ALBUM PREMIERE & INTERVIEW: ‘Eternal Black Transmissions’, by THE SUNS JOURNEY THROUGH THE NIGHT

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Before birth

After death

It’s all the same to me

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– By Ivan Gossage

I’ll admit it, I don’t listen to much raw black metal. I’m not sure why – it has just never appealed to me much, albeit with a few infrequent exceptions. Thus, it surprised even me when I came across the title track of Eternal Black Transmissions, the newest offering from Birmingham’s THE SUNS JOURNEY THROUGH THE NIGHT, and I was immediately compelled to seek it out for a full listen. Thereafter, the stars aligned; I am now beyond honored to both present the exclusive full-stream of it here today in a partnership between Repose Records, Black Metal Daily and Order ov the Black Arts YouTube, and to announce that cassette orders have gone live this very moment – so now all may bear witness to this perilous but surprisingly luminous journey towards total darkness. 

‘The Rise of the Godless Tyrant’ ascends from the depths, ringing synth flanking a ponderous cadence with such apparent inevitability that this entity almost seems to rather descend from above as a veil of wondrous, exquisite, potent dread upon the psyche. Initially, all appears to be chaos; a writhing cyclone of dense noise, frenzied hammering and ragged, buried shrieks just as ‘Lightning Scars Across A Dead Planet’, ravaged by apocalyptic hurricanes. Yet there is a settling into distortion and synth; layered echoes of torturous voice… and when that storm returns the bedlam has been focused into a more direct and tangible malevolence, tinged with eerie ambience. The ‘Holy War of the Lesser Light’ ensues, commencing with a belligerent, galloping audacity which carries both a raw, scathing hostility and a tyrannical grandiosity. A suffocating murk snuffs this momentum, slowly replacing air as the listener is beckoned ‘Beyond The Spectral Veil’, gently tugged and coaxed with ebbs of blackened waves in slow motion… peaceful in rest, serene in death but never really dead. 

‘Come And See’, the ominous choirs drone; dully glimmering synth hovering above whispers of a poisonous breath. Consumed with anxious riffs we find ‘Watching The Passing Of Time As Light Leaving The Body’, straightforward blasting soon alternating with now welcome headlong punkish insensitivity as agonizing guitar progression and desperate vocals assail; before fading into a cold, void-like outro, haunted with apparitional winds. The oppressive and impetuous rage of closing track “Eternal Black Transmissions” progressively sorts itself out, the initial cacophony fading into familiar shimmers of ambience before returning in epic state, growing in presence until it spills over the threshold into an almost delirious beauty, entrancing and horrific.

Stepping back to breathe and looking at Eternal Black Transmissions generally, one should not be tempted to write the album off as simply another raw black metal offering. It IS raw, but there are a number of elements present which accentuate its depth and result in an uncommon dynamism. There is a combination of ‘temperatures’ and present, with the rhythm section providing a warmer, heavier, contrast to the colder, harsher vocals and guitar, with the synth somewhere in between. Ambience gives a distinct supernatural chill, as does the echoed, icy voice which would almost certainly be overbearing with abrasiveness if it were not so submerged in the mix. The percussion, utilizing aforementioned galloping styles reminiscent of hardcore punk or speed metal, provides discernible intermittent groove which helps carry some downright catchy riffs. Perhaps most effective are the song progressions themselves, which tend to start with havoc and use ambience to transition into more melodic, epic territory. 

Altogether, Eternal Black Transmissions is a mysterious, ghastly, multidimensional plunge into recesses that are not entirely known… but I wanted to know more. So, I somewhat spontaneously connected with the artist behind this terrifying and brilliant endeavor, known only as No One, in order to try to grasp some illumination in the darkness of THE SUNS JOURNEY THROUGH THE NIGHT. Read on.

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Good morning, thank you so much for taking the time to speak to me.

No One: Good morning, you’re welcome.

I don’t often listen to very much “raw” black metal, but I am struck by what you have achieved with THE SUNS JOURNEY THROUGH THE NIGHT. Perhaps it is my ignorance of the subgenre, but my intuition is that there is an almost immeasurable depth to what is being expressed with Eternal Black Transmissions. What has compelled you along this artistic path?

– I tend to use the term “raw black metal” quite loosely, it refers more to my production style than my writing style, which actually bounces around many different styles. The first demo I wrote was slow, doomy funeral style black metal, then eventually I began speeding my songs up and creating a more dynamic sonic landscape. Eternal Black Transmissions is the realisation of a style of writing that I’ve been moving towards for a long time, it feels like I’ve found the sound I’d like to stick to, albeit loosely, as I will always allow the sound of the project to evolve.

When was the album written, and in what context?

– The album was written during the pandemic of 2020, across two weeks within the UK’s lockdown. Isolation has been a great motivator for this side of my creative output.

Do you feel that the social / public health situation has contributed to the particular sound of the album, or was this sound already somewhat established? 

– The sound was already there, it’s something I’ve wanted to write for some time. But it was the current world climate that helped me to actualize it.

Which projects or artists do you currently enjoy, both musically and otherwise? Do you consider anything to be particularly influential to what you are creating with THE SUNS JOURNEY THROUGH THE NIGHT?

– There are some brilliant artists creating at the moment, I’ve been in a lot of other music “scenes” and none are as exciting as the underground black metal scene. Revenant Marquis is currently on heavy rotation for me; that project is so strangely unique, there’s nothing else like it. As well as other British exports: Crimson Throne, Abduction, Andracca and the brilliant From The Bogs of Aughiska, who are easily one of my favourite black metal artists. I’m also listening to a lot of Paysage D’hiver, whose new album I recently pre-ordered, and also some brilliant Canadian exports such as Nocturnal Departure and Hellmoon. In terms of influence, I’d say Paysage D’hiver has had the biggest influence in terms of black metal artists. Wintherr has such a handle on creating atmosphere, he can write these beautiful, sprawling soundscapes that can shift without you even realising it. Another key influence for my work is Godspeed You! Black Emperor, not black metal but they are another artist who are able to create music that draws you in and almost hypnotises you in to sticking with them to the end.

What is the overall concept or theme of Eternal Black Transmissions?

Eternal Black Transmissions is written from the point of view of an entity which is circling a massive black hole, the final thoughts of a being that is plummeting towards an endless nothingness. Time slowing all the while, and gravity beginning to pull the being apart, the album moves from defiance and panic in the face of the universe’s darkest mystery, to a slow realisation that there is no use in fighting it. The being begins to contemplate all around it, watching light, space, and time bend to the will of this monolithic presence. The final track is the being’s final message before entering the black hole, before everything goes silent, and dark.

