Turkey’s one of the earliest black metal band The Sarcophagus was formed by Burak Sümer in 1996. At the beginning of 1997, the band released the first demo “Pagan Storm”, which was followed by an EP “Infernal Hordes of The Ancient Times”. In 2009, Niklas Kvarforth from Shining and Ozan Yıldırım from Raven Woods joined the band and The Sarcophagus signed with Osmose Productions for 7” ep “Hate Cult” and debut album “Towards The Eternal Chaos”. The new style was a little bit away from the earlier melodic black metal materials. Thus, The Sarcophagus had become more aggressive with the participation of Niklas Kvarforth. Both of the releases from Osmose Productions saw the light of very positive responses from the audiences and critics.
A couple of years later, Niklas decided to quit from all his other side projects to focus on Shining. With this decision, Morkbeast from Russian black metal band Todestriebe joined the band as the new vocalist and then after 7 long years, The Sarcophagus recorded a new album called “Beyond This World’s Illusion” in 2016 including 9 tracks to keep spreading the disease!
The track “Reign Of Chaos” is the opening track of the album, enshrouded with the harrowing riffs and endless melodies.
The Band Stated:
Beyond this physical world, behind the curtains of this illusion, there is a timeless and formless darkness rises… And this is The Reign of Chaos
LEGACY (Ger) has exclusively streamed the lyric video of the track, which can be found at this location
01. Reign Of Chaos
02. Ain Sof
04. The Profanity Rites
05. Sapremia Of Earthly Creatures
06. Triumphant Divine Terror
07. Armoured Death
08. Flaming Key To Divine Wisdom
09. Apocalyptic Beast
Today I spoke with The Watcher, front man for English Atmospheric Black Metal band Fen. We spoke about coming from the marshlands of Eastern England, the loyalty of metal fans and touring with Taake
“There is a unique, understated bleakness to the fens – it’s an area few visitors to the UK travel to”
* You got your band name from the Marshlands in Eastern England correct? Do you think stylistically you would sound the same say coming from the West Country, London or Newcastle?
It is hard to say – given that we all currently live in London and some of us have moved around a fair bit in the last ten years, it is likely that the surface-level core of the band would still sonically sound more or less the same. Nevertheless, the essence of the band is derived from both myself and Grungyn growing up in the fens of Eastern England and in this, I believe this has a profound effect on the music just beyond the ‘sound’. The whole basis of Fen is to channel this ambience through our music and concepts – with that in mind, whilst it is still likely that we would be playing an atmospheric form of black metal, the fundament of the material would likely be different.
The source of our inspiration and the basis of our driving motivation is absolutely key to the ambiences we are attempting to invoke and so in that, I think there would be a palpable difference to our music if we were to have grown up in another part of the country. There is a unique, understated bleakness to the fens – it’s an area few visitors to the UK travel to, it does not boast rolling ‘English’ greenery, moorland, hills or lush forests and is therefore, very much an area untraveled by most apart from those who live and work there. It has a distinctive, spacious emptiness, fields of dark soils that speak of ennui and woe, hints of mysteries dwelling within the dark corners that loiter under the endless grey skies.
This in turn is the atmosphere we attempt to channel through the music of Fen and therefore, whilst stylistically we would very likely still be playing atmospheric black metal regardless of where we originated, I think it would lack the distinctive mournful bleakness it currently carries.
* Since the band started as a studio project are any of you in other bands?
Yes, we do have other a number of other projects we are involved in – when creativity is your absolute number one driving reason to exist, it is hard to sit still and twiddle one’s thumbs when there is music to be made. With that in mind, all three of us are engaged in musical outlets other than Fen.
For myself, I play in a more orthodox, ‘traditional’ black metal band called Virophage with Havenless – the focus of this is on invoking a darker, more nihilistic and aggressive atmosphere. I also have been playing guitar in the doom metal band Pantheist for a couple of years and we are hoping to complete the writing/recording of the fifth Pantheist album this year.
I am also about to release the debut album of my Fellwarden project which is predominantly a solo release that Havenless also provides drums for – this is an album rooted in soaring, melodic, grandiose black metal taking influences from various epic/heroic black metal music also. Grungyn meanwhile is in the process of completing the debut album with his folk act ‘Driftway’ – stylistically, it is grounded in English folk with a more melancholic ambience and features of the vocal talents of the first Fen keyboard player Draugluin. So we are all very busy!”
* Are there plans for live shows this year?
Plenty. Being able to deliver this material in the live environment is absolutely key to us. All three of us put our absolute maximum into every gig we play – it is the most direct and honest form of communication we can participate in to involve our listeners in our music. Gigs can be pretty lacking in atmosphere sometimes – sterile or sub-standard venues, poor sound, drunken oafs spoiling it for people – however our goal is always to transcend this and do our utmost to being the audience into our journey, to deliver the atmosphere of the fens to each show regardless of the circumstances.
As for plans for shows this year, we have a support slot with Primordial at the end of March and then are touring the UK with Taake in April which should be good. We are also heading to Norway for the Nordvis Hostfest in September which will be an excellent event run by our good friends at Nordvis.
“There’s a loyalty to artists that is palpable within extreme metal”
* How well do your vinyl and cds sell? Are you surprised that people still by physical product?
Erm… I guess they sell OK. I’m not really sure what is considered to be ‘good’ sales in this day and age I’m afraid! I’m always pleased when people opt to buy a physical release of our music, though I suspect we’re nowhere NEAR the sales of bands like Amon Amarth or Behemoth. What I will say is that I am not massively surprised that people still buy physical releases – and indeed, that vinyl sales are increasing – certainly within the metal scene. There’s a loyalty to artists that is palpable within extreme metal and I think it is becoming increasingly well-known that endless streaming sites and illegal downloads are harming the very bands fans profess to love.
Not only this, but a full physical release really is the optimum way to appreciate the record of an artist with whom you feel you have a genuine connection with. So many bands – and I certainly include Fen in this – put an enormous amount of thought and consideration into the aesthetics of their releases. Therefore, the ultimate way to experience the record is in its entirety with artwork, lyrics and aesthetics being absorbed in conjunction with the sonics. Indeed, for a genre such as ours which is so rooted in atmosphere and ambience, it is even more important I feel.
Thankfully, I think a lot of metal listeners ‘get’ this – not only does the music of Fen lend itself to dovetailing with extensive, relevant imagery but also the metal genre has a tradition of fans devoting themselves to investing in the bands they support. Call it that ‘collector’ mentality if you will (some of the Maiden collections out there for example represent an unbelievable level of commitment) but I do think it is something that is quite prevalent in this scene of ours. Coupled with our label’s commitment to producing exciting, well-produced and thought-through limited-editions of our albums, it’s something we certainly support and encourage. Quality vinyls and box-sets are a refreshing antidote to the disposable, ‘easy access’ throwaway distraction culture being increasingly foisted upon us these days and therefore, long may their success continue!
* Your latest release Winter comes out march 2017? I really like what I heard on your bandcamp – how would you explain the differences in your latest release compared to your past catalog to new listeners?
This latest record is without a doubt our most ambitious and indulgent full-length thus far. It of course retains the essence of Fen inasmuch that at its heart, it is an account of a striving, personal journey refracted through the bleak and sorrowful imagery of the fens, yet here we have pushed the compositional process even further. The progressive elements that we have dabbed with in the past are exemplified on ‘Winter’ and indeed, we set ourselves the goal of writing these songs from an almost ‘classical composition’ perspective – rather than songs essentially being segmented structures of riffs (riff A, riff B, riff C, riff A again e.t.c.) we pushed ourselves extremely hard to work with evolving themes and motifs, avoiding straightforward repetition and instead creating songs that are structured almost as a continuous ‘flow’ of music.
Indeed, this approach runs across the record as a whole and the entire album can be considered to be one long song, divided into several chapters.
* What was the one band that really got you into Black metal?
That’s a hard question to answer really! I sank into the mire of extreme metal in around 1995 which is really when black metal had started to explode in the underground I guess. As a brit, I suppose I have to hold my hand up and confess that Cradle of Filth were in important band in the very early days and indeed, the ‘Vempire’ EP captivated me considerably when it came out. It was quickly supplanted by Emperor’s ‘In the Nightside Eclipse’ and Dark Funeral’s ‘Secrets of the Black Arts’ albums however – these were cornerstone releases for me in the early days, demonstrating a different level of composition, adopting an almost ‘widescreen’ wave-of-sound approach as opposed to the more traditional, riffy, ‘Iron Maiden’-esque guitar work that Cradle utilised.
Certainly the early Dark Funeral material made an impression, clichéd as that band have now become – to hear guitars being used to effectively deliver a quasi-orchestral wall of reverbed distortion was something I had never heard before at that time and really lit the fires of inspiration for me. Of course, in the intervening two decades plus, I have long since appreciated that there are plenty of bands who adopt this approach, many of whom deliver it with a real sense of skill and nuance. However, ‘back in the day’, in the middle of nowhere with internet and very few like-minded listeners, these early records made a huge impression.
“For me, originality derives from a sense of uniqueness in terms of atmosphere and sonic presentation”
* What modern day Black Metal do you still rate as doing something new?
Well, the idea of ‘something new’ can mean different things to different people – indeed, it’s possible to argue that ‘true’ originality within the sphere of extreme metal is virtually impossible, given that virtually every variation of guitars/bass/drums/voice has been explored in some way. For me, originality derives from a sense of uniqueness in terms of atmosphere and sonic presentation – essentially a band truly discovering their own voice and being moved by the sincerity of their expression to deliver something that has a sound all of its own.
In this, I do not count the kind of desperate genre ‘mash-ups’ that some listeners (and the artists doing it no doubt) believe screams ‘originality’ – melding black metal with electronica ‘for the sake’ of it for example, pointless noodly diversions and other surface-level pseudo-experimentations that really don’t add anything to integrity of music.
So, artists for me that have defined their own voice, pushed (and continue to push) boundaries would include Blut Aus Nord – Vindsval is a powerful creative force, continually inspired and reinventing yet always retaining his own distinctive voice. Leviathan/Lurker of Chalice too, I think Wrest is another true creative and I’d also add Ruins of Beverast to this list as well. These are all effectively solo artists so perhaps this points to solitary expression as being a way of truly unshackling oneself from notions of creative restraint – after all, in a band, you have two, three, four, maybe more people contributing and in this, compromise could be factor perhaps? Who knows.
Having said that, there are bands that can blindside you still – the latest Inferno for example is very surprising and very different sounding. The UK’s own Lychgate are stepping into incredibly advanced, leftfield realms of composition – though how much of a link their material will have to black metal remains to be seen! Ultimately, black metal will always have those at the speartip who will continue to push, seek and redefine the parameters of the genre.
* Outside of Black Metal do you look at any other types of music for inspiration and if so which bands?
Of course – by virtue of the style of black metal we play, which encompasses a variety of other textures and soundscapes, non-metal music plays a huge part of our listening palette. I draw an enormous amount of inspiration from shoegaze bands such as Slowdive, Ride, early The Verve and My Bloody Valentine as well as a number of post-rock artists also – Mogwai, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Explosions in the Sky and Mono being key candidates from this scene. These are all outfits that pushed (or continue to push) at the boundaries of producing enveloping, absorbing
I also spend a lot of time listening to a number of classic records from the 70s prog scene – Yes, Genesis, Rush and several others – as, clichéd as this scene has been regarded in certain circles, the musical adventurousness of these bands cannot be denied. The more ‘gentle’ side of electronic music is an influence in some ways as well – at least from a position of ambience and generating a mood. Artists such as Black Dog, Global Communication and Boards of Canada play a definite part in helping shape some of the atmospheres we attempt to convey.
* How do you guys go crafting your songs? I know many bands start with a guitar lick and build but I imagine you guys work out a lot of your songs in the rehearsal studio?
The songwriting process is quite varied – sometimes it will originate from one or two quite simple ideas that myself or Grungyn have come up with and as you rightly say, we then go on to develop in the rehearsal studio. Whilst I am fully aware of the potential pitfalls of a ‘jamming’ approach to songwriting (that is, such noble intentions can frequently collapse in on themselves into a noodling, self-referential and disappointingly unadventurous soup), if deployed with discipline and control, it can sometimes lead to inspired results. Indeed, the second part of our most recent album originated from one or two central themes which we then developed around through experimentation within the rehearsal studio.
Other songs are composed and structured more comprehensively in isolation before being presented to the rest of the band. This can also be a good way to work, particularly if someone has a very defined vision as to how they perceive a song to be represented. I do find this quite a satisfying way to work on occasion – if I am feeling particularly solitary and inspired, it’s a bit of a tonic to really chip away at a song, sculpt it and see it grow into something (hopefully) coherent and arresting! Of course, once an idea written in this way is presented to the rest of the band, it can be subject to change again – different interpretations of rhythms, suggestions on rearrangement e.t.c. so again, there is a fluidity even to this more controlled approach to writing.
