You may listen to a lot of black metal and consider yourself something of a connoisseur, but Wrath of Wraths does not fit neatly into any of the typical, safe boxes that are unfortunately all too prevalent in the current scene – not least reason for this is its immense structures built upon cataclysmic, dismal riffage and tones that could crush the world, as incoming guitarist Rituul provides an astonishing array of weaponry with which to rend all human life asunder through sheer heaviness and discordant, horrifying evil. His contributions alone elevate the album far above others of similar intent, and that’s not even counting the eschatologically horrifying performance delivered by V.I.T.H.R. as he roars and proselytizes death, or the utterly omnipresent percussive barrage of the prodigious Thorns.

There are operatic sections. Hellish, tortured screams. Spoken word samples that hammer home exactly how fucked as a species we really are. It’s a frantic, apocalyptic, almost religious experience of searing fury and the purest loathing… which you can listen to in full today via the link below, and then partake of our interview with V.I.T.H.R. himself as we discuss the record and all things Enepsigos.

Releasing on digital and physical formats March 27th under the banner of Osmose Productions, prepare thyself… for the great day of Wrath is here, and we have brought it upon ourselves.

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Greetings V.I.T.H.R., it’s an honour to be speaking to you today for the release and exclusive full stream of your second full-length album, Wrath Of Wraths. So, three years have passed since the release of your great debut Plague Of Plagues – what’s been going on with the band since then?

– Not that much really. After Plague Of Plagues it was standing still for a while until me and Thorns decided to start working on it. Straff did a fantastic job on Plague Of Plagues, but we just naturally came to the point where we didn’t really want the same things. So, we continued with Rituul, who is a very great friend of mine. And we just started writing the second album.

It’s been said that you felt your debut album didn’t go far enough, but with Plague Of Plagues you feel you have achieved the manifestation of what Enepsigos really is. Is this true? If so, with that in mind, how did you approach Plague Of Plagues differently to the debut? Did you have certain goals and ideals you focused on achieving this time?

– Yes, that is true. Plague Of Plagues is still a great album by all means. But it didn’t really capture all the way that essence Enepsigos should have. We found our way on Plague Of Plagues, and carved the right path for Wrath Of Wraths. Yes, this time we knew exactly what needed to happen, the feeling was clear.

If I may say – the album is fucking intense; muscular, writhing, filthy and rabid… pure evil. In my opinion, a step up in every aspect from the already great debut. What was the creative process like? Was it difficult to draw these songs out of yourselves and give them life? 

– The creative process was quite easy, as we knew the direction of both music and lyrics early on. So, the album just kind of wrote itself, and took us further and further. We went along with its wild ride. 

It’s immediately noticeable that the overall sound is more powerful, even heavier; the production has really filled out on those massive HM-2 riffs. The album was once again mixed and mastered by Tore Stjerna at Necromorbus Studio; was this sonic evolution something you were also aiming for before entering the studio?

– We were very happy with the sound on Plague Of Plagues, and set the basic sound for Enepsigos there. We wanted to add a darker feel to that sound. So, first of all, we changed to 7 string guitars to get even deeper down, and Tore also made magic by testing things to that darker atmosphere. He nailed it on the first mix.

Plague Of Plagues, now Wrath Of Wraths… do these titles indicate that this album is a direct continuation of the themes of the debut? If so, for those unaware of the details despite the clear anti-religious and satanic slant: what are these themes of which the records speak? Will the concept stretch to further albums?

– Yes, there is a 3 album concept. They follow an evolution. But they each deal with their own consequence. Plague Of Plagues was an all-out attack on the plague that is humanity. Wrath Of Wraths is us really pissed off about the plague that humanity has created. That is both ourselves, and all religion! And on the next one it will be progressed further. So, when the next one is out, the 3 albums will make total sense. This is only chapter 2.

Following on from that – satanism and anti-religious themes also flow freely throughout your other projects Doedsvangr, Nordjevel and Svartelder. I assume these subjects are very important to you – why is this so, and how do they manifest themselves in your everyday life?

– Yes, true. I’m totally antireligious, without doubt. I want it all removed. It haunts me and plagues me alot in my daily life. Through judgement, jealousy, stupidity and total narrow-mindness. It’s seriously scary to see how fucking pathetic we have become. I’m often furious at home as a consequence of all of this. So, the bands are my salvation to staying somehow semi-sane.

As we know, you have welcomed a new member into the fold, Rituul –  where did he come from, and what has he brought to the darkened order of Enepsigos? Did this affect your writing processes at all?

– Yes, it affected a lot. I’ve worked with him a lot in my life, and we have this deep understanding both ways for the arts. He always relates to my stuff, and I to him. When we first discussed the new album, he just sat down… started writing… and hit spot on. 

He’s one of Norway’s best guitarists, and you will all soon know who he is. Or understand it. He brought the darker, and more possibilities into the music. We suddenly had a lot more options musically.

I have to ask about the album art, because it’s fucking great. Who is the artist, and did you give then any guidance to create this masterpiece?

– The artist is Benjamin A. Vierling. No, I didn’t really give him any instructions. But he read all the lyrics, heard the full album, and I gave him my feel of the album. Then before he started drawing he told me his visual concept. And yes, as you see…. one of the most stunning artworks I’ve ever seen.

For Wrath Of Wraths you’ve made the jump from the great Drakkar Productions to the mighty Osmose Productions, which you must be pleased with. What was the reason behind this switch?

– We only made a 1 album deal with Drakkar productions. So the contract was anyway over. Yes, to come back to Osmose was a huge step, as there are more possibilities. As for example vinyl is very important for me personally, I was quite disappointed to see Plague Of Plagues not come into vinyl. And also from the promotional side, it’s a big step up. But, I’ve heard some rumours lately that Plague Of Plagues also might come on vinyl now…

In excellent news, I believe you’re ready to take Enepsigos to the live stage in 2020! What can we expect to experience, and when will your first shows be?

– First show planned is Thronefest, and all we can do is hope it can happen, due to this fucking virus. Pros and cons with that. Live Enepsigos will be very dark and violent. More primitive than for example Nordjevel, but also much more disgusting and perverse.

Enepsigos plays True Norwegian Black Metal. Norway is, to many, the birthplace of black metal as we know it today by means of being ground zero for the second wave. What are your thoughts on that, and how do you view the Norwegian scene these days?

– Yes, some people say that. For me Enepsigos doesn’t really sound TNBM, as that was also never the intention. Norway’s scene today flourishes in both good and bad ways. Many new great bands, and many not so good. I don’t really pay attention to the scene nowadays as it is a scene of jealousy, fakeness, shit talk and unsecurity. The scene in earlier years was more strong and supportive, which made Norwegian Black Metal great. I stay with the people I work with, that’s it.

Seeing as we are premiering the entire album for us all to hear today, I will ask: do you have any particular favourite moments or songs on the album, and can you share with us the story behind them?

– Puh… difficult. For me the album as a whole is a violent story. They all somehow are there, to build the album as a whole. For me, the whole album is one long song, in 6 parts. One doesn’t work without the others.

And finally – where to now for Enepsigos? You’ve already made immense leaps forward and honed your attack between albums… what do you think future releases will have in store for us? Have you been working on any new material already?

– Well, now hopefully we will hit the stage at one point. No idea when that can happen, so we’ll see. No, we haven’t directly written any new songs yet. But the idea and plan for Part III is there. New releases will be, if not even more, violent and wild. 

Sincerest thanks for your time, V.I.T.H.R… all hail Enepsigos. Any parting words or wisdom for us all?

– Check out the album. And support the bands worldwide in this situation, as we all suffer. And, see you on the other side…

Wrath Of Wraths releases 27th March via Osmose Productions.

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Pre-order Wrath Of Wraths on CD or LP from the Osmose Productions webstore HERE, direct from the artist’s merch store HERE, or pre-save on all digital platforms HERE.

Support ENEPSIGOS:

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ALBUM PREMIERE & INTERVIEW: ‘Emissary & Vessel’, by THE HOLY FLESH

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Travel fast, oh snake hiss
Like matter in the strings of time
Reach the mind of the indomitable hearts
Awaken in dreams of mine

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Do you hear the call? A beckoning, whispered from the darkness. Bewitching, ensnaring vibrations on the air, carrying a sound like none other. You tremble as it reaches your ears; a black incantation, stimulating your senses to see beyond all mortal limitations. Just what is this that summons thee so? That, my friend, could only be the new and enigmatic solo entity THE HOLY FLESH and its mesmerizing debut full-length album, Emissary & Vessel.

Now, you may have caught a tantalizing glimpse of the spell cast by this truly astonishing debut album back in late December / early January on the artist’s Bandcamp, before it vanished as quickly and mysteriously as it came. Well, it turns out it disappeared for a reason, and now in a swirl of slowly drifting sulphur it rematerialises – in the form of both our full-stream here today and a deservedly stunning tape release via cult label Caligari Records.

Is it black metal? Yes, and… not as you know it. This is something else. Uncompromising in vision and wholly unique, these eight tracks of black rock lysergia act as a conduit for forces beyond comprehension and move like a sorcerous snake unfurling, swaying and hypnotizing you with its gaze; dangerous and seemingly ready to strike at any time, yet equally just as likely to impart ancient arcane wisdoms to you from behind the shaded veils of the time of no time.

It’s an almost indescribably affecting album and one that’s made quite a stir in its short existence thus far, but we don’t just have the full-stream for your consideration today – Black Metal Daily also proudly presents the very first known interview conducted with the shadowed and nameless being behind its creation, who allows us invaluable insights into the esoteric intricacies, influences and mystical workings that form the core of the project.

So come, reap. Absorb the bounty of this hidden knowlege. Let this intoxicating mix of jangling dissonant resonance and languid, venomous psychedelia enflame your spirit; for its power over you only grows stronger with every listen. Hear, read, immerse thyself… and let The Holy Flesh consume.

Pre-orders available now for March 27th release. Hails.

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Greetings, The Holy Flesh. It’s an honour to speak with you today for the full-stream of your incredible debut album, Emissary and Vessel. Now, I’ve not seen an interview with you yet so I’d like to delve a little into the project itself first, if I may. Where and when did The Holy Flesh originate, and what is its purpose in this world?

– First of all, thank you for this opportunity and yes, this is the first interview and so the first chance to shed some light onto this project. I can’t really put my finger on the precise moment this all came about; it was 2017 and I was originally writing with a much different approach for another project. I found myself in the position where The Holy Flesh completely took over the whole creative process and I began writing track after track, ending up not evening knowing whether I was going in the right direction. 

It came out gradually and yet with its very own force, I had to just let it do its course.

What gave me confidence in the honesty of this music during the writing process was the complete lack of stylistic boundaries, something I had never experienced before. I let inspiration come from the meaning and not the purpose for the first time.

The Holy Flesh is a curious and powerful moniker in itself. To what does it refer or allude? Does it perchance have anything to do with the “Holy Flesh” religious movement within the Seventh-day Adventist Church?

– Not at all. I have been asked this question on social platforms before and I would like to make clear that there is nothing remotely linked to The Holy Flesh. 