I’m curious about the nature of this entity. Do you conceive of it, and the event of moving towards inevitable nonexistence, as a thing that is external ‘in the world’, like a social or cultural phenomenon, such as humanity heading towards extinction? Or is it referring to something more psychological?

– I don’t like to go too deep into the motivations behind my lyrics and their themes, up until now I hadn’t even shared my lyrics. I prefer for the listener to listen to the song or read the song title and put their own meaning on it. So, I won’t say much more about it other than it is a story of uncertainty and losing control, before finally kneeling before nature and the universe, and the final realisation of knowing your place amongst it. If people find a way of making that apply to the current world events, then so be it.

What is on the horizon for Eternal Black Transmissions? You have some merch being produced if I am not mistaken?

– I’m currently working with a friend on a new piece of merch. It is not my aim to make money from this project, so I’ve only ever made one t-shirt in the past which I sell at cost. It is my aim however to spread the message of the project as far as I can, as well as give the supporters of TSJTTN, certain items that they ask for from me. For instance, I have been asked a lot about releasing a vinyl for Eternal Black Transmissions, so I am now in talks about that happening.

I would certainly be interested in that! Finally, what do you anticipate the future will be for THE SUNS JOURNEY THROUGH THE NIGHT? It sounds like you wrote, recorded, and produced Eternal Black Transmissions very rapidly. Will you allow this album time to breath or will there be more on the way in short order?

– New releases beyond Eternal Black Transmissions are already in the works. I have a couple of splits lined up with some great projects.

Do you have any concluding thoughts that you would like to express for fans or new listeners who happen across Eternal Black Transmissions?

– Yes, by supporting black metal you are supporting the counterculture, the raging war against mediocrity and normality that we, in our own way fight each day. Thank you for listening to mine and others’ music, as well as purchasing it when you are able. Eternal Black Transmissions will be out soon on a very limited cassette via Repose Records. Follow the Bandcamp to avoid disappointment.

Thanks again. May thy will be done.

Eternal Black Transmissions is available now via Repose Records.

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Purchase Eternal Black Transmissions on cassette from the Repose Records webstore HERE, or digitally and on cassette from Bandcamp HERE.

Support THE SUNS JOURNEY THROUGH THE NIGHT:

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TRACK PREMIERE: ‘This Is Not Living’ by MRTVI

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this

is

not

living

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Despite a moderate period of extended silence, it appears UK/Serbian solo entity and firm Black Metal Daily favourite MRTVI has in fact been rather busy. Not only does the project have a long-awaited new album on the way via Transcending Obscurity Records (listen to the mind-bending first single from Omniscient Hallucinatory Delusion HERE), but whilst the release of that record has been unfortunately yet inevitably delayed due to the worldwide plague and seeming partial collapse of civilization in general, a pair of typically warped compositions have mysteriously materialized.

And guess what? Both of them are cover versions. Last week, No Clean Singing premiered the first: ‘Machine Gun’, an astonishing interpretation of the Portishead track of the same name. It rules and you should definitely check it out HERE (and even buy a shirt HERE!), but today we are honoured and more than slightly disturbed to present you with the second: ‘This Is Not Living’, an homage to The Beatles‘Tomorrow Never Knows’. Yes, you read that correctly.

If you know the original fab-four version you’ll soon discover that what was once a light, spacey and tripped-out jam has become something… unsettling. The tempo has been slowed just enough to become a queasy, lysergic groove that lumbers along like a drugged-out leper, limbs falling off as he/she lurches back and forth in some kind of blissed-out psychedelic nightmare trance, eyes rolled back in their head. The original lyrics have been completely abandoned save for the one phrase that repeats ad nauseam, in crazed layered screeches and disembodied moans like a fixated mental patient: THIS IS NOT LIVING. THIS IS NOT LIVING. THIS IS NOT LIVING.

It’s genuinely unnerving to listen to but we’d expect nothing less from renegade master Damjan, the man who tore black metal/music in general apart and reassembled it on the sonic event horizon Negative Atonal Dissonance back in 2017. MRTVI is one of the most creative projects seething in the underground and truly does not give a fuck about any accepted or expected norms, and deserves your full support – so listen to what might be the most unexpected cover you’ll hear all year above, and I’ll leave you with some words from the man himself:

The second of the two covers that I’m releasing isn’t so much a straight cover as an homage. The original idea was to record some short musical quotes of various artists to use as interludes on a MRTVI album; however the way the rest of the material developed I realised that it wouldn’t fit, so this recording too has been sitting on my hard-drive for about a year now. 

Talking with a friend I realised that a large part of my musical vision for MRTVI was set in place when I was very young; my mother had a Beatles cassette tape, Revolver and Sgt Peppers. It only recently dawned on me that this was the psychedelic, lo-fi sound I was trying to create with MRTVI.

The production for this cover was done very differently to my other projects. The drums are recorded with just 2 mics, both outside of the drum room. One is facing into the ceiling of a stairwell, and another is in the corridor outside facing into another room. The bass and the drums are the backbone, the guitar layers are there mainly as effects and atmosphere. I didn’t really want to cover the lyrics, hence the ‘homage’ rather than an outright cover… I felt a little tweak to the main hook of the song would fit in better with the overall existential theme of MRTVI. In some ways, this was a MRTVI song waiting to happen…

Both of this one and the previous cover will be released for streaming and free downloads via my label – Life As A Dream Records, on the YouTube channel and Bandcamp page. To find more of my music here are some links. Enjoy!”

https://lifeasadreamrecords.bandcamp.com/track/this-is-not-living-beatles-homage

https://www.facebook.com/laadrecords/

https://www.facebook.com/sustainedthroughdeath/

This Is Not Living is available now via Life As A Dream Records.

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Purchase This Is Not Living digitally from the Life As A Dream Bandcamp HERE.

Support MRTVI:

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ALBUM PREMIERE & INTERVIEW: ‘Rehearsal Tape ’19’, by PAGAN

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Cernunnos, the Horned one
Aradia, my lady of the Moon
Be present I pray thee
As my will, so mote it be

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If you’re a relative newcomer to the black metal “scene”, you might not yet have had the pleasure of experiencing the longtime Turkish black metal institution that is PAGAN. Forged in the flames of 1995, their auspicious first release Rehearsal Tape ’96 was the third black metal demo ever released in Turkey, causing a storm that they then backed up two years later with the stunning Heathen Upheaval demo, making waves around the globe. It would be almost ten full years later when they finally released their next material, their debut full-length OZ : In Transcendence… after which they promptly disappeared into the shadows, never to be heard from again.