“If you were hoping for us to be some form of nature worshipping troupe giving thanks to the Gods of the land in ancient druidic rituals taking place under moonlight in stone circles, I am sorry to have to disappoint you!”
* Are any of the band practicing pagans? If so what faith?
I am afraid not and I’m not really sure what a ‘practicing pagan’ represents in this day and age if I am honest. None of us really subscribes to any traditional notions of theism in the conventional sense – we all have our personal beliefs and views in respect of the self, spirituality and considerations beyond the limitations of the material realm but it isn’t something I am really at liberty to go into at any great detail here. Suffice to say, if you were hoping for us to be some form of nature worshipping troupe giving thanks to the Gods of the land in ancient druidic rituals taking place under moonlight in stone circles, I am sorry to have to disappoint you!
* What do you hope this latest release “Winter” will accomplish for you guys?
Stepping back now and trying to assess the latest album as objectively as possible, I really think that it is a testament to how far we have come as a band in the last ten years. I appreciate it is very long, however we just felt a compulsion to create as much as we could with this record – to push every element of it as far as possible. At one stage, we were considering making a double album! Nevertheless, the goal was to distil the ‘essence’ of what it is that makes Fen, to produce something in which every aspect is redolent with our vision. I do believe Winter accomplishes this.
I know that it is often said that hope is a denial of the reality of expectation, however if I were to allow myself to hope, it would be that Winter is a release that really cements our individuality as a band, that underlines that which defines us apart from the labels we have carried in the past. Whilst it is flattering to receive constant comparisons to Agalloch and Alcest, for me, this album really does not sound like those two bands at all – it has many signifiers from the ‘post black’ and ‘shoegaze’ metal subgenres but in my opinion, it weaves them into a coherent whole that simply sounds like Fen at the end of the day.
So yes, for me, in an ideal world, Winter would represent a landmark release for us – a defining album which symbolises everything the band stands for and provides us with a springboard for another ten years of creativity.
“We have been confirmed for the Nordvis Hostfest in Norway in September”
* What else can we expect from Fen in 2017?
From a release perspective, the newest record should be landing any day now. We are also hoping to release a mini LP of our side of the ‘Stone and Sea’ split CD we released last year – this will be a MLP produced courtesy of Eisenwald Productions. We are also hopefully going to see our third album ‘Dustwalker’ released on vinyl as well – so it looks to be a vinyl-heavy year which is absolutely fine by me!
Other than that, we are looking towards playing live shows to spread the word of Winter – we have a number of interesting gigs in the UK this Spring including a mini-tour with Taake and a support slot with Primordial in London. Discussions are underway regarding a number of overseas shows also – we have been confirmed for the Nordvis Hostfest in Norway in September which promises to be an excellent event and several other gigs are in the pipeline. Many of these look to be very exciting so as soon as they become confirmed, we will of course update our fans via the usual mediums.
* Any final words?
I think we’ve more or less covered everything – thanks for the interview!
HELLFIRE was formed in late 2014 in Kremenchug, Ukraine. The band was created by Karagh (Guitar/voice) and Necrobafomet (Bass), former members of the black metal band Paranomia. Later, they were joined by drummer Skullcrusher and second guitarist Max, together they began rehearsing and writing original materials. Initially, it was decided to make black metal music with the influences from old-school thrash and death metal. October 31, 2015, the first live performance of the group took place. Shortly before this, guitarist Max left the band, and since then HELLFIRE continues to work as a trio format. Next, live performances took place in different cities of Ukraine and the response was always very positive from the audiences.
The recording of their debut release “Goat Revenge” was completed at the end of 2016 and later released on 31 July through German label Witches Brew. The EP consists of a haunting intro leads into 7 great songs, crafted into a fine dark brew of genuine Black Metal mixed with crushing Death Metal! An erudite listener will eventually find a lot of first wave black metal and speed metal influences on these tracks. These goat lords will appease all who crave heavy riffs, blasphemous vocals and attention to keeping the Heavy Metal in Black Metal, something sadly forgotten by a lot of today’s Black Metal bands. When it comes to comparison, Bestial Mockery and Impiety eventually come to mind. The vocal brings back the ravaging grim voice of Nocturno Culto, at the same time he delivers some gruesome death growls.
Currently, the group continues to work on new music and concert activities.
This week I spoke to Bindrune Records mastermind Marty about running a record label in the digital age, Heathens, the evolution of black metal and how much cassettes suck (ha ha) read on:
* So you guys started as a partnership between Scott Crionic Mind Records and and you from Worm Gear Zine how did you guys get to meet?
We met in 5th grade when Scott’s family moved to Traverse City from Illinois. He’s one of the main influences on me in getting into metal and it’s more extreme forms. Always been a dear friend to me. I don’t speak to him often these days, which is unfortunate, but he’s still one of my best friends.
* What made you want to start a record label in a time where most record labels are going out of business?
Probably not the smartest thing to do eh? Haha. It all boils down to passion for this music, the desire to try and help other bands get a boost and a tenacity that isn’t smart enough to know when to quit. I still believe things are cyclical. Look at the return of vinyl and cassettes. There is a growing movement within the world of music that wants to purchase and support music/bands/labels again. It’ll come around. At least this is what I keep telling myself!
* I know a lot of your releases are about pushing musical boundaries – what do you look for when bands send you a link to their demos? Do you both have to agree on each signing or?
Scott is no longer involved in Bindrune. Hasn’t been for many years. I think the last project he was a part of, was Celestiial’s Desolate North, which was our 4th release (we are over 30 now), BUT he was a MAJOR part of getting this label off the ground. But for me, a bands atmosphere and uniqueness is always at the forefront of my appreciation. Also, are they good people that are easy to work with? This is also a huge factor. But the music… it isn’t just a series of good riffs for me. There has to be a “spiritual”, for lack of a better term, connection for a band to truly earn my interest. And of course they have to fit in with the aesthetic of the label.
* Do bands have to be pagan minded to be signed to Bindrune? What about satanic or Christian bands if they musically fit your tastes – would you be down to work with them?
There is no set in stone ideology that I need to connect with a band on as I tend to shy away from organized religion. BUT, I refuse to work with racists. The style and sound of the label does seem to attract bands who have an interest with pagan or heathen ideologies which I’m completely fine with as many of the thoughts within those circles are nearest to my own when trying to dissect my typically unfulfilled beliefs. Satanic bands are fine… I’m of course a fan of many bands that adhere to this tired and true religious path and I wouldn’t let something like that stand in the way of releasing their music if I found a connection with it, but these type of bands tend to be far more aggressive and less atmospheric than I typically gravitate towards for Bindrune. But… never say never!
* Are you a practicing pagan? If so what faith? I would presume Asatru but I could be wrong – please enlighten me?
I have a great respect for people that practice faith in nature and the archetypes that connect gods/goddesses to our living world, but I am not a practicing pagan, nor do I have the time to further my research into the teachings into it. Call it more of a fascination. I am more heathen minded, with a love for nature and respect for others. Music for me has always been my unfaltering religion. The rest just feels like it begins and ends with common sense.
* How did you get into black metal and what was the band that was your “A-ha” moment?
Well even though it isn’t your stereotypical “black metal” and really wasn’t called that, bands like early Bathory, early Kreator, early Destruction, early Sodom were my A-ha moments in the proto black sound due to my age and when I came into this style of metal back in the 80’s. For more modern black metal bands… the first CDs I ordered in regards to “Norwegian black metal”, were the Emperor/Enslaved split, Mayhem – De Mysteriius Dom Sathanas, Satyricon’s Shadowthrone and Burzum’s Det Som Engang Var. All of these releases were eye opening and mind blowing. I was hooked.
“Black metal has become less of a statement and force and more of a corporately viable musical genre. It lost its teeth. The pantomime make-up has lost its mystery”
* Black metal over the last 25 years has gone from loud fast punk rock recorded on a 4 track cassette recorder style bands to neo folk and more – what would you say has been the biggest change in black metal for you and where do you see the movement going into the future?
This is perhaps a generalization, but black metal has become less of a statement and force and more of a corporately viable musical genre. It lost its teeth. The pantomime make-up has lost its mystery and a lot of the new bands are simply trying to re-invent the riffs perfected by their idols. I’m not saying all black metal is bad or a “trademark” sound, but there are so many damn bands out there all fighting for the same scraps, it’s hard to uncover the ones that have something to offer that is more of a reflection of the individual behind the corpse paint.
“Great people exist behind the art”
* What would you say has been your biggest accomplishment with the label so far?
Surviving for 17 years now. As largely a 1 man owned an operated business, other than some greatly appreciated help and new members over the past 5 years or so, Bindrune has been a lot of hard work, dedication, debt and struggle, BUT we are growing and doing our best to offer fans of the label and this music some truly inspiring artists to enjoy. This and the friendships that have risen out of working with some of these bands have been the biggest accomplishment. Great people exist behind the art and many of them I have drank with and become friends with. At the end of the day, this means the most to me.
* What would you consider to be your labels biggest failure to date?
Huh. There hasn’t been any real definitive failures. Sure, some bands sell better than others, but I have been a fan of everything I have put out. I guess the failures reside behind the scenes and typically revolve around finances. But, we all learn from such things and we will forge onward.
* What’s been the biggest hurdle in growing your business? The rise of postage costs or? What bit of advice do you wish you could have told the Marty who was just starting out?
The biggest hurdle is keeping potential fans interested in buying music. Digital is still a part of a music fans collection and once people download something, they may be less prone to go that extra step and purchase a physical copy. Collecting music is expensive and takes up space. Some folks have neither to warrant a big collection. Postage cost overseas have grown into a nightmare and it forced us to unite with a like minded label to share the international postage burden. We were lucky to find that partner in Nordvis Produktion/Andreas. I’ve often said that we started this label 20 years too late, but the reality of it is, I wasn’t in the place I needed to be back then to be able to stick with the mission. So really, I have nothing big or secret to tell myself starting out that would be a bombshell. I believed in what I was doing then AND now. It’s all expensive and juggling cash is always a struggle when sales are low, but the end result is always a feeling of accomplishment.
* What’s been your favorite release on the label to date and why?
There has been many. Wodensthrone – Loss, Nechochwen – OtO AND Heart of Akamon, Falls of Rauros – The Light That Dwells in Rotten Wood, Panopticon – Roads to the North, Ahamkara – Embers of the Stars… I could find something in every release that would make it my favorite depending on what day of the week it is, but these albums were all something truly special/powerful.
“Cassettes are the worst, least trustworthy and clunky musical medium out there.”
* Are you surprised with the return in popularity of cassettes in certain musical genres (Black metal, grindcore etc) As an older guy I never thought I would see cassettes make a come back. Do you think its purely a novelty item or do folks see them selves carrying around the most portable analog sound device going?
I really am surprised. Next to 8-tracks, cassettes are the worst, least trustworthy and clunky musical medium out there. I grew up collecting them as they were gold standard when I was a teen burning through my allowance/lunch money to get everything I could in an exploding scene. What surprises me even more, is that I’m also buying them again. Mainly crusty black metal and dungeon synth releases. The latter just feels right on cassette for some reason. Like I said earlier in this interview, everything is cyclical. I can’t wait for people to come back around again and actually LIKE CDs. They truly are the most resilient, durable and sensible medium.
* How do the releases on Eihwaz Recordings differ from the releases on Bindrune?
Eihwaz began as a brother label to Bindrune created by Jim Clifton and myself to release bands that we thought were great and probably didn’t fit within the Bindrune aesthetic. These bands tended to be more aggressive, or death metal leaning, but as time went on, more black metal seeped into the roster. Eihwaz is earning its own voice and as I have splintered off from releasing titles with Jim so that I can focus on Bindrune, Jim is continuing onward to help the label grow and further find it’s own voice. Great bands. Great new label AND a great friend behind it all!!
* Have you guys consider a Bindrune music festival (Like the guys did from 20 buck spin and Giliad media and their migration fest) or a traveling tour of your artists?
A Bindrune fest is always in my thoughts and has been for years. It may eventually happen as a lot of the bands have voiced interest in playing such an event, but at the moment, it seems like a logistical/financial nightmare in my head. Fingers crossed! We shall see what this and next year brings!
* Have you had any problems with the narrow minded bigots of the left accusing you guys of being nazis or racists for using Heathen imagery in your releases and with the label yet?
I really haven’t, at least to my face, but I have made it known out there that Bindrune ISN’T affiliated with racism or fascism. Some people will always see the logo and just assume that we are that way due to the runes, but they would be seriously mistaken and I can’t control what people think. Bindrune has members in bands that are Anarchist, pagan minded, all just normal, forest dwelling people that try to find the good in folks out there and in nature. The hatred found out there in the world is so damn tiring. It’s time to make more constructive choices folks!
* What can we expect from Bindrune recordings in 2017 and onwards?
