TRACK PREMIERE: ‘The God From Elder Flesh’ by ILL TIDINGS

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Born from the elder flesh

Torn from the scorched earth

Risen from the ash

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Spawned phoenix-like in 2018 from the smouldering remains of Unholy Order, Austrian horde ILL TIDINGS have been carefully biding their time in the years since, preparing to unleash their first strike. Taking part in several successful dominating live performances alongside the likes of Horn, Eïs, Inferno, The Negative Bias, Totengeflüster and more during that time has only served to strengthen their whispered legend, but still they worked away in the darkness. Honing, crafting… and now, the time has finally arrived to unleash their debut recorded work. Now, in a furious, incinerating blaze from beyond, we at BMD are honoured to be given the opportunity present to you the first taste of the upcoming Signa Tenebris: ‘The God From Elder Flesh’.

Accompanied by a sumptuous visual feast that presents their singular vision in uncompromising form, ‘The God From Elder Flesh’ is a statement for the ages. Melodic black death power surges from every note as these men (whom you may recognize from such luminary subterranean acts as In Crucem Agere and Vástígr) summon a force unlike any other. Incisive riffs meet sulphuric explosions of incendiary percussion and roaring proselytizing throat, all imbued with a rhythmic pulse and immediacy that grips hard and will not let you go. The band themselves allow us a tantalizing sliver of information about the track:

The God from Elder Flesh, the fourth song from the upcoming album Signa Tenebris, conjures an apocalyptic vision from the perspective of a power hungry god, lusting for supremacy. The horrors commited in his name are depicted by flickering flames and the darkest shadows, masterfully re-imagined by Aimed & Framed.”

Featuring stunning artwork from Heresie Graphic Design Studio, production by Matt K and a mastering job by the incomparable Stephen Lockhart at Studio Emissary, the entire album is one that will immediately sear its way into your memory and remain there, burning evermore. It releases in its entirety on December 15th (digital only, physical editions to be announced) but for the moment all you can do is listen to this remarkable first offering, and prepare thyself… for ILL TIDINGS have come your way, and your life will never be the same.

Signa Tenebris releases December 15th.

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Pre-order Signa Tenebris digitally from Bandcamp HERE. Physical editions to be announced in the near future.

Support ILL TIDINGS:

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TRACK PREMIERE & INTERVIEW: ‘A Body Built By Blood’, by EXSANGUINATED SHADE

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Where once I craved death,

now I merely yearn for that

sweet sanguine liquid

which runs through your bones.

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Hails. I hope you’re feeling miserable. If you’re not, there’s a solid chance you will be soon – for today, we at BMD are proud to once more partner with our friends at Realm and Ritual to premiere the first taste of a unique new proposition – the raw gothic blackgaze of EXSANGUINATED SHADE.

A Story About The Body is the title of the duo of Cicatrix and Espi Kvlt‘s debut album, and that’s exactly what it turns out to be – a tale of body horror, and of horrors regarding the body. Each of its five tracks is named with striking imagery, the title serving not only as a story in itself but as seeming parts of an important larger whole, and the segment we are presenting today is no different: ‘A Body Built By Blood’. What images doth this title place in your head? Grotesqueries, or even tender memories? As ‘A Body Built By Blood’ takes you by the hand and begins to lead you on its harrowing nine-minute journey, you will feel all of these images in an almost physical sense.

As you push play, a somber, plaintive guitar melody rings out. The track proceeds to slowly assemble itself, adding parts like a forlorn animated corpse that’s lost a few pieces among the way and is resignedly collecting them again. As you walk, you’ll realise the scenery is swiftly evolving into into more gothic territory… before everything shortly collapses inwards into the crushing howls of depression. However, much like the talented Cicatrix was able to achieve with the recent Nodus Tollens debut full-length (and seemingly throughout everything they compose), buried within this wretched black hole lies much, much more.

The images conjured by these melodies alongside Espi Kvlt‘s vampyric lyricism and agonized howl are indeed horrifying, but are also ones of transformation – romantic, powerful and personal. They’ll remind you of things that only you know, transporting you deep inside yourself and inviting reflection, confrontation and honesty. If you can deal with that, the composition itself then keeps you on your toes, switching between moving parts and surprising influences at will – but every element is stitched together with ease, and almost… comfort. The pair have worked together before and know each other well, so this is the result of a close friendship and working partnership that shines through into this and every other piece on the album. Once it’s over, you’ll definitely want to experience it again.

In fortunate news, we not only have the exclusive stream of this striking composition for you today, but a wonderfully in-depth interview with its two creators as well – one that reveals the turbulent tale of the inception and development of the album with deep honesty and openness. It’s because of the information divulged in the below conversation that Cicatrix and Espi have decided to donate $2 from every digital sale to RAINN, which Realm and Ritual will match up to $100… and, of course, because they are both excellent people.

So, as usual – listen, read, and be sure to make a purchase if you enjoy. A Story About The Body will release in full November 27th. Your body may be ready for it… but is your spirit?

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Greetings, Cicatrix and Espi. It’s a pleasure to be speaking to you today for the premiere of ‘A Body Built By Blood’, from your debut album A Story About The Body. Diving right in at the deepest point: I believe the road to this record finally seeing the light of day has been a particularly turbulent and convoluted one. Could you tell us a little about the journey this material has taken?

CICATRIX: Hey, Dex – thanks for having us – we’re both stoked that Black Metal Daily is premiering ‘A Body Built By Blood.’ 

A Story About the Body has definitely had a difficult gestation. There was a stretch of about six months – starting from when I began working on what ended up being the first Nodus Tollens full-length Melancholic Waters Ablaze With the Fires of Loss, and lasting until Espi took over on vocals back in late February or early March – where I’d pretty much given up on finishing this album. I was convinced it had somehow been cursed.

That said, I’m struggling to figure out exactly how to answer this question. Exsanguinated Shade is actually the third iteration of this project. I originally called it Nodus Tollens, and was planning to use a different vocalist for each song. Then I let one of the vocalists who had expressed interest in the project convince me to abandon that plan, change the name of the band, and let him do vocals for the whole album. We got signed under that name, and the album was supposed to be released last August. That obviously didn’t happen, and in hindsight I’m really relieved because he turned out to be a garbage human being. There was an incident with Espi – I’ll let them fill in the details, if they feel like discussing it – that was the impetus for my decision not to finish the album with him. However, he was so  much worse than either of us could have imagined – he was arrested at the end of October for sexually exploiting a 15-year-old girl. 

It makes me physically ill to think about how close I came to releasing an album with someone capable of that kind of predation, and I can’t even begin to imagine how his victim and his family have been affected by his actions. I’ve chosen not to use his name out of respect to them. I don’t want to give him any kind of publicity, and I definitely don’t want to put him on the radar of anyone who would now be more inclined to check out his bands because of some bullshit idea about what it means to be ‘black metal.’ 

Anyway…the gestation process for this album was difficult from the start. I think I started working on it in October 2018. I don’t remember exactly, because I was drinking pretty heavily at the time.  I had no fucking clue what I was doing from either a recording or a mixing standpoint. I sank a few hundred hours into it, and then one night while I was whiskey drunk and trying to do something with one of the songs, I got frustrated and deleted every trace of the project from my hard drive. A few days later I made what was probably a long overdue decision to quit drinking, and once the withdrawal symptoms started to taper off I went to work on rerecording everything. 

I was pretty well finished with the second version of the album when I was talked into changing plans.  I held one song back – it turned into ‘Vulpes Pilum Mutat’ on the Nodus Tollens/Crown of Asteria split – and was in the process of writing what became ‘A Body Built By Death’ to replace it when he told me that he’d gotten us a deal for a tape release and we had about six weeks to finish the record…

Long story short…I did my damndest to make the deadline, but I ended up having a bit of a breakdown trying to mix the vocals. To be completely honest, I think he would have been perfectly fine releasing the album with a mix that I hated, just so he could add another line to his Metal Archives profile. So I was already frustrated when Espi told me about what had happened. I wanted to kick him out then and there, but they asked me not to for fear of reprisal, and I respected their wishes. Even so, I was  looking for any reason to cut ties, and I got it a couple of months later when one of his other bands got involved with a sketchy label. 

ESPI: Thank you so much for having us, Dex! It’s been such a pleasure being featured on Black Metal Daily a couple times before this.

I found out about this project back in February. Cicatrix told me they were working on it and said the vocalist was someone I knew. My heart sank. I just had this horrible gut feeling. I asked them who it was. The second they told me, my worst fears were realized. Said garbage human being Cicatrix mentioned was a musician I had bought an album from once. A few months later he sent me an unsolicited dick photo. I am a rape survivor so not only was I sexually harassed by this man, but I was extremely triggered by the incident. I didn’t want Cicatrix to drop him right away, worried he’d take it out on me when he put two and two together and do something drastic, but thankfully Cicatrix found another reason to drop him. That meant so much to me in and of itself, but then when they asked me to join the project in his place, it was an enthusiastic yes. Not only did I get that dickhead kicked out of this project, but I took his place. Vengeance was sweet.

At what point did Espi become involved? Interestingly, I’ve previously spoken to both of you regarding your own separate projects – how did you two end up collaborating on Exsanguinated Shade?

CICATRIX: As soon as I found out about the previous vocalist’s other band having ties to a sketchy label, Espi volunteered to take over. We had just started working on our ritual ambient project Guan Yin, so I didn’t even have to think about it before saying ‘yes.’ I’m not exaggerating in the least when I say that Espi rescued the album. I think it sounds like I wrote it with them specifically in mind, even though that would have been impossible – I didn’t even meet Espi until after I’d written and recorded all the music. 

ESPI: Not only did we have past ties due to Guan Yin, but I also had several releases on Cicatrix’s label, Akashic Envoy. Even though I’ve only been part of the music industry for a year, it feels like I’ve known them and been working with them so much longer than that. I couldn’t be happier that our friendship and professional relationship evolved into creating an album so deeply personal, which brought us closer together.