It’s far more simple than that – does “as holy flesh and sulphur clash” ring a bell

The Devil’s Blood have been a great source of inspiration both musically and personally; I wanted to keep reminding myself where all this (partially) started from, with the clear idea in mind that inspiration and looking up to someone does not translate into a copy and paste job. I hope this comes across when listening to the album.

The lyrics seem to speak of rejection and renewal; what is the message the album is bringing to us?

– The whole writing process of Emissary and Vessel has been a rejection and renewal task. 

With regards to the lyrics, they have been written by someone really close to me who took part in the whole recording process and was able to put into words something that I wanted to deliver through my music. When it comes to the message I want to deliver, I guess I shouldn’t be trying to explain this. I’d like to think that whoever has been already listening to the record has been able to gain something from it, not just in terms of ambience or background noise while doing something else. 

Everything is open to interpretation and I am not able to tell people what to look for when listening to The Holy Flesh. If I had to, it would mean they should be listening to something else.

With its sinuous, winding and psychedelic occult atmospheres the album is an almost spiritual experience; I’d imagine its creation was quite interesting. What was the writing and recording process like, not only in practical terms, but for you personally?

– I was not aiming for a huge response but to define a style and go towards a specific direction. I often find myself recording too many tracks and none of them fully satisfy me or make me feel as I entirely translated what I had in mind. I felt that the lyrics helped a lot to lead the way for the whole album and gave it an integrity I personally admire. Writing, recording and mixing the whole thing has been a strenuous experience that I keep promising myself never to repeat; and yet I still can’t wait to do all over again with the next record.

Whilst indeed sharing certain similarities with other artists, I can’t say I’ve heard anything exactly like Emissary and Vessel. What do you feel has provided inspiration for these compositions? 

– Most people believe that inspiration is something that you magically get as soon as you are in the right context or circumstances: on the peak of a mountain or self isolating for months. Not everyone is that lucky, I guess! I live in a big and chaotic city, see hundreds of people everyday, find myself in situations I wouldn’t really want to be in if I had a choice. 

What the world came to, how little we are worth to each other, the selfishness with how we push through this misery, that’s what inspires me. 

Look at what we have now and aim for the complete nullification of it all, it could only get better.

Stepping away from the album, briefly – I know nothing about you, the mysterious entity behind it all. I’m not sure what sort of response I’ll get here, but: who are you?

– I am not at the stage where I wish to put my ego before what inspired this album and its composition. It will come up in due time. For now, I am just someone who enjoys what he does, I’d rather have music speaking on my behalf and taking over my identity than the other way around. 

Given the occult/spiritualist/even anti-cosmic resonance emitted by Emissary and Vessel, I’m curious as to how much of this is drawn from your personal life. Would you consider yourself a follower of any particular occult path?

– Not exactly. I have a fervid interest in occult philosophy and anything related to chaos magick but I don’t see myself as a follower of any specific path. In my opinion, to be a follower of anyone or anything, you need to blindly trust someone else’s views and principles and shape your life around them.  We have the great luck of having access to thousands of books or any other source of information at any time of the day and night, we should be able to form an opinion about the world we live in and act accordingly. And yet we choose to go by what someone else says because it entails less thinking, less risks, less uncertainty. That’s when we end up losing our own identity in exchange for a “safe place” with the rest of the herd. People need to wander more, find themselves in the middle of nowhere at some point in life, as I am sure we all did, and start tracing their path from there.

The album was originally released digitally, is now being released on cassette under the banner of Caligari Records, and I believe an LP edition has just been announced to arrive at some point in the latter half of the year. How did this come about so soon? Have you been surprised by the great response to the record?

– It all happened by chance. And pure luck! I am not the best at promoting my own work and it’s probably quite clear at this point of the interview so I was not bracing for any sort of deal with a label anytime soon. It honours me having had such an enthusiastic response from Caligari in a short space of time. 

Whilst the atmospheric tapestry the record carefully weaves and sets aflame is nothing short of incredible, I can’t help but think it would be equally as powerful to hear the material in a live setting. Are there any potential The Holy Flesh live shows on the horizon?

– I am a solo musician and, for the time being, the idea of playing live is a bit remote given that I am quite short of hands! I am not ruling out the possibility of a live show but I will consider the option once and if I manage to find like minded people to play with. I believe this sort of thing occurs naturally once there’s a demand for it. So I guess we shall see how it plays out.

And finally, seeing as we are premiering Emissary and Vessel here today, I shall ask your opinion of it. Do you have any favored moments or passages, or is there any particular aspect of it that you are particularly pleased with?

– The final part of Emissary II, as the night OPENS.

Sincerest thanks for your time, The Holy Flesh. Any last words or wisdom to impart to us all?

– Make sure to support as many physical releases as you can from the artists you admire and keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming tape from Caligari Records and the following LP version coming from Dybbuk Productions. Spread the word!

Emissary & Vessel will be available 27th March via Caligari Records.

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Purchase Emissary & Vessel digitally from the artist Bandcamp HERE once available (one track up now for free download), or digitally and on cassette from the Caligari Records Bandcamp HERE.

Support The Holy Flesh:

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JOIN THE BATTALION NIHIL – An Interview with VUAL

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FUCK OFF AND DIE

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A new entity has arrived – advocates for the extinguishment of all life in existence. They want you to join their cause, and their weapon of recruitment is filth encrusted mid-paced black pestilence that lurches and slithers with apocalyptic swagger. They see the wretchedness of humanity and offer a solution. They call themselves VUAL.

The unclean union of LEECH (Akasha) and VOK (Hag Graef), their debut assault To End All Life only dropped yesterday but instead of merely sharing it with a few inadequate words, we decided a shotgun interview would be more fitting and allow the more effective transmission of their malignant message and motives.

So, there’s nothing else to say. The album fucking annihilates. Read on, listen, join their cause… embrace your destiny. Spread the poison. End all life. Hails.

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WHAT IS VUAL?

– The unity candidate, who bridges gaps and unites enemies in common cause. He sees the future and whispers for change.

Vual, the musical entity, channels his spirit and that pure pessimism and terror present in the works of authors such as Lovecraft and Thomas Ligotti, embracing the death cult and advocating for a anti-cosmic vanguard. 

WHAT DO YOU WANT?

– For mankind to atone for its many sins and answer the call to ascend to its rightful place as the diseased Beast of Omnicide, ending all multicellular life in the cosmos before retreating into the embrace of the great void to die cold and alone.

WHY DO YOU LOATHE?

– This species is a failure.

WHO WILL YOU KILL?

– Murder is not the point. The act itself is neither positive nor negative. That’s like praising the hammer and nail. Tools are tools. 

The goal is the end of all multicellular life in the universe.

WHERE IS YOUR INSPIRATION?

– First and foremost, life. While mechanically robust, sentient participation in this universe has failed to live up to expectations. Theological answers have fallen short, governmental entities have proven to be wholly inept, and interpersonal interaction continues to be a source of unadulterated disappointment. 

This universe can do better, and it is the policy position of VUAL that all life be ended to pave the way for that eventuality. You will not be allowed to participate in this bold new future, you will not reach a higher plane of existence. There is no Heaven, and there is no Hell. The cold reality is that this is your life, and your higher calling is to join the Battalion Nihil.

WHAT DO YOU HAIL?

– The empty circle, a vessel of form and possibility. There is no joy in this work, only function.

Battalion Nihil’s march has been influenced by Craft, Carpathian Forest, and Wurdulak.

WILL THERE BE TAPES/LP?

– This communiqué will be disseminated.

FINAL WORDS FOR ALL:

– Drop out, abuse your liver, embrace the promise of a lifeless future, join Battalion Nihil.

To End All Life is available on Bandcamp now.

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Purchase To End All Life from the Vual Bandcamp HERE. Stickers and pins also available.

Support Vual:

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ALBUM PREMIERE & INTERVIEW: ‘Disinterred Graves Of Saints’, by Grógaldr

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As light exists, so must darkness. As there is good… so must there be evil.

Whether you believe in the concept of a “higher power” or some other form of greater positive influence present in the world, considering all the horrible occurrences that take place daily you’d have to admit it isn’t much of a stretch to theorize that hidden away in the deepest, darkest folds of our existence is an opposing malignant force. A core of negativity so scorchingly intense that it can only be described as the very antithesis of life, with a purpose pure and simple: work only to allow egoism, greed, cruelty, violence and oppression to prosper and gain greater foothold in the world. To foster only negativity and hatred. To insidiously plant the seeds of plague and pestilence, illness and death. In short… the metaphysical manifestation of evil, the corruption and devastation of all. If that does exist, what we are premiering here today almost certainly has a mainline directly to the heart of that seething black abyss: Disinterred Graves Of Saints, the new mini-album from US entity GRÓGALDR.

As anyone who has been exposed to the project’s previous utterances can attest, despite only being active since 2018 Grógaldr is already excreting some of the most savage new USBM of the current era. Indeed, it begs the question – how can something so filth-encrusted, so disgusting, operate with so much class? The way sole practitioner/paragon of hate Zugurramurdi‘s arcane spells of destruction are woven is pure poetry in motion, summoning necromantic energies foul as he spits wretched incantations of such loathing they radiate searing waves of withering, blasphemic death. Two demos, a split and a superb full-length have ensured his formula is now almost perfected to lethal levels, and these three tracks you’re about to hear are just that – near perfection.

Whilst these recordings may be blasphemic in intent, the reality of them is far greater than the simple orthodoxy that implies. The eerie subterranean introduction to ‘Poisoning The Temple’ sets the tone before that first buzzsaw guitar roars to life with menace and pestilent fury, screaming out shades of all the ancient USBM kings who have come before. From then, and throughout, it’s a riff-fest of devouring proportions – a dark triumph in every sense as ‘The Carrion Cross’ surges with austere, filth-stained glories and ‘Crescent Moon Libations’ whips and winds down paths long untravelled, crepuscular magics crackling in the dryness of night… before collapsing once more into a redux of that eerie opening; this time not hidden in the gloomy depths but instead perhaps an aftermath, the spectre of this fetid explosion of violence and wrath still hanging heavy in the cold air. The power and sheer command of ability you’ve just born witness to is nothing short of astonishing and completely belies the relative youth of this project. As they say, an old soul is clearly at work.

To say we’re pleased to partner with the mighty GoatowaRex and Skjold to share this virulent attack on existence with you ahead of their respective cassette and LP releases would be a monolithic understatement, but that’s not all. We also had the honour of speaking to the elusive Zugurramurdi himself who lifts the veil of shadows draped rotting over the project ever-so-slightly, that you may experience it fully and bask in all its putrescent beauty. So, listen above and read on below. Do your part to facilitate the resurgence of darkness in the world… submit to pure evil, become its eternal vessel on earth. Let the power of Grógaldr flow through you. Hails.

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Hails Zugarramurdi, thanks for speaking to us today for the full stream of your mini-album, Disinterred Graves of Saints. As this is the first Grógaldr interview I can locate anywhere and information about you is scarce, I’ll first ask: from where did Grógaldr originate? What circumstances or desires first led to its conception?