A lot. It’s crazy. Impending releases:
Falls of Rauros – Vigilance Perennial CD/LP
Vaiya – Remnant Light CD/LP
Coldfells – S/T (With Eihwaz)
Alda – Passage 2LP
Panopticon – Roads to the North 2LP reissue
Panopticon – Autumn Eternal 2LP reissue
Panopticon – Kentucky CD/2LP reissue
Paths – In Lands Thought Lost CD/LP
Saiva – Bortom markerna
Wilt – Moving Monoliths 2LP
Krigsgrav – Waves of Degradation LP
Several new signings which we shall announce soon! Stay tuned.
*Any final words to your friends fan and followers?
Many thanks to all of you for the kind words and support! It means a lot!
I recently had the chance to talk with Mosaic main man Inkantator Koura, in case you have been living under a rock for the last 11 years Mosaic have been releasing amazing Germanic Black metal since 2006. In this convo we spoke about life in the former East Germany, “gateway” bands such as Rammstein and Marilyn Manson and worshiping the old gods, read on!
* You are based in Gotha Germany, tell us what is life like there these days?
Hey, Alex! Life is really busy here nowadays. I am working on a lot of projects right now, enjoying my time with my family and so on. Gotha is a little big town, so the life is quite calm, but we have a good infrastructure here and beautiful landscapes. So I would say, I am enjoying my life right now.
“The German unity and identities are totally damaged and raped… that’s quite sad..”
* Were you old enough to live though the fall of Communism in Eastern Germany – if so what do you remember the most before the change?
Mhhh…tricky to say something about – I was just two years old as the iron wall fell. I grew up in a very little mountain village in the south-west of the Thuringian Highlands. It was the inner German border from Thuringia (East Germany) and Bavaria (West-Germany). You needed permission to get into this area, even if you have lived in East Germany.
The difference between East and West is still given, even nearly 30 years after it. The German unity and identities are totally damaged and raped… that’s quite sad because we had glorious times before the 20th century began. The face was lost in the two World Wars, which abused also a lot of archaic knowledge and symbolism and so it is quite heavy to deal with old customs and traditions here. We have to be very patient in the selection and presentation here – if you do not want any stress. That’s also quite sad, but I learned to handle it and I can widely work as I want to; you just have to check it up twice and make sure everything is ok.
* What is the Black metal scene like in your part of Germany – of like many Black metal Musicians do you prefer to avoid the scene at all costs?
We have a really strong metal scene here in central Germany, with really good musicians and friends. I would say that the German scene is stronger than ever before. The past 10 years were essential to the creation of the German extreme metal scene. We have well-known bands such as Ascension, Secrets of the Moon, The Ruins of Beverast, next to newer ones like Antlers, Venenum, Nocturnal Witch, Abyssous, Warriors, Orae and so on – to name just a very few.
Most of these bands started with worshiping their old extreme metal gods and evolved into something really unique. The factor of innovation is really high in our scene – and that’s good.
There is already a new generation growing up with bands like Warlust, Transilvania, Kringa (yeah I know they are from Austria…don’t care) and so on – so the pulse is more than alive here in Germany.
* How many shows have you played so far and what has been your favorite show and why?
We started to perform live in 2014, and since then we have performed 14 times I guess. The most enjoyed event was for the sure the FUNKENFLUG Open Air 2016 in Austria. Just perfect atmosphere and location; nice and dedicated people. Next to this I really enjoyed Party San Open Air and Phantoms of Pilsen – the crowd was just unbelievable there. And also, my own event I had set up in autumn last year – SAMHAIN CELEBRATION – this was also a night to remember.
“I love to play in unusual places, or better yet, in total usual places like woods, mountains, ruins, caves”
* Do you play as a one man band or do you recruit band mates to help out? I saw Mortiis play London in 1999 where he performed to a DAT tape and it was fantastic
I have three live musicians with me, on drums, second guitar and bass – I perform the first guitar and all vocals live.
Ha cool story with the DAT tape, I currently try a lot of things to do a solo or duo set also, with a more folkloristic approach and more soundscaping instrumentation, to perform at very small locations – that’s something I really want to do.
I love to play in unusual places, or better yet, in total usual places like woods, mountains, ruins, caves and so on – I am trying to focus on performing such rituals – that’s more intimate and personal – we do not play every concert we get offered.
* Have you done any full tours yet? Is this something you would like to do in the future?
Yes with my old band ALCHEMYST, I had completed one European tour with TRIBULATION, VENENUM and KETZER, in 2013.
We are planning a European tour for early October with our Swedish friends GRIFT. So yes I would like to tour * haha
* What’s the hardest part of being in a one man band? What is the best part?
Well there is no hard part, I need the total control about it – it is my brainchild and I need to keep things firmly under control – that’s it. My live musicians or session musicians I invite for recording sessions prepare their parts but if there is something I don’t like it has to be re-arranged – only I know how MOSAIC has to sound, and how it should not sound – sure that could be frustrating for my guest musicians – but they have known me for a long time – haha, so they know what can happen.
The best thing is that I have total control and I can choose the direction and can create my own worlds and capture them.
* What inspired you to create to write the music that you do? Were you in any “traditional” type bands before (meaning bass/drums/singer/guitarist, etc)
My life and my experiences inspired me to create my music. I have been in various bands before; the most important band was ALCHEMYST (2009-2013) a kind of obscure Death Metal based successor of MOSAIC. There we were four musicians and the core were three of us (drums, second guitar and me). There we wrote everything together, meaning the drummer brought in some guitar riffs and so on. I liked the way a good flow was given in the creation process of the first and last album NEKROMANTEION (Iron Bonehead, 2012). But I was struggled a little after the release, I had a lack of further song ideas, and also the promotion and inner band communication brought me to a near meltdown and so I put it to rest. I enjoyed the time really, but I had to look forward and focused on MOSAIC then.
There I can totally work freely without any boundaries, and that’s good and that the way it has to be.
“We practice old and archaic customs in our private life’s, yes.”
* You write a lot about the old gods and mysticism – do you practice any pagan faiths? If so what ones and why?
We practice old and archaic customs in our private life’s yes. We live in a region where the main god(dess) was HULDA (Huldra, Perchta a.s.o.) – so the customs are really nature bound. We celebrate the regular feasts of the wheel of the year. Those rites have a long tradition and were mostly adapted by the Christian culture. It is normal for us to worship nature; nature is the central element – and we are just thankful for it – that’s the most simple reason, but also the truest.
* Is there much awareness of the Teutonic gods in today’s modern day Germany?
Mhhh I don’t know, in the modern German World, is no place for them. A real awareness is not given here. Like I said in the beginning of the interview, the two world wars were the reason that slayed such things. Back in time as Richard Wagner wrote his important works, the old gods became really popular, but there is not much left of it nowadays. This is quite sad.
“Then I got some MARILYN MANSON stuff and also ICED EARTH – still worshiping them today.”
* How did you get into Black metal? What was the first band that really “sold you” on the genre?
Oh that is a weird story *haha. It starts once upon a time when I was between 7 and 8. I got the first two RAMMSTEIN records and dug them. Then I got some classic metal records from my brother, mostly MANOWAR but also some Punk records like EA80. Normal starter drugs to go astray ha-ha . Then I got some MARILYN MANSON stuff and also ICED EARTH – still worshiping them today. And then one day I bought an old ABLAZE zine with LIMBONIC ART on the cover I think. I put in the sampler CD and listened to it just a few seconds – and thought – woah holy shit what the hell is this – I wasted 6,66€ *haha – but not long after, a friend of mine gave me a real German underground black metal jewel – AASKEREIA – MIT RABEN UND WÖLFEN – and this record had a total impact on me – the music and lyrics totally got me. And after this record I started to buy the typical Black Metal records like the first IMMORTAL, BATHORY, MAYHEM, BURZUM, first CRADLE OF FILTH and so on – and the madness began – *haha
* Outside of Black metal what influences Mosaic? I hear some old school industrial influences and a bit of British band Killing Joke in there too.
Mhhh I am not so much into Industrial or Killing Joke. More Fields of the Nephilim if you want something similar.
I listen to a lot of styles and genres. I love ambient, neo folkish stuff, classical tunes, and soundtracks… to name a few bands: WOVENHAND, THE TEA PARTY, CHELSEA WOLFE, ROME, SOL INVICTUS, STURMPERCHT, DEAD CAN DANCE, NEW MODEL ARMY, NOEL GALLGAHER, LANA DEL RAY, ANNA VON HAUSSWOLFF, NOSTALGHIA,
* What has been your favorite Mosaic release so far..and why?
I like all of them. The OLD MAN’s WYNTAR re-release on Eisenwald is truly amazing in every point. But I also like HARVEST and my SAMHAIN CELEBRATION tracks a lot and also the artwork if it. Those three records are really personal – and suggest a pure nostalgia and a tribute to my childhood and youth, that’s the reason why I like them the most.
* Have you ever visited America at all? And if not do you have any desire to visit? If so what places would you like to see with your own eyes?
Surely I want to visit it one day, but it is such a huge land I cannot tell you immediately what I want to see. I have to research this first. I would also love to visit Quebec and Canada someday because I have friends there and really like the landscape.
“After these shows we will finish the new record, which is hopefully out this year”
* What can we expect from you in 2017?
We have three concerts planned for this spring. After these shows, we will finish the new record, which is hopefully out this year – but I as I know myself I do not want to promise too much *haha.
Yeah and then we are going to hit the road with GRIFT and spread our message through Europe!
* Any final words?
Thanks Alex for your interesting questions, I hope the readers enjoyed it and check out MOSAIC!
Recently Alex and I were at a big name BM gig in NYC and both noted a nice balance of men and women at the show. Which was great compared to the Death metal shows, we both grew up going to in the 90s.
We got talking about why there was such a big representation of women in Black metal compared to say the thrash or death metal scenes and thought who better to ask then some of the leading ladies of black metal – we spoke to veteran and new(ish) BM musicians to get the inside scoop from them – full biographies for everyone who participated at the bottom of this page
How did you get into Black metal? What was the band that sold you on the genre?
Robyn from Adorned in Ash: For me, It was a progression from one genre into the next and I wouldn’t say that I’m only into black metal. I actually have a very large range of musical taste. The band that got me searching for the more extreme and odd bands was definitely S.O.A.D. From there I went to folk/goth/symphonic metal which then naturally lead to black and death.
Vickie Harley from Forneus: The first thing that attracted me to metal in general was the mix of orchestral elements and metal, as I played in bands and orchestras as a kid, which I first heard in symphonic metal. After this introduction, I sought out heavier bands and Cradle of Filth were a big favourite of mine. I still love their earlier music and Sara Jezebel Deva’s vocal collaborations with them inspire the sound I try to achieve with Forneus
Adore: I progressed into black metal naturally. I started out listening to whatever they showed on MTV in the early 80’s and 90’s and really enjoyed hard rock, thrash metal, death metal. I met Zak Nolan, who was the original drummer of the band Goatwhore, in 7th grade, and he introduced me to King Diamond and a host of other incredible underground bands. After that, I would always try to find the darkest, fastest, most dangerous music I could find. I started reading the metal magazines and saw the artwork for Emperor’s “In the Nightside Eclipse”, Opeth’s “Orchid” and “Morningrise”, Ulver’s “Nattens Madrigal”, and Satyricon’s “Nemesis Divina” in issues of Metal Maniacs. I ordered all of those albums strictly based on the artwork, description, and the thoughts and sounds I imagined those albums sounded like in my head. Once I received them in the mail and listened to them all, they all exceeded my expectations and imagination. I fell so in love with black metal that day. My old bandmate David and I would get all the black metal we could find and listen to them together and exchange cds. Those were such glorious times and black metal truly changed our lives at that point.
Nadine from Ashtar : I came into Black metal quite late, around the early 2000s. My boyfriend at that time listened to Black metal from the 90’s like Dissection, Burzum, Rotting Christ, Satyricon, Emperor, Mayhem and Darkthrone… Maybe it were Satyricon and Rotting Christ who sold me on the genre, because I had the chance to see them live back then. Live music is always so much more intense than hearing the bands on CD! But I have to say that I never listened to Black metal only, I always liked other genres too like Doom or Death metal.
Christy from Ails: I was really into death metal before I knew much about black metal. I remember being exposed to a lot of black metal in the late 90s by just listening to music while hanging with friends. I saw Mayhem and Emperor at the Milwaukee Metal Fest in 98 and got into the style a bit more. I also remember being given a compilation tape by our drummer in the early Ludicra days that he had titled, “Unholy Black Metal” with so many of great songs by bands that I still love today.
Laurie from Ails: I worked at a record/music distributor in SF in the 90’s called Revolver. They had a few bins of leftover metal cds and I of course looked them over and discovered bands such as Darkthrone and Emperor and discovered several earlier “doom/death metal bands as well. I was mostly intrigued by black metal since it had more elements of emotion, despair and melodies that reminded me of the classical music I heard in my early youth. Ulver was an early favorite. I grew up with heavy metal in New Jersey but I was mostly drawn to punk and goth in the 80’s.