A Story About The Body is an intriguing album title – even more so when reading the track names (which all reference a body built by various elements and occurrences), and the lyrics which almost seem to speak of vampyric transformation & death in allegorical fashion. What exactly is this story that the album is telling us? Is this a personal tale?

CICATRIX: The album title was my idea. After reading Espi’s lyrics and song titles, I was immediately reminded of a prose poem by former US Poet Laureate Robert Hass called “A Story About the Body,” which is about a young composer who rejects the sexual advances of an older woman after finding out she’s had a double mastectomy. I’ve always loved that poem, particularly the ending image of a blue bowl with rose petals on top and dead bees underneath. 

ESPI: When I heard the gothic instrumentals on this album, I knew I wanted to write a horror album. My favorite kind of horror is body horror, which is why so much of it is focused on specific body parts and horrifying imagery like someone pulling their arm out from the dirt and it ripping apart and worms crawling together to form someone’s neck. The reason I am so fascinated with body horror is because, as a trans person, it’s very symbolic for me, and that’s something I actually realized right before I started working on this album. I realized that most of my horror stories involve some type of body horror where people tear off their body parts – I’ve had stories where a dude cuts his leg off, where a girl cuts her toes off, where a vampire intentionally burns themselves in the sunlight. I realized the reason I was doing this was because of my body dysphoria. I was obsessed with the idea of being able to tear off and reform my body parts at will. So most of the songs on this album are about that. Someone is ripping off their body parts or reforming their body parts in a horrific way, but it’s actually beautiful, because the narrator is happy. What to a normal person appears grotesque is beautiful to the narrator. 

The vampire song, which is the premiere song – ‘A Body Built By Blood’ – is very similar in that regard. After I came out as trans, the fascination I had with vampires as a child resurfaced. Twilight honestly kind of spoiled that for me for a while, but after I came out as trans, I saw vampires in an entirely new light. The transition, especially from mortal to immortal, is such a huge focus in vampire lore, it amazes me that most people haven’t made that connection already. So again, this is a song about my trans experience in the form of a horror story.

Only one song doesn’t follow this theme, and that’s ‘A Body Built By Death.’ After a bad breakup I had a long time ago, I started writing a ghost story about a ghost who stalks their ex. The ex doesn’t care about their former lover, even in death. I turned that story into this song.

Sticking with vampirism for a moment; the introductory dialogue sample is fascinating, and quite familiar… but I just can’t put my finger on where it originates from. Where did you source this dialogue, and why did you elect to open the album with it?

CICATRIX: All the samples are from old Hammer Horror films. That first one is Ingrid Pitt and Madeline Smith from 1970s The Vampire Lovers, which was the first in a loose trilogy of lesbian-themed vampire films called The Karnstein Trilogy. There are also two samples, including the one at the end of the song, from Twins of Evil, the final film in the trilogy. 

Espi and I both like opening albums with samples, so that had a lot to do with it. As for why I used that particular sample, I think it sets up the rest of the album really well in terms of the horror themes, and the slow, intense way the dream unfolds fit perfectly with the music. Since some of Espi’s lyrics address gender dysphoria – we’re actually both non-binary, and prefer ‘they’ pronouns –  it seemed appropriate to start with something from a lesbian-themed film. 

As a side note, I initially only wanted to use Christopher Lee’s dialogue from the Hammer films, but he doesn’t say a whole lot in those movies. There’s a YouTube video that compiles all of Lee’s actual dialogue from the seven films in which he played Dracula. The total running time? Nine minutes. 

Musically speaking, the material is utterly superb. Similarly to Cicatrix’s work in the also exceptionally unique Nodus Tollens it weaves myriad alternative, goth and post-punk threads together into its depressive shawl; creating something that is quite unlike anything out there, yet immediately familiar and almost comforting, once you try it on. Were there any particularly prominent musical inspirations that found their way onto the record in some form?

CICATRIX: If I’m being completely honest, I barely understand how my writing process works. I’m convinced that a lot of it is a byproduct of having ADHD. For the most part, the songs come together pretty organically – I’m generally not cognizant of the different threads I’m pulling together until I listen back later or someone else points it out to me. That’s pretty much how my creative process has always worked. I was an actively publishing poet for a while, and my work was often described as being ‘elliptical’ or characterized by unexpected juxtapositions and associative leaps, but I always felt like it was disappointingly linear and made too much sense. 

So in that respect, it is a little difficult for me to try and pinpoint my inspirations – much more so than with Nodus because I was just figuring things out as I went along. I think that’s a big reason why the song structures are more ‘traditional’ on A Story About the Body than they are on Melancholic Waters. ‘A Body Build By Blood’ is the only track I can point to and name a specific influence – I had been listening to the first Bauhaus record In the Flat Field the day I wrote the opening section. There’s a decent amount of Smashing Pumpkins influence on the album as a whole, primarily in the way I only play the octaves in the power chords on a few of the songs. I’ve been told that it’s easy to hear a Peter Hook influence on my bass playing, since I tend to play it more like another melody instrument than strictly as a rhythm one. There’s a section in ‘A Body Built By Worms’ that has a definite New Order feel – it reminds me a bit of ‘Ceremony,’ actually. 

ESPI: For me, pop music is always my main source of inspiration when it comes to my lyrics. I listen to musicians like Lana Del Rey, Marina and the Diamonds, and Meg Myers for lyrical inspiration, because unlike common opinion, I actually find pop artists to have incredibly poetic lyrics that resonate with me and that I wish to emulate. I want my lyrics to make someone else feel the way these artists make me feel. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Gold and Thou for non-pop lyrical inspiration. As far as my vocals go, if you like Dreariness or Sadness, you’ll probably like them. If you don’t like shrieking, that’s fine, I won’t be offended.

The album is being released by our friends at the superlative Realm and Ritual; an excellent partnership. Why did you decide to work with them?

CICATRIX: Superlative is right – SG is class, and R+R is an incredible label. He did the Crown of Asteria + Nodus Tollens split back in February, and it was such a fantastic experience – he’s so easy to work with, and the tapes turned out beautifully. I absolutely wanted to work with him again, so it was a total no-brainer to send him ExShade

ESPI: This is my first time working with Realm and Ritual but I’m a long-time fan. I’ve been buying their tapes for a while now and they are always packaged so beautifully and with such care, I know how much he cares about the music he puts out and the work that goes into it. We also align ideologically which is extremely important for me.

Although we are streaming the track ‘A Body Built By Blood’ today, it isn’t the first Exsanguinated Shade material to be made public – ‘A Body Built By The Earth’ was previously released on the Hope vs. Hate Records compilation Hope In The Face Of Fear. Is the album track the same recording as that compilation inclusion? Could you tell us a little bit about that compilation, and why you elected to be a part of it?

CICATRIX: If memory serves, we hopped on that comp maybe a week after Espi took over on vocals. I don’t remember if I’d heard Espi’s vocals on one of the songs yet at that point or not – I was just so fucking happy to be working on it again after sitting on it for close to six months, and I was beyond ready to get something out there where people could hear it.

As far as the comp itself, Hope vs. Hate is a leftist label based in Scotland whose political views line up very closely with our own, and whose goal is to raise money and awareness for various leftist causes. It seemed like a good place for a debut. We actually each have another band besides ExShade on that comp as well. 

ESPI: I’m also good friends with the people behind the Hope vs. Hate compilation. Tommy from Order of the Wolf was one of the first friends I ever made in the leftist black metal scene so I was more than happy to work on that compilation with him and his friend at the helm.

As mentioned, Exsanguinated Shade isn’t the only outlet of expression for either of you – it’s not even the only project you work on together! Do you have anything else in the pipeline that you’d like to give us the heads up about?

CICATRIX: I mentioned Guan Yin earlier – that’s our ritual ambient project. I’d been wanting to try my hand at the genre, but I didn’t want to do the usual occult shit. Espi’s a practicing Buddhist, and we decided to try collaborating on a song for the Akashic Envoy Records Apostils Against Hegemony comp in order to see what happened. That turned into a full-length, then another new track for Trepanation RecordingsENOUGH. compilation, and we recently finished our half of a split. The split and full-length will both be out at some point next year. 

I’ve got quite a few other things in the pipeline. I do vocals for a blackened eco-noise project called Chernozem – we’ve got a split coming out on Dec. 1 with a cyberpunk/electronic project called Hexen. I’m also putting the finishing touches on two new Nodus Tollens songs for a three-way split that may or may not be out by the end of the year – one of the bands was displaced by the wildfires in Colorado, so working on music is (understandably) a lower order concern for her at the moment. The third band on that split is actually the aforementioned Order of the WolfTommy is indeed the shit. 

ESPI: I have a ton of stuff in the pipeline besides the things Cicatrix mentioned that I unfortunately cannot mention yet. A bunch of projects that are completely unannounced. Let’s just say there’s a blackened sludge album, a raw black metal album, and a DSBM album that will be created to raise money for mental health awareness. Big things coming soon!

However, what I can say with no vagueness is that Mike and I are working on the next Seas of Winter and Apricitas full-lengths. The next Apricitas full-length will almost certainly be coming out next year.

And finally, we’re extremely proud to present the first (or second) taste of this remarkable record today, ‘A Body Built By Blood’. What is happening in this particular track, and what does it mean to you?

CICATRIX: ‘A Body Built By Blood’ is easily my favorite song on the record, in large part because it’s the most overtly goth influenced. I also think the outro section might be the best stretch of music I’ve ever written. I’ve started thinking about album number two, and I want to lean more into this aspect of our sound. 

ESPI: I kind of spoiled all the details of the track earlier. But in terms of what it means to me: It means acceptance of who I am, no matter how the people around me perceive it. It means I am proud to say that my gender is “cryptid vampire” and I don’t care if people say it’s ridiculous or that xenogenders aren’t real. This is who I am. Deal with it.

Sincerest thanks for your time Cicatrix and Espi, it’s been an honour. Any final words or wisdom you’d like to impart to us all?