Until now, that is. Thanks to a fortuitous call up from an underground ‘zine they’ve ascended from the depths of darkness to cause an upheaval once again and are releasing a recording of their first rehearsal together in aeons; fittingly entitled Rehearsal Tape ’19, which we are extremely proud to be partnering with Saturnal Records to present in full today ahead of its May 29th release date.

Featuring material from all of their prior releases, these classic songs are bestowed all new power thanks to the modern recording techniques – and the sheer electricity that flows through the band. You can feel the black energy in the room as the quartet of Talciron, Noctivagus, War and newcomer Anker blaze through these songs like men possessed, clearly feeding off each other and calling forth a magic not felt for all too long… it’s the perfect introduction for those who may not be familiar with these classic tracks, and pure ecstasy for longtime fans of the band who will surely be rabid to hear the sparks of PAGAN flying from their speakers once again.

In even better news, this rehearsal tape will serve as a precursor to new material – but I’ll leave founder and guitarist/throatsman Talciron to tell you all about that, as we have been privileged to score a chat with the man himself about the past, present and future of the band. So let the lost temples rise again, hear the marching of the hordes anew… for PAGAN has returned!

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Greetings Pagan, sincerest thanks for speaking to us today for the full-stream of your first returning release back from extended hiatus, Rehearsal Tape ’19. The last time we heard from Pagan, you left us on such a great note with 2007’s OZ : In Transcendence, a fantastic album – after which we did not hear from you for thirteen long years. What were the circumstances that led to such a lengthy break, and what have you all been up to in the time since OZ : In Transcendence?

Talciron: Actually, we’ve recorded most parts of OZ: In Transcendence by 2001 in Turkey. After 2002 though, both me and Noctivagus settled outside of Turkey and were busy with starting a new life abroad, so we had to give a hiatus to the band. In 2007 though, I managed to visit Noctivagus in the US for about 3 weeks, and there we gave the finishing touches to the album. From 2007 to 2019 Noctivagus was doing his other project, Gökböri (which is really awesome by the way) and I was just cooling off trying other things. I played bass for a long while, played jam sessions etc, so I was not totally parted away from music, but just was not in the mood for creation. All of this changed with Baron Çağlan’s (RIP) call for ‘Laneth bir gece 3’.

Yes, the Pagan hiatus then finally ended in 2019, when you were called up to play a show organised by the legendary underground ‘zine Laneth. How did this all happen, and what were your first thoughts when asked to play the show? Did you have any doubts that this was the right time for Pagan to return?

Talciron: Hahaha! This is a tricky question. Honestly speaking, I was not totally sure we could do it when we first received the offer. It had been a very long time since we played together. We immediately did some urgent Skype calls with Noctivagus to practise the songs and remember them. After we were confident that we could do it, we confirmed with Anker & War, and we gave ok to the show.

Talciron, circa 1996

In the lead up to that auspicious show, you recorded your rehearsal – which is what we are streaming here today, Rehearsal Tape ’19. The tape features the full line up from your classic release Heathen Upheaval… and the last time you all played together was twenty years ago! It’s a great selection of old material, too – ‘Elenyr’ is pulled from Rehearsal Tape ’96; ‘The Longing and The Ancient Ones’, ‘Shamanic Flames’, ‘Marching Of The Hordes’ and ‘The Ascending’ are all from the classic Heathen Upheaval, while ‘The Wyrmweaver’ and ‘The Quest Of The Chronomancer’ are then from your last recorded work, Oz : In Transcendence. What was it like all getting together in the same room and playing these songs again after all this time had passed? Was it immediately apparent that the same magic was still there?

Talciron: Yes. The magic was immediately apparent. We booked the studio for a week to rehearse, but after the first day I got the feeling we could go up the next day 🙂 Actually, we were not planning to release this. We were not even planning to record it. It was studio owner Erhan the Brewmeister’s idea; he just wanted to record it the last day, so we said why not? Later on we found it was actually good for a release, so we initially released it on Bandcamp.

Following that, what was the show like? Was it great to be back on stage? 

Talciron: It sure was. I think this was one of our most packed shows, and aside from that, you could see the anticipation in people’s eyes 🙂 They were really hungry and waiting for it, it has been such a long time, which made this a very special show for us!

I believe the title of the demo is a throwback to your first demo, Rehearsal Tape ’96… but the cover art also seems to be too! Similar colors and a forest scene. Surely this was intentional? 

Talciron: Yes, nice catch 🙂 It is a throwback to ‘Rehearsal Tape 96’. Actually I think it came about with the cover art. It is a picture taken by our drummer War in Eskişehir I think. He came with the cover, and we thought this would be great for a new ‘Rehearsal Tape’.

Original Rehearsal Tape ’96 J-card

Rehearsal Tape ’19 was originally digital only and released on Bandcamp, but it has now been picked up by the great Saturnal Records for a CD release. How did this come about? I hear they might be releasing a remastered version of Heathen Upheaval soon too, when is that happening?

Talciron: Originally we were not planning to release ‘Rehearsal Tape 19’ as a CD release. But Saturnal Records were courting us for an album release, and in the end we agreed on a contract which encompasses three records, which was really cool. As for the Heathen Upheaval Remastered I believe it was scheduled by end of 2020, but with the Corona situation I am not sure if this is still valid.

The sound of this rehearsal is intriguing – tracks like ‘The Wyrmweaver’ are absolutely huge in comparison to the original production and it works very well, giving an all-new power and feel to the songs. What were your thoughts when hearing the old material sounding like this?

Talciron: Yes. Actually, my honest feeling is that the sound in OZ… didn’t give justice to these songs, as it came about a little weaker than we intended. So I believe this record will be a good chance for our audience to rediscover these songs.

I believe that as we speak you are working on a new Pagan album, which is incredible news. How is that all going? What is the material sounding like so far, and when will we hope to hear it?

Talciron: New songs are going great! This year in January, just before the Corona virus outbreak, we managed to slip by Istanbul and rehearsed together for a week on the new material. I think we are halfway there, and hopefully by 2021 they should be ready. Then we need to proceed to recording, but I am not sure exactly how long this would take. Noctivagus has come up with really cool riffs for the new stuff and I think potentially it will be our best release when we complete it! I am really stoked on the new stuff!

Noctivagus, circa 1996

Pagan has the honour of being known as one of Turkey’s oldest and longest running black metal bands. How do you feel about holding such status these days? Do you feel the Turkish black metal scene has developed well since times of old?