I remember early in Ludicra, my bandmate made me a mixed tape of black metal bands. I was quickly obsessed with the band Bethlehem, even more so when I watched the movie Gummo in 1998, the songs of Bethlehem inspired me more than any black metal or metal/punk in general, that I had ever heard. The vocal technique and placement, the beautiful and depressive guitars…their sound clicked for me more than anything I’ve ever heard I believe. Bethlehem is still my favorite metal band today, after all these years, none have had quite the effect on me that they have.
Jolene from Bulletbelt:I’ve been listening to metal from my very early teens, I discovered black metal about ’97 when I was first introduced to Celtic frost, Emperor, Cradle of filth, Darkthrone and Burzum.
I don’t think one band sold me, Black metal as an overall genre with it’s underlying left hand path/occult theme drew me towards it, also in the mid to late 90’s I was still learning about all the stuff to do with Varg/Euronymous and the church burnings. The mystery and the hype was greater with having to work for finding out information from small interviews and word of mouth, until I read the book Lords of chaos in 2000.
Roxane from Smirking Revenge: As cliché as it sounds, the first BM band for me was Cradle of Filth. It’s funny because when I first listened to their album Damnation and a Day, I almost had a panic attack – I felt really weird about it, not understanding their extravagance. But you know… a good artist is one who is able to make you feel something, whatever it is! Later, I came back to it and I regained my composure – I was absolutely fascinated by their world ; all the references to literature, mixed with incredible and catchy guitar riffs, and also their general appearance and theatrics… I became a fan – I wanted to understand.
Marika – Velociter: I think I first discovered black metal through more “commercial” metal bands, I am pretty certain the first band I fell in love with was Dimmu Borgir back when I was around 12 years old, still love the theatrical aspect in their sound and appearance to this day. Which also was what caught my interest way back in my pre-teen days.
Sarah Lee from Augu Sigyn: My first band in the 1990´s was an underground rock band, with guys who normally played Black metal & Death Metal ( Solhverv ). I was 12 years old, and just seeking out some better music. I could feel that my mind needed something else. And I began to hear some of the bands that everyone knows: Darkthrone, Bathory, Mayhem, Venom. While as well getting all of the millions of different stories about of Burzum and Mayhem.
I´d never felt so alive and understood, as when I heard my first Black metal album ( Darkthrone – A Blaze in the Northern Sky ), and this album sold me then, as it still does this day today. Though my vocal began at the time when I first heard Arch Enemy´s change of vocalist to Angela Gossow. And the band Kittie. And I just thought wow; females can use their vocals just as men, to scream and growl. At that moment I knew that I needed to have the whole package of metal. The package of creating wonderful dark music in metal.
Tenebrae – Dreariness : I got close to black metal slowly and by pure chance. I remember the 2002 summer, I was more or less 12 years old, and my attention was caught by groups like Lacuna Coil and Evanescence. I didn’t have internet at home, so in order to understand more this genre (at the time, the definition was “Gothic Metal”) I used to buy magazines such as “Metal Maniac” or “Metal Hammer”, or I used to go to the most furnished cd store and buy an album randomly. My first black metal album was “Enthrone Darkness Triumphant” by Dimmu Borgir. That album made a mark on my life, if I can say so. From that point on, it was a continuous research, I can give you a thousand names… Bands and artists that have a lot of influence on me are: Darkthrone, Burzum, Nargaroth, Mayhem, Forgotten Tomb, Theatres des Vampires, Peste Noire. I adore Les Légions Noires, Amesoeurs, Alcest… I can really mention more of them.
Mers from Black Table: Wolves in the Throne Room was my gateway.
What’s your favorite Black metal band these days and why?
Robyn from Adorned in Ash: At the moment I’m loving Agathodaimon and Antestor. I enjoy their writing style
Vickie Harley from Forneus: I love a lot of black metal bands for different reasons but at the moment I really like Winterfylleth and Coldworld. Both bands successfully combine soaring, melodic passages with really bleak, extreme riffs which is a combination of sounds that appeals to me. But I really like the more riff based stuff as well, like Dark Funeral and Dark Fortress.
Adore: So many. I’ll give you my top five right now. Absu, Summoning, Emperor, Xasthur, and the homies Goatwhore. It’s hard to explain why but I’ll try.
Absu’s music is so unique, so intricate, so magic(k)al, it’s truly an incredible journey through the past, present, and future. It’s out of this world. Proscriptor’s drumming, vocals, songwriting, and stage presence are incomparable and stellar! There are so many gems and so many layers to Absu’s music and albums. The way I feel when I look at their artwork (especially for the self-titled album “Absu”), when I read the lyrics, hear the music, that always takes me on an incredible journey of pure ecstasy. True ABSU fans know exactly what I mean. I highly recommend them to any black metal, black thrash fan.
Summoning’s music is just fucking epic! Triumphant and also magickal!
Emperor are the true kings of black metal and so unique and groundbreaking. Most black metal bands are influenced by some aspect of them. I’ve been in awe of them from the first time I heard them in the early 1990’s. Plus Trym’s drumming is so sick! Ihsahn and Samoth’s riffs are just phenomenal and legendary. Some of those riffs bring tears to my eyes because they are just that good!
Xasthur is so unique and dark. Malefic is so skillful. I tell friends that Xasthur’s music is the sound of death arriving. The sound of the grim reaper arriving to take you into the next dimension. Truly haunting and beautiful. Malefic/ Scott Conner sits on the DSBM throne, in my opinion. I loving falling asleep while listening to Xasthur or Psychon Vex.
Goatwhore! I fall in love with their music over and over again. I know a few of the guys in the band and I used to watch them practice when they were first starting out in a town called Thibodaux. I knew they had something so special. Sammy’s riffs are just so profound and he has so much incredible music. Ben is like a warrior on stage and his lyrics for Goatwhore and Soilent Green are beautiful, sinister, extraordinary. I often wonder how the hell he remembers all of those lyrics. He is one of my favorite metal vocalists as well. Their cds stay in my vehicles and I lose my shit when their music blasts through the sound system. The first few albums are very nostalgic and make me miss New Orleans and Fat City/Metairie.
I will always love all of this bands and guys. They are all living legends to me and I have such admiration and respect for them.
Nadine from Ashtar: Oh, that’s very hard to say. I surely have a flair for bands with slower, heavier riffs and a very broken or beautifully sick atmosphere… Just to name a few there are (the older) Glorior Belli, Aosoth, Nachtmystium or Liturgy.
Christy from Ails: I don’t think I can pick just one, some of my current favorites are Inquisition, Absu, Enslaved and Immortal. They each have an intensity about them along with driving rhythms and are all incredible live. I love Darkthrone, Bethlehem and Ulver, too, though I’ve never had the chance to see them live.
Laurie from Ails: The new Bethlehem was my favorite release of 2016 of course but my other favorites these days are- Virus, for their unique style that pretty much sounds like no one else. Not exactly black metal I guess..
Oranssi Pazuzu- for taking black metal far away from the confides of what is deemed “true or cult black metal”, having psychedelic elements but still having intense energy and riffs
One of absolute favorites is a local band (Oakland)- Dispirit- They are truly the best black metal band I know of. Excellent musicians, song-writing, all worthy of that annoying word “epic” Dispirit is beyond epic. Ha!
Roxane from Smirking Revenge: It’s a bit weird because I don’t listen to much BM these days, but if it can fit into this category, Alcest or Deafheaven would probably be it. There’s also another awesome band I discovered lately, which is Sektemtum. Right now I have a phase where I listen mostly to electronic music, being late to the party haha, with bands such as KMFDM, Skinny Puppy, and so on. I do like the mix of electronic and BM with bands like Dawn of Ashes.
Marika from Velociter: Have quite a few, I have a specific liking for crossover bands. I think the band that first comes to mind is Destroyer 666, I love their edge and aggression. Speaking of black thrash crossovers I have to mention Absu as well, I have this fascination over their drummer Proscriptor Mc Govern not only being one of the most insane drummers I’ve ever witnessed, he is also the lead singer, it’s almost too intense, I love it!
I have recently grown very fond of Icelandic Svartidauði, and the sole simple reason for this is how they manage to conjure up the same cold seen in traditional black metal, and mix it with a heavy sound so crushing it’ll almost make you feel uncomfortable, I would go as far as calling their music crushingly foul, it’s brilliant. Watain should also have an honorable mention, I could listen to their song Waters of Ain on repeat for hours and never get bored, beautiful musical craftsmanship they possess that lot.
Sarah Lee – Augu Sigyn: Darkthrone still Darkthrone. All of their works from the 80´s to the mid 90´s. They never get too old. There’s just a mood which unfortunately is all too rare, both nowadays and in other bands. Tenebrae from Dreariness : At the moment I don’t have a favorite band… I listen to a lot of music, from pop to Doom Metal, from post-metal to shoegaze…but I have to admit, I was particularly fascinated by bands like Batushka and Mgła. Regarding Non-Black Metal, 40 Watt Sun are making my heart pound in these days
Mers from Black Table: Right now, I’ve been listening to a bunch of different things. Phantom Winter’s Sundown Pleasures has been heavy in the rotation right now. I’m a huge Omega Massif fan so that lead me there. It’s dark, melodic, and heavy. Woman is the Earth as well.
“It’s still quite a rare thing to see a women killing it on stage”
As a Woman into black metal do you think you get as much respect from men as say women in say the Glam Metal/Hard Rock scene? The Blues Rock scene? Hip hop ? EDM? etc
Robyn from Adorned in Ash: At first people are very prejudice but once you’ve gotten on stage and have shown them that you too have the chops, I think we’re respected and because it’s still quite a rare thing to see a women killing it on stage, I think in the end we gain more respect.
Vickie Harley from Forneus: This is a difficult one to answer as we’ve only done two gigs together! I am also the lead vocalist for a symphonic metal band, and I would definitely say that I feel treated differently on account of each band. For instance, I don’t feel like a lot of people in the extreme metal scene (regardless of gender) respect me that much for being in a symphonic metal band, and have heard and read of female extreme metal vocalists who think that this is the ‘easy way out’ for female vocalists to get involved in metal music. I think that a lot of people hear melodic vocals in metal or hear that you do that type of thing and instantly stereotype you as a ‘Disney Princess’ type of vocalist: something that couldn’t be further from the truth. My voice is strong, powerful and something that can be just as terrifying as harsh vocals, and I’m excited to be able to prove this and develop my vocals in black metal with Forneus.
Adore: Unfortunately, no. Black metal is a very aggressive, competitive, alpha-male music genre. I love my fans, but I’ve encountered some metal fans who just don’t respect women in the genre and don’t think it’s our place in black metal. Also, being mostly African American is also another barrier. I never expect anyone to like or understand my weird music, but fortunately, it has connected with some dark souls out there.
Nadine from Ashtar: I can’t say because I don’t really know these other scenes. But I think generally women get a bit more respect in the Doom metal scene than in the Black metal scene. In Black metal they are often seen as a decoration or sexual object rather than as serious musicians… But then there are women who want it that way, so that’s okay for me.
Christy from Ails: I think in any scene there are going to be those who are just dicks and those who are cool. I’m treated pretty well these days (at least to my face, hahaha).
Laurie from Ails: I was lucky to be respected in black metal for the most part, but..there were and still are always a few bitter betties out there. There are always haters, there are always men who can’t help but explain to myself and other women about metal and whatever else they claim to know more about. I am a feminist, I am not bold and outspoken about it, but I’m a feminist and feel that many women in metal aren’t very thrilled have these conversations and often downplay their struggles and just “want it be equal with no mention of gender”.
Jolene from Bulletbelt: A lot of times females in bm are perceived to like it because of their partners listen to metal or going through a rebellious phase, I guess it’s a lot easier to accept that a female likes glam/hard rock because it’s catchier, more simple and often the topics are related to personal experiences of the heart.
Roxane from Smirking Revenge: I’m not sure – music in general is pretty much a men’s world, no matter what the style you play… It’s not complicated, women were not there, and when they were, it’s because they were used to sell something or make someone else look good. Or to sing and/or dance, in any kind of music, that’s what women’s presence is usually about. When you play an instrument or you growl, some people just don’t understand, because I guess it’s ‘’new’’ and ‘’unexpected’’…? (That’s a bit beyond me.) I would say it’s half and half – some people are really open-minded about it, and become diehard fans, while some other people underestimate us and hate us before we even play.
Marika from Velociter: I surely hope so, to be fair I don’t strictly show up in black metal environments, I have a pretty wide range of musical interests (especially in the metal world) And my general impression is that women are respected in most musical cultures. But I have personally grown tired of the “he/she is not true because” tone you often find amongst black metal fans. To me, being true is about standing up for your own opinions, whether it being music, politics, appearance or anything else. Being caught up with whether or not other people are being “true” is not very true in my book – So I kinda caught myself in quite a paradoxically pickle with that statement didn’t I? Dammit.