– [Physically, Grógaldr originates from Vinlandic shores. Conceptually, the project’s origins can be traced back to the middle of the year MMXVIII. It began with a desire to create Black Metal that was inherently focused on manifesting a dissonant, filth-ridden atmosphere, reflecting a similar putridity that can be seen throughout mankind. The first fruits of this endeavor were a few riffs that would end up on the song ‘Raped Flesh Below the Tomb”, and from there the foundation for Grógaldr had been set.]

‘Poisoning The Temple’, ‘The Carrion Cross’, ‘Crescent Moon Libations’… The titles across Disinterred Graves of Saints seem to hint at themes of anti-christianity, occultism and paganism. Of what does the album speak? What is its intention?

– [As a whole, the mini-LP is an attack on the spawn of Abraham. This release does target the Christian sect more than past Grógaldr releases have, yet it still vehemently spits upon the other two monotheistic cults that plague us with their existence. It’s intention is to mock and denigrate their beliefs and ideals through audial invocations of bile and pestilence. Themes of occultism do make themselves present, but not in a manner that shows adoration towards any god or devil. Any occult themes being portrayed in these songs are meant to act as vitriolic corruption of all that is virtuous.]

Throughout the thus-far short life of the project you have certainly been quite prolific, releasing two demos, a split, a full-length and a mini-album in less than a year… with more on the way. Are you constantly creating for Grógaldr? From where do you draw inspiration?

– [The creative process for Grógaldr is fairly spontaneous. Some songs can be created within the span of an hour, and others take months to form. But no matter how long it takes, it is rare that I don’t have at least a couple musical ideas floating around, waiting to be crafted into a completed piece. So in short, yes: I am always working on new music for Grógaldr. In fact, I currently have two new complete songs that will be appearing on some releases in the near future. As far as inspiration goes, my biggest influence is Gelal Necrosodomy from Grand Belial’s Key and Arghoslent. His guitar style played a huge role in shaping how I view and approach Black Metal songwriting. I feel Grógaldr’s sound attempts to blend the dissonant riffing style of GBK with the raw production and tone of the French Black Legions (LLN). Musical inspirations aside, I also find my work to be influenced by the way I view the world around me. I see humans as insignificant, miserable creatures, who aimlessly try to give value and meaning to an existence that is ultimately entropic and trivial. The disgust I feel towards these pitiful beings leaks its way into the music.]

Although you have kept up a steady stream of releases in a short amount of time there has still been noticeable development and evolution within the darkness you call forth. Despite only being released in April last year Demo 1: Malignant Channelings is markedly different from the current Grógaldr sound, which now resonates with a (relatively) clearer production and more riff-driven approach. Do you feel you will be always expanding and refining Grógaldr, or have you now reached the original ideal you had for the project?

– [The current sound is definitely closer to my original vision for Grógaldr, but there are always improvements to be made. It is worth noting that the dramatic changes in sound between the demo material and, say, the debut album came about due to my gradual maturation as a musician. I didn’t quite know what I was doing when I made the first two demos, and as such, they turned out incredibly raw and noisy, more so than I had intended. Since then the recordings have gotten a bit clearer, but there will always be a degree of rawness to Grógaldr’s sound, in order to avoid the staleness that often comes with overly-refined Black Metal. The earliest conceptions of Black Metal placed emphasis on a lo-fi sound, so it feels natural to maintain it as such.]

I believe Grógaldr (“The Spell Of Gróa”) refers to an eddic poem in which Svipdag raises his mother Gróa from the dead. If this is indeed the case, can you tell us a little about it and why you have selected that moniker to emblemise the project?

– [You are correct, that is where the name Grógaldr originates. Aside from sounding particularly harsh, there are other reasons for choosing the name. One particular theme of Grógaldr’s music is the contrast between the living and the dead, and how there is a kind of purity found in death which can never be achieved in life. Through death, we rid ourselves of our pathetic material woes, and find true ascension in the void beyond our mortal flesh. As such, I imagined Gróa being forced to rise from the dead, and wondered what sorrow her spirit would feel if she were to be torn from the bliss of death and brought back to life again, only to be faced with the miserable world we live in today. Would she even try to provide any assistance, or would she recognize that we are beyond hope? This idea was what led to the name Grógaldr, for I felt that the concept of resurrection worked to exemplify the contrast between the beauty of death and our sickly, corporeal world.]

As far as I can tell, Zugarramurdi is a town in Spain that was made famous for witchcraft. Is this what your name refers to, or does it have another significance?

– [Once again, you are correct. The name was meant to go in tandem with Grógaldr. Given the association between witchcraft and necromancy, the latter of which is present in “The Spell of Gróa”, I felt the name Zugarramurdi and its denotations fit well with the project and its fixation on death.] 

Your split with Kommodus was fucking superb, and I believe you also have another upcoming split with Valac on the way. Can you share some information about that with us, tell us what to expect?

– [We’re expecting the split with Valac to come out around the middle of the year. It’s around 32 minutes in length and each band provides two new tracks and a cover. Valac did a fantastic rendition of ‘Spill the Blood of the Lamb’ by Judas Iscariot, and I chose to do ‘Immaculate Latrine’ by Grand Belial’s Key. It’s our way of paying tribute to some of the greatest US Black Metal bands of all time. It will be out on vinyl through GoatowaRex, and cassette through a currently unnamed label.]

I believe the release will be adorned with cover art painted by Death My Only Friend, otherwise known as Jan Pysander Whitney. It’s a fantastic piece. How did you both come to work together?

– [I have followed Jan’s artwork for years. He is a stellar artist, and I’m glad he’s getting the recognition he deserves. We first started working together when I was looking for an album cover for the first Grógaldr demo. I came across a piece that he was offering for free, so I took him up on the offer and that ended up becoming the artwork for Malignant Channelings. Later, I purchased another piece from him for the second demo, and he threw in another painting for free as well. I was so impressed by the free painting that it ended up being the cover for Deviant Masque of the Wraith, and the piece I purchased became the artwork that appeared on the inside of the J-card. I eventually purchased the piece that would become the cover art for Disinterred Graves of Saints. For a while it remained unused, but eventually it found its place with the mini-LP. Jan has my full support, and I hope to work with him more in the future.]

I recall for earlier works you had Bringer of Obsidian Death (of Obsidian Grave) on vocals. Who has taken over these duties now?

– [This is true. BoOD did the vocals on the first two Grógaldr demos. Not long after the second demo was released, he moved across the country, and it became difficult for him to continue recording with Grógaldr. As such, we came to an agreement that I would take over the vocal duties, thus making Grógaldr a one-man project. There is no bad blood between myself and BoOD, and we still stay in contact. For those who aren’t aware of his project, Obsidian Grave, I would recommend giving it a listen. He’s going to release his debut album soon, and trust me, it’s a real monster.]

While raw black metal seems to be going through more of a surge than ever lately, Grógaldr is definitely one of the few projects that is doing it correctly. You can feel the true black metal spirit seething in your compositions; all of which have their own spark and aren’t merely imitative. Plus, you retain an air of anonymity and integrity. However – even you in the current climate can be reached by all and sundry on social media as the project interacts with its fans. What is your take on this era of accessibility and self-promotion in black metal? Does social media go against the original ethos of the genre and the mystery that (especially raw) black metal seems to cultivate, or is it all just an extension of writing a letter and trading a tape back in the ’90s, for example? How do you reconcile the fact that you yourself use it?

– [The way I see it, having some sort of social media presence is almost unavoidable these days. Even the bands who choose not to have any social media presence will still have their releases put out and promoted by labels who have their own Facebook and Instagram accounts. I don’t see a huge problem with Black Metal bands and labels using social media for communication or promotion, as long as the music remains the primary focus. It becomes a problem when the bands/labels use social media as a platform to spread their worthless opinions, stupid internet memes, and spam posts that have no significance whatsoever. If I’m using social media, it is to communicate any information relating to Grógaldr’s music that I feel should be known. I don’t bog down people’s feeds with excessive hashtags or posts, I try to keep it straight and to the point, keeping the focus on what matters most: the music.]

And finally, whilst researching this interview I discovered that Gróa, in the aforementioned eddic poem, casts nine spells. I immediately wondered if there could be a preconceived plan behind the project to only emit nine releases and then disappear… something like that. I’m sure there isn’t, but nevertheless – what do you feel lies in the future for Grógaldr?

[Currently, Grógaldr has no end in sight. There are a few releases I hope to record later in the year, which include a couple of splits and the second full length album, to name a few. We’ll continue to work with the usual labels, as well as some new ones. As of right now, there aren’t any plans for Grógaldr to play live, but that could change later on. Only time will tell.]

Once again sincerest thanks for your time, Zugurramurdi. It has been an honour. Any final words or wisdom for us all?

– [Thank you for the interview. HAIL DEATH.]

Disinterred Graves Of Saints will be available on cassette via GoatowaRex and on LP via Skjold.

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Purchase Disinterred Graves Of Saints on cassette from GoatowaRex HERE and on LP from Skjold HERE when the next respective batches drop.

Support Grógaldr:

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Immersed In The Icefall – An Interview with Asgrauw

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Everything we’ve ever built up

Falls into ruin

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As the new year had almost finished emerging from the ashes of the last and begun to stand resplendent on its own two feet, a voice came whispering forth from the shores of The Netherlands. Quiet at first but gaining volume by the day it began to spread around the globe, reaching ears the world over, steadily growing until it became a deafening roar… have you heard it? I’m sure you have. And if you somehow haven’t yet, I’d wager it won’t be long before IJsval, the fourth full-length record of Dutch triumvirate ASGRAUW, finally reaches your ears.

Well, I’m linking it below, so of course – but it would have found its way to you anyway. Forged of countless bewitching elements blended into a deceptively potent concoction of startling power, the album has been spreading the name Asgrauw far and wide, and for good reason – it’s fucking excellent. Drawing from the best traditions of the second wave yet effortlessly achieving a sound all their own, these tracks are possessed of a deep beauty and savagery that instils an almost elemental sense of awe in the listener. An awe similar to what might overcome when you’re struck by the sheer immensity of some breathtaking natural scene you’ve just happened across in the wild (fitting because the album thematically deals with the damage we’re doing to the planet and what may result from that), but with a barely-contained darkness broiling within its bleak majesty, spreading thick across the land and tainting all… including you.

From the immaculately put-together opener ‘Leeg’ to nice unexpected touches like the SOS call at the start of ‘Heilloos’, it’s an album that leaves an impression; but one of the whole album rather than any standout tracks. It’s that consistent the entire way through. It’s also so good that the LP has already long sold out from Death Kvlt Productions, but in a matter of weeks it’ll become available on CD (through Pest Productions) and cassette (via the mighty Fólkvangr Records) – so to occupy the space between those two occurrences and alert any stragglers to this bewitching creation, we are honoured to present a recent chat with throatsman Kaos about everything Asgrauw and more. Read on below, ready your wallets, and let the approaching roar consume.