Talciron: It is indeed a great honour. When we wrote our first songs in 1995, we didn’t think it would be revered and held to such high regard by our fans for 25 years. We were never about being first, or being appreciated. We just wanted to make good music, and deliver the message of Black Metal in our country. Turkey, since 1995, indeed has changed in a lot of ways, some for the good, some for the bad. There are a lot of good acts coming out, especially from Kadıköy, which we are also a part of. Persecutory, Diabolizer, Sarinvomit, Alzheir, Hellsodomy are to be watched out for. There are a lot of venues now, which are open to Black/Death metal shows, which was not a thing in our time. It has also become a lot easier to record and release new stuff, which is also a good thing.

And finally – now that all this time has passed, what is the way forward for Pagan? Does the same fire still burn as it did in 1995? Are you still inspired by all the same things, and will you write about the same topics? 

Talciron: For me, Black Metal has been a call to arms, a rebellion against the established religions, and their dogmas which has held human civilization back for centuries. We’ve come a long way; their hold seems to be weakening, but still we have a way to go. Pagan will go on as long as there are people still being poisoned by their ideologies.

Once again, my gratitude for your time and words today. The rehearsal tape is great and I’m looking forward to new Pagan material as well! Any final words or wisdom you would like to leave us with? 

Talciron: Stay True! Stay Safe!

Rehearsal Tape ’19 releases May 29th via Saturnal Records.

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Pre-order Rehearsal Tape ’19 on CD from the Saturnal Records webstore HERE.

Support PAGAN:

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ALBUM PREMIERE & INTERVIEW: ‘Beyond The Watchtowers’ by ANCIENT BURIAL

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Ritualistic Trinity Of Evil

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In recent years, as astute followers of the path may have noticed, there’s been a certain strain of raw black metal spreading across the globe; the beating heart of which seemingly localised to the darkened shores of Portugal.

Oh yes, you’ll know it when you hear it. It’s the unmistakable sound of rural terror; ancient spirits from beyond called to run wild in this realm once more. Names like The Aldebaran Circle, Portugese Black Circle and more are fervent exponents of these particular summonings… but what we are exclusively and proudly premiering for you today is a brand new entity, unconnected with anything that has gone before.

Or is it? Rumours swirl that the mysterious ANCIENT BURIAL consists of members already well active in this fertile scene. Rumours will be rumours; regardless, debut album Beyond The Watchtowers stands as a nightmarish trip to rend your sanity in twain. Throughout seven violent emanations the listener is assailed through an onslaught of abrasive, clattering sound by howling spectres that swoop and claw, crawling your skin and freezing your flesh to the very core of your spine. It’s more than a ritual – rather closer in form to a demonic possession, as if the three figures creating this unholy cacophony have opened their bodies to raging and ravenous spectral entities, acting as conduit for malevolent otherworldly forces and frantically assaulting their instruments in crazed, frothing and dead-eyed bedevilment. There’s nothing quite like it and the resulting din offers precious little to cling to as you’re left spinning, grasping fruitlessly for any semblance of normality, lost in the maelstrom of ever-decaying insanity…

So today, if you dare, you may brave the entire harrowing experience before it fully materializes into corporeal form when Signal Rex issues these audial hallucinations as a 12″ LP on the auspicious date of May 1st – and if that’s not enough, we are also extremely privileged to present a brief discussion with one of the figures behind its creation. Read on and listen as the fabric of reality is torn, allowing these men to be possessed by things of realms beyond… the realms Beyond The Watchtowers.

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Greetings, Ancient Burial. Thanks for speaking to us today for the full-stream of your excellent debut album, Beyond The Watchtowers. First, I’d like to ask about the title of the album itself, because I am intrigued: what are the “Watchtowers”, and how do they relate to the themes explored on the album?

– Hi! Great question to open this interview! So as you can guess we focus, as the band’s name suggests, in remembering past lives, wars and stories the world has gone through. Therefore the meaning of “watchtowers” is: we talk about military towers in medieval Europe that were raised as fortifications or castle towers to provide safety to a conquered land (for example the “Hadrian’s Wall” in Britain or the “Tower of Hercules” in Spain), and that’s the meaning we give it in this record… therefore we are the sentinels, the “watchtowers” glimpsing lands to protect and to conquer. 

Your sound is incredible; you seem to almost literally summon or channel spirits with your mesmeric symphony of otherworldly corrosion. What inspired this approach, and how do you get into the necessary mindset to create these songs?

– Two of us were in the studio recording other stuff; later at the end as a suggestion from a close friend who was there, we collected some ideas and decided to change instruments. Then from a very flowing and spontaneous way Ancient Burial was built.

The final piece on the record, ‘Eclipse de Almas’ (“Eclipse of Souls”) is an intense conclusion to the album, moving through different stages of cataclysmic, hypnotic devastation – plus, it’s also the only Portuguese titled song. Can you tell us a little about the song and why it is the only piece intoned in your native language? Is there any special significance to this?

– We tend to do something in our mother tongue and we thought it would be better on that because we combine the lyrics with the music’s feelings, since that one is a kind of voidish embrace and catatonic possession.

Although clearly working within the realms of satanism, there is also a strong sorcerous vibration to the emanations of Ancient Burial. Does the occult play a big part in the workings of the band?

– Yes, and as I said Ancient Burial focuses on the past European middle ages and the occult bloody bizarre murder spirits and stories from this time.

The ritual-altar-esque cover art is incredibly symbolic, and also remarkably emblematic of the sound of the album itself. Who is the artist?

– The painting was done by one of the members from the band, actually by the vocalist and he’s a great artist. He has done many drawings and symbols for bands and also other types of drawings, by order or simply his artistic expression.

Although Ancient Burial is a new entity, It has been rumored that amongst your ranks are members of more well known Portuguese cults. So, I have to ask, and you can certainly deny me this request if you wish to maintain the veil of anonymity: who are the enigmatic beings behind Ancient Burial

– There’s a photo in the artwork, therefore I think it’s enough… nothing at all against it but we’ve been around, mostly have been black metal fans since the early nineties and we see the nowadays scene is better focused on hair, clothes, phones, photos and short useless clips that even some live shows are a complete kind of social-media-bullshit, coffee-saturday-night-talk that the music completely moves to second plan…

We prefer to focus on our music and spirituality and take this seriously, names don’t matter at all but… hey! Maybe we could sell some more copies and torment some sick guys from this scene that only talk and are completely useless and do nothing!!!

We don’t fucking care.

And if we may dig a little further into your mystery, as I know it is frequent for underground Portuguese black metal acts to exist for quite some time before becoming known… when was Ancient Burial formed, and what is its purpose upon this earth?

– I don’t remember at all. But, I already answered about the purpose of Ancient Burial on the first and some other question back.