Sarah Lee from Augu Sigyn: Some men are getting better to not treat one as a groupie. Other men are full of respect for what I am and what I do. And some men are very jaloused over what I have gained, but they are the ones that shows me, and my co-musicians that we are good at what we do. And then there are gentlemen everywhere, either trying to help, or getting amazed of what I can do on my own.
Tenebrae from Dreariness : In general, I can say that a metal woman is often prone to receive sexist sleazy comments. It happened to me, I saw nasty comments on my behalf. I laugh but it’s not a good thing. The truth is, there’s little respect.
Mers from Black Table: I don’t know really. I don’t see myself as a woman performing in a metal band. It’s so far from my mind and I’m not looking for respect for my gender. The response to our music has been wonderful and that’s all I could really ask for.
“Black metal speaks more to individuals-male or female, that felt out of place, unaccepted, unpopular, unconnected to peers”
Why do you think there are more women into Black metal than say Death metal or Thrash metal?
Robyn from Adorned in Ash: I would imagine that depending on where you go you will find more into a particular subdivision that another purely because there are more bands playing that style than others in that location. In SA there are women into all kinds of metal and I’ve never really felt that it leans heavily to one subdivision or another.
Vickie Harley from Forneus: I actually know more women who are into death metal than black metal. I’m someone who appreciates and loves a lot of different subgenres within metal and I think I surround myself with like-minded people. Out of all the subgenres of metal, I actually think that most women like doom and stoner bands. Perhaps this is because of its accessibility in relation to more ‘mainstream’ music genres like blues, rock and roll and hard rock.
Nadine from Ashtar: There are many reasons, but one for sure is the aesthetics of Black metal that is not only dark and brutal, but beautifully desperate too and sometimes atmospheric, plus there are the Black metal related themes like nature, paganism etcetera that women naturally have an affection for, I think… Last but not least, the guys in the Black metal look better and are sexier. 🙂
Christy from Ails : I didn’t know there were more women into Black Metal than death or thrash. Could it be a regional thing? Maybe I’m oblivious if that really is the case, living in the bay area, I’m used to seeing a lot of women at all of the metal shows. Though, 15-20 years ago, it was quite different, I rarely saw any other girls at metal shows.
Laurie from Ails: I’m not sure but perhaps it’s because black metal speaks more to individuals-male or female, that felt out of place, unaccepted, unpopular, unconnected to peers. I was more drawn to black metal because of its’ more depressive, sound-scape and overall emotion. I don’t have this same feeling when I listen to death and thrash metal.
Jolene from Bulletbelt: Black metal has under lying elements of gothic/occult themes which I can see appealing to more females than the topics and visuals of death and thrash metal
Marika from Velociter: I didn’t realize that there are more women into black metal than any other metal genre really. But a (maybe not so qualified) guess would be that black metal speaks more to a more pure and primal aspect, instead of for example politics or gore.
Sarah Lee from Augu Sigyn: Never thought about that there was more in Black metal than in Death metal. I have thought more about some people should drop the act, and not be in metal at all. I know that this is roughly speaking, but Black metal is loosing more and more of it´s underground, sadly. I can think only that perhaps the reason is how in Black metal the vocal of one sentence can go on for longer. Where in Thrash metal and Death metal it´s often faster going. That the lyrics shall be quick or dying. And many females have perhaps a more difficult way with spitting out words/lyrics, than when they can get to breathe and tell.
Tenebrae – Dreariness : I know a lot of badass women and they know what they’re doing. The metal genre is not important.
“Never let someone tell you you’re not good enough or that you’re ‘’good for a girl’’”
What advice would you give to younger women just getting into the Bm scene?
Robyn from Adorned in Ash: It’s a community. Remember that.
Vickie Harley from Forneus: Never worship anyone or allow anyone to act like they deserve to be worshipped around you. A real musician respects and is kind to any fellow musicians they meet, and there is no need for a diva attitude no matter the person, their success or their reputation
Adore: Be yourself! Develop thick skin and don’t let rejection or naysayers deter you. Be gracious to fans. Be fearless! Put in the work and practice.
Nadine from Ashtar: Nothing particular. Just be true to yourself and don’t sell yourself. Just do what you want and do it with conviction, always!
Christy from Ails: Get a turntable, buy vinyl! Actually listen to the music of bands you go to see. Be yourself. Don’t be a poser. Never leave your drink unattended.
Laurie from Ails: Perhaps try not to get trapped in just the style and overall “evil and grim history”, you can still be you, try to be open-minded always to how music (black metal etc..) will always change with the years, be open to new sounds, crossing of styles/genres, don’t get stuck in “the old way is the only way.”
Jolene from Bulletbelt: Be a strong woman, be yourself and fucken own it.
Liking something regardless of what genre it is, should be for yourself not the acceptance of others. Don’t be concerned with fitting to the mold.
Roxane from Smirking Revenge: Just go ahead and do your thing, be yourself. Break a leg. Never let someone tell you you’re not good enough or that you’re ‘’good for a girl’’. Also, most important : work hard.
Marika from Velociter: I would advice them not to take advice from others on how to be part of a scene. Finding your own way is key. I think it is important to be exactly what you are, and forget about trying to suffer through the hell of trying to impress others to feel “part of the cave”. If you love the music, then that fact should surely speak for it self. The industry is crawling with pricks, but it is also crawling with a shitload of awesome people connecting through shared musical interests.
Sarah Lee from Augu Sigyn: Take the time and effort that it will take to bring the music to life. I like that in Black metal you can hear that there is a human/band, behind the record. And so in the vocal. I can say as well, for those who would like to learn more about one own vocal, and how to use it. You can watch The Zen of Screaming by Melissa Cross. I got 2 of her DVD’s, she´s amazing.
Tenebrae – Dreariness : There isn’t a real advice to give. I live based on my instincts, there’s no advice. You have to act, to live, to scream, to play. You always have to be yourself.
Mers from Black Table : As a musician, be yourself and always challenge yourself.
What has been the hardest thing for you as a musician getting started making music? What advice can you give female musicians wanting to start their own bands?
Robyn from Adorned in Ash: Gaining your chops. It’s hours upon hours upon years of hard work and it never ever ends. To be the best you can be you need to put in the work, time and effort. Dedication when you’re down and humbleness when you’re up. As a woman you will always find that you’re having to “prove ” yourself more than the guys but at the end of the day you’ve just got to put that all behind you and focus on the reason you are doing it. I play guitar because I love it, it’s an extension of my soul and therefore I strive to push myself to the max and be the best that I can be. Practice hard, play hard, don’t be fake about it.
Vickie Harley from Forneus: I don’t write music as I’m utterly terrible at it, so I’m quite a bad role model in that sense for female musicians wanting to start their own bands. I would recommend scouring social media for like-minded musicians and using websites like ‘join my band’ and warn them that half of the musicians you will meet in your local metal scene are time wasters, but that you will eventually come to find the right members of your band in the end.
Adore: Finding the right people to work with was a challenge. My first band, a few of us were on separate pages of what type of metal we wanted to play I always wanted to play faster, darker, more evil music. Now, being a solo artist, I have some health issues that made it a lot tougher to perform, but I worked slowly. For those healthy beings, find like-minded musicians who are serious and on the same page as you and have the same objectives. If you can’t find those individuals, don’t be afraid to do it all yourself. Technology these days makes that very possible. The possibilities are endless. Also, let the music speak for itself.
Nadine from Ashtar: In the beginning it was hard not to pay attention to all the people who thought «What? A girl? She surely can’t play her instrument as well as a man would. She is only in the band because of her tits…» Nowadays, after being in bands for 14 years, I don’t give a fuck about this anymore, because I know who I am and what my skills are.
Christy from Ails: I started making music when I was 15 so the hardest thing for me was being able to own decent gear without having much of a job. Not having a car or license made it a bit of an obstacle as well. I always had to depend on someone else for a ride to practice, and I was such a mooch because I never had any gas money to give.
My advice to any musician wanting to start their own band would be the advice that I didn’t take from my favorite quote by Dave Mustaine in the Metal Years, “Don’t.”
Laurie from Ails: Well trying to start a new band after Ludicra was and still is often frustrating, and a constant struggle in a lot of ways. Working hard on something for 12 years and then having it all disappear can be very disheartening when you try to start completely over with no connections.
I think it’s most important to stay focused and to be patient. I also think it’s important to make sure you are in a band situation that you feel comfortable in. If you don’t have supportive and communicative bandmates to begin with…well, then you will have problems and things may take longer and feel more unsustainable. You all need to recognize that you need to all be on the same page and feel comfortable to bring up issues when they arise. When things are left unsaid and unresolved, it will fester and you may just end up feeling you’ve been wasting your time and it suddenly doesn’t feel fun anymore..etc
Jolene from Bulletbelt: Females who do anything that is male dominated always have to prove their self worth so much more, otherwise you can be seen as a joke or a gimmick. Hard work pays off!
The hardest thing for me I’d say was finding the support in my local bm community, especially from other females in the scene when I first started out. One would think you would band together being the minority, but what i encountered was the opposite .
Roxane from Smirking Revenge: I think the hardest part is to never stop believing in what you do. If you loose that, you loose everything… I struggle with self-confidence but I just need to get this music out of me, into this world… This desire is stronger than any holding back.
Marika from Velociter: I don’t think it has been that hard starting out really, the hard part is being determined to continue your musical journey through all the ups and downs you may face as a musician. Being in a band isn’t cheap, and being in a band is not without grief, but once you have found where your true passion lies as a musician, then cling to it, work with it, and it will all be worth it ten times over. This advice would be for anyone wanting to start a band, man or woman. For women I’d say let the music be your oyster, not your sex, not your appearance. I can imagine many trying to give opposite advice when it comes to “getting your band out there” through promotion and stuff like that, I myself have gotten a few well meant comments on that account as well, but I take pride in trying to let my sex be a neutral factor in my band. I scream my lungs out and write distressed lyrics just like any other frontman or woman. I’d prefer people liking my band for the whole package of soundscape and vocals, instead of liking my band because “oh hey they have a girl in this band, now they are cool”. Sure it might be naive to think that, that will always be the case, but I strive to prove that we will be “winning” on our music and live performance, not on whether I should pull down my shirt a little lower and become a brand for the sake of potential viewers. Cheap tricks are so transparent anyways, and in my opinion a 100 legitimate fans of the band, is better than a 1000 drooling female worshipers. But each to it’s own priorities I guess.
Sarah Lee from Augu Sigyn: The hardest thing would be to find the right musicians, but the easiest way is to ask around if there is anyone looking for a musician. I myself started again after some years away from the music. And I began looking for other musicians, to start a band with. First I find a pianist / keyboard player, next I found a drummer, then a bassist, and last, but not least a guitarist. And as for my very first band, I searched for musicians. And I found them. Never give up, keep on searching – and you´ll find them
Tenebrae from Dreariness : The first live was hard, my voice didn’t come out because I was really thrilled. We had some few problems, we were all thrilled. But you have to move on, recover. The advice is: do not ever give in, even if there are some little errors. Sometimes you can find the beauty into recovery. Never give up!
Mers from Black Table: Playing live was pretty difficult for me, it’s a vulnerability that can make you sick to your stomach, fuck with your confidence and focus. The only cure is to play often. Don’t be afraid to use your unique qualities to express musical narrative. And a really important one for me is don’t try to do what is familiar.
“One bad incident that sticks out in my mind is Karl Sanders yelling at me because I was in his way while he was hauling heavy equipment”
Out of all of the “Big Name” metal musicians you have met so far who has been the biggest douche and why? (I can censor their name if needed)
Robyn from Adorned in Ash: I’d rather not go there hahaha!
Vickie Harley from Forneus: I don’t feel comfortable doing the whole ‘name and shame’ thing. Instead I’d rather let people’s own bad behavior and reputations catch up with them, and trust me when I say there are plenty of these in the UK black metal scene.
Adore: Gosh, fortunately for me pretty much 99.9% of the musicians I’ve met have been truly down to earth and wonderful. One bad incident that sticks out in my mind is Karl Sanders yelling at me because I was in his way while he was hauling heavy equipment. I was probably drunk and not paying attention, so I’m sure it was my fault. Haha! I love his work though and I’ve heard nothing but great things about him. So, that was just a bad experience but I don’t think he’s a douche at all. If you catch anyone on a bad night, you can walk away with a negative opinion about that person. But that’s not the case. I just hate racists and bigots. I think of metal music as rebellious and for the outcasts. A family of dark souls. It’s always disappointing when you find out a band or musician you love is racist, fascist, misogynistic, or homophobic.
Christy from Ails: Oh man, I wish I had a good story for you. I really haven’t met too many “Big Name” metal musicians, the few I have were actually really nice.
Laurie from Ails: I won’t name names but I have read about a few so-called metal males who seem unable to hold back their hatred for certain women in the metal community, whether it’s been towards journalists or musicians, it is a bit frightening to me that after all of these years, there are quite a few men that simply can’t handle a woman having success with her art, her skills, her passion, which is simply the same passion as said male.