CICATRIX: BLACK LIVES MATTER || ABOLISH THE POLICE || ABOLISH ICE || PUNCH NAZIS || DEPLATFORM TERFS

ESPI: What they said, and also: Decriminalize sex work and fight for survivors. We now have a rapist and racist as our president-elect and a whorephobic, transphobic cop as our VP-elect. While a bunch of you are able to go to brunch, a ton of other people are still scared. Don’t stop fighting for us. Don’t stop protesting the police. Don’t stop fighting for Black lives. Don’t stop fighting for the rights of trans people. Don’t stop fighting for the rights of sex workers. We need your help now more than ever, as so many people are going to go back to putting their heads in the sand and pretending nothing is wrong. Please help us dismantle this imperialist state and bring forward a future of hope. Preferably before climate change kills us.

Love metal, hate fascism.

A Story About The Body releases November 23rd via Realm and Ritual. Pre-orders available now.

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Pre-order A Story About The Body on cassette from the Realm and Ritual Bandcamp HERE, or digitally from the Exsanguinated Shade Bandcamp HERE.

Support EXSANGUINATED SHADE:

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EP PREMIERE: ‘Winter Contemplations’ by SOUL DISSOLUTION

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Today, we have a truly exquisite treat for you all. Belgian atmospheric/post-black trio and BMD favourites SOUL DISSOLUTION are gearing up to release their latest EP Winter Contemplations, and we are honoured to assist in presenting the full-stream of said EP for you today. Read on as our man Gos (Order ov the Black Arts) immerses himself into its masterfully melodic, emotionally ensnaring depths and offers his considerations on this stunning snowbound reverie.

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There’s something to be said for music that fits a season. I can’t speak for others but I know that for myself, my listening habits are significantly affected by the climate and weather in which I am immersed. As the days grow colder in my part of the world I find myself looking forward to those albums which harness the spirit of winter – and the appropriately titled Winter Contemplations, new EP by Belgium triplet SOUL DISSOLUTION, is one such example. 

Eschewing the pitch black, frigid, subzero atmospherics harnessed by a plethora of typically Scandinavian acts, Winter Contemplations adopts a more overtly post-black sunniness while still projecting distinct wintertide and gentle melancholia. The first track is ‘La Dernière Tempête’, appropriately easing in with the whistling wind before settling into an easy pace of plodding percussion, thick melodic strings, and somewhat monotonic yelling vocals. Soon though, we see where it all comes together and how SOUL DISSOLUTION truly shines: when those elements are combined with warm, almost bluesy guitar lead which twirls and plays amongst the other instruments like an afternoon wind, whirling snowflakes among icicled branches. Further journey into the song reveals evermore welcome techniques like mid-paced double kick and lovely acoustic guitar progressions, before the track wraps up with a soulful tremolo lead and final harmony.

‘Where The Clouds Stand Still’ comprises the second half of Winter Contemplations and the track leads in with soft acoustic guitar and majestic synth (provided by none other than UNREQVITED in a guest role), capturing the hypnotic brilliance of sun shining through the finest crystalline powder gently falling from the sky. By and by, that same wind returns and gradually disturbs the pristine display as electric lead guitar foretells a more persistent snowfall. Though the sun is still out, the appearance of large flakes corresponds to the heaviness of the casual percussion, which would be almost concerning if it wasn’t still so damn beautiful. We catch the full cascade towards the end of the track, all musical grandeur ecstatically conjoining atop torrents of rapid double kick before the EP concludes in epic fashion.

Releasing November 13th via the band’s own Viridian Flame Records, today we are extremely proud to bring you the exclusive full-stream of both tracks – so this winter, if you are looking for some more relaxed seasonal listening, look to Winter Contemplations. Far from being stuck in a harsh, subzero midnight blizzard, with Winter Contemplations we don our snow boots and a warm jacket and head outdoors for a comfortable and moving 24-minute walk through the epic post-black drifts. On this trek, mid-afternoon sun shines pleasantly and scattered wayward snowflakes fall through the chilly air from a distant cloud… the adventure peaking with a magnificent, powerful, white-out.

FFO: VVILDERNESS, ELLENDE (Totbringer), REALM OF WOLVES, VELDES, UNREQVITED

Winter Contemplations releases November 13th via Viridian Flame Records. Pre-orders available now.

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Pre-order Winter Contemplations on CD and digital from the Soul Dissolution Bandcamp HERE.

Support SOUL DISSOLUTION:

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EP PREMIERE & INTERVIEW: ‘Saturnal Chambers’ by KYRIOS

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I’m not sure if it’s something in the water there or what, but New York must be some kind of breeding ground for the weirdest, most synapse-shredding extreme metal around. Already the birthplace of Krallice, Imperial Triumphant and many others a new entity has just begun to scrabble its way upwards from the tunnels under the city; moving at inhuman speed on glistening alien claws with the sole purpose of blowing your head clean off. Who or what is this terrifying proposition, you may ask? That would be the mysterious triumvirate of KYRIOS.

The creation of enigmas Hypatian (guitar, bass, synths), Satan’s Sword (drums) and Vornag (vocals); Kyrios‘ debut EP Saturnal Chambers is what we are presenting the exclusive full-stream of here today. If you’ve got your finger on any kind of pulse you’ll have no doubt heard the hype surrounding their first streaming track ‘The Utterance Of Foul Truths’, and if you’ve experienced its avant-garde, angular death mantras you’ll know it really is worth every word of that hype. Three minutes and thirteen seconds of internally combusting nightmare dissonance imploding and exploding in freakish intervals throughout intricately demented layers and structures, all gelled together with the fetid piceous tar of pure BLACK METAL is what we’ve been able to sample thus far… until now, when we are proud to bring you the rest of this discombobulating debut so you can have what remains of the rest of your head shredded into gobbets of quivering flesh and splintered bone on the floor.

Yes, the following two tracks (the titular ‘Saturnal Chambers’ and ‘A Mare In The Wire’) are equally as dazzling, albeit both for different reasons. Each shows a different face of Kyrios‘ eldritch nightmare horrors as they meet accelerated entropic chaos in a long forgotten crypt, sending spectral tentacles out to envelop the world and fling all life up to wither amongst the stars… but I don’t want to give too much away as the entire experience is a mere nine minutes long (or thereabouts) and is really something you should discover for yourself, plus we touch on it in our chat with two of the three maniacs responsible for its creation below. Suffice to say however that nobody who was blown away by ‘The Utterance Of Foul Truths’ could possibly be disappointed, and you may even find yourself delightfully surprised.

So! Be blasted off into the cold void of space with the ravenous unnaturalness of Saturnal Chambers. Witness and be driven insane by the vision of Gods eating their children… and be sure to pre-order yourself a limited cassette copy from the superlative Caligari Records before it unleashes October 30th. Hails.

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Greetings, Kyrios; sincerest thanks for speaking with us today for the unveiling of your debut EP, Saturnal Chambers. As everything about you is yet swathed in reams of shadow I pray you allow me to pry a little deeper and perhaps even unearth some hidden truths. Firstly, one might assume Kyrios is a fresh entity, as it is not even listed on Metal Archives. Has the project existed for quite some time? 

Hypatian: It’s very new, actually. We started talking about it in the fall or winter of last year and ended up writing and recording the EP over the course of a few months following that. Weirdly enough, we were still finalizing it as the pandemic rolled in, and although most of it was written before, I think the apocalyptic backdrop descending upon us just as this project was getting off the ground had an effect on the mood of the piece.

Satan’s Sword: We’ve all supported each other’s projects or even collaborated to varying degrees before. The recording of Saturnal Chambers is the first time the three of us channelled our distinct creative forces into one band.

Under what circumstances was Kyrios birthed, and for what purpose?

Hypatian: Satan’s Sword brought us together initially with the goal of channelling the sounds of bands like Emperor. As we started writing it morphed into something a little different where we bridged the gap between the more traditional sounds and more abstract material influenced by VBE, Deathspell etc. We like both sounds so it organically changed into something where the goal was to deliberately mix the two instead of truncating the writing to fix more in one box than the other.

Satan’s Sword: I wanted to create a sound that was diabolical and transcendent. I knew that Hypatian would take my original idea and run with it by throwing his signature discordant spin into the mix. Channeling the sounds of Emperor was a mere jumping off point because I knew things would take a turn once we started putting songs together. While those classic second wave influences are still there, I think you can also hear some of the sounds that were on the fringe of that scene. For example, fusing the eeriness of Ulver’s Vargnatt demo with the infernal blast of Emperor’s In The Nightside Eclipse. There is also another side to Kyrios revealed on Saturnal Chambers that will be explored heavily on future releases.

Now, research tells me it may possibly be Greek in origin, but to what does the moniker Kyrios refer?

Satan’s Sword: The word translates loosely to “lord” or “master” and has been used for “god”. The name was originally somewhat of an homage to Emperor, but I really wanted it to represent our own ability to be god and ascend from a subject of the universe by manifesting true will.

Hypatian: You’re right, it is Greek. The slaves in classical Greece called their master Kyrios but it was then used for the Christian diety later on, so there are layers of possible meaning ranging from very dark and worldly to transcendent. In general I think that the ancient etymology coupled with the fact that it was typically used for a cosmic being is the perfect combination to represent our sound.

Whilst Kyrios might be a brand new proposition, the music itself is so accomplished it’s near impossible that the beings behind it could be newcomers to the scene. You alluded to other projects earlier; would you share what they are? Would we be familiar with them?

Hypatian: The blackened veil of secrecy stays for now, but yeah, I think you may’ve heard from us before. 

After that superb opening assault broughy by ‘The Utterance Of Foul Truths’ the titular EP centerpiece ‘Saturnal Chambers’ may surprise some, but its evil cosmic chamber-music-esque emanations are the perfect bridge between the two bookending compositions. What led you to title the EP after this particular piece, and what does the title refer to?