Later this year you will be playing at the great Invicta Reqviem Mass VI, curated by your label Signal Rex. What are your thoughts on this festival? Do you have any other live shows lined up?

– We’re not up to playing loads of live shows and prefer to choose what we think it has something to do with us, so we’re close to this fest since the beginning and think it’s a good decision to play there.

I know many Portuguese bands get asked this question, and with good reason – the Portuguese black metal scene is held in deservedly high regard, having almost become known in current times as the world nexus of true subterranean raw black metal. What are your thoughts on how Portuguese black metal has developed since the early days of Decayed demos and Moonspell‘s embryonic stirrings, and how it is now viewed across the globe at large?

– Portugal was never recognized as a ‘metal country’ at all, but we’ve always had something going on even if nothing came out here from outside countries… my fave Portuguese band from the ’90s is Summum Mallum!

I think nowdays we have a better structured scene and are more recognized beyond our doors.

And finally – will this be the last we hear from Ancient Burial? Are there more rites forthcoming?

– Yes, meanwhile we’ve finished 3 songs with almost 30 minutes and we are gradually finishing what will be our second full-length.

Sincerest thanks once again for your time, and the incredible Beyond The Watchtowers. I look forward to more. Any final statements?

– Thanks for your interest within the realms of Ancient Burial, you’ll certainly have more!

Cheers!

Beyond The Watchtowers releases 1st May via Signal Rex.

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Pre-order Beyond The Watchtowers digitally from Bandcamp HERE or on 12″ LP from the Signal Rex webstore HERE.

Support ANCIENT BURIAL:

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EP PREMIERE & INTERVIEW: ‘Ritual Clearing’ by RITUAL CLEARING

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The familiar sound of amp buzz. A feedback squall tears to life, ominous 4/4 cymbal taps. Slow tremolo riffs rise. Fills build in intensity. One final ringing chord… then BOOM. RITUAL CLEARING have arrived.

Formed in 2019 this USBM horde may be relative newcomers, but the sound they drag kicking and screaming along with them is anything but. Drop forged in the searing heat of ’90s Scandinavian black flame, names such as Sacramentum, Lord Belial and Bathory (as astutely noted in the press release) do indeed slip from the tongue with ease – yet the alchemical formula this perilous pentad of black souls concoct is their own. Each of the four tracks that comprise their eponymous debut crackles with its own dark energy, and when all are placed together form the necessary thaumaturgical steps to complete the rite and open a portal to nether-realms. Realms from which there may be no return… and realms that we at Black Metal Daily are proud to present to you today with our exclusive full-stream of this compelling debut EP, Ritual Clearing.

To be released on limited cassette by cult US label Eternal Death April 24th, you can experience the full thing ahead of time below – and read our chat with three of the five acolytes involved in this iniquitous sorcery while you’re at it.

The ritual begins. Are you prepared to walk through the flame?

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Hails, Ritual Clearing! Great to speak with you today. Your debut self-titled EP Ritual Clearing is finally being unleashed upon the world today, with physical artifacts available as of April 24th. So, tell us, because I cannot find any information about you all – who are you, how did you form, and what is the purpose of Ritual Clearing?

BF: I’m BF and I play bass in Ritual Clearing. BP (drums) and I were and continue to play in the live incarnation of Death Vanish (featuring Lord Valder from One Master). BP and I had played in earlier bands as well, and doing the DV project was enjoyable. We decided to start another black metal band given our interest and motivations in playing black metal. We reached out to some other folks we knew, either former bandmates in prior projects and/or people who were doing creative ventures we really enjoyed, and the band quickly came together. I’d say our ultimate purpose is to write and perform music that fits our shared sense of existential dread and darkness. 

BP: Thank you for taking the time to ask us questions. I am BP and I play drums and write some of the music for Ritual Clearing. Most of us have been playing together in bands going back years and years, so when BF and I decided to keep our musical relationship continuing from Death Vanish, it was only natural to call out to them to complete the lineup. As far as purpose, I personally was looking for an outlet creating music that reflected how disgusting the world has started to feel. It could be age, but I started to grow more in need of creative outlets for the negative side of life. It is important to allow those feelings to manifest themselves and be addressed. 

DM: I’m DM and I handle vocals. BF and I had talked about forming some sort of black metal project for a while – I had been working on something on my own but he came to me and asked if I wanted to vocals in a new band he was forming. Because I don’t live in the same place as everyone else, only handling vocals struck a great balance for me and allowed me to be flexible with my involvement in the writing process. The purpose of the band for me is definitely as an outlet to confront a sort of darkness that I can’t really channel in other styles of music.

Your sound harkens back to the ancient core of black metal – from where in particular have you drawn inspiration?

BF: I think you pretty much hit the nail on the head! We absolutely take a fair amount of influence from the classic Norweigan, Finnish and Swedish styles, but we also try to bring in additional influences that we enjoy, particularly more modern styles like atmospheric or depressive suicidal black metal. In particular, I’ve enjoyed the more recent output of bands like Solar Temple, Vaal, Departure Chandelier and Sulphuric Night, and I like to think we try to incorporate modern elements as well. 

BP: What tends to attract me to bands from the era you mention and some modern bands is the “rawer” aesthetic. Too much polish can immediately turn me off from a band who might otherwise be writing music I would enjoy. The music needs to sound feral and desperate and not like it was run through the modern metal production factory.

DM: I definitely love a lot of what both BF and BP mention above, but personally I’m drawn more to the SDBM side of things – with really anguished vocals and depressive, all-consuming waves of guitar. I try to channel that sort of style vocally and push it further to pair it with the raw aggression present in the riffs.

What was the creative process like for the EP? Did you find yourselves slipping into any particular mindset to write these songs?

BF: Not so much a mindset as a shared creative urgency. We tend to write our songs as a collective entity and then send the songs, upon completion, to our singer who lives a few hours away. We were really able to tap into something when we all got together, and it ended up that someone would be a part or two and we’d be able to get a real sense of what the song would become. Our drummer, BP, also plays guitar, so he was able to bring help flesh out the parts in many instances.

DM: I had wanted to do something like this creatively for a long time, so I definitely shared that sense of urgency as well. I was present for the first few practices to work some initial things out, and then would pop in to work on the songs with everyone every month or so leading up to recording. In between that everyone would send me practice recordings and demos for me to sit with.

Love the cover art – I’m a sucker for hand-drawn imagery on black metal. Who is the artist, and how does the image connect to the album?

BF: Thanks! The cover art was done by Trigiometri and they really did a great job with it. We wanted to nail the sense of isolation and dread that we had in mind when writing the material, and I really feel as though the artwork captured it well. 