Roxane from Smirking Revenge: Haha, that’s a funny question! I could say the ‘’famous’’ metal musicians I’ve met were not real assholes or whatever. But then again, I didn’t meet many. I’ve met Cradle some years ago and they were really awesome, signing our CD’s, letting us assist to their soundcheck and the guitarist also went for a coffee with us… We had a really good time. And guess what? He liked his coffee black just like his metal… haha.
Marika from Velociter: It’s not like I’ve met a whole lot of “big names” but to be honest, those I have met has been incredibly down to earth cool people. I was really nervous about meeting Mike Wead from King Diamond, my band Velociter recorded our last single at Simon Johanson (Wolf) studio, where Mike Wead also works. But I had no reason to be nervous, he and Simon were both great guys with lot’s of cool stories to tell from the road.
Sarah Lee – Augu Sigyn: It would be one from the band Mayhem. He was just one of those who was just a little too high on his fame.
Tenebrae – Dreariness : I had the displeasure to talk with a lot of superficial and confused people, but I never met really douche people. The thing is, I let their words roll right off my back…
Mers from Black Table: I like to keep those things to myself.
“The U.S. are just screaming for more music born out of the hell we are all dealing with in present times.”
Do you think there is room for political lyrics / statements etc from Black metal bands? Or should that be left to Punk Rockers?
Robyn from Adorned in Ash: I believe music is a completely free platform to express yourself and that you can sing or write about what ever you like. Bare in mind though that if you do take a bold stance on something that there will always be backlash and you will have to deal with that.
Vickie Harley from Forneus: I’m indifferent to political statements in any music genre, but I don’t like music being used to represent a political agenda that the music and the musicians themselves do not represent. A good example of this is Bruckner’s music being used by the Nazi Party.
Adore: I think musicians should use music as their outlet for whatever they want to express. Music equates to freedom. Music will also be one of the legacies we all leave behind when we are physically long gone. Whatever message you want to convey and put out into the universe, whatever there is in your heart, sure, why not, put it into the music. That release can be very therapeutic and essential for many.
Nadine from Ashtar: Why not? Music in general can be used as a medium to carry political statements. Each musical genre has this potential, even if there are genres where it’s more common than in others. Personally, I don’t like political themes in music that much. And my lyrics are never political – it’s an attitude, a purpose though. And I am sure I will always have a lot of other things to tell…
Christy from Ails: I’m not one to say what anyone should or shouldn’t write about. I feel people should be able to create music to be about whatever they feel like. I don’t like when people try to get shows shut down because of someone’s belief, lyrical content, or something done in the past for shock value. If one doesn’t agree with it or doesn’t like the message, then they don’t have to listen or see them live. I say, put your energy, time, and money into the bands and artists that you love. Personally, I don’t want to be preached at when I go to metal shows, so I tend to avoid the preachy, political, and overly pretentious bands. Some people love that, sounds cliché but to each their own.
Laurie from Ails: Yes I do, absolutely. If I was better at writing interesting and well-written politically inspired lyrics, I most definitely would. I had one song on Ludicra’s last album, called Truth Won’t Set You Free” and the more I look back on it, it makes more sense than ever today with all of the media lies, political corruption and untruthful news.
The current times in the U.S. are just screaming for more music born out of the hell we are all dealing with in present times. This uncertain and frightening Trump era will hopefully at least bring us darker and more unsettling metal riffs, because it certainly won’t bring us anything else that is considered good. I hope that the horrid political climate we are in, won’t deter musicians from keeping on and continuing to create. I tend to get very depressed, introverted, immobile and lack motivation, I hope we can muster up the energy to keep doing our things.
Roxane from Smirking Revenge: I think anyone who feels the need to express their socio-political statements through music should do it, no matter which style they are playing.
Marika from Velociter: I think there is room for whatever the artist feel is right in their music. I myself enjoy when lyrics match the overall feeling in the soundscape bands has created. So I’d usually prefer mysticism, paganism, depressive philosophies and melancholy in Black Metal, and then I’d turn to Thrash or punk whenever I feel angry at the world instead. But then again, there are so many varieties of black metal, so many varieties of temperament and I think most writers take the soundscape into account when they are writing lyrics, lyrics can be a very personal thing after all.
Sarah Lee from Augu Sigyn: It would be sad to hear political lyrics/statements in Black metal. It should be left out.
Tenebrae from Dreariness : That’s a tough question. Black Metal has many faces. The NSBM scene is strong but lately also the opposite is strong. Unfortunately in both cases many live concerts are jeopardized or canceled because there are fights and violence. Such things shouldn’t happen in music, neither Punk, Oi nor Metal and so on. Music should unite, not divide. I will never sing about politics.
Mers from Black Table: I think it should be open to all genres. Say what you will.
“For our forthcoming album I write about my deepest fears, my hurt, and my frustrations, this varies from sleeping paralysis, humanity, suicide philosophies, anxiety, hatred, apathy, and the entrapment and loneliness you can feel in today’s postmodern society.”
What subject’s does your band mostly sing about? eg: Death, Satan, the old gods, a love of nature etc
Robyn from Adorned in Ash: We sing about God and our faith and our personal walks with Christ and experiences of Him.
Vickie Harley from Forneus: Channelling Khaos.
Adore: Mostly dark emotions and the cosmos. I’m a “space cadet” and love anything dealing with the universe and other dimensions, be it ghastly or serene.
Nadine from Ashtar: I mostly write poems about the power and the ferocity of nature, about fate and hope, life and death and rebirth…
Christy from Ails: Laurie mainly sings about struggling to survive, unrequited love, betrayal, jealousy, nightmares, losing friends and loved ones, you know, the kind of shit we all deal with in life. Geez, by that description, we sound pretty emo, I assure you we’re not! Hahaha.
Laurie from Ails: I usually stick with what I know and what I’ve observed and experienced first-hand. In Ludicra, I often wrote about the disparities between the homeless in San Francisco and the increase in gentrification, the constant stigma and desperation etc..
but I now mostly about my personal struggles with major depression and anxiety, and others’ struggles with mental health disorders as well, the stigma faced by many, inabilities to have lasting and healthy love-relations, frustrations and failures, bitterness towards others, inability to think clearly, self-medicating, addiction, suicidal ideation..etc. I have never sang about Satan, gods, nature, I wouldn’t know how to honestly.. ha!
Jolene from Bulletbelt: Our last albums topics ranged from New Zealand murderers, flu epidemics, to the boer war horses in the South African 1900’s war.
The concept of the new album is based around the burning times of the 15th and 17th century, the injustice that was done and the torture that was involved all in the name of religion
Roxane from Smirking Revenge: In our debut EP, we talked a lot about technology, its consequences on us. We talked about cloning, RFID chips, the possible future uploading of human minds into the virtual cloud, but also the positive side of technology in the medical/life-prolonging field. In our next album, we will talk about the environment – about having an ecological conscience, and also the fact that humans are greedy and take Mother Earth for granted. We also have other topics, such as psychology, mental illness and drug abuse
Marika from Velociter: The band existed two years before my arrival, and had already written most of the lyrics for their second EP, which was recorded shortly after my arrival, so I haven’t written that many songs (that has been released yet). But for our forthcoming album I write about my deepest fears, my hurt, and my frustrations, this varies from sleeping paralysis, humanity, suicide philosophies, anxiety, hatred, apathy, and the entrapment and loneliness you can feel in today’s postmodern society. And in one case so far I have written a song about the hierarchy in society, this is however out of personal experience, even though it might sound strictly political.
Sarah Lee – Augu Sigyn: Djævles Skrig is about hauntings, possessions, dark tales of horror. Augu Sigyn is myths and my personal life mixed together. Streets of Violence is blood and fight, with hate to all. WORHT is more the dark and the beautiful things of life, from my own perspective, and from my own life.
Tenebrae – Dreariness : In “My Mind” we talked about death, sorrow, suicide, about feeling lost. On the contrary, “Fragments” is more deep. Gris, Torpor and I lived profound experiences that touched or made a mark in our inner self. In this album, texts are more introspective. We talk about losses, search for hope, love, search for something or someone. I can stop or influence my hand when I write. I need to write and communicate, I need to put out what I have inside. I don’t know what else will come out with time.
Mers from Black Table: Death, Rebirth, Science, History, Mythology, a little bit of politics, Language, Evolution, the Universe.
“I compensate by bringing blót and sacrifices to the Nordic Gods and Goddesses”
Do you practice any form of religion? If so which path and why?
Robyn from Adorned in Ash :We believe in Jesus Christ because He is our Lord and Saviour
Vickie Harley from Forneus: I do not, but I respect and am intrigued by those who do and the religion itself. It seems like one of the more sensible religions to follow.
Adore: No. I believe in science and evolution. I’m agnostic. I think many religions are very oppressive and people should think for themselves and do their own research. Oddly though, I love imagining that when we die, we ascend back into the cosmos or another unique dimension that is neither a heaven or a hell. I’d personally would love to just float around the cosmos after death.
Nadine from Ashtar: I wouldn’t call it paganism, but I’m a spiritual person, always seeking for answers behind the big mysteries of life and death, in different mythologies and old stories. I’m a passionate reader but not the person doing (blood) rituals…
Christy from Ails: Nope, live and let live is my approach.
Laurie from Ails: No I don’t. I am open-minded to it and support anyone who practices it but I’m mostly non-religious in general.
Jolene from Bulletbelt:I don’t strictly follow one belief but the closest I would be to any form would be Luciferian, Satanic beliefs. I like to keep my mind open, in saying this, I am very anti Christian, one god mentality from my own personal experiences.
It’s not rocket science the reign of blood it’s brought through the centuries, a belief based on fear.
Roxane from Smirking Revenge: Not really. I’m more of an agnostic – I believe there is some kind of bigger-than-us-energy, but I don’t pray or do rites or whatever. I have a spirituality, but it’s not really ‘’religious’’ – I’m not devoted to any particular god.
Marika from Velociter: Unfortunately no. I simply do not have enough knowledge in this area to be practicing the arts. I am very interested in it though, and are slowly starting to read up about it. So perhaps in a year or so I will have started practicing some form of paganism. We’ll see if I find meaning in some of it. But I am very attracted to the idea of broadening ones mind through deep thinking and naturalistic practise’s. It’s all very intriguing, so we’ll just have to see what I’ll learn about the subject.
Sarah Lee – Augu Sigyn: I am an Asatru, as well practicing the old Gods and the dark more evil Gods. I have an addiction to seek out the darkest of the dark, but I like to think that I compensate by bringing blót and sacrifices to the Nordic Gods and Goddesses etc. from the Nordic Mythology / Asatru. As well as for the path; the nearest would be that I Wight worship and do the Norse rituals.
Tenebrae – Dreariness : No, I’m not interested in this stuff.
Mers from Black Table: I don’t subscribe to any religion. However, the Earth is a God that I want to be closer to.
“There is always going to be that elitist character putting others down to puff their ego, whether it’s gender, age, sex or race”
Do you feel there is much sexism or racism in your local Black metal Scene?
Robyn Adorned in Ash: There’s generally a wide diversity in the scene. Bands however, have always been very male dominated but it’s changing and more women are stepping up to the stage and are being well received
Vickie Harley from Forneus: There have been instances of racism in the Northern black metal scene but the people who have those views are generally ousted quite quickly. I don’t feel like there is much sexism at all in just the black metal scene, but like I say I’m quite new to performing in a black metal band. There are definitely wider issues of racism and particularly sexism in the metal scene as a whole, and unfortunately I’ve been on the receiving end of sexist remarks and behaviors quite often performing with my other band and attending gigs of multiple subgenres.
Adore: Well, I grew up in the New Orleans vicinity and it’s a big melting pot with a lot of great bands and musicians, many of who were close friends. I later learned a few were bigots but for the most part, it’s all about making great music. It truly was a family but then. I love to think that music connects all people no matter our differences. If I encounter a racist or sexist, I just won’t support that band anymore.
Nadine from Ashtar: Difficult to say, as with Ashtar (as well as with my previous band shEver), we were never really part of a Black metal scene. Compared to the Doom metal and Stoner scene, there is a bit more sexism and racism around in the Swiss Black metal scene, I think.
Christy from Ails: No, personally, I haven’t experienced any of that here. I think the bay area is pretty diverse, too. There are a lot of strong and talented women here.
Laurie from Ails: Like NYC, the Bay Area is pretty diverse and I’ve always felt a strong sense of respect, support and cultural appreciation in the Oakland/Bay Area metal scene. If it feels like family, we are doing it right.
Jolene from Bulletbelt:I don’t feel that sexism or racism is strong in the black metal community in New Zealand. Yes, females are the Minority in black metal, but I don’t think that is frowned upon here, different yes, but if you do something well enough gender/race shouldn’t be a factor.
There is always going to be that elitist character putting others down to puff their ego, whether it’s gender, age, sex or race, and mainly all is said and done in the safety of their home behind the computer.