Satan’s Sword: The title Saturnal Chambers was born from my obsession with the planet Saturn, its malefic presence in the universe, the ways it has revealed itself to me, and its (at the very least) allegorical relationship to the Desolate One.

Hypatian: It’s a sick word.

EP closer ‘A Mare In The Wire’ then closes proceedings with a pure expression of darkness; winding, churning and consuming. Overall, it’s one of the most impressive debuts I’ve heard this year. What was it like for you to construct such madness? What is your creative process like?

Satan’s Sword: The songs came together as naturally as thinking them into existence. All the drum parts are basically my first instinct from hearing Hypatian’s dizzying riffs with no other accompanying instruments. The symphonic arrangements came next and Vornag’s vocals last. With each of those, the black metal khaos hydra Kyrios grew another head. It goes to show that chaos dwells at the center of the universe…all you have to do is open the door.

Hypatian: That’s about right. Amazingly, we didn’t even discuss the drum parts before recording, Satan’s Sword went into the studio with my demos and nailed it. This really came together quickly and very organically, I think it helped that we didn’t overthink it and trusted our instincts, Saturnal Chambers really did come about as if channeled from another dimension.

And finally – will this be the last we hear from you all? Will Kyrios return to devastate us further?

Hypatian: We will be back, bigger and better, guaranteed. 

Satan’s Sword: Once the door is open it cannot be closed. We will be mad with attack!!!

Sincerest thanks for your time once again, and for the remarkable debut EP. Any parting words or wisdom for us all?

Hypatian: We’re overwhelmed with the positive response we’ve gotten from this release, so thanks to everyone and stay safe out there in this plague year. 

Satan’s Sword: Hail Saturn

Saturnal Chambers releases 30th October via Caligari Records. Pre-orders available now.

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Pre-order Saturnal Chambers on digital and cassette from the Caligari Records Bandcamp HERE.

Support KYRIOS:

  • No online presence.

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TRACK PREMIERE & INTERVIEW: ‘Rvm & Cigars’ by GUIGNOL NOIR

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Offering sacrifices

We pray for sacred blessings

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“Evil” is a word that’s often thrown about with little care within the realms of black metal, but Swiss occultists GUIGNOL NOIR certainly have a great understanding of the concept. Their black metal radiates an inflamed, heightened madness and malevolence; a sense of dire menace and ruinous intent that can only be described as the manifestation of evil.

Forged in the flames of 2007 the devilish duo of Cheib and Schiach have taken careful time to craft their debut album, but yes, Mantric Malediction is finally upon us. Several tracks from this stygian masterwork are already available on Bandcamp (linked throughout this article) and today we are extremely pleased to bring you another, a taste of what may be the most sinister offering of all: ‘Rvm & Cigars’. If there’s a track that sums up this release, it’s this. Genuinely unhinged and sounding like it was recorded in a fit of ritual passion whilst at the same time deathly focused and vindinctive, for its five and a half minute duration these men are indeed literally manifesting evil as the track tells a sordid tale of consecration and curse, utilizing the two core titular ingredients. Musically speaking, the winding, relentless serpentine cacophony is a refreshing take on traditional black stylings, composed of frantic melodicism repeating in insanity-inducing rancor and bellowed supplicatory utterances. It’s intoxicating in itself; overwhelming the senses and whipping the listener into a frenzy of rabid, ravenous worship… a delirious madness to hurl yourself into with total abandon.

Aside from this fresh offering we also have a brief chat with the acolytes of wretchedness themselves presented for your perusal below; I highly recommend you immerse yourself in both in preparation for the digital, cassette and CD materializing in full November sixth via the formidable Repose Records. Immerse yourself… and be lost to evil.

“The figurine… is now cleansed… with rum…”

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Greetings, Guignol Noir – it’s a pleasure to be speaking to you today for the exclusive stream of ‘Rvm & Cigars’ from your upcoming debut full-length, Mantric Malediction. Now, the phrase “Mantric Malediction” immediately calls to mind curses spat and evil incantations intoned – how does it relate to the themes and intentions expressed within the album?

– It is exactly that, a musical piece about the black arts and death worship.

There are myriad stylistic strains at play within the album, ranging from as basic and core-level as De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas and many orthodox bands to some quite psychedelic and even almost carnival-esque elements, with many, many things in between. It’s a deceptively dazzling tapestry to take in. What was the creation of the album like for you? Did you have any particular aims and goals, or draw from any notable influences to create the album’s impressive sound?

– We were trying to create a unique style which plays with the perception of the listener. Something familiar but at the same time somehow wrong, triggering feelings of unease. The music is heavily influenced by drug abuse and exploration of the human mind.

I must enquire as to something I am curious about: from my limited understanding of French, Guignol Noir translates roughly as “black marionette”. What is the story behind this intriguing moniker?

– At the beginning Guignol Noir was intended to be an audio visual project, like a macabre marionette theater. The marionettes serve as an allegorical tool as we pull the strings (while practicing the dark arts.)

I see that you are also affiliated with a collective entitled Milk ov Madness. Please enlighten us, what exactly is Milk ov Madness?

– Milk ov Madness is a blog where we present our combined projects. The fruits of our work being the milk of madness.

Guignol Noir was formed back in 2007, but your first pair of songs (to my knowlege) was only released nine years later in 2016. How did Guignol Noir materialize into existence thirteen years ago, and what is the reason behind such a lengthy build up to the release of material?

– As we met we were musically on the same page and it came natural to create this project. Most songs manifested pretty early on, but we needed some time to record the music as we wanted and once done we needed someone to mix and master it properly. At this stage we had already performed live and people were asking for a coming release. After some time we asked Kerberos from Dakhmah to help us out and he’s done an amazing job. Furthermore he then pushed us by sending the music to a label he was planning to release an album with at the time.

Whilst researching this piece I have just now discovered a recent interview you performed, and I noticed one small detail that leapt out at me: you were inspired by the song ‘Bacterium Dei’, by Wolok. I’m a big fan of Wolok, so I was excited to see them mentioned and can definitely hear a influence in the psychedelic elements and structures of Guignol Noir. Why did you select ‘Bacterium Dei’ in particular as having a direct influence on your work?

– The way this song plays. The intro of the song sounds like a technical down spiraling abyss. The way this is played was inspiring. Nothing else specifically.

And finally – the track we are honoured to premiere today is ‘Rvm & Cigars’, another curious title with lyrics that seem to speak of a figurine being cleansed by rum and cigar smoke. Could you tell us little about this track, what is happening within, and what it means to you?

– It is about a cursing ritual using a clay figurine to be cleansed before being linked to the victim.

Sincerest thanks for your time, Guignol Noir. Any final words or wisdom for us all?

– Hail death and never stop the madness!

Mantric Malediction releases November 6th via Repose Records. Pre-orders available now.

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Pre-order Mantric Malediction on digital, CD and cassette from Bandcamp HERE.

Support GUIGNOL NOIR:

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ALBUM PREMIERE & INTERVIEW: ‘Antica Memoria di Dis: Acheron & Lethe’ by ENTROPY CREATED CONSCIOUSNESS

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“Obscure, profound it was, and nebulous, so that by fixing on its depths my sight, nothing whatever I discerned therein.”

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I have to be honest, right off the bat – the level of excitement I feel to share this next premiere with you cannot possibly be understated.

Some of you may already be familiar with this mysterious black/doom entity, blessed with the compelling moniker of ENTROPY CREATED CONSCIOUSNESS. If not – I beseech thee, pay close attention. The project first arose back in 2018 when a particularly striking release unlike any other materialized from somewhere in the bowels of the United States, causing a stir amongst those who heard it: the William Blake themed Impressions Of The Morning Star. It showcased a total disregarding of boundaries in favour of a singular artistic vision; one both cerebral and entirely otherworldly, that imitated none and was, consequently, inimitable in itself. Now, after the following and equally as provoking EP Innocence & Experience, the project returns with its next work: Antica Memoria di Dis: Acheron & Lethe.

Diving into a fresh literary inspiration via the famous masterpiece of Dante Alighieri, Antica Memoria again assails the listener with an irresistible mystic force. A churning, grandiose double EP that’s musically dazzling and thematically rich whilst challenging and stimulating in proportionate measure, the more time I spend with it, the more of itself is revealed – it’s no spoiler to say it will likely feature on my end of year list. Ergo, I’m honoured to not only assist in premiering the full-stream alongside our brethren at Order ov the Black Arts, but to have had the opportunity to once more engage in discussion regarding the finer points of the record with its eternally nameless and eloquent creator.

The limited cassette is featuring in the imminent Fólkvangr Records drop landing 23rd October, so familiarize yourself with this immense work now – trust me. You’ll put yourself through the nine circles of hell in regret if you sleep on this one.

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Greetings, Entropy Created Consciousness – it is wonderful to be speaking with you again, this time for the release of Antica Memoria di Dis: Acheron & Lethe. Followers of the project may recall that for your debut album you were shown the path by William Blake. Now, we see you dive into the first cantica of Dante‘s Divine Comedy; the journey of Inferno. What led you to speak this time of Dante Alighieri‘s most famous work?

– It is a mysterious thing. The audible shapes collect into a silhouette of something conjuring, and it makes itself known: the emergence from Plato’s cave, or maybe just the journey through chaotic winds and debris to the eye of the storm – there is a sudden moment when it is understood. That isn’t to say things don’t change and evolve, either; the introduction of ‘Malebolge’ changed several times before it was expressed with aplomb, for example, and the end of ‘Cerberus’ was more straightforward black metal until it wasn’t. I think I knew, even at Antica Memoria’s onset, this musical observation would need a harrowing sojourn as its lyrical occupation, one that felt unstoppable; a pull into the depths of something feverish and opaque, rich with atmosphere and subtext and many corners to get lost and exhausted in. Blake, while fascinating, is a different form of exhaustion when the last sentence is read, and often lacks a sense of accomplishment for doing so: you have not survived a lengthy dive, but rather, you’ve learned there was never any water at all.