BP: I am a person who enjoys a good deal of solitude, so when we were giving direction to Trigiometri for the artwork my main ask was for something that reflected those impulses. The music we make, to me, also feels like something that is done in the shadows and away from society, so we wanted that reflected as well. He came through quite admirably! 

The EP is being released via Eternal Death, who have unleashed some killer albums upon the world. How did this come to pass? Are you pleased with the relationship thus far?

BF: Both BP and I play in Death Vanish with Lord Valder of One Master, who also operates Eternal Death. It was a logical choice for us, but it was never a given that he’d offer to put it out!  We were really grateful for his willingness to work with us on this. Suffice to say, the relationship has gone quite well. 

Whilst all four songs on the EP are great I’m fascinated by one in particular, the ultimate composition ‘Mensis’ – a simultaneously menacing and epic conclusion to the EP. My only knowledge of the word “mensis” is from Latin, where it means “moon” or “month”, and probably stemmed from Proto-Indo-European linguistics referring to the moon’s phases as the measure of time. Does this have anything to do with the theme of the track? Could you tell us a little about it, and how it ties in to the greater theme of the EP?

DM: That entire song is actually a bit of an outlier on the record thematically. The name and lyrics are all inspired by Bloodborne, a Japanese RPG that draws heavy inspiration from Lovecraftian horror. The entire lore of the game revolves around this sort of inner horror, insanity, and the capacity humanity has for brutality in the name of spiritual and intellectual enlightenment. With the Lovecraftian influence in there as well there’s a lot of cosmic imagery going on, which is definitely tied to ‘mensis’ and the moon. It’s one of my all-time favorite video games – I find the themes and aesthetics really striking so I wanted to pull from that for the closing song.

Seeing as we are streaming the EP in full today, I’ll ask: do you have any favourite moments or tracks, or is there any aspect of it you are particularly pleased with? 

BF: The entire EP catalogs this dark, ominous journey we embarked upon while writing, and listening to it really brings me back to that process. I really enjoy it in its entirety. I like to think writing this material has just made us ready for whatever is going to come next. 

BP: I am particularly pleased with DM’s vocal performance throughout. Given the distance between him and the rest of the band, we do not often have the chance to rehearse together. Once we were recording the tracks, I was very happy with both his vocal sound and his choices.

And finally – what lies in the future for Ritual Clearing?

BF: We’ve continued writing songs and will continue to be doing so in the near future. We had some shows lined up for the tape release and then the pandemic forced us into isolation for the time being. We look forward to the day when all this has passed and we’ll be able to play those shows once again. I suppose this sort of forced isolation in the face of global catastrophe will make for some interesting material on our end. Let’s hope something decent comes of it!

BP: We will continue to write material and look forward to performing out with friends, both old and new. 

DM: Been working on a lot of different things while stuck in isolation, so hopefully that translates to something worthwhile for this project.

Sincerest thanks once again for speaking with us today. Any final words or wisdom for us all?

BF: Just a sincere thanks for checking out the release. We really appreciate it, cheers!

BP: Thank you for your time and helping share our creation with the world. No wisdom here, cheers!

DM: Many thanks!

Ritual Clearing releases 24th April via Eternal Death. Pre-orders available now.

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Pre-order Ritual Clearing on digital or cassette from the Eternal Death Bandcamp HERE, or on cassette from the webstore HERE.

Support RITUAL CLEARING:

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TRACK PREMIERE: ‘The Fetch of Crooked Spine’, by GRAVEIR

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Lo, behold and tremble to your core – for the wretched entity of GRAVEIR rises from the broiling deeps of Brisbane, Australia once more.

We last heard from the shadow horde back in 2018 during our two-part coverage of their compelling EP Cenotaph, a bleakly melodic and hypnotic incantation woven of all the world’s ills. This time, prepare yourself as best you can because they return with a new stringmaster in tow (VVoid, exInverted Prophet / Order Of Torment) and a monolithic full-length helping of misery and madness; entitled King of the Silent World.

If Cenotaph was a heavy weight to bear then King of the Silent World will absolutely crush you. Their talent for reaching deep into your psyche remains near unmatched, and with a mere week until the album’s complete unveiling we shall be hearing more about it shortly – for now however, we are proud to present something special as BMD collaborates with our brethren at the Order ov the Black Arts YouTube channel to bring you another taste of the darkness at hand: the album’s third rite of suffering, ‘The Fetch of Crooked Spine’.

Baleful, winding riffing and tortured rasps signal the beginning of a serpentine journey that once taken will sear its form on your memory evermore – as the track evolves it’s clear the addition of VVoid has had an impact as alongside Emaciation the inherent subtle, dissonant muscularity of the guitars seems elevated to to a higher quality. Skinsman XI is on point and tighter than ever, building into a blast as the track rises to a tempest and back again to a compelling groove; his work is a highlight, patterns and fills providing stellar backbone for the typically dexterous yet understated songwriting. I’m as yet unsure what thematic mysteries might lie within ‘The Fetch of Crooked Spine’, but the most marvelous aspect of the waves of this surge-and-ebb composition is its human element – far from being cold or alien, this is a disturbance and turmoil we can all feel within and as the track fades out into the same ominous gloom as the opening notes, we are left unsettled, perhaps even changed from who we may have been before.

Adorned with exquisite artwork by Daniele Sera, King of the Silent World is one you definitely need to immerse yourself in when it drops in a weeks time. Until then, for a further taste of the inexorably opening abyss, listen to the album’s lead track ‘Charnel Bacchanalia’ HERE then seek out a pre-order from the combined powers of twin obscenities Impure Sounds (double LP) and Brilliant Emperor (tape) below… and stay tuned for further transmissions from the cult. Hails.

King of the Silent World releases 17th April via Impure Sounds and Brilliant Emperor.

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Pre-order King of the Silent World digitally from the Graveir Bandcamp HERE, on 2LP from the Impure Sounds webstore HERE and on cassette from the Brilliant Emperor webstore HERE.

Support GRAVEIR:

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TRACK PREMIERE: ‘Dusk’, from ‘The Battle Of VOSAD’ by BOREAL

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Let’s travel back a few years – all the way back to the heady days of 2006. Many noteworthy things happened (Pluto was downgraded from planet status, for one), but amongst them was the release of a true subterranean classic in USBM… BOREAL‘s album The Battle Of VOSAD.