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Greetings Asgrauw! Great to be speaking with you today. Now, since its release at the beginning of January your most recent album IJsval has been getting a fair amount of hype. The vinyl sold out in no time, I’ve seen it top “best of the month” lists – it almost feels like IJsval is your “break out” album that garners you world attention, which is odd because you have just celebrated your tenth anniversary as a band. How has the interest in IJsval made you feel, especially since you have been in the game so long?

– Thanks for your interview! First of all, Asgrauw makes music purely for ourselves and we do not focus so much on the opinions of others. Or creating a hype. We don’t feel comfortable with much attention. We are just three guys who like to make cool music. We have no ambitions beyond that. But of course it’s great that the new album is embraced by a larger audience than we are used to. Certainly, because more than a year of hard work has been put into IJsval.  Previous albums have remained pretty much unnoticed and Asgrauw operated under the radar so far. Maybe, because we hardly paid any attention to promotion. This time we have done things differently and that work has paid off. The vinyl sold in a few days in pre-order and other labels have signed up for release on other formats. We are very happy with that. A decade… Yes, those ten years have flown by. Music and production wise, there has been an evolution going on at Asgrauw over the years and we hope to continue that.

We all know black metal is often based in occult or inverse theological themes, but for IJsval (“Icefall”, according to translate) you seem to deal once again with the brutal realism of the destruction of mankind by its own hand – similarly to what you spoke of in earlier work Krater (whereas your last album Gronspech was more mythological or pagan, and on the split you dealt with Jim Jones and the People’s Temple). What inspired a return to this approach this time around?

– We avoid the traditional black metal themes about paganism, occultism etcetera, due to the fact that we are not into that. It would not feel sincere to write lyrics about it. Since the churches are draining here, no role has been set aside for us in this area either. We write about themes that appeal to us. For Krater we were inspired by a volcanologist who, during a trip on the Etna, unleashed realistic doom scenarios on what is about to happen after an eruption of the super volcano Yellowstone. Which seems to be increasingly active lately. Gronspech was a side step to local folklore, sung in local dialect, while with IJsval we are again back to realistic natural phenomena that are likely to await us. That are already happening now. But we are inspired by anything and everything and next time we might do something completely different.  

Due to the integrity in your sound I feel I already know the answer to this, but: given the negativity that seethes throughout the band and the clear misanthropic slant of the songs, would you say you are all negative people in your daily lives? Does Asgrauw act as an extension of yourselves, a catharsis maybe, anything like that?

– In daily life we are just normal people with busy jobs and families. Although the scales of our mood might go more to the pessimistic side than cheerfulness, none of us is a prototype angry ‘metalhead’. But every person has a dark side. Fears. Frustration. Hate. One can deny it. Or just explore, and even embrace it. Only then you will get to know yourself as a person. It is a kind of coping mechanism for us. But we like to play good black metal, supported with good lyrics, in the first place. The music is the most important. 

As mentioned, you’ve been a band for ten years now. Are your motivations for Asgrauw still the same after all these years? Also, I’m not sure of the degree to which you pay attention to these things, but do you feel the black metal “scene” has changed at all in that time?

– The longer the band exists, the better we know what we want. We have a DIY attitude and recording and mixing in-house is becoming better and more professional over the years. We will continue as long as there is motivation, inspiration and frustration. In that respect, we are not done with the band yet. The “metal scene” is not so present in our region, let alone black-metal. Kaos organizes an annual black metal evening (Diabolical Echoes) in our village with the best underground acts. In the nearest big city there is a large venue with international groups, but there is no place for bands like us. The scene has definitely changed. Certainly in comparison with the pre-internet era. But we try not to bother too much.

I understand you guys have an eclectic range of musical interests and influences. What originally drew you towards black metal, and how did you start playing in a black metal band?

– Before Asgrauw, Vaal played guitar in a local black metal band, while Kaos abused his bass in a punkmetal band at the time. Vaal asked Kaos to join forces and that was the start of Asgrauw in 2010. The band operated locally, and had to cope with some changes, until Vaal accidentally bumped into Batr at a birthday party. A quiet, fusion-orientated guy without a metal attitude, who joked that he could play drums a tiny bit. Since Asgrauw was looking for a drummer – which are impossible to find in this area – we asked him to do a jam session. Since that night in 2012 we cannot get rid of this guy and there has been a stable line-up. We all have a different taste in music but we share a passion for ’90s 2nd wave Scandinavian black metal. The different perspectives during the writing process make Asgrauw an interesting band.

With all of these varied musical influences and interests, when writing new material do you ever find yourselves rejecting ideas because they’re “not Asgrauw enough”?

– “Not Asgrauw enough” doesn’t actually exist. We all have our own, different input in the music. Vaal just wants to write the best guitar lines, while Batr is already worried about the fine details and how it should be performed in the studio. Kaos manages the fact that the composition must remain aggressive and has an overall view. Ideas are only rejected when they are not good enough. But not because they are not “typical Asgrauw”. The end result, the total picture, is always recognizable as Asgrauw, though. However, if you listen to our demo, or our debut, it sounds also very different from what we do nowadays. The style is constantly changing and evolving. We always do what we feel like at the time.

It’s obvious from every aspect of the project and the magic that swirls within your compositions that you’re into the undisputed classics of the genre, and tap into that same spirit that the genre was founded upon – but, are there any modern black metal bands that you also feel inspired by in Asgrauw? Any that you feel also do it right and aim to channel that same power?

Asgrauw is 2nd wave inspired. Emperor, classic Ulver, Immortal, Dodheimsgard, early Dimmu, Ancient, that kind of bands. In addition, we all listen to contemporary black metal. Kaos listens to more straight-forward black metal such as Luctus and black ‘n roll such as Whiskey Ritual. Batr likes shoegaze and experimental avant-garde black like Fleurety and Murw. Vaal listens to aggressive, atmospheric and a bit of depressive suicidal black metal in general, as long as the riffs are melancholic and cold.  Of course an occasional, modern riff seeps through at Asgrauw. But the starting point remains 2nd wave-inspired atmospheric black metal with a punk attitude.

IJsval is/has been released via the three pronged attack of Death Kvlt, Pest Productions and Fólkvangr Records. That’s a seriously good list. How did you assemble this powerful triumvirate of partners? Did you select these labels to work with for any particular reasons?

– We like to work with partners who, like us, live for music and are fully committed to it. We therefore searched an active and enthusiastic label that could bring our new album to the attention. Death Kvlt Productions responded enthusiastically and offered to release a limited colour vinyl. That it was sold out in no-time did not go unnoticed and we received offers from other labels for releases on other formats. We could suddenly choose. Fólkvangr (tape) and Pest (cd) appealed to us the most because of their enthusiasm and dedication. That’s all we want. It’s a seriously good list and we are really satisfied with it! 

And finally… what’s next for the band? Do you find yourselves continuously creating, or have you been taking a break from writing after the completion of the record?

– Taking a break, are you kidding? The moment a record is ready, we are already in full swing with the next one. That is our strength. We are very fanatic. Asgrauw is a well-oiled team and all three of us do the things that we are good at. Vaal writes killer riffs and Batr also comes up with ideas. We forge this together during weekly rehearsals into complete songs. Vaal and Kaos are responsible for most of the lyrics, while Batr takes care of the production. Kaos handles contacts with labels, promoters and bookers. Doing nothing, letting smelly farts and drinking cheap beer might be the image that people have in mind with a band-rehearsal. But we don’t have time for that. There is always something to do. Each rehearsal is another step closer to a new song, or else we are busy preparing a performance.  We take plenty of time to write, record, mix and tweak all the tracks. All year round. It is a non-stop, continuous process and we are still not tired of it.

Once again, sincerest thanks for your time, Asgrauw. IJsval is fucking excellent. Any final words for us all?

– Cheers!

IJsval is available digitally now via Bandcamp, is sold out on LP via Death Kvlt Productions, and is coming soon on CD via Pest Productions and on cassette via Fólkvangr Records.

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Purchase IJsval digitally from the Asgrauw Bandcamp HERE, and keep an eye on the Fólkvangr Records webstore HERE and the Pest Productions webstore HERE for further physical copies.

Support Asgrauw:

  • Official Facebook

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TRACK PREMIERE & INTERVIEW: ‘Vulpes Pilum Mutat’, by Nodus Tollens

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There are no accidents –

Only lies we tell ourselves

When we want absolution

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Have you ever, just out of the blue, felt totally lost and helpless? Completely at the mercy of the pitch and roll of the waves of life? You might not have even realised where you were, might have thought everything was smooth sailing. Then all of a sudden dread hits as you notice the wheel is spinning freely in your hands, the sails are dead and your life is slowly drifting, rudderless in a strange place… and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it because you’ve noticed all too late. Well, this feeling that I’m sure we’ve all known at some point or another in our time on this earth, has a name. That name is NODUS TOLLENS.

Which is also the name of the mysterious new depressive USBM entity from which we are premiering the final track of the very first public appearance thereof here today. This entity embodies the very essence of that aforementioned feeling; the song is entitled ‘Vulpes Pilum Mutat’, and just listen to it – regardless of the (fantastic) lyrics, sonically alone it buries you deep in the mire of that realization and all the bleakness and despair that comes with it. Eleven minutes of ebb and flow, drifting at the mercy of forces beyond your control. Indescribable feelings arise from the combination of depressive black and plaintive viola (wielded by Marisa Kaye Janke, ex-Isenordal) with such devastation they would challenge My Dying Bride for sheer emotional weight; feelings that have been ripped from the chest of sole practitioner Cicatrix as he pours his soul from the gaping wound for all to see. Guitars crash and soar as his rasp and roar summons sorrows, sharing the weight that lies heavy upon him, his tribulations and turmoil becoming our own because we recognize ourselves in what his sound is expressing. We are on that rudderless boat, screaming at the world, and nobody can hear it.

Partnering with stunning USBM/ambient/folk artist Crown Of Asteria in what is a damn near lock to be one of the splits of the year, the resulting Crown Of Asteria & Nodus Tollens – Split is available for pre-order right now via cult label Realm And Ritual, and it’s a very limited special forest-green pressing of just 30 tapes… so don’t sleep. 

Knowing precious little else about this remarkable composition and its creator, curiosity got the better of me and I reached out to Cicatrix to know more – to begin, I asked if he could share the meaning behind the name, and a little about the project itself.

– It’s from The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows – a realization that your life doesn’t make sense anymore, that you lost the plot somewhere and no longer recognize your own story.  

I first encountered it maybe five or six years ago, and I immediately thought it would be a perfect name for a depressive black metal project. So when the mid-life crisis kicked into full gear a few years later and I finally started one, the name Nodus Tollens really seemed to sum up my mental and emotional states and what I wanted to convey through the music. 

The project has changed considerably over the 16 months or so since I first started working on it. Originally, I didn’t want to do vocals, so I wrote and recorded an entire album’s worth of instrumental tracks and sent them to other musician friends to finish. The logistics were proving to be too difficult to pull together, so after about six months I ended up repurposing most of that material for another project that’s had its share of challenges. While taking a break from that project, I had a burst of creativity and decided to relaunch NT as a totally solo thing.