Those familiar with Inferno will no doubt read the track names and be able to envision where these songs are heading, but in the press release you mention that this is a unique Homeric recital of the material. I am intrigued; could you tell us a little about this and how you have explored Inferno?

– It’s a question of perspective: Alighieri’s text, beautiful and thoughtful, is also heavily bogged down in his preoccupation with history, culture, and social hierarchy. Obviously, these are inextricable from the text, and are part of its personality – they have to be, given how much of its word count is dedicated to them in conversation with the many shades Dante recognizes. But for how grounding these moments are, they also bemire the fantastical and twisted things happening all around: a necessity, I expect, given Italy at the time of its publication and how it would receive a story like this without lots of sidebars about politics, et al. Making this release many years removed from these considerations, I focused more on the journey; with the story ‘streamlined’ like this, it’s very clearly inspired by Homer and the other classic odysseys. The work explores perhaps the most black metal element of the Inferno – speaking here of the true heart of its winter, not edgy teenagers playing dress-up in the forest – which is that it’s no Christian tale of wariness in the face of Satan’s terrible torments of the soul to draw an abyss below Heaven’s great spheres, but rather the lengthy examination of the depth of the soul or primordial center of the individual: its composition of fear and existential questioning, the many identities it uses to torture itself, its manifold landscapes of pain and grief, its heart of darkness where every individual stands surrounded by the frozen lake of their regrets and everyone ever sacrificed for the endless drive of ambition and growth and achievement, endlessly masticating its betrayers whose words and actions influence even the most paltry dolor. The grandest statement Dante ever made was that it isn’t Satan at the innermost hollow of Hell – he stands as the image of the individual, just like Kurtz, just like Satan in Milton, just like any other stand-in for Satan in Blake’s works.

Despite initial appearances and the fact that they flow quite well as one piece, this release is not actually a full-length but a pair of EPs entitled Acheron and Lethe – what was the reason behind this format? Was the material written with the intent for it to stand as two separate pillars instead of a solitary monument?

Antica Memoria was composed and sequenced as a single LP like Impressions of the Morning Star before it, yet I knew the physical editions would come in a “dual identity” slipcase or equivalent with the first cover on the front and the second cover on the back, flipped in orientation. Digital obviously cannot accommodate this, so the only thing even close was to present the two halves separately, even with all the difficulty that entails (like Trent Reznor’s decision to label a recent Nine Inch Nails EP an album so it wouldn’t get buried on the Spotify discography page – pretty depressing thing to have to consider). I do think the material stands perfectly fine as two separate things that can be listened to alone, the same as any thoughtfully-sequenced side of vinyl can be, but the titles probably make it clear that one follows the other for anyone familiar with the Inferno. Another consideration was how different they are musically: while there are many overarching stylistic and musical sinews across the gap, Acheron is more eager to reach into new places, while Lethe leans into black metal more directly and consistently. So it’s less about two pillars versus the solitary monument, and more like a gateway so obscured by the fog of memory that its visage first presents as two individual monuments… before the wind sweeps the haze away to reveal their consolidation at the apex of “Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate”.

Whilst remaining completely and unmistakably ECC, this diabolical dyad sees some intriguing developments rear their heads in your sound – but I don’t want to say “progression”, as to me it feels like we are simply being allowed to see more of what this project has always been capable of. What was the creation of these EPs like for you? Did you consciously intend to do anything different or push the project forward in any way when you set out to write them?

– Making Antica Memoria has been a lengthy process: first composed directly in the months after Impressions and the EP Innocence & Experience were written in 2017, then sat on for a while to let it congeal and work on releasing Impressions, then mixed again throughout 2018, then mixed yet again at the end of 2019/early 2020 once its identity was finally revealed. The first two mixes were too similar to Impressions and especially I&E, which is the golden mean between the two albums musically; once I’d awakened to its identity, I knew the similarity was too strong. These arrived in bursts, like dreams, and the responsibility of the artist is to represent those as accurately as possible – an inherently vain attempt, because no relation of a dream can convey the dream-sensation, the co-mingling of absurdity and bewilderment in a tremor of struggling revolt, the notion of being apprehended by the incredible. So with enough reflection, I thus knew what had to change: the aforementioned ‘Malebolge’ opening and the end of ‘Cerberus’, QD’s drums, some sturm und drang clanging first hinted in ‘Forgotten Kings of Jerusalem’; strokes both broad and fine required to actualize its true form. There is never a grand plan to push boundaries or introduce new genre elements – the process is more akin to the scene in Hellraiser where blood on the attic floorboards reassembles a skinless corpse.

We know Impressions of the Morning Star made use of some parts you’d had laying around for quite some time until Entropy Created Consciousness took proper shape and form; are Acheron and Lethe comprised of all new material? 

– Nothing ancient found its home on Antica or Innocence & Experience, for that matter. Some working methods changed and so too did the compositions resulting. Maybe its 2017 vintage means it is in fact ancient material, but I don’t view this linearly – doing so comes off inaccurate to the creative process, how it reaches into the Möbius strip to extract a minuscule essence that then unfolds and dynamizes the innermost identity. Every piece of music ever made and that will ever be made is occurring simultaneously, now, then, soon. It’s part of why the artist never finishes a work, just abandons it to the public for consumption; and why some re-record, re-mix, remaster, and perform works in their entirety live. It cannot ever be finished: this should not be the aim.

If we may delve a little further into the creative process – did you lay out the theme first and write the music to fit, adapt the words to your creation later, or was the entire process more synchronous?

– Music doesn’t require that direction, at least not for me – it is generated intuitively. Words are a different matter, however: they imbue different, or simply more, meanings onto the aural, so they require a lot more ponderance and work to make sure nothing is contorted in the wrong manner. Choosing passages alone is a laborious endeavour fit to drive anyone to madness, especially considering the relatively easy and intuition-led vocal recording process. I’m sure many vocalists are just as driven by literary absorption and generation as their use of their voicebox, but for ECC, it’s purely a necessity, just led by a subcutaneous network of intuitions only comprehended much later. Finalizing the Antica Memoria mix brought out many rich interconnections that had fermented over time that otherwise would have gone unrealized – the corpse assembling the rest of its parts, as it were.

The cover art this time is fantastic – the entire aesthetic is incredibly pleasing to the eye and immersive to the soul. I believe it was created by your drummer, QD. How was it developed? Did you provide QD with much direction?

– Visual representation is very important, even though it can get pretty minimized these days – I think beyond a small square in a Spotify library grid (or two of those, in this case). Every release has some kind of ocular conceit procreated from the music and lyrics. Impressions was deliberately more impressionistic: a colour scheme, a weathered look, the ancient, the descent of something evil onto the unsuspecting and holy (or just what is perceived as holy). Antica Memoria felt related to that, but more refined, with clearer edges. I had previously worked with QD and understood his aesthetic sensibility was well suited to the work this time; he is very adept at minimalism, atmosphere, subtext/implication, and texture, a pupil of the Carl Glovers and David Carsons of music design. I essentially provided the duality idea and the new logo – the rest is him, filtered through the ECC sensibility and context. The result speaks for itself with quiet timelessness that stands apart from the genre’s artwork obsessions, like reusing the second wave black and white aesthetic endlessly, cartoonish fantasy, and NASA images.

You recently released an official video for the track ‘Infamy Of Crete’, which I was quite excited to view and admittedly thrilled to discover that it utilises fitting visuals for the thematic implications of the track when it dropped. For those unfamiliar, could you explain a little about what is going on in the track and accompanying visuals?

‘Infamy of Crete’ was, again, assembled and directed by QD, and its estranged elucidation of Inferno elements is best left to the mind’s eye. His use of industrial age footage harks back to Impressions of the Morning Star in that it uses technological time displacement to highlight the imperishability of Dante’s tale, obviously also true of Antica Memoria as well. The song itself is focused on Dante and Virgil encountering the minotaur at the entrance of the seventh circle of Hell, a suitably ominous, teratoid opening for the Lethe portion. It’s an example of the undercurrent guiding the hands of the album creation: before Dante was chosen and any vocals were recorded, it already was placed around this point of the sequencing, and prominently featured the opening roar; there was only one moment in the Inferno it could illustrate.

I must say, I’m thoroughly enjoying the literary focus of your albums – do you think that going forward you will continue to structure Entropy Created Consciousness around the exploration of various significant literary works and their concepts? Do you have an idea yet of the themes you will immerse yourself in for the next recordings?

– Literary focus will definitely proceed. The next work is in its final stages of production but will be given a proper amount of time to bloom before it is released. It offers elaboration on some of the stylistic elements introduced on certain Antica Memoria chapters, incorporating music of various other collaborators – some from prior releases, some new – despite some of the music and recordings being from several years ago, creating commonality both with Antica and Impressions. Another commonality with Antica will be its release in a kind of duality, although it’s in a very different methodology. I am also involved in something else coming later this year, contributing vocals and production for a noise-based album by Silent Remission that will be released on the Love Earth Music label; it also features Jesse LaRocque, who contributed to Impressions and more directly so on the forthcoming ECC endeavour.

Sincerest thanks for your time once again, and for the incredible next installment in the ongoing works of Entropy Created Consciousness. Any final words or wisdom you would like to impart to us all?

– In black metal are we of the rain eternal: maledict, cold, and heavy; its law and quality are never new. Enormous hail, water sombre-hued, and snow, athwart the tenebrous air pour down amain – noisome, the earth is, that receiveth. There is something ominous and opulent in its deliberate progress. In the hush that falls with it suddenly upon melancholy terrain, the immense sonicscape, the colossal body of the fecund and mysterious, seems to look at us, pensive, as though it had been looking at the image of its own tenebrous, prurient essence. Mephitic, the earth is, that receiveth.

Antica Memoria di Dis: Acheron & Lethe releases October 23rd via Fólkvangr Records.

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Purchase Antica Memoria di Dis: Acheron & Lethe digitally from the Entropy Created Consciousness Bandcamp HERE or on cassette from the Fólkvangr Records webstore HERE on October 23rd.