Initially heard by precious few due to being only released on extremely limited, ash-coated and wax sealed CDr to a few close associates, this mesmerizing record was soon picked up for a run on tape by Eternal Warfare Records and those who then had the privilege of hearing it were hopelessly ensnared by its haunting, dark-ambient infused tones and wordless tale of combat. It really was something else, but if you missed it back then, fear not – fast forward fourteen years and shadowed main man AEF has returned to the same battle-scarred ethereal plains, re-recording and reimagining this obscure classic for the current year.

Yeah, most re-recordings often end up a waste of time, but believe me when I say this reimagining is truly remarkable. Now backed by a full band (JR and AW of Starless Domain), adorned in fresh cover art from Inga Markström and sporting a mastering job by the talented Déhà, AEF and associates carefully take the earthy yet spectral vibe of the original pieces and transport them into a modern setting, building on and enhancing everything that was great before. Everything lifts further into the firmament, the battle becomes almost celestial… I don’t want to give too much away as there’s still more to come before it drops May 1st under the banner of Nebulae Artifacta, but what we do have for you today is the exclusive first listen of the album’s final track, ‘Dusk’.

The ultimate composition of the journey, ‘Dusk’ begins in a fashion that will be recognizable to anyone who knows the source material (originally entitled ‘Dusk Of The Warrior’). The slow throb of a war-drum pulses beneath choral synth washes and insistent, droning tremolo. It all seems much like the first version of the track… but then, after lulling you into this false sense of cosy familiarity, the soundscape erupts. The drones and ephemeral choirs bloom, transforming into a wondrous maelstrom of percussive fury – a final show of strength and resolution in a next-level redux that propels the original composition to greater heights than ever previously imagined. AEF himself says about the track:

“‘Dusk’ is the conclusion of the warrior’s journey in the Battle of VOSAD. Originally, there was a second part to this song that was an acoustic tale of the warrior’s hardship. This was omitted from the revision of this album. The original ‘Dusk’ track has been and currently is a long-standing song played during intermissions at the Cascadian Yule near Olympia, WA.

So listen above (and also check out the opening track ‘The Battle’, already streaming on the NA Bandcamp) to the final chapter of this masterpiece of telluric black metal. A tale retold and updated for the modern day, transcending and heading into other planes of existence… an eternal battle, resonating throughout the ages evermore.

The Battle Of Vosad releases 1st May via Nebulae Artifacta.

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Pre-order The Battle Of VOSAD digitally from Bandcamp HERE. Physical copies announced soon.

Support BOREAL:

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ALBUM PREMIERE & INTERVIEW: ‘Infidel’ by CURSE UPON A PRAYER

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ALLAH

PIGS SHALL FEAST WITH YOUR FLESH

ALLAH

I CRUSH YOUR FRAGILE THRONE

ALLAH

I SPIT PLAGUE INTO YOUR GAPING WOUNDS

ALLAH

I SHALL NEVER KNEEL BEFORE YOU

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Those lyrics above, lifted from the title track of the album that we are premiering here today, might seem a little confronting to some. They shouldn’t, because this is black metal after all – but they might. Why? Because they are not the usual rhetoric espoused by the genre. What they are however, is the perfect summation of the defiance, vitriol and utter fucking hatred that roars like a searing unholy flame inside the black hearts of Finnish blasphemers CURSE UPON A PRAYER.

Over ten years that flame has burned with only greater intensity in every successive album, demo and EP as they create pure black art in their own image with unflinching vision, unwavering conviction and a savage intent to tear down the pillars that hold up our failing world. Organized religion is of course one of those pillars and on their apocalyptic third full-length Infidel they once again eschew the tired and easy target of Christianity, instead taking lethal aim at the Islamic faith in a torrent of scorn and rape so intense, so genuine that you can nigh on hear the holy texts of the Quran burning with every word uttered and every note played.

It’s an approach that has challenged many in the recent global social climate – but any cries of offense or resulting censorship attempts have only served to renew the band’s fervor and ferocity. Although Infidel sees them wield a more expansive and dynamic arsenal than previous works, the album also sees them at their most focused; as if every bleating protest has merely fueled their fire and steeled their resolve, resulting in a record greater than anything they’ve done before. From the opening ‘Call To Prayer’ through to the bottomless abyss waiting at the final layer of ‘Jahannam’, the entire thing just oozes both quality and vitriol… so what are you waiting for? Listen to our exclusive full stream (partnered again with Black Metal Promotion) below ahead of its April 10th release date via the great Saturnal Records, then read on for an interview with the nameless heretic warriors themselves.

Let it be known: with Infidel, Curse Upon A Prayer have created their masterwork. May the hordes of Allah tremble and wither, for the wolves have been set lose amongst them.

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Greetings Curse Upon A Prayer, it’s a pleasure to speak with you today for the streaming of your third full-length, Infidel. Now, your last release (the 2018 EP Three Woes) in particular was fucking superb, yet Infidel is a huge leap forward even from there. You’ve moved steadily further from a more “typical” black metal sound into something that can only be described as utterly massive; cataclysmic and vicious. How did this come about? Did you approach this album differently when compared to your previous works?

– Yes. I would say this is the album where we managed to perfect the art a bit more and took another step further. The vision for this album was very clear from the very start, which is always a good sign in the creating process and I do believe it manifested itself well on the record.

As has been the case before, the album is a savage attack on Islamic faith. I’m curious: why do you focus specifically on Islam? As we know, a large part of the anti-Christian themes prevalent in the second wave stemmed from the Black Circle being immersed in Christianity whilst growing up in Norway – what circumstances led to you developing such hatred for the Islamic ideology in particular?

– The previous EP had nothing to do with islam, actually. It’s important to remember that the very core of this band has never been about islam. If that would be the case, this band would serve a very hollow purpose. 

Utilizing these islamic themes in an artistic manner is a summary of several things; It’s not just the slave mentality of the ideology itself but the way people tend to react when it comes to challenging islam. There are still, for example, a good amount of black metal bands out there who still choose to rely on those very overused christian themes, but run away like sheep when real resistance occurs. They want to be perceived as something “radical” but they want to do it within safe frames. And that’s a strange equation indeed. I’d say this whole question between christianity and islam is a good tool to separate the wolves from those sheep. There shouldn’t be any middle ground nor excuses. There’s no respect for a man who betrays his values when actual conflict occurs.

An immediately apparent development for Infidel is the inclusion of middle-eastern elements scattered throughout, such as the introductory piece ‘Call To Prayer’ – they are a fantastic addition to the record. Did you select these vocalizations and melodies because they hold any particular meaning to the Islamic faith?

– Thank you. Yes, those elements are there to adorn the totality of the album and provide the contrast between “the word of god” and the flagrant “Infidelity”, in which this album is based upon. It was only natural to add those elements because they do flatter the songs very well and the spirit of the album.