I get the feeling nothing is taken lightly in Nodus Tollens – everything seems to hold great meaning and all words matter. So while on the topic, I asked: surely there’s a story behind the name “Cicatrix“?

– It’s a Latin word that was imported into English. It essentially means ‘scar,’ which seems fitting for this style of black metal. In Spanish, the word for scar is cicatriz – there’s a song on The Mars Volta’s De-Loused in the Comatorium called ‘Cicatriz ESP’, so it’s kind of a nod to that as well. 

When seeing the split, the cover art is immediately catching – there’s a fantastic photograph on the interior of the j-card too.

– Both the cover and interior photos are by Jeri Mize, an incredibly talented artist from the Southern US and a very dear friend. It was actually a bit of serendipity that we ended up being able to use her images. They fit the project so perfectly, right down to the flaming claws the model was wearing…you’d think that Jeri created them specifically for us. She didn’t – they were intended for another project, but she didn’t use them because they weren’t quite what she’d envisioned. I don’t know how, since it’s such a powerful, beautiful photo – as soon as Meghan agreed to do the split, I asked Jeri if we could use it as the cover. I feel so unbelievably fortunate that she not only agreed, but she also gave us another stunning image from the same set to use on the inside of the j-card. 

Jeri’s work is so fucking amazing, I’d love for her to do the artwork for everything I release. She makes badass jewelry, too – check out her Etsy shop at https://www.etsy.com/shop/EyesofMize/

Speaking of amazing – those who know Crown Of Asteria are sure to agree, scoring a split with that wonderful project is an astonishing way to get your very first material out into the world. I enquired as to how it all happened: 

– The whole thing really came about because of ‘Vulpes Pilum Mutat’, which is the only song from the original NT that didn’t get repurposed for that other project. I wrote it about a year ago specifically for Ris to play viola on, so there was no way I was going to let anyone else touch it. She was so busy with Isenordal and her other projects, though, that it never came together. However, she and Isenordal parted ways while I was working on a full-length, and the first time I talked to her after that she mentioned the song and said she’d have time to work on it. It didn’t really fit with what I was doing with the full-length, so I said “let me see if I can find someone who’d be into doing a split.” 

I’m a huge Crown of Asteria fan – I have so much respect for Meghan as a musician, and she’s an amazing person as well – so she was the first one I asked. She’d already contributed a guitar solo for a song on the full-length, so I figured she’d be down to do it…but she actually told me no. Meghan has a lot of other projects, though, so I completely understood when she said she had too many other commitments and wouldn’t be able to do it. A day or so later, though, she sent me what’s now called ‘Claw of the Firemaker’,  and I was like “This is great – what are you planning to do with it? It’d make a fantastic half of a split…”

Needless to say the Crown Of Asteria side is also fantastic, as is ‘Morir de Fam’, the other Nodus Tollens track (both of which you can already listen to HERE).. And finally – seeing as we’re premiering the exquisite tune ‘Vulpes Pilum Mutat’ here today, a little about the track from the man himself. 

– The title comes from a Latin proverb, Vulpes pilum mutat, non mores – the fox changes its fur, but not its character. It basically deals with predatory males within the metal scene. As good as we are about policing fascists and racists, I think we could do a lot better about holding men accountable for how they treat women. I’ve heard entirely too many stories – though of course, one story is entirely too many – about shitty dudes behaving in incredibly shitty ways, most of which never become generally known. 

The lyrics are deliberately kind of vague, and they’re not specifically calling anyone out. Instead, they’re basically a warning – one day, the masks these assholes wear to disguise their shitty behavior will slip, and they’ll be seen for what they really are. The chorus is a preemptive response of sorts to the standard litany of excuses that predatory men offer when called out for being predators. 

Vulpes Pilum Mutat

Sanguine skies at twilight

A lone ship, rudderless and pitching to starboard

He’s old enough to know

That he’s old enough to know

The vulpine smile

The vulpine eyes

The thin line of spit on his chin

There are no accidents – 

Only lies we tell ourselves

When we want absolution

Dreaming of ravens at sunrise

A yellow-eyed unkindness among the inflorescence

He’s smart enough to know

That he can’t hide forever behind

The predatory smile

The predatory eyes

The cum stains on the fly of his jeans

There are no accidents –

Only lies we tell ourselves

When we want absolution 

In sickness ~ in silence ~ in guilt

Everyone worth loving

Is already loving someone else

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Crown Of Asteria & Nodus Tollens – Split releases Feb 22nd via Realm and Ritual. Pre-orders available now.

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Pre-order Crown Of Asteria & Nodus Tollens – Split on cassette from the Realm and Ritual Bandcamp HERE, or digitally from the Nodus Tollens Bandcamp HERE.

Support Nodus Tollens:

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Venerating To Nothingness – An Interview with Grimah

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An indifference to man and things
A submission to dimness
A reverance to demise
Venerating to nothingness

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If you’re the kind of person who pays attention to these things you surely didn’t miss Intricacies of Bowed Wisdom when it dropped back on 3rd of January. The debut full-length of Spanish horde Grimah is one of those releases that emits an understated yet remarkable power, tapping into an ancient and almost archetypal current of yearning, insistent mysticism… then running it through their own modernized filter of crushing nihilism and misanthropy.

It’s a wonderful clash of distinct forces, and one that they manage to make all their own. Yeah, yeah. Sure. You might trot out the tired line that they share some similarities with other well known acts, many have. But if you really listen such trite comparisons are misguided at best; for what lies within is far deeper than any snap judgements may suggest. These melodies and rhythms resonate with knowlege and secrets too complex for a mere surface glance; they demand attention, deserve time to unlock and understand. Once you do, you’ll never be the same.

I don’t want to say too much because the interview that we are privileged to have conducted with vocalist/guitarist/drummer Ludwigar below is one of the more in-depth discussions we’ve had of late and will tell you everything you could wish to know about the project. So without further ado, open your mind and crawl towards the void. Allow this, submit to this, and your rewards shall be great… for you shall be privy to the Intricacies Of Bowed Wisdom. Hails.

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Hails Grimah! Thanks for speaking to us today. Your debut album Intricacies Of Bowed Wisdom was released back on the 3rd of January and if you don’t mind me saying so, it’s a great listen. How have you found the reception to it has been so far, and how do you personally feel about it now that it’s finally out?

– Hails! Ludwigar here. It has been better than expected at first and there is very good feedback in general from black metal fans. Especially taking into account that we are coming from a country like Spain in which we usually don’t have as much consideration in black metal as other countries have. Also, we have been known that many people were following us since the single ‘Serpens Invicta’ was released and were looking forward to the full-length debut, something unexpected as well. As for sales of the CD, they have been overwhelming and we are about to run out of the stock we have from the band. Really, after a long and hard process with many obstacles along the way, we cannot be more satisfied.

I recall first covering your debut single in an old Bandcamp Misanthropy article some years ago, it’s great to see your debut album finally arise. What has the journey been like from then until now, and what was the creation of the album like?

– Since the single ‘Serpens Invicta’ was released the womb has not changed that much actually. The album was already recorded before the single was released and only the vocals left. At first, it was going to be performed by an American singer but after I changed my mind, seeing the project would become something more serious and introspective, I decided to take up the reins and perform the vocals by myself. Being my partner was Wolfnerva, the writer of the lyrics. Once we finished recording them in February 2018, after a long process of mixing and many headaches, I led the project to a period of lethargy in order to disconnect from it.

The creation of the album was short and long at the same time. I explain it, the genuine conception of Grimah (and the album) was a long time ago when I wrote the initial sketch of ‘Serpens Invicta’ and the completion of the song ‘Blaze Against Grime’ around the end of 2013 or early 2014. Also by that time a sketch that would be later ‘Thus Spake the Stone’ and some small ideas for ‘Péndulo de Agonía y Desdén’. At that time, Grimah was just an idle concept (mainly because I was more focused on writing for my former main band) that I left aside for almost three years. Then, after a murky period of my life having left the tunnel at the end of 2016 with the adequate motivation and mood, I resumed the project, shaping the sketches and finishing songwriting the rest of the songs in just a few days. Except ‘Façade of Futile Reflections’ which was composed during the recording process of the album on a gloomy afternoon of eve of the dismal Spanish Holy Week. An atmosphere that is reflected in the song and lyrics, besides having as a heavy source of inspiration both themed and musically the majestic Ingmar Bergman’s film “The Seventh Seal” (the sample from the beginning is taken from there, by the way) and the great Per Aspera ad Pestilentiam EP by Délétère which I did steadily spin by that time.

Thematically, the album definitely seems to have a nihilistic slant. Is this indeed the case? What sort of tale does Intricacies Of Bowed Wisdom tell the listener? From where did you draw inspiration?

– Yes, it has a clearly nihilistic slant and is philosophical thinking, from a misanthropic point of view and melted with a paganism and nature bias that is intrinsically attached to the human deep soul. After all, everything comes from the inner self, the forged experiences and the challenges that existence puts forward to us. Existence that will finish overcoming us at the end. But at the same time, it will be defeated – since without a pillar that holds it, existence becomes nothing. About the pariah that gathers the genuine and primordial wisdom, but is lashed by the vanity and bogus wisdom of a modern world. Crawling together and with no return into the abyss of the nothingness. Like the snake eating its own tail, the Ouroboros, but which will be reborn in a new shape, since the nature is the one that really rules the whole and thus will be the only victorious one. Having said that, with this paragraph we could describe the meaning of Intricacies of Bowed Wisdom from both an individual and universal point of view and what the work wants to convey. 

Speaking track by track, we utter that eternal struggle of the pariah against the plebeian thinking in ‘Blaze Against Grime’; strokes of Nietzsche’s philosophy playing with paganism in ‘Thus Spake the Stone’; existential reflections in an altered state of mind, liberated by the nature and its psychoactive effects in ‘Veiled by Blossom’s Essence’; ‘Façade of Futile Reflections’ addresses those existential thoughts but now in a sober but exhausted state, overwhelmed by the inexorable. As previously mentioned, the song is completely inspired by the theme of the Swedish film, so it’s all said. Finally, ‘Péndulo de Agonía y Desdén’, which can be translated to “Pendulum of Agony and Scorn” and the title says it all. It addresses everything previously accumulated to bring it to the climax of an existential madness.

One thing I particularly loved to hear on the album was the addition of the guitar solo, it really adds something unique to the record and (although many would not agree with me here) is something I always like to see more of in black metal. I believe it was notably performed by a guest musician, the only one on the album – can you tell us a little about this?

– As you said, it adds something unique because in black metal it’s quite unusual. So I like when a band ventures performing a guitar solo. As long as it’s at the right moment if the song’s feeling asks for it. On this occasion, it was a collaboration of my good mate Edvard Førevinter from Blacksmythe one day at the rehearsal room hanging out drinking beer and listening to good music. I showed him the song (a few weeks before starting the recording) and we came up with the idea of adding a guitar solo since we felt that part really needed it. So, Edvard took the guitar and he wrote the solo in two minutes. That’s it.