Roxane from Smirking Revenge: Yes, there is still work to do about this… When a band like us will fit on any bill without having to specify ‘’all-girl band’’, our work will be done. The day we will blend seamlessly with other bands of other genres, our place will be made. The shows where the line-ups only consists of female-fronted bands or include feminine members, might tend to create the opposite. It’s as if women would have to have a ‘’special female show’’ to reclaim their place… I understand what the bookers are trying to do, but if this is normal, then where are all the ‘’all-men bands’’ shows?!
Marika – Velociter: I don’t have the impression that we struggle with either racism or sexism in the danish bm scene. We do have Myrkur who had been victim to some pretty nasty and sexist messages on her social media platforms, but I guess bored douchebags can be found all around the world, spouting their douchery through social media. I’ve gotten some sexist comments thrown in my face on a few occasions at metal gigs, but I won’t take the words of drunken chauvinists seriously.
Sarah Lee – Augu Sigyn: No, not at all. The few there do racism does it in pointing fingers of others – saying that they are racist or nazi´s. Which is pretty stupid, cause the few there do it they do it in the cause of jealousy of another band. About the sexism; luckily I don´t see so much sexism anymore, and the way of thinking that females are equal groupies is luckily also getting more and more out of date. About the Black Metal scene is very diverse over in NYC, is different from here. I have never seen an afro or a colored on the Black metal scene, with bands from Denmark, here in Denmark. So perhaps it´s more diverse in NYC, but I know it´s not a racist thing going on. It´s just not seen yet, or well seen by me yet.
Tenebrae – Dreariness : No, I don’t think there’s sexism or racism, at least here in Rome. Generally, I notice the tendency to throw shit at other bands, maybe there isn’t much support. But I never lived sexist or racist situations.
Mers from Black Table: I think at this point the racism and sexism has bloomed way beyond genres of music. Right now it is a precarious and dangerous time for everyone, black metal or not. I don’t get much into scene politics, I just like to make music however, I won’t be passive in seeing behavior that is oppressive or cruel to another being not matter what scene.
“Political correctness is becoming a plague upon the modern world”
What are your thoughts on these Social Justice Types who come into a scene that has been misanthropic from day one and try to “tidy it up”? Surely that’s akin to someone getting into Gangster rap and trying to stamp out the rappers who sing about Glocks and dealing drugs? (As of writing this, an extreme left Terror group calling themselves “Anti-fa” managed to stop a gig by the Black Metal band Marduk in the Bay Area, Marduk are a band they accuse of being “nazis” yet these meatheads neglected to mention have played Israel to huge crowds….SMH)
Robyn Adorned in Ash: They never last long and I don’t really bother about them too much
Vickie Harley from Forneus: I’d probably be labeled as a ‘social justice type’ by many people: I’m a feminist, I’m vegan and I have a passion for helping people and not judging. However, I think sometimes the left movement can go too far. I think its much more important to listen to ‘controversial’ views that don’t match our own and try to understand where they come from to move towards a mutual understanding of the right and left movements. I think that this is much more powerful than simply censoring everything.
Adore: Again, I think people should use music as the outlet they see fit. With all the variety out there, just find the bands or scenes that are suitable to your taste. Everything isn’t for everyone. I personally won’t financially support racist bands. But to each their own.
Nadine from Ashtar: It’s okay that there are some «rules» or beliefs establishing an identity within the scene, but personally I love musicians who break the boundaries of «true» Black metal and create something new… As I already said Ashtar is not a true Black metal band – our main influences come from Doom metal. So I’m probably not the right person to answer this question.
Christy from Ails: Like I mentioned in a previous answer, put your time and energy into the bands and artists you love. If there are these types that want to clean shit up and make things shiny and happy, they should start their own bands and their own scene and sing/scream about whatever the fuck they want to. I have to admit that I have a lot of fun when I go to shows and probably smile way too much for most misanthropic types however I’m not trying to stop anyone from being unhappy if that’s their thing.
Laurie from Ails: Well I know it’s a topic with very heated opinions though I don’t know that much accurate information about it. I do wish there was more of a middle ground area where both sides could possibly engage and collaborate together in a more productive way. I am certainly against Nazi supporters, sexists and racists but I’m not sure if violent, aggressive protest is the answer either. It’s a tough subject indeed.
Marika – Velociter: I don’t know, there are loads of newer black metal bands focusing on for example the beauty of nature, which I can’t see any harm in. But even so in that kind of black metal it is still a place where darkness and cold are celebrated- and an attempt to change that up is just pathetic. Political correctness is becoming a plague upon the modern world, and what is wonderful about black metal is the misanthropy and sense of bestial practice of something raw and uncut. Sure it may seem too extreme for some people to grasp, but there should be a a free place for everyone.
Sarah Lee – Augu Sigyn: I think that it’s ridiculous. And a little too pompous
Tenebrae – Dreariness : Music is music and everyone lives it in his own way.
Mers from Black Table: Every music scene starts with musicians or artists sharing their life through music, NWA for instance. They are telling their story and should have the freedom to do so. They are talking about their time, their era, their experience. I do not support censoring someone’s work simply because I don’t share their experience. That’s where I feel uncomfortable, I don’t feel it’s my right to change people or scenes to my comfortable, personal preference. I think in metal, misanthropic feelings are a historic foundation that formed from feeling like one couldn’t express aggression in society. At least, that’s how I felt.
If had the opportunity to change just one thing about the Black metal Music scene – what would you change?
Robyn Adorned in Ash : More unity and less “cliques”. We all love metal, music should unite us. If it’s good music why divide the scene because of petty reasons or differences in opinions.
Vickie Harley Forneus: The seriousness! To me, black metal and its performers bear a lot of similarities to drag artists: they dress up and wear make-up, portray characters and use this to entertain. I think many black metal artists could take a note from Drag Queens and not take themselves so seriously and just have fun performing the music that you love.
Adore: That’s a tough question. I guess I wish more bands were more original in their approach. There are a lot of clones nowadays.
Nadine from Ashtar: Maybe just let the «trueness» thing become a phantom of the past?
Christy from Ails: I’m a big fan of live music so I’d prefer more real drummers (rather than electronic drums) and more bassists!
Laurie from Ails: It is constantly changing and growing, I honestly don’t know what I’d change. I sometimes wish people at shows would dance more, instead of just standing with arms crossed, not budging. More emotional headbanging, that would give me a laugh and an even stronger sense of enjoyment when attending shows. Ha! JK
Roxane Smirking Revenge: The fucking elitists, man. The way they look at everyone as if they’re above the humanity, arms crossed… I would like this scene to be more open-minded sometimes, as I often came across people who were stubborn with what BM is supposed to be and sound. These purists are a contradiction – they tend to claim all the time that ‘’they are different from the rest of society’’ yet they seem to want people to conform about their own ideas of what BM music is.
Marika – Velociter: This is generally in the whole metal scene, but I am not too keen on elitism or the tendency to put people into boxes and evaluating them on whether their battle jackets has the cool or uncool patches. I’d like to avoid hierarchy in the one scene were you expect people to be without prejudice, that is sadly not always the case.
Sarah Lee – Augu Sigyn: I would get rid of all those who put too much studio sound into it. Those who try to mix/fix it all a little bit too much, that the music begins missing it´s original and more personal sound, which I think is Black metal.
Tenebrae – Dreariness : I wouldn’t change a thing. I couldn’t ever think to change something. Music can’t be changed. Maybe it evolves with time. But it depends on how do you live it, what it gives you and what you believe in. We are all different, we are all alike, we are all nobody. Music changes me, I’m not changing it.
Mers from Black Table: Less face paint, more riffs.
Any final words?
Robyn Adorned in Ash: Work hard, play hard!
Vickie Harley Forneus: Thank you for offering me the chance to be interviewed and I hope you are interested by what I have to say.
Adore: Thank you for your interest in Adore. I truly appreciate it. Please keep supporting the bands you love. Buy their merchandise, attend the shows, spread the word about them. Keep that dark passion and spirit alive. I hope you all are happy and living the life you want to live. Best wishes always and so much love and support. Hailz \m/
Nadine from Ashtar: Thank you a lot for your interest in my person and in my band
Christy from Ails: Thanks for the interview and all you do to support underground metal, Steve! For anyone else reading and interested, check out Ails at “ailsmetal.bandcamp.com”, full length album coming soon!
Laurie from Ails: Thank you so much!
Roxane Smirking Revenge: To quote the wise Osho – ‘’Become an hollow bamboo, rest at ease. When you are empty, the space is there.’’
Marika – Velociter: Thank you for taking me into consideration for this feature, I hope my answers were satisfactory despite not being in an actual black metal band. But that is actually gonna change, a friend of mine and I are starting a danish language studio bm band in a foreseeable future.
Sarah Lee – Augu Sigyn: STAY METAL \m/
Tenebrae – Dreariness : Be yourself, write, act, play, don’t give a fuck on things and live on what you love.
Robyn Ferguson is lead vocalist and guitarist for blackend death metal band from South Africa, Adorned in Ash. They have shared the stage with such greats as Cannibal Corpse, Decapitated, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Septic Flesh, Kataklysm, and more. She is also an official Jackson Guitars artist.
Vickie Harley (Varda) is the vocalist in Forneus, a UK black metal band. Singing with Forneus is her first experience of performing with an extreme metal band. She also fronts a symphonic metal band called A Clockwork Opera and additionally does classical singing, mainly in choirs.
Adore. is a one-woman black metal band based in the Dallas/Fort Worth Texas. She plays guitar, bass, keys, and sing vocals. She loves space metal and DSBM.
Sarah Lee Lamashtu does the vocals, lyrics, half the music for Augu Sigyn and WORHT. She also does vocals ( screaming & growling ) & lyrics in the bands’ Djævles Skrig ( Devils Scream ) & Streets of Violence all out of Denmark
Joel and I have been trying to get this interview happen for some time now and we finally got it locked down. Read on, to hear Joel tell you the correct way to say the band name, what it was like to work with David from Woods of Ypres, Siegfried Meier and the meaning of Metachthonia.
* I’ve always been a fan of your guitar playing – how long have you been playing guitar and how did you get into metal?
Thanks for the kind words! I’ve been playing guitar since I was fourteen-ish. Had listened to all the 80’s Metallica at this point, but really well and truly got into metal when I downloaded the guitar pro tab for Lake Bodom.
* What are your thoughts on Black Metal in 2017?
Alive and strong. Some great atmospheric stuff coming from all corners of the globe. Definitely different from its origins in the 90’s. Now it seems less political and less extreme than it did at first—I think we’re just accustomed to it and its harshness. Those seeking harshness find it and are at home there. I feel like today it’s less of a medium for political expression and rebellion than it once was, and more a canvas. Black metal allows one to express a multitude of dark wondrous sonic atmospheres, the sort of wide and spacious atmospheres that heavy and complex lyric matter can float through endlessly. It seems a great medium for that at the moment.
* Canada has produced some great black metal bands over the years (Sortilegia, A.M.S.G, etc) – what do you think the uniquely Canadian “spin” on black metal is say compared to Scandinavian, French or American black metal?
I really couldn’t pin down a specific Canadian sound. I think that Canada, because it’s so geographically vast and demographically sparse in relation, has many, many pockets of sound, a state of affairs which makes it really difficult for a genre or spin to emerge. The result of this, however, is that I think Canada has something which no other place has, and that’s this ability to house many, many genres — all of which done with authenticity — under one national umbrella. A lot of the Prairie and West Coast bands like Manitoba’s Wilt, for example, have a Cascadian black metal flavour, a very dense atmospheric take on it, but the lyric matter of which is uniquely Canadian. Quebec’s Catuvolcus had this ferocity and unwavering Gaulish richness to their music and lyrics, which is a sound evocative of Europe’s alpine countries. Quebec’s Forteresse have qualities of the harsher French sound. But it all manages to feel Canadian.
The first thing about black metal is that for it to be listenable it must of course be genuine. I think the Canadian sound is unique in that, as a country with so many tremendous threads of heritage, it can credibly ally with so many different flavours of black metal.
* Didn’t David Gold come up with your band name? How do you pronounce in and what does it mean? I know people today who have problems pronouncing Ypres (EE PRAY)
Now that you mention it, I think there is something alluring about the unpronounceable. Some mystery to it. Maybe it’s just new words, which is the realm of the unpronounceables, I suppose, but it allows the listener to apply their own intuition and taste to it. I’ve heard Thrawsunbl-AT, Thrawsunbl-AHT, Thraw-SUN-blaht. To each their own. I’ve heard Ensif-EAR-um and EnSIFerum, and the half the fun is the mystery. The origin of the Thrawsunblat name, however, is that when David and I were coming up with it, he suggested a word like this huge Germanic dude laughing, slamming a stein of beer on the table and shouting, “Thraws und blaaaaat ah hah hahhh!” which was perfectly pertinent to us, a pair of Canadians with our thrash and blast, who no matter what our output were necessarily and inherently making a sort of bastardized version of northern European metal.
* Can you help me figure out the timeline – where you already doing Thrawsunblat before you played in Woods of Ypres? And if so how did you come to join WOP?