Another development is in the increasingly-dynamic throatwork: although you’ve utilised these techniques for a while now your vocals seem to delivered with more variety than ever before and are often layered multiple times, creating an unsettling effect that appears refined and perfected further than any previous works. What inspired this progression and the use of these techniques?

– These kinds of things occur if the song needs it. Of course you always want to achieve greater results, but in the end it’s the totality of the song you have to keep in mind when you make any decisions, be it vocals, drum fills or anything else. 

The cover art is simple, yet intriguing; it appears to be a bastardisation of the star and crescent moon symbol of Islam and the Ottoman Empire. I can’t recall seeing this symbol used in this way, it almost seems akin to an inverted crucifix – what’s the story behind it, what does it mean?

– As you pretty much said, it is a sacrilegious reference to the symbol of islam. The desecration of false faith and thus a sign for the one(s) born in fire.

Whilst on the topic of cover art – historically, the artwork of anti-Christian albums has often utilized images of Jesus Christ, angels or some other holy figure portrayed in various stages of mutilation or being raped by demons, etc. As far as I am aware your album art has surprisingly not yet featured an image of Muhammad in any way – something that I’d imagine would be quite a powerful statement, and one that I imagine you’d be not at all afraid of making. Have you ever considered doing this?

– I’m not a fan of such art. It’s tasteless, inelegant and dull. There’s a difference between trying to be as blasphemous as possible just for the sake of being blasphemous, and actually having an artistic vision. I’d like to think we represent the latter.

Infidel is a very oppositional, outwardly hostile album; as black metal should be. But on the other side of that coin, what are the personal and internal spiritual beliefs of the members of Curse Upon A Prayer?

– Personal things are indeed personal. But as mentioned before, the very essence of this band has never been about islam.

In a 2014 interview you were quoted as saying the scene was full of “fat, drunken, black metal elitists who still over use the same irrelevant subjects that don’t even cause any turbulence”. Given that statement was made six years ago, how do you feel the situation is now? Has black metal become even less dangerous?

– Well, despite being just a teenager back then, I’m certainly not apologizing for that statement because it still holds some truth to this day! Haha!

But funnily enough, because of the current times we’re living in, black metal seems to be a surprisingly sharp thorn in the flesh of the mainstream world at the moment. And it’s a pitiful thing to see when some bands start making compromises with their art because of it. In a sense it’s also a good thing because the actual stars tend to shine much brighter and stronger among all that shit.

I believe you have garnered quite a reputation for desecrating the Quran during your live shows. Have you ever faced any protests or show cancellations due to backlash from this?

– Yes, of course. There have been some incidents along the way but it is something you can very well expect in these modern times. Even the government of Pakistan made a complaint about one of our videos on YouTube, so we’re doing well!

I personally don’t understand bands who choose to flirt with radical ideas and then start bitching when one of their shows gets cancelled, because it is what you can expect and you should be aware about it rather than making bullshit excuses on social media.

Following on from that, in the current age and climate it’s incredibly easy to find yourself tarred with the “nazi” or “racist” brush for being against a religious faith. A quick internet search even reveals an Islamophobia Definition stating that “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness”. I personally loathe the Abrahamic religions and what they can do/have done to the world and its people, yet have very little against everyday folk of any creed who practice a form of them passively – including my mother, who is Christian. Hating the ideology doth not equal hating the man unless the man is utilising his faith to justify atrocities. I’m sure you’ve had to explain this many times, so I apologise, but once again: what is your take and personal stance on this? Are you racists?

– There’s a relatively famous quote about islamophobia; A word created by fascists and used by cowards to manipulate morons.

It is just a pathetic way to strive above any criticism. And trying to call us racists, just because we refuse to kneel before all the fear islam has managed to sow globally, is a weak move to pull. Usually done by equally idiotic cowards who still don’t seem to understand that the beliefs you choose to hold, and the race you were born into, are very separate things. As an artist you shouldn’t be afraid to pursue your vision even though there could be that risk of misjudgement. There will always be someone opposing you when/if you decide to stand up for your own values and artistic freedom. If we’ve crossed the line, feel free to fuck off because it surely hasn’t been our line.

And of course, feeling yourself supreme because of the pigment of your skin, is just another example of this sheep-like herd mentality where the average man finds comfort. True supremacy drives from other, more divine sources. And it is something that must be created and it certainly demands way more than just flesh and blood.

The original first track that premiered for the album was ‘Al-masih ad-Dajjal’, which has an intriguing title. Could you explain the meaning behind the title and what the song itself is about?

– Al-Masih ad-Dajjal is a figure in islamic belief and can be translated as “The Lying Messiah”. The song itself became one of the key points on this album and deals with the very essence of its concept: The fiery will of an “Infidel” to become his innermost self by manifesting the ruthless nature of an untamed god through pain, arrogant desecration and revenge. Giving the death penalty for a petty existence without repentance and pissing on its grave.

Infidel is currently being released on CD and digital through the great Saturnal Records. An excellent label, but why did you make the switch from Inverse Records (who released Rotten Tongues and Three Woes)? 

– Actually, The Three Woes was released by Saturnal Records as well. (My mistake! Apologies – Dex)

With Saturnal Records we haven’t had to make any compromises with our choice of themes or art in general. They seem to be very aware of what we are doing and that was pretty much what sealed the deal for us for The Three Woes and this latest full-length album.

Are there any plans in the works for the album to be released on other formats?

-Yes. It will be on vinyl as well! In due time.

What lies in the future for Curse Upon A Prayer? Any shows or new material on the horizon that we should know about?

– There are shows coming this year. Some of them had to be postponed to a later date because of this well-deserved scourge of the human race, better known as the coronavirus. So we shall rejoice for this blessing first and then we carry on with the shows.

Also, the follow-up for Infidel has started to take its form already. But obviously it’s still way too early to comment further on that at this point!

And finally, I’ll ask your opinion: the world has a long and storied history with religion. Where do you envisage us all heading in years to come? Will we ever be free of it?

– It remains to be seen. It might just take a slightly different form because it is rooted in the human nature after all.

Sincerest thanks once again for your time, Curse Upon A Prayer. Any parting words or wisdom for us all?

– Hasten to prayer, all ye Infidels!

Infidel releases 10th April via Saturnal Records.

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Pre-order Infidel on CD from the Saturnal Records webstore HERE.

Support CURSE UPON A PRAYER:

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

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The plague is here.

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

The plague is us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wrath Of Wraths releases 27th March via Osmose Productions.

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

Support ENEPSIGOS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Support The Holy Flesh:

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