Support ENTROPY CREATED CONSCIOUSNESS:

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ALBUM PREMIERE & INTERVIEW: ‘The Fate of Kings and Men’ by WEALD & WOE

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I am a forest

And a night of dark trees;

But he who is not afraid

Of my darkness,

Will find banks full of roses

Under my cypresses.

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WEALD & WOE. The very name conjures rich imagery of times both archaic and arcane. Times of magic, mystery, adventure, deep lore and vivid histories… which, incidentally, is exactly what we get on the ripping debut album from these fine gentlemen, The Fate Of Kings And Men.

Well, I say gentlemen but these hymns of olde are moreso the product of just one fine gentleman: the talented Artos (also of By Fire & Sword) who takes care of every element bar the drums (expertly performed by Maelstrom). And before you make any assumptions, I don’t mean adventure in an epic black metal, Tolkien-worship sense either – think instead along the lines of Obsequiae, but with more gnarled metal riffs to feed your soul and a deep, underlying blackness that puts that project to shame. Sound good? It is, my friend. It is.

Yes, these songs shred. Some soar, packed full of moments that’ll make you want to bang your head in triumphant celebration. Others rage with an unrestrained primal darkness, whilst others still careen along like they could fly off the rails at any time. Many do all of that at once. But they’re also sophisticated, in a way, and incredibly down to earth – much like Artos himself, as you’ll see we discovered in our in-depth chat with the robed mystic. Needless to say, we’re beyond honoured to partner with the always exquisite Fólkvangr Records to share the exclusive full stream of this remarkable debut album with you, ahead of the limited cassette launch on October 23rd.

So, heed the call. Submit to sound and word below… and if you’ve never heard the raw majesty of Weald & Woe before, prepare yourself for the best album you’ll discover by an unknown band this year. I guarantee it.

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Greetings, Artos! It’s a pleasure to speak with you today for the full stream of The Fate of Kings and Men. Now, I’d like to start with a little history, if I may – how did Weald & Woe come to exist? I believe you were already doing your fantasy/religion based heavy/power metal project By Fire & Sword at the time. What was the catalyst for heading in the much darker direction of Weald & Woe?

– My pleasure, thanks for the time. That’s correct, By Fire & Sword had really just started rolling as far as gigging and recording, which was around the summer of 2018. I had been in a bit of a dark place for a while and I was listening to a lot of Immortal and Bathory at the time – At the Heart of Winter and Hammerheart specifically – and found myself with a pile of riffs that were not suitable for By Fire & Sword, but I couldn’t let them go. Those ended up being the songs on the first EP Eternal Grave. By Fire & Sword is not a place where I pour my emotions since it’s so thematically driven, and Weald & Woe was a place I could channel what I was going through at the time.

The overall sound of Weald & Woe is fascinating; an incredible composite of rockin’ midwestern riffs, medieval & folk elements and sheer black metal fury. How did you develop this style? What bands were you listening to in your musical development that led you to writing material like this?

– For writing periods, I try to actively not listen to a lot of music, because I know that little bits of what I’m listening to will work its way into the writing. As a child we always had music around. My mom was big into country music and my dad showed me Pink Floyd, Ozzy Osbourne, Yes, things like that. In high school I was big into Metallica and thrash, more shred-oriented stuff. I didn’t really get into black metal and adjacent styles until my early 20s and kind of discovered black metal and death metal at the same time. I responded more viscerally to black metal and that’s the path I’ve been on ever since. Lately, I listen to a lot of more ‘New Age’ type music; I’m huge into Enya and Monastery and I listen to the Howard Shore scores for the Lord of the Rings movies quite a bit. I spend a lot of time in medieval/folk based playlists on Spotify, I like Andrei Krylov a lot. For heavier music I listen to a lot of Bathory, the 90s period of Immortal, Wintersun, Forefather, et. al, but Obsequiae is far and away my biggest influence, with Godkiller’s The Rebirth of the Middle Ages as a close second. Those two live on repeat in my headphones. 

I can definitely hear the Obsequiae influence! Now, after a killer EP and split with Candlewolf Disciple, The Fate of Kings and Men is your debut full-length. What was the writing and recording period of the album like? Have you been working on this material for a while?

– Thank you, we were very pleased with how that split turned out. I started writing the album in the Fall of 2019 and finished just after Winter earlier this year, right before everything got shut down, roughly 6 months or so. Writing tends to be pretty easy for me when I feel inspired or have an idea of what I’m chasing. Winter and the Holidays are pretty rough for me usually, so I was not lacking inspiration this time around. When I’m ‘cold,’ I can go a month or more without writing anything, which I’m thankful doesn’t happen very often. I’m lucky to have a lot of musician friends so whenever I finish up a rough demo of a song I’ll pass it around to a couple to get their thoughts and then go back and tweak things based on suggestions or after I’ve let them sit for a while. I record everything except the drums myself, so recording can go very quickly depending on how particular I’m feeling at the time. This writing process was just me holed up in my studio in my apartment for hours on end, trying to get my thoughts from my hands into the computer.

Do you feel you achieved everything you wanted to during the creation of the album? Are there any aspects of it or particular moments that you personally are especially proud of?

– I’m incredibly proud. I think the album turned out exactly how it was meant to. I would have loved the opportunity to get more folk instruments and choirs and stuff worked in, but that wasn’t in the cards (or my wallet) this time. Specifically I am the most proud of ‘The Land of Forgotten Suns’. That was one of the first songs that kind of kicked off the whole process and holds great meaning for me. I still get goosebumps when I hear it a lot of the time. I also thought ‘The Sadness of Mortal Man’ turned out excellent for being more of a shred track in the middle of a black metal album.

When listening through The Fate Of Kings And Men I obviously can’t help but think of sword & sorcery or history-based novels/games. Are you a big fan of these genres? Have you been inspired by any particular franchises, series or games?

– You’re entirely on the right track. I consume sword & sorcery like a maniac, and I’m huge into medieval-era history. I’m a pretty voracious reader so I spend a lot of my free time in fantasy environments. The Lord of The Rings has been a huge influence on me, and I find a lot of it in the music I like and even in my own music. I’ve always got it around. Terry Goodkind’s ‘Sword of Truth’ series has been hugely influential to me, George R. R. Martin, Asa Drake, Michael Moorcock, Robert Jordan, I love them all and could talk about them all day. ‘The Last Kingdom’ and ‘Britannia’ have been some of my favorite shows lately. Anything with swords and magic and I’m probably going to watch it. I play a lot of Dungeons & Dragons inspired video games, and have been playing Pathfinder with a regular group for several years. 

Man, I love the ‘Sword Of Truth’ series in particular… Rest In Power, Mr. Goodkind. Moving on to themes – the Bandcamp page shows the lyric “I am a forest, and a night of dark trees: but he who is not afraid of my darkness, will find banks full of roses under my cypresses.” I’ve not had the opportunity to read the rest of the lyrics as yet but that one seems like it could be meant either in a narrative sense as spoken by a character, or as a fantasy-based euphemism for yourself. What do the lyrics deal with on the record? Are they telling tales, or perhaps more personal?

– That’s actually a Nietzsche quote that I thought fit the album really well. I didn’t attribute it because people tend to try to look for deeper meaning in things when you put ‘Nietzsche’ next to them. It isn’t that deep. The album is a concept album and narratively, it’s pretty basic. A warrior encounters a problem he cannot solve and goes about trying to solve it. Lyrically, I took a bunch of issues and questions I had about life, death, existentialism, what-have-you and worked them into a narrative and let the main character hash them out throughout the album. So it is a story, but it’s personal to my issues, perspective and beliefs. Several of the songs are actually from the point of view of other characters, and some of the songs change POV in the verses, etc. I think you’d have to read the lyrics to catch it. I’m someone who spends a lot of time in my head and I can go pretty dark pretty fast so giving these problems to a character and building a story to have them encountered was a good way to give myself new perspective and wrestle those demons, while trying to make for an interesting narrative.

The energy and passion in these songs is remarkable, tracks like ‘Fate of Kings and Men’, the instrumental ‘Sadness’ and ‘The Blade Once Buried’ sound like they don’t only translate well to the live arena but are an absolute ball for you to play as well. How has this material been received when you’ve played it out? 

– The only songs off this album that we’ve been able to play live have been ‘Our Sorrow Was Great’ and ‘The Seer and The Bird’, but the feedback has been fantastic. People have noticed the shifts in the songwriting and style from being balls-out “I hate everything and everyone” to “I still feel that way, but here’s a more elegant way of saying it,” and that has been very rewarding. There’s certainly still a lot of room for complete aggression – ‘Our Sorrow Was Great’ is the most aggressive track on the album and I placed it first for a reason – but as much as I love blast beats and going 100mph, sometimes you want to say things in a different way. We were going to play quite a few of the new songs at a show we had scheduled with Rotting Christ, Borknagar and Wolfheart, but that got rescheduled to 2021 because of the pandemic. We had a number of things in the works and everything has been very quiet since then. More time to read, I guess.

Hah, exactly. Speaking of that unfortunately rescheduled show – are there any more on the horizon? 

– At this point in time, we have nothing scheduled. We live in a region (Boise, ID) that has done a pretty poor job of handling the crisis so things have opened and then closed and opened again and closed again, so that’s been tough. Our best venues are in bars, and almost no one is hosting live music right now. As soon as we’re able we’re planning to set up an album release show, but it’s hard to forecast when we’d actually be able to do that, but likely not until it’s safe to do so. We’d like to do some touring next year if able, and we’re always open to suggestions and invitations if someone feels like dropping us a line for opportunities.

In terms of physical releases, The Fate Of Kings And Men will be presented on cassette under the banner of the excellent Fólkvangr Records. How did this come to pass? Are there further formats on the way?