By the way, if someone it’s interested to listen to his project of Pagan Black Metal: http://blacksmythe.bandcamp.com

Speaking of notable names – some may not be aware that the record was mastered by Devo (now ex-Marduk), who in my opinion did a fantastic job. What was it like to work with him?

– It was very easy. After the mixing process I was looking for a more professional mastering that would give the last push to the music and especially I wanted someone linked to the black metal scene. I was probing some candidates and finally decided on Devo. We contacted him, he agreed to work with us and in just two days we had the mastering ready.

Intricacies Of Bowed Wisdom has been released on CD by Vertebrae – a label I’m ashamed to admit I was not familiar with until now, but they seem to be doing some great things. How did this come about? Are you pleased with the partnership thus far?

– Vertebrae is a relatively young and not-so-known label but in five years of existence they have already released a bunch of very nice works of Spanish black metal such as Negativa, Nakkiga, Aanomm, Tetelis, Incorporea, etc. Also supports Spanish doom metal bands (a genre very minority in Spain) as Misty Grey or Simón del Desierto. But the people behind have partaken in the Spanish underground for many years with Open Grave Zine and organizing very exclusive gigs in Madrid performing international underground bands such as Turia, Lubbert Das, Angantyr, Rimruna, Drengskapur, etc. Therefore, we already knew them quite well for these acts and their supporting and worshipping the genre. Once we were contacted by them with the offer of releasing the full-length debut, we accepted with no hesitation though we had other offers on the table. Regarding the work they are doing, we are really delighted and satisfied since they have supported the project 100% and we hope to work again with them in the future.

Let’s dive into the formations of the project, back in 2017. What circumstances, events and/or desires originally led to the inception of Grimah? Had you been in previous projects?

– Grimah is a project that had been in my mind since at least 2013 in a need of focusing my artistic inquisitiveness to another path. In fact, as I mentioned earlier, nearly half of the stuff that can be listened comes from sketches of that time (not including subsequent arrangements and modifications). At that time I combined some songwritings of Grimah with those of my former project called Fathomhell, founded in 2010 (also the first project of Al-Wars and which Edvard Forevinter also later was part of). This project released two EPs (Non Pietatem Erit in 2012 and KvrX in 2014), and here it could be seen an immaturity but also a fiery desire of creating black art by 20 year old youngsters. Later this project was renamed as Squamatas, this time as I alone, with a full-length completely finished in 2016 and since then hibernating and waiting for a day to be brought to light. Once released, the project will be returned to the grave again but this time forever. I want to start recording it this year but we’ll see what happens. Also there are more projects and sketches gearing up with other people and by last, a couple of hidden projects having released several works in different formats around there. Only the astute listener will decipher and link them up. Regarding our bassist Maars, Grimah is his first experience in a musical project and Al-Wars also plays guitar in Oniricous, one of the best Spanish death metal bands.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but Grimah: A Void’s Black Metal Art seems to be the original full name of the project. What does this mean, and what is the translation of “Grimah”?

– It’s all about the concept that represents and tries to convey; the void we are dragging into little by little once we have crossed the horizon of events of the black hole through which there is no turning back. But during this process we must also address other challenges which to fight with in order to cope better with the fall and the inexorable end, such as the aversion to the modern world or the internal struggles of reflections, torments and illusions of death.

“Grimah” comes from the Spanish word “grima” for “aversion”, “grief” or “disgust”, it depends of the context; it also comes from the Gothic “grimms” which means “hideous” or “horrible”. The name was chosen in 2013 for what it literally means, but there were already several music bands with that name and I changed it to “Grimah” which gives a more mystical and differentiating aspect to the project without losing the primordial meaning. I have also to say that a few years after I found out the Russian black metal band Grima but it was never my idea to change the name anyway.

I’d like to address something, if I may. I’ve seen many people say you sound like Mgła, sometimes even stating that as a negative. Personally, whilst you certainly do summon a similar style of black art, I find your attack to be composed of differing textures to the Polish lords – and after all, people have been straight ripping off Darkthrone for years and nobody cares. I’m curious – how do you feel about such comparisons?

– First of all, it must be recognized that one of Grimah’s main influences is obviously the polish band Mgła, especially from early releases until With Hearts Toward None. The last album I don’t even name it because it has been released after our debut was written and recorded besides I have not really listened to it more than once yet, although it might seem surprising. The issue of all this paranoia is that a large part of current fans of black metal are people who, due to globalization and liberation of the genre, have discovered this music style listening mostly to the “representative” bands of nowadays. See Mgła, Batushka, Uada, etc. So, I think it’s normal to see how people with these main references, whatever resembles Mgła, they qualify it as a clone. For that reason, the so-called phrase “another Mgła clone…” abounds in the virtual scene.

But I’m still waiting that someone tells me – apart from the bands with hoods, leather jacket and face covered (which does not mean they are clones, since that aesthetic was not invented by Mgła, by the way) and exceptions such as Uada or Groza (that are really cheap and empty clones focused to the mainstream audience) – what else bands could be considered Mgła clones. Just look at the Metal-Archives tab for ‘’similar bands’’. Yes, there are bands like Plaga or Human Serpent that have Mgla-style riffs but they are NOT clones. Fuck, I’ve read that even Nécropole or Misthyrming are a fucking Mgła rip off. Really? That’s the level of the hoi polloi and that’s the issue you have to deal with when you expose your art to a large and hollow inexperienced audience in year 2020, result of the banal and trivial mood of the globalization/liberalization. But my question is… how many bands there are with Bathory, Darkthrone, Burzum, Dissection, Watain (they were the so-called Dissection clone in their early times) riffing style? If we apply the same logic, every band would be a clone of another one and we could accuse the early Mgła as a rip off of mid Arckanum and Sargeist, and the Finns a Seigneur Voland rip off. We must recall that Mgła didn’t create any genre, just developed a new path of black metal based on their particular influences – but this doesn’t give them the exclusivity of being the only ones to follow that path. As in other times other bands did like Deathspell Omega from SMRC album and many bands followed behind them, but every band with their individual focus.

On the other hand, I’m glad to see other more experienced and open-minded people in the genre have been able to dissect IoBW in a fair way or just appreciating and understanding the art. Many of them found other influences and “easter eggs” such as Drudkh, Enslaved (being precisely my favorite band ever), Swedish meloblack or the Québecois BM scene; the latter one very accurate due to by the time I begun songwriting for Grimah in 2013-2014 I listened to a lot of this scene, especially Monarque or the aforementioned Délètére in 2016-2017.

And finally – what lies in the future for Grimah

– A new album is brewing and we hope it won’t take as much time as the first one took in the studio process. The songwriting is much slower as we seek to overcome IoBW in all aspects. It will be a richer album and possibly slower to digest, not that straightforward. On the other hand, we have arranged a couple of gigs like the one our label Vertebrae would organize as soon as we find a live drummer. We’ll see what happens since it’s very difficult to find one here in Spain, especially in our area. Anyway, if any European drummer is willing to join us, don’t hesitate to make contact.

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

– Nothing else, Aaron. Thanks so much for allowing us a space in your great zine. It was a pleasure. 

Intricacies Of Bowed Wisdom is available now via Vertebrae.

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Purchase Intricacies Of Bowed Wisdom on CD and digital from the Grimah Bandcamp HERE, or on CD from the Vertebrae Bandcamp HERE.

Support Grimah:

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Email: blackmetaldaily@outlook.com

Fallen Heroes and Howling Fields – An Interview with Belore and a Review of ‘Journey Through Mountains And Valleys’

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By Tom O’Dell of Dwarrowdelf

(one epic black metal legend interviews another)

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Billed as an album observing the evolution of living beings through the eyes of nature, Belore‘s Journey Through Mountains and Valleys is the debut release of the latest act to join the great epic black metal heritage of Northern Silence Productions. Whilst it retains many traditional elements of the genre, like buzzing high-end guitars and programmed drums, don’t fall into the trap of assuming that this is merely another Summoning clone. 

Through 7 full length epic tracks, each filled with dynamic peaks and valleys, Belore pulls the listener into forgotten lands of its own creation, brimming with magic and wonder. Taking all the essential elements of atmospheric black metal – chanting choirs, tremolo leads, and gargling vocals – and running them through a folky filter, the album evokes powerful and triumphant emotions.

As with any epic black metal album worth its salt, there’s a great variety of instrumentation on show. Highlights include some expertly written and played tin whistle sections (‘The Howling Winds’ especially), and lots of triumphant, phat sounding brass (‘The Bewitching Horns’). The subtle choir pads and synths are also particularly of note, subtly adding a sense of massive scale to the music. 

In general, songwriting within this subgenre can sometimes lend itself to generic approaches, and Journey isn’t totally free of this – ‘The King’s Funeral’ uses that four-chord progression we’ve heard a thousand times before (you’ll know the one), and doesn’t really take it in any new directions. It’s by no means a bad song, it just means that it doesn’t have the same standout quality showcased by the rest of the album.* Journey’s most triumphant moments are when original structures and progressions come to their glorious peaks, showcasing the true songwriting talent at work behind the scenes. See the utterly epic closing minutes of ‘The Valley of the Giants’ or ‘The Whispering Mountains’ for proof. 

My only other real gripe with the production and performance is the harsh vocals; they’re a little thin, and certainly aren’t helped by their placement in the mix. However, this isn’t the case for the cleans, which are nicely panned and blended into the epic soundscapes rather than over the top, creating comparisons in my mind with Nature Stays Silent-era Cân Bardd and Falkenbach. Belore certainly isn’t scared to show off his singing prowess, and the balance between growls and choral singing is excellent and effective. 

Journey Through the Mountains is a monumental triumph for Belore, and I predict we’ll be hearing many great things from him in the near future. There’s a true sense of independent spirit, and you can’t help but be drawn in by the powerful vision of Belore’s world. As Black Metal Daily’s resident cheese expert, I’m all for shining the light on the epic and majestic projects emerging in the scene – to that end, read on for an in-depth interview with the man behind Belore himself!  

Essential tracks: ‘The Howling Winds’, ‘The Valley of the Giants’

*I’m guilty of using it. We’re all guilty of it… I really shouldn’t complain.

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Hello Belore! It’s a pleasure to have you for a chat about your excellent debut album, Journey Through Mountains and Valleys. As a quick start, maybe you can briefly introduce yourself and any others involved?

– Hello Tom! And thank you for your interest in my project. I’m Aleevok, and I manage Belore as a one-man-band. I have an other musical activity as live bassist in the French medieval black metal band Darkenhöld for 10 years now.

Starting at the beginning… this is Belore’s first sign of life, and it’s a fully fledged album with a magnificent theme. To top that off, it’s also being released on one of the big names of the underground metal world, Northern Silence Productions. When did you first start working on this project? Did you ever consider releasing an EP earlier in the band’s life? And how did you manage to secure such an awesome record deal?