– I’d been a fan of Fólkvangr for quite some time, and I thought the album would fit in the catalogue nicely so I sent it over and they were on board pretty quickly. I had sent it to a couple of other labels who didn’t really seem interested or just didn’t get back to me, but Fólkvangr was enthusiastic and prompt and that carries a lot of weight with me. It’s a big honor for me – they’ve got some excellent releases under their belt and I am thrilled to be among them. If anybody isn’t familiar, I’d highly recommend Lords of the North, Tyrant Blood by Ancient Flame and The Garden of Abandon by Monastery. We’re going to put the album up on streaming platforms, Bandcamp and the like as well. So far we don’t have any leads on a CD release, but we might very likely just release that ourselves in the near future. [Edit – turns out they are!]

And finally, seeing as we are streaming The Fate Of Kings And Men in its entirety today, I will leave the last thoughts about it to you. If you had to sum up the album and what it represents to you and an intended listener, what would you say?

– The album personally represents a period of centering, regrowth and perseverance. Fighting the seemingly unwinnable fight because you have to. I would encourage listeners to gather whatever they will from it. More than anything, it’s a story and I want people to enjoy that story and the music. I don’t have any moral or philosophical agenda I’m trying to push, just a story about things I’ve struggled with. I don’t expect any two people to resonate with it in the same way, or in the way that I do, but that would be an excellent outcome. My intention is not to make anybody feel a certain way, but to make them feel something at all. I think indifference is one of the worst things someone can feel so love it or hate it, I’m just grateful people gave the album some of their time. Hopefully it was enjoyable!

Sincerest thanks for your time, Artos. Congratulations on the fantastic debut album. Any final words or wisdom for us all?

– Thanks for the time, I really appreciate it. Drink lots of coffee, read fantasy books and listen to Obsequiae.

The Fate of Kings and Men releases October 23rd via Fólkvangr Records.

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Pre-order The Fate of Kings and Men on CD and digital from the Weald & Woe Bandcamp HERE, or purchase on cassette from the Fólkvangr Records webstore HERE on October 23rd.

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TRACK PREMIERE & INTERVIEW: ‘Crawling Nebula of Dismal Light’ by THE SUNS JOURNEY THROUGH THE NIGHT

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Astute readers may recall a particularly heady time that occured a short while back. The month of May was suffering its final wretched death throes, the cataclysmic plague that currently swathes the world was gaining strength at stratospheric speed… and Black Metal Daily was bestowed with the extreme fortune to take part in premiering the debut album of UK raw black metal revenant THE SUNS JOURNEY THROUGH THE NIGHT.

The chaotic catharsis to be found within Eternal Black Transmissions immediately made a resounding impact on the underground, and was accurately described by resident wordsmith / Order ov The Black Arts commander Gos as “a mysterious, ghastly, multidimensional plunge into recesses that are not entirely known”. Well, the world may have barely yet recovered from that fetid birth, but we are already doubly honoured to present the first taste of the follow up conjuration – and it’s one that includes a contribution by a very notable guest.

Yes, ‘Crawling Nebula of Dismal Light’ sees the twin black flames of The Suns Journey Through The Night and Revenant Marquis combine their considerable powers into a towering blaze to scorch the very heavens. This roaring stygian inferno is the title track of the forthcoming opus; a harrowing expulsion of loathing whipped into a malevolent burning maelstrom so suffocating, tormented and hateful it’s almost the very epitome of excruciation. This is a core of darkness so pure that life itself withers before it, and as the swirls of cold tremolo and tortured vocal delirium inexorably envelop you in their frozen embrace, your soul will be forever lost.

For this forthcoming agony there shall be no pre-orders, but all digital and physical artifacts will go live for purchase via Repose Records and Death Kvlt Productions on December 1st. So listen, read our follow-up dialogue with the shadowed No One below, and remember… this is but a mere taste of the horrors to come.

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Hails, No One. It’s a pleasure to have you grace the pages of BMD once more; this time in the prelude to your forthcoming second album release, entitled Crawling Nebula of Dismal Light. Now, your previous opus Eternal Black Transmissions had a strong concept involving an entity being pulled into a black hole. So tell us – what lies in store for us on Crawling Nebula of Dismal Light?

– Hails, it’s a pleasure to be talking to you. The true meaning of both albums and their relationship to each other is something that has only become clear to me over the past two months. I wrote Eternal Black Transmissions at a time where I felt a change coming, a mighty destruction in my life that would inevitably take a massive toll on me. The idea of being on the brink of disaster is what led me to write the concept of an entity circling a black hole, seeing the immense destruction in front of it but not understanding what it truly meant, nor the magnitude of just how powerful it is. Now, I have entered that black hole and have been spat out to the other side, the damage is done and that force has taken from me what I knew it would. Crawling Nebula of Dismal Light documents the entities time inside the black hole, the witnessing of pure chaos, destruction and power, all while maintaining the same helplessness that was prominent in Eternal Black Transmissions. CNODL is the witnessing of the most powerful ripping out of all that was good in the entities life. It is once again a semi-autobiographical album, written during the darkest time of my life.

You mentioned in that previous interview that you will always allow the project to evolve. Do you opine that this record represents a noticeable evolution in either the TSJTTN sound or intention, and if so, in what way has it developed?

– This album takes everything that made Eternal Black Transmissions the album that it was, and takes it one step further. The sound is more visceral, savage and fierce; the ambience on the album is more hypnotic, and pulls the listener further into the story of the album. It is the next logical step for the sound of this project.

The first sample we are streaming from Crawling Nebula of Dismal Light is the title track, and the malefic miasma that exudes from its passages is palpable. What is happening during this composition, and why have you selected it as the initial offering to listeners?

– The title track was the first that I wrote, and it encapsulates everything that I wanted for this album, and by doing so, is the best example of what to expect from the rest of the album. 

This devastating composition also features a guest spot by none other than RM of the great and insidious Revenant Marquis, which must be quite pleasing for you seeing as you mentioned the project as a favourite last time you spoke to us. How did this collaboration come about, and what did RM bring to the track?

– I have an immense amount of respect for RM, and for the music of Revenant Marquis. Myself and RM are good friends, and he has been a massive support for TSJTTN from quite early on. The decision to bring RM in for a feature on the album was an easy one to make. I wanted to bring in three of the most respected and talented entities that I know within the UK black metal scene, and for me to not have RM as part of that list would have been sheer blasphemy. The addition of RM to this song helped bring that claustrophobic, and crushing misery that only his vocals can create. I would say that RM is more of a communicator than he is a vocalist; where a vocalist is able to sound like others, and have an aesthetically pleasing sound, when RM performs a vocal ritual he is opening a passage between himself and something else entirely. He is a communicator of emotion, atmosphere and authenticity, and he brings all of those factors to this performance.

The cover art is captivating, quite intricately detailed… and I believe it was created by yourself, no less. Could you tell us a little about it? What was the process, either mental or physical, involved in creating this particular piece? 

– The artwork represents the inner complexities of humanity; how all can be so calm on the outside but a storm can be raging within. Creating is my outlet for that storm, and I have turned my hand to most forms of creative expression in order to exorcise those demons within. It is my only way of truly communicating with the world, and with other people. When I am in my darkest moments, I am in turn, at my most productive, which is how I have had so much creative output in 2020. This artwork is an articulation of mental turmoil, inner chaos, and true anguish, and I hope the fans of this project can relate to it in some way.

Speaking of art, I believe you were doing something quite unique in the lead up to this album – creating pieces of one-off accompanying art and selling them. Can you tell us a little about this? Do you have anything similar in mind for the actual album release?

– So far I have created three original pieces but I have only made one available for purchase. The painting named ‘Blasphemy’ now resides with its owner in Luxembourg. There will be a new original painting made available with the release of the title track from the album, and the third will be made available upon the release of the second, and final single from the album. For the album I am planning on creating a few small originals to include in the ‘Die-hard’ option for the record.

Do you find your music often informs your art, or is it vice versa? Or would you say they are even one and the same?

– I would say that they are one and the same, they influence each other to the point that they blur into one. In turn, one cannot exist without the other. I could never use someone else’s art for this project; not for lack of incredible artists who I would love to work with, I just want everything from TSJTTN to be from me and not someone else, that way it feels like a more authentic, personal expression.

In order to spread your plague ever further you have once more elected to partner with Repose Records. What has kept you coming back to work with them?

– Myself and Tom from Repose have a good working relationship, he is respectful of my wishes when it comes to the release of my music, and he supports my various, weird decisions. Most importantly though he is a fan of this project and has been for a very long time. It makes working with him so much easier, as he gets truly excited by the music and by the rest of the creative output of the project.

Aside from Repose, the formidable Death Kvlt Productions are also involved this time around – a label which has fast built a reputation for raw black quality (and exceptionally quick sell-through whenever they launch a pre-order). How did Death Kvlt become a partner to this crime?

– When I started writing music as TSJTTN I had only two goals. To write whatever I wanted and to not be swayed by what I think people want me to write. And to release an album through Death Kvlt Productions. I was a fan of the label before I started writing, and I’m an even bigger fan of the label now. They have introduced me to some of the most prolific artists in modern black metal, and to now be amongst them is a true honour.

Since the inception of the project you have always seemed to create at an impressive rate; Eternal Black Transmissions only manifested at the death of May yet you now grace us with another obsidian opus mere months later. Do you find yourself constantly working on new material? 

– This year has been ridden with turmoil, darkness and self depreciation, I have lost so much of what is important to me, and communicating this has been a way of me surviving the chaos. I have now planned to take a break from writing as TSJTTN, until the time that I feel a need to once again.

Sincerest thanks for your time, No One. Any final words or wisdom for us all?

– Usually I would take this opportunity to rail against the church, or promote a message of individualism, but I am too tired. This path has been too long and too dark. Everything I have left to say, is on the new album. Thank you.

Crawling Nebula of Dismal Light releases 1st December via Repose Records and Death Kvlt Productions.

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Purchase Crawling Nebula of Dismal Light from the artist’s Bandcamp HERE, the Repose Records Bandcamp HERE or the Death Kvlt Productions Bandcamp HERE on December 1st.