– At first, I saw this project as a simple entertainment activity without considering releasing an album. After composing several songs and having a few friends listen to the demo versions, I realized that I could create a correct finished product. Basically, I wanted to start a crowdfunding and release the album with just a few copies. When in doubt, I wrote to several labels, Torsten (from Northern Silence) immediately responded positively. I was very pleasantly surprised and moved; I didn’t think that my project would be that successful. I have a deal for several albums with NSP and I intend to continue working hard to propose a worthy successor, but it will take time.

Obviously such a prominent label has meant that Belore has been thrust into the spotlight straight from the word go. At the time of writing this question, the album stream on Black Metal Promotion has amassed thousands of views in only a couple of days of being uploaded – how has the reception been amongst fans and critics? Are you pleased with it?

– Indeed, I didn’t think that the video would exceed 10k views after only one week! It’s great, the feedback has been very positive. People are very attentive and passionate in their comments, which is encouraging. I also have the feeling that my album appeals to people who don’t listen to a lot of black metal.

One thing that really stood out to me in this album was the production. Not only is there some great basswork, the mix is a lot warmer than a lot of similar albums and really helps the record stand out as a monumental epic. I gather that you self-produced this album; was this your first time mixing an album? Did you approach the production with a particular vision in mind?

– Thank you very much, I spent a lot of time mixing and mastering this album. I don’t have a real room or very good studio speakers, so I had to listen to the progress of my mix everywhere. I really wanted to have a homogeneous mix, punchy, and without elements that could bring the listener out of the atmosphere of the album.

Thank you for noting the work on the bass! I paid particular attention to the bass lines, so that they appear in a punctual manner, enrich the melody and are discreet afterwards.

I previously mixed Darkenhöld’s album Castellum in 2014 – if you listen to the title Le Souffle des Vieilles Pierres, you’ll hear that the bass is also very present. I think it’s a real shame that the bass is constantly put in the role of support only and is inaudible in most metal mixes.

In a genre that’s admittedly quite saturated with a lot of similar-sounding artists, this album does a great job at pulling together lots of influences to create a unique sound. Who are the artists that inspired you to start this project? Are there any surprising influences? 

– My main influences are Summoning and Caladan Brood, but I was also very influenced by Moonsorrow (notably on ‘The Initiation Ritual’), Saor for some flutes or drums parts like in ‘The Howlings Fields’, and so on. Concerning surprising influences, it would be Watain. I love their lead guitar melodies; for example, it was whilst listening to ‘The Child Must Die’ that I got the inspiration for the melody at the end of ‘The Whispering Mountains’.

Let’s take a moment to talk about the themes of the album – each track is billed as its own story, with nature as the main protagonist of the record. It seems like you’ve decided to fully create your own world within your music, a place to transport the listener. Could you summarise the journey you want to take the listener on, and why these particular themes stood out to you?

– Indeed, this album talks about different stories placed in a fantastic medieval world that I myself imagined. I didn’t want, as other bands do, to base my concept on existing universes such as those of J.R.R Tolkien or Steven Erikson. The world I have created is, for the moment, not very detailed. No names appear to facilitate the interpretation and the imagination of the listener. You will find the history of a conflict between a royal faction and a peasant world which tries, without success, some rebellions. There is also an initiatory journey of a young Druid within his clan in order to acquire his rank of warrior, and a man going to seek help near a mythological race of giants in an unknown valley. The most moving is ‘The King’s Funeral’ where the ceremony is majestically described, accompanied by epic and melancholic music. All the lyrics of the album are very descriptive, so that the listener can imagine the events and landscapes that I wanted to transcribe through my music.

These themes are dear to me because I am a nature and landscape lover. I have practiced mountain hiking (in the French Alps) and medieval combat for several years.

A few bands in this kind of genre have made the transition to the stage – Saor, Sojourner, Cân Bardd to name a few. Others, like Emyn Muil, Caladan Brood and even Summoning themselves have steadfastly remained studio bands. With all the layers and atmospheres present in the music, I know playing live is certainly a daunting prospect just from considering my own project! Where does Belore stand on this question – can we expect any live performances in the future? Do you have any experience in this field? 

– I’ve been making music on stage for about 15 years. I’ve been in lots of bands in different styles of metal (progressive, melodic death etc.), but my main band is still Darkenhöld with whom I’ve been playing for 10 years. We’ve played many concerts, some of them in major festivals like Hellfest, Cernunnos Fest, and Forest Fest.

It’s a very difficult thing to faithfully transcribe this music live. Saor did it very well over the years, but their music is more suitable for it. My main goal is to make music that I like, and if I am very satisfied with what I produce, to release albums. Writing already takes me so long that I’m not considering live yet. If one day I decided to start a band, I would have to work even harder to ensure that the result is perfect. It is out of the question that I harm my music on stage.

Before we wrap things up, are there any other future plans for Belore you can reveal at this stage? I know fans love limited vinyl and cassette releases, or even splits and guest appearances with other artists; who would be your dream artists to collaborate with?

– I don’t really know what’s going to happen for the future of Belore. The project is very new, the album has just been released; we’ll have to wait to see how the album sales are going before planning the next. But we have ideas! Vinyl editions are a habit of the label, and I also would love to create t-shirts with a unique design. The only thing I can say is that the current success has encouraged me to compose a new album, and I already have some ideas.

Thanks for your time, Belore! It’s been a pleasure, and I look forward to seeing your project go from strength to strength. Any final words for the readers?

– Firstly, I’d like to thank Torsten from Northern Silence to have believed in my project; the new fans who are just incredible in comments, keep it up guys and I’m going to work hard to produce some new great things! And thanks to you Tom for inviting me to this great interview. Cheers!

Journey Through Mountains And Valleys is available now via Northern Silence Productions.

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Purchase Journey Through Mountains And Valleys digitally or on CD from the Northern Silence Bandcamp HERE, or digitally from the Belore Bandcamp HERE.

Support Belore:

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

Email: blackmetaldaily@outlook.com

ALBUM PREMIERE & INTERVIEW: ‘Voices Rooted In Blood’, By Pantheon Of Blood

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Igne Natura Renovatur Integra

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From 2009 – 2018, Finns Pantheon Of Blood were one of the true hidden gems of black metal. Forged from the shadowed desires of one Sûrya Ishtara, in just under ten years of existence they have only ever performed two live shows and the entirety of their recorded work amounts to only a handful of songs. But those songs are something special; if you allow yourself to be taken by them you’ll feel a stirring deep within… a calling, a yearning. An ancient voice.

This is the voice of your ancestors, that speaks to your blood. From the project’s first stirrings in dark austerity to the later, more grandiose and ambitious releases, this voice has always rang true and deep throughout; steeped in occult mysticism and the ancient knowledge all men can search for and draw upon. It’s a remarkable project, so to say the fact that Sûrya Ishtara quietly placed it on ice in 2018 is a shame would be a gross understatement (although he has switched his focus to the ravaging Sammas’ Equinox and a split with countrymen Emanating Void is also releasing in the next few days). Thankfully however, these songs will not be lost to history as the great Signal Rex has stepped up to the plate to give them the lavish LP and CD treatment they so deserve. This is in the form of the compilation we are exclusively streaming for you today, alongside what may be the final Pantheon Of Blood interview with Sûrya Ishtara himself – the immense Voices Rooted In Blood.

Comprised of all releases emitted by this project bar one, you could almost say it’s the definitive Pantheon Of Blood release. Will this collection of ten compositions be the last we hear from this remarkable entity? If it is, they must be treasured – just like the calling we feel in our blood from times long ago, and the knowledge passed down through the ages and given to us by the earth. Just listen.

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Hails Sûrya Ishtara, sincerest thanks for speaking with us today for the release of the compilation Voices Rooted In Blood. Comprised of a large amount of your recorded work from the last decade, it’s seeing an LP and CD release on January 31st through Signal Rex. What are your thoughts on seeing all of these tracks collected together and released on these formats for the first time?

– The compilation serves its function to give insight into Pantheon of Blood’s short but intensive life-cycle that was reserved between 2009-2018. From a personal and retrospective aspect, without the journey went through during those years, Sammas’ Equinox wouldn’t exist in its current manifestation, both in terms of musical or conceptual side of the work.

It’s been quite interesting to listen to the flow of the compilation, it really showcases how the project has developed over time. Was this evolution in sound a conscious thing during the recording of these releases?

– Never a conscious choice to do something different, altering from what has been done in the past. The roots stay the same but the form of the tree keeps evolving into a direction that serves the process with nature’s own language. As human beings, with our ever-changing interests towards different things at different times, so have the compositions been tied to a certain moment through laws of causality; yet the one-and-true essence that is the foundation of the work remains unaffected for the whims and fancies of the temporary.

The LP is an almost comprehensive collection of everything Pantheon Of Blood has released – I believe the only omission is Tetrasomia. Was this simply due to format time restrictions, or were there other reasons the Tetrasomia EP was not included?

Tetrasomia was strictly built around a theme that goes throughout the mini-album and can be underlined as a stand-alone release distinct from others. It stands with its own feet, thus it felt only natural not to include Tetrasomia in the compilation.

Speaking of that, it’s amazing that you were active for over ten years and most of your recorded works can fit onto one LP. Is quality over quantity something that you’ve always striven for, or were there other factors at play to temper your output to a slow but steady flow?

– As previously stated, the composing process has been an intuitive one, but that does not exclude the intention to concentrate on “framing a picture” with a certain ideal in mind. It’s easy to put riffs in a row, but having a sense of drama that serves the purpose, is a different question – of course we strive towards quality over quantity, nevertheless it’s more a subjective approach than objective.

There is also an unreleased track included on the LP, ‘The Pagan Light’ – can you tell us a little about this? Where does it fit in the chronology, was it recorded during one of the earlier sessions?

– An exclusive track, which was originally recorded shortly after Tetrasomia for a compilation that was supposed to happen back then, but never actualized. Time passed and the line-up went through changes in-between – later I wanted to revisit the track by realizing it before turning my concentration to Purgatorial Awakening. It bridges the eras between the old line-up and the new one, along with fresh musical inspirations that were present at the current time.

In the past you’ve certainly been in no shortage of other bands (notably Blood Red Fog, Lordamor, Sammas’ Equinox, Utgard, Charnel Winds and many more) yet Pantheon Of Blood was stated as being created to satisfy ambitions not yet manifested in concrete form. What were those initial ambitions that led to the inception of the project, and do you feel you have fully realised them – or did the project still have room to develop and unfold?

– When the first impulse to formulate a group that would satisfy my hunger to synthesize traditional black metal and esoteric worldview came around 2008-2009, soon after the evolution paved its own way; while I had been working with numerous hands and minds during the history of Pantheon of Blood, all putting their own unique input to the whole, it came clear that this entity wouldn’t be just my own but a collective which seeks to bring new aspects to initial ideas lurking behind the curtains. In retrospective, the band followed a certain coherence from the early days to the present time, thus I regret not and all went as it was meant to be. 

Occultism has been a heavy theme throughout the work of Pantheon Of Blood. Are these studies something that you live and implement in your everyday life?