Support THE SUNS JOURNEY THROUGH THE NIGHT:

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TRACK PREMIERE & INTERVIEW: ‘Infernal Dreams’ by LUNACY

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Cryptic labyrinths of an anxious mind

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Wandering eternal forest paths and down twisting hallways of the darkest dungeons, the spectral figure of solo depressive black metal artist Z cuts a forlorn shadow seen by few.

A hidden gem in the very deep USBM underground, his outlet LUNACY is one of those projects that once you hear it you can’t help but wonder just why the hell more people haven’t caught on yet. A series of increasingly compelling releases has captivated anyone fortunate enough to stumble upon them, and should you already have had that fortune yourself you’ll know that they aren’t exactly what you were expecting – atmospheric? Sure. Depressive? Indeed, but that’s not the full picture. On upcoming fourth album Melancholic Invocations there’s a unique and subtly ensnaring phantasmagorical quality to these ancient hymns. Melding quintessential melodies to a more hallucinatory, all-pervading gloom and sense of lugubrious longing, the album (as in his previous works) is utterly haunting and completely memorable as it transports you beyond the veil and into the timeless realms of ancient memory. An irresistably wretched opus of glorious torment that never leans into the oft-treaded DSBM folly of being too overdone and theatrical, instead remaining truly desolate, dripping with palpable mourning and regret.

Digital pre-orders have just launched today on the Lunacy Bandcamp (with extremely limited cassette pre-orders coming via Realm and Ritual on October 16th), but we at BMD are honoured to be sharing the exclusive second single for you today – a breathtaking cascade of sorrows and anguish that epitomizes the album as a whole and will afflict your soul for many nights to come once you succumb to its ethereal fervour. What’s more, we’ve been granted an audience with the reclusive wraith himself; so listen to this mystical conjuration and read on as Z lifts that veil ever-so-slightly farther for our readers… allowing the faintest glimmer of moonlight to bathe his ‘Infernal Dreams’.

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Greetings, Z! It’s a pleasure to speak with you today in the preface to the release of what I believe to be your fourth opus, Melancholic Invocations. It’s certainly a fantastic record, mired in nostalgic waves of depression and ancient torments – what was its creation like for you, and what inspired the formation of this set of songs?

Melancholic Invocations, like all my musical endeavors, tries to express that which can only be felt. This album in particular was meant to evoke a sort of timeless sorrow, one that was experienced in ancient times as much as today. While it is certainly not a concept album, I did have a general backdrop in mind that served as the basis for the music and lyrics. It is of course up to the listener to create their own personal meanings out of the songs and record as a whole.

The material seems to follow the natural evolutionary flow of the project in terms of style, and in my opinion is also the best sounding record you’ve released to date. How do you feel Melancholic Invocations sits against your previous works? Did you consciously attempt to achieve anything different this time around?

– The way I see it, this is my first pure black metal album. My last album, Metonymic Suffering, was very much meant to be a DSBM album. At the time I was strongly influenced by bands like Lifelover and Silencer, and these influences surely shaped that release. For this new one however, I wanted to draw out the depressive quality of more straightforward black metal. What drew me to black metal in the first place was its evocation of an ancient misery, one that somebody from any time could recognize. This is precisely what I tried to accomplish in Melancholic Invocations. I do think it’s my most accomplished work so far, which is in no small part thanks to the superb drumming supplied by S.C of Ebony Pendant. Without him this album would not have been possible.

Occult Meditations is not only a superb synth interlude, but a curious track title. Does the occult play a part in your life in any way?

– I am in no way a superstitious person. However, I think there is something aesthetically significant about the occult that is explored in nearly every black metal project. I think it is very similar to the exploration of fantasy in extreme metal. Even though the content of fantasy isn’t real, it still has significant meaning for those who consume it. In essence, it colors the world around us. It is a lens through which we can view ourselves and our environment, and if something lets us see and use the world in a way that wasn’t possible before, then I think it has tremendous value.

Seeing as I mentioned Occult Meditations it would be remiss of me to not expand on the fact that there is some superb synth-work at play within the album; utilised this time in an overall more sweeping and atmospheric sense than what say, ‘Inward Battles’ brought to your last release Metonymic Suffering. You’re clearly quite adept at the integration of keys into your raw black conjurations – are you a fan of, or involved in the dungeon synth scene at all? Where did this influence come from?

– Synthesizers have always been fascinating to me. I got my first analog synth when I was in middle school and have always loved the endless sounds that one can create with it. What really drew me towards synthesizers and production in general was the prospect that I could make sounds that went beyond what was possible with traditional instruments. I have much respect for dungeon synth as a genre and a community, but for me the synthesizer in black metal is more of a background tool than a constituting element. My favorite usages of synth in metal are when you can just barely hear it. That being said, I do love a good synth interlude as a way of putting the black metal tracks into a grander context or environment. 

I’m unable to discover much information about Lunacy online; at a quick search it seems you might not even be on Metal Archives. A true underground entity. So, to shed a little light on the genesis of it all – from where did the ideas and desires for Lunacy stem, and how did the project eventuate into being?

– I became really obsessed with black metal in high school which was around the same time I began producing my own music. I’ve always been someone who can’t enjoy something unless I can do it myself, so I recorded the first Lunacy demo on a tiny 1×4 amp and my drum kit with a single microphone. To my surprise people on bandcamp seemed to like it which really inspired me to keep pushing myself. Each album is a reflection of my musical, emotional, and philosophical interests at the time. Philosophy plays a huge role in how I conceptualize an album and I feel like my ability to translate ideas into sound gets better with each album.

This isn’t the first time you’ve worked with the good folk at Realm and Ritual – what keeps you coming back?

– Lunacy would not exist without Realm and Ritual. It’s as simple as that. After I put out my second EP they reached out to me and asked if I was interested in releasing it on tape, which is really when Lunacy formed into a serious project. SG is an amazing dude and does so much for the underground black metal and dungeon synth community. RAR has always been so supportive and professional, and I am eternally grateful for the platform they gave me.

And finally, the track we are proudly streaming today is the album’s penultimate composition, the oneiric ‘Infernal Dreams’. What was your intention when composing this song in particular? Could you tell us a little about it and what it means to you?

– This song is definitely the most complex composition on any Lunacy project. It’s a journey between different keys, time signatures, and sonic imagery. The song serves as the climax and resolution of the tensions presented throughout the album by bringing the listener ‘above’ the themes of the previous songs. It is like when one finally makes it to the peak of a mountain and can now see all the challenges underneath him. There is a sort of serene relief that comes at seeing one’s world beneath oneself. That to me is the meaning of Infernal Dreams. 

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

– Hails to BMD for these excellent questions and to Realm and Ritual for everything they do.

Melancholic Invocations will be available via Realm and Ritual October 26th. Digital pre-orders up now, cassette pre-orders October 16th.

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Pre-order Melancholic Invocations digitally from the Lunacy Bandcamp HERE and on cassette from the Realm and Ritual Bandcamp HERE on October 16th.

Support LUNACY:

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ALBUM PREMIERE: ‘Döden Nalkas’ by HORDE OF HEL

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By Gos (Order ov the Black Arts)

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A proclamation, a conviction: HORDE OF HELs new deathstrike Döden Nalkas is not only one of the most unabashedly savage and vehemently apocalyptic albums to be unfurled this year, it is in fact one of the most puritanically decimating traditional black metal offerings of recent memory. 

The auditory foundation for this maelstrom (only their third full-length, presented nine long years after their last offering) is an absolutely devastating onslaught of blistering black metal aggression and aural hatred of the most authentic and blatant variety, reminiscent of pillars of Swedish aggression like 90’s classic DARK FUNERAL and MARDUK, combined with the unbridled, unflinching darkness of FUNERAL MIST and OFERMOD. The riffs of founder and songwriter John Odhinn Sandin (IN BATTLE, ODHINN) are incinerating, burning through the tracks and embedding in the flesh of the psyche like the razor-edged spearhead of death itself. The vocals, unhinged, ragged, varied, powerful, and ruthless, are provided here by Sanctvs (of NORDJEVEL, ENEPSIGOS, DOEDSVANGR, and SVARTELDER fame). The torrential, relentless ballistic percussion (this is the first album to feature a live drummer) is provided by none other than the ineffable king of artillery Nils ‘Dominator’ Fjellström (DARK FUNERAL, NORDJEVEL, AEON, THE WRETCHED END). 

But that’s not all. What really pushes Döden Nalkas (translation: “Approach of Death”) to its darkest capacity and solidifies it as unique among a host of impressive peers is the massively effective incorporation of an evil, catastrophic, and inexorable industrial edge to the blasting turmoil. With the full throttle onslaught songs, this is exhibited by a “blown out”, maximized, and frenzied harshness to the mix, particularly noticeable on the drums. This interestingly exhibits an inversion of the usual strategy of bands trying to make programmed beats sound real, and instead fully embraces the insanity of taking completely annihilating live drums tracks and making them sound a bit more mechanized, while still maintaining an organic fluidity. In a few of the songs the industrial element takes over to varying extents for vicious atmospheric hammering and more plodding, ominous, and martial patterns and electronic techniques which exude a creeping, unfolding dread.

A celebration of orgiastic death ritualism, aggression on a global level, and the triumph of holistic violence, Döden Nalkas sets a new benchmark for uncompromising Swedish black metal authenticity and orthodoxy – and we here at BMD are beyond honoured to present the exclusive full-stream of this opus of sonic desecration for you today. 

To accompany this album presentation, we contacted the beasts at HORDE OF HEL to explore its coldest depths and more; that interview is forthcoming, so expect words from the beasts shortly. In the meantime, submit your body to the sheer obliteration that is Döden Nalkas… your death approaches indeed.

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Döden Nalkas releases 30th September via Blooddawn Productions/Regain Records. Pre-orders available now.

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Pre-order Döden Nalkas on CD, LP and digital from Bandcamp HERE.

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