– What the word “occult” holds within, is something that IS, and not depending on whether one chooses to believe the content of it – you can’t deny Nature to work in its curious ways. But one can find methods to study the language of it, to bring alter his sensitivity for sublime energies that flow throughout the existence. Once you have questioned yourself long enough to see if the axioms of the occult worldview are genuinely true with reasoning, there’s no turning back from it.

Another recurring theme throughout your art is a form of National Romanticism. It’s an interesting topic; whilst some blatantly racist and political movements/events have indeed sprung from the idea (the Völkisch movement, for example), from what I can discern Pantheon Of Blood is intended to share no connections with those things and this aspect of the project is instead concerned more with the knowledge, mysteries and connections the bloodlines of men have with their lands through indigenous cultural heritage. Would this be correct?

– Yes. Pantheon of Blood’s national-romanticism is linked to an idea of “collective spirit” bound by blood and soil, differentiated by cultural heritage. For instance, being born Finnish and unconsciously carrying the seeds of this past bloodline, is not the same thing as to be born within the area of upper Scandinavia. This fact alone pushes us to search methods for knowledge about the Self by means of where you are tied and what qualities you carry within you from past lives.

All of the members that have been in the band have surely had their own personal political implications, but that is not what is underlined in the context of Pantheon of Blood. Profane politics are made by those who have one foot grounded in the everyday matters – with Pantheon of Blood, we see ourselves outplaced from those matters.

The cover is a fresh piece by the talented Will-Helm Arts, created specifically for this compilation. It seems to be incredibly symbolic; it intended to represent?

– Mr. Hewlett had profound insights into themes that were transferred to him in order to catch the thread for the visual presentation. A serpentine power that has plagued the minds of men throughout the cycles of bloodline hierarchies; yet one should approach the artwork and the content with his intuitive skills that is not put inside the frame by degrading it with insufficient words.

And finally, something I always ask which is especially relevant now – what lies in the future for Pantheon Of Blood?

– Pantheon of Blood remains in a hibernative state, non-active, until further notice. The work continues with Sammas’ Equinox along with the other musical projects that are yet to see the light of the day.

Sincerest thanks for your time, Sûrya Ishtara. Any final words or wisdom for us all?

– Nature renews itself with fire.

Voices Rooted In Blood releases 31st January via Signal Rex.

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Pre-order Voices Rooted In Blood digitally from Bandcamp HERE, or purchase it on CD and LP from the Signal Rex webstore HERE on 31st January.

Support Pantheon Of Blood:

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Email: blackmetaldaily@outlook.com

Lost Objects – An Interview With Deathvoid

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Ceramic sun hanging on a wall
in the back end of the tiled landing
I rest myself on the seat beneath
everything is dyed in copper
a beam of evening light shines nearby
and lays on it, its eyes glimmer
ceramic sun reveals a doorway
leading up to argil roofs
and the existence of two more suns
in another time

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In the interview with Swiss/Italian raw black configuration Deathvoid that you are about to read below, vocalist Stilgar briefly mentions a concept called “hrönir”. As he says, hrönir are “lost objects that become duplicate and an aberration of the original”. For example: someone may lose a brooch. Two people end up looking for it… but both of them end up finding it. Or rather, they each find a version of it as the brooch, having been somehow altered by being lost and found, has in some inexplicable way manifested itself simultaneously in two locations according to the expectations of the seekers. But it is no longer the original brooch. It is something else.

This concept in itself is unsettling. How did it happen? Whilst not that weird at first, the longer you allow it to dwell in your mind the stranger it seems. A slow feeling of dread creeps in and lays its icy fingers at the base of your skull as you realise, with a growing sense of discomfort and faint horror, how sinister and even grotesque the idea really is. That feeling – that feeling right there – sums up what listening to Deathvoid‘s latest EP Disappear is like in a lost, multiplied nutshell.

Recorded in unique fashion by a group of individuals who create art for the arts sake, Disappear is undoubtedly raw black metal, but… wrong. The further you get through the EP’s four tracks the stranger things get as what may seem normal begins to bend and undulate; outside influences like noise wash their baleful gaze over you… and it even finishes in a crumbling acoustic/folk piece that will make the hairs rise on the back of your neck for no good reason that you can readily discern.

It’s something real, familiar, rooted and tangible… yet also not of this earth and like nothing you’ve ever seen before. As you can probably tell from my fumbling attempts to describe it you really do need to hear it for yourself, so without further ado, listen to either the full-stream or separate tracks below (multiplied, not the same) and read our discussion with the Baashtur, Phobameth and Stilgar below. Hails.

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Greetings Deathvoid! It’s a pleasure to speak with you today. Your latest release Disappear has recently been unleashed and I’m not going to lie, your work is still one or the more unique things I’ve heard lately. The whole thing slowly surges to life like some kind of surreal alien machine, churning, humming and droning – before not taking too long to get even weirder. Some of these riffs are genuinely unsettling, off-kilter (and off key!) atonal bending with sickly bass throbs. It’s quite unusual, even for raw black metal. What was the inspiration for such a project, and what led to its initial formation?

Phobameth: Thank you for the kind words and that was exactly the reaction we hoped our listeners would have.

Me, Baashtur and the now former members of the band were always interested in playing black metal, but we’re also fascinated by different styles of music like harsh noise and stuff like tape manipulation, pitchshifting and use of feedback, so we tried to incorporate those into black metal. Then we met Stilgar and his label Xenoglossy Productions, and he had more or less the same views as ours on that kind of music, so since some of Deathvoid’s initial members didn’t have much time for the project he started collaborating with us, especially for the visual/conceptual aspect of the band.

The last recording I heard from you was your two tracks on the great split with Illuminated Manuscripts but this sounds even more demented. Did you approach the creation and realization of Disappear with any differing intentions or processes to those two tracks?

Baashtur: We usually try something different with every release regarding the recording process and effects used, but it’s almost improvised most of the time, or “let’s try a bunch of things and see what sticks”. This time we just wanted it to be just a bit less noisy compared to the wall of harsh noise of the previous couple of releases and to experiment with slightly flat and sharp guitar string tunings, and an almost “random” approach to riffing, disregarding conventional tonality, but we didn’t expect Disappear to sound that weird actually, and definitely liked the final result.

The production alone is fascinating, so let’s dig a little deeper into that. I believe you recorded this on a broken tape recorder. Can you tell us a little more about that, how you achieved this sound, and the reasons behind it?

Baashtur: I think most of the off-kilter sound comes from experimenting with the above methods, but yes, I own a 4 track tape recorder that doesn’t work that well anymore – especially as regard tape speed, but I wanted to try it anyways. Songs were actually played at a slightly different speed and pitch compared to the final result but using that kind of faulty equipment warped the songs even more, so that’s where that sort of weird uneasy fluctuating feel comes from. Further warping was also achieved with Stilgar’s additional noises and effects.

The vocals are also insane. Are you making use of a pitchshifter, or is that some kind of horrifying natural throat?

Stilgar: Vocals are mostly deep growls already, but using that tape recorder and adding lots of effects on top of that turns them into that insane sounding monstrosity.

I almost always ask about the cover art when I’m writing an interview, and this time I definitely have to as when listening to the music, that art is not what I expected to see. In a strange way, at first glance it’s almost… cheerful, although it certainly holds some heavy symbolism. Who is the artist, and how does the art flow into the themes of the album?

Stilgar: I found it on a really old website ages ago, so I don’t know who took it. It’s a picture of a terracotta sun ornament, you see a lot of those here in Italy hanging on house walls as decorations. I’d say the first two tracks on the EP are about it, in the sense that Deathvoid’s concept and imagery heavily relies on descriptions – often surreal – of objects or strange interior landscapes. This is reflected in most of our cover artworks, Disappear included. Most of that is taken from dreams and distant memories and how objects, like a painting, can bring back a distant memory and the feelings associated with it; sometimes warped by time, like Deathvoid’s music is warped by effects. Another big inspiration for this concept is J.L. Borges and his symbolism on objects like mirrors and what he called “hrönir” – lost objects that become duplicate and an aberration of the original. 

In fact, lyrics are a big part in Deathvoid’s concept, so be sure to check them out on Bandcamp on the links below.

I wouldn’t exactly call it cheerful, actually I find it kinda ominous especially when paired with the weirdness of the music. I’ve always liked unconventional lyrics and imagery when combined with something like raw black metal, the weird feeling you get when stumbling in that kind of juxtaposition, so Deathvoid aims to recreate that feeling.

Disappear is noted as being your first release since the departure of previous member Nebiroth, and you are now operating as a three-piece. What was the story with Nebiroth‘s exit and how have you adjusted to only having three members?

Baashtur: Nebiroth was just very busy and didn’t have much time for the project, no bad feelings involved. Now me and Phobameth write and jam together as a two piece, I just have to record additional guitar parts when recording.

Following on from that, I’m curious as to what your creative process would be like for this type or art. Do you rehearse? Do you write songs then record, or is it more of a channeling live, part-improv type of deal? 

Baashtur: Yes, it’s almost exactly as you said for the basic tracks, me and Phobameth do a bunch of improv together and record the bulk of the songs while also playing around with feedback and loads of distortion. The description for this record is “garage black metal” because it’s more or less the attitude we have while playing together. Then Stilgar adds bass and vocals, and provides additional sound manipulation.

Stilgar in particular is involved in many other projects that whilst still falling (sometimes very loosely) under the umbrella of black metal, are usually not the typical fare at all. Do you, Phobameth and Baashtur, partake in another creative outlets? Amidst everything else in your life, how do you all know when the time is right to come together to create more Deathvoid?

Phobameth: Me and Baashtur are pretty busy so we just focus on Deathvoid. We usually meet from time to time when one of us has spare time and ideas for new songs and record the bulk of them together.

And finally – is there more material looming on the horizon?

Stilgar: Yes, two releases are ready to be put out, one is coming out in the next couple of months (on Xenoglossy Productions as usual) and it’s either going to be a demotape or a side for a split if we find a band interested in participating. We wrote that before Disappear actually, so expect almost harsh noise black metal.

We finished the other release very recently, it’s probably going to be another EP similar to Disappear in sound, since all the material has been run through a tremolo effect. Its concept is going to be similar to a riddle/ARG, perhaps involving a small reward for whoever finds out the solution. It’s coming out sometime in 2020.

Sincerest thanks for your time, Deathvoid. Looking forward to more madness from you. Any final words for us all?

Phobameth: Thank you for giving us the opportunity to talk about our music and concept, we’ve never had the proper chance before. Thanks also to Kenneth Parker of Glossolalia Records, who co-released the EP together with Xenoglossy Productions and is distributing the cassette in the US. Check both out:

xenoglossyproductions.bandcamp.com/album/disappear

glossolaliarecords.bandcamp.com/album/disappear

You can also listen to all of our material here:

thetruedeathvoid.bandcamp.com

Disappear is available now from Xenoglossy Productions and Glossolalia Records.

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Purchase Disappear digitally and on cassette from Xenoglossy Productions HERE or Glossolalia Records HERE.

Support Deathvoid:

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