Sure. I bought Pursuit of the Sun from Dave via his mail order business in 2005. After that we kept in contact via mail and I mailed him two or three demos over the years. In 2009 I sent him one he particularly liked (Black Sky) and he said “Hey Joel! Want me to drum on an album for you?!” Which was a jaw-dropping moment for young me, of course. We recorded an album that year, which became Canada 2010. Then the next year in 2010, Woods was touring and needed a lead guitar player. Dave asked me to join. It was sort of like Dave Grohl asking me to join the Foo Fighters, so I jumped on board. Thrawsunblat went on hold for a bit, though I would write Thrawsunblat lyrics on the road with Woods. It wasn’t until after David and I wrote and recorded Woods 5 in 2011, that I was able to give Thrawsunblat attention and energy, at which point I went straight into writing mode for Thrawsunblat II: Wanderer on the Continent of Saplings.
* You worked with Siegfried Meier on Woods of Ypres “Grey Skies and Electric Light” it must have been a weird experience to work with him again or?
Not even remotely weird. Metachthonia was our second time working together since Woods 5. We’d chatted a lot after David’s passing and really were sources of healing and restoration for one another during that time. Working together after on Thrawsunblat’s second album, Wanderer on the Continent of Saplings was a seamless process. Then for Metachthonia—by now we’ve gotten to know quite well how the other works, and Sig is just so damned good at what he does and is such a kind, quick to laugh gent that it really is a pleasure through and through working with him.
* How do you feel the production of this album differs from your previous releases?
Metachthonia is intentionally different from the others — it’s a revisiting of the black metal landscape of the first album, Canada 2010, but in a different headspace. If the albums were spectrums of colour, Metachthonia would feature less of Canada 2010’s greens, and more rich blues, browns, and blacks. With the cellos and the overarching lyric themes, Metachthonia is darker, more refined, and more specific in its production. I think with the longer, more immersive songs, it’s more somber and reflective in some points, and louder and harsher in others, all with a wider array of atmospheres. Metachthonia is of course quite organic – the colour and texture of a bonfire.
* Your album that came out this year, Metachthonia – most of the songs seem very “get back to nature” is this a theme that you are focusing on for this album or is it something that you are aiming to do as a lifestyle? (example the Wolves in the Throne room guys all live on a rural compound together)
An album of course – at least for me – is a compendium of all the things a person ponders and wonders and explores and tries to solve throughout the course of a year or two. The things I found most dissatisfying were the ones involving what felt like the slow dissolution of my connection to the outdoors. While the lyrics may seem a rally cry for others, of course the album is almost necessarily a rally call even more for myself.
* How do you craft your songs? start with a riff ? a drum pattern? a mood you want to convey? please explain
It is always different for me. Maritime Shores and Goose River started off as lyrics, as did Once Fireveined. Most of the Canada 2010 album started out as music. If it starts with music, then music itself usually originates from me exploring a certain mode, mood, or atmosphere – then I just stay there and write. A riff will happen and, if I’m lucky, then sometimes the rest of the song is just a sort of “well it obviously has to go like this”, and then rest of the song almost becomes more of data entry than of creation. That’s when it’s easy. When it’s not easy, it usually involves sitting in a room and playing a riff, then changing it here and there and playing it until it’s no longer boring. Then finding another non-boring riff for the next section. After that comes bouncing the demo to mp3 and walking around outdoors listening. It’s an exercise in hearing a song fresh and in listening to the momentum of a song, noting when the demo goes in a different direction from how it could or should. Then adding the edits to a new demo. Sometimes I entirely forget about songs, dig them up two years later and put them on an album.
Which actually brings me to the drum pattern you mentioned. This six-song album was, after five songs, in a state I considered complete. But after listening to it for a little while, I wasn’t happy with the first section of Hypochthonic Remnants—which was one of these songs I’d dug up after about five years and put on an album. So I scrapped the first section and using the same drum pattern rewrote it, which then of course didn’t meld with the second section. So I wrote a new second section, which of course didn’t mesh with the final part, so I rewrote that too. So there I was with ten new minutes of music, only having intended to rework the first minute of an old tune. But that’s the how Dead of Winter was written—completely from scratch when I was unhappy with the first section of Hypochthonic Remnants. I of course then re-rewrote the first third of that, and this time it fit.
* My understanding is the title Metachthonia means like the end of this world? This civilization? Is that right? If not what do you see it standing as?
Not the end of the world, at all. It’s this modern age. It’s us, here. Now. It’s a time unique and entirely different to any other age. To discuss a thing, it helps to name it.
And Metachthonia is my way of discussing us, here, now as an entity – what problems exist now that once didn’t, what our daily routines say about us as a culture, how we navigate all this new electronic noise, its effect on us in our endeavour to find happiness and meaning in this wild new world we’re all thrust into.
* Have you done much touring as Thrawsunblat? and if not why not? Any plans to bring the band on full tours? or just one off type events and festivals?
We still haven’t played a live show! Though I play Black Sky, Maritime Shores, and Goose River all the time with the acoustic band I started in town called Oak, Ash, and Thorn. Would love to do some events and festivals with Thrawsunblat, but it’s difficult being in North America, what with the huge distances between cities. We’re working on it though.
* I just ordered your vinyl from Broken Limb Recordings today – how did that deal come about? (the vinyl looks amazing BTW)
Thanks! Glad you dig! The vinyl came about because Rae was working with Broken Limbs Recordings for her own project, Immortal Bird. Pete from BLR, who liked the album, wondered if we’d be interested in putting it out on vinyl, which took very little deliberating on our part.
* What future plans do you have for the band?
More albums! Got the rough idea for the next two albums planned out. With Metachthonia, we’ve just done our long-song album, so for Thrawsunblat 4 we’ll probably go back to something more or less a cross between Canada 2010 and Wanderer in terms of song length and riff style. I had a lot of ideas for Metachthonia which weren’t somber or atmospheric enough, but which will have a warm home on the next record.
* Any final words or shout outs?
Big thanks to everyone for their support, for listening and spreading the word! Thrawsunhats will be available soon! Going to pick them up today, actually!
Today I spoke with the guys in Totenwelt – an up and coming Black metal band from Sweden, we talked about life in small town Sweden, bitterness against society, The raw beauty of the German language and much more. Read on.
* So you guys are from Gothenburg? How’s the black metal scene there these days?
That’s not entirely true. One of us resides in Malmö in the southern part of Sweden but since two of us live in here and we all spent our formative years in a small town just outside Gothenburg it felt convenient enough. I am not the right person to ask since I close to never attend any live events anymore, due to lack of time and perhaps commitment. Jocke would be the one to ask since he is more active in the music scene although mostly in Malmö. I must however mention a band called Walk through fire which In my opinion, although perhaps not black metal, create the most beautiful misery and darkness and did a great show last year I think it was.
* Did you all grow up in Gothenberg? If so you must have seen some great metal shows back in the day. Which ones were most memorable?
As previously mentioned we all grew up outside Gothenburg in a picturesque little shithole of a town called Alingsås. But we tried our best to catch shows whenever our limited funds allowed us. We had the pleasure of seeing a lot of inspiring (and the opposite) foreign and Swedish acts such as Dissection, At the Gates, Morbid Angel, Dismember and Dark Funeral to mention a few. Those shows played a significant part of our own ambition to create music. The impact that these shows had on us, at the time, was truly significant.
* How did you get into Black metal growing up? Who were the first bands that really made you sit up and say “God damn”?
The first time I heard “In league with Satan” by Venom my pubertal senses peaked over the charts. It felt almost overwhelming and you just wanted tear shit apart. Same experience when I first heard Chemical Warfare by Slayer or Arayanism by Napalm Death. A few years later, this repeated Itself when records with bands such as Mayhem, Dödheimsgard, Emperor, Enslaved, Burzum, Dissection, Darkthrone and Dark Funeral, to mention a few, started to present themselves to me. The grimness, raw aggression and mysticism appealed to me and one just wanted more, and faster and uglier…
* Totenwelt means world of the dead – correct? How did you come up with the name? is it more in the Zombie / Walking Dead type of thing or does it have a different meaning for you guys?
In our interpretation it is more something in the line of a dead world, lifeless and it reflects the overall concept of Totenwelt which revolves around more hands-on matters then the stereotypical themes of the genre. Topics such as is pessimism, general resentment and bitterness against society, humans and to an extent life itself. Together with cynicism, general discontent and strong antireligious values. Life sucks and then you die and it’s never too early to quit.
* I really like the work on your ep. Människohataren is a nice change from the break neck speed of many black metal artists – almost has an industrial feel to it – how did that song come about?
Actually, it was first considered, more or less, an introduction to the song, Äta skita sova dö and it revolves around the same Chords as the verse riff of that song. The ambition was to create something that felt slow, monotone and hopeless. And, as we messed around with it, the result we ended up with became lengthier and disgusting enough to deserve an own title and spot on the recording. We do enjoy a lot of different genres of music and industrial music has a lot to offer in the way of creating darker moods in my opinion.
* Were you pleased with the response your EP got you guys?
So far, we haven’t received that much response but the response we have got has been overwhelming and we are truly grateful that people find it appealing. And as we haven’t actively spread our music that much either we are all quite busy individuals with our respective careers, families and commitments that consume a lot of our time it is great to see.
* It sounds like the spoken word is German and not Swedish – is this correct?
It is indeed German which is a language we tend to use in our lyrics because it carries a certain rawness and an overall classic tone which we find suiting to this concept. Our first lyrics were all in German but over time we have moved more towards our native language. But who knows maybe our next stuff will be all in English.
* What does Människohataren mean in English? is there a direct translation?
It means the nihilist or the person who hates people and derives from the fact that we used the German dubbed monologue from the movie “Seul contre tous” which is something of the lead inspiration and concept for this Ep. If you haven’t seen it yet you must. It is a fantastic portrait of human downfall.
* How old were you when you first started playing guitar? Did you take lessons at all – or were you self-taught?
I am indeed self-taught and started quite late playing the guitar since all other guitarists and musicians surrounding me did a far better job and put a lot more effort into becoming good at their instruments. I did a few efforts at playing the guitar in bands back in the nineties but never felt I was up to the task and lacked the motivation and needed to evolve into a real guitar player and never really aspired to be one either. The guitar was more of a tool for creating music for me and I ended up singing or playing the base instead. Over the years, I have grown a bit more accustomed to playing it but it is still mostly a mean for composing although I have reached some level of skill and taking some enjoyment in playing it.
Robert on the other hand started playing about the same time as me and evolved to a whole other level of skill then me and is overall a far greater musician than me.
* Has the band played many live shows yet?
None so far. Totenwelt began as an outlet for my personal need to write this kind of music whilst either playing other genres of music or not playing at all, at times. Over the years, it evolved into a band containing three people preoccupied with a lot of other engagements in life. It is only in the last few years we have become more productive and even touching the topic of performing live. The other hand of the matter is that I have never really felt the need to perform live and never really enjoyed it all that much especially without numbing myself which sometimes took a toll on the performance.
With all that said I wouldn’t want to exclude the possibility of a debut show in a near future but it would require us to involve more people that share the same attitude towards the music which can sometimes prove to be a delicate process.
* When you guys are not making music what do you like to do in your free time?
Family commitments, sex with oneself and others and self-medicating to numb the sometimes-overwhelming boredom of existence.
* What can we expect from Totenwelt in 2017?
We are just starting to rehearse for an upcoming full length recording which we hope to record late this summer if all goes as planned and who knows, perhaps an on-stage appearance.
* Any final words for your friends and fans?
Att leva är att lida så bit ihop och lid! And thank you for the support and listening to our music.
Today I spoke to Raw from Nightgrave – Experimental Black metal from New Delhi India. We spoke about the Black metal scene in New Delhi, Musical Equipment in India and much more – check it out
* Can you tell me a little bit about life in New Delhi?
Life’s hard. It would be a huge surprise if it wasn’t. Living, at least, in the capital of a country gone awry would seem to have a few perks. And they are there, it’s just that the prevalent shitty stuff far outweighs the handful of pleasures out here. Ludicrous traditions, arrogance in ignorance is sadly the norm. Mainstream art is guaranteed to be utter shit. Clubs, pubs only serve the purpose of dishing out exorbitant prices and cringeworthy bollywood hip hop at all times. Live performances mostly revolve around some douchebag pressing play on his laptop and sadly, the hapless, helpless youth eat that up because they have hardly ever known or understood the crushing depth of originality or maybe the mainstream media has them ever so successfully blinded. And the rate at which dumb cunts in the country reproduce is just off the charts. There’s a good chance of getting stuck in a jam whenever you plan to drive. The tube is always a better option but that too is massively crowded more often than not. People aren’t all that bad though or so I would like to think. Nature is within reach. Food’s good too.
* Is there much of a black metal scene in New Delhi?
If there is one, I haven’t seen it. Although I did catch a few black-ish acts about a year ago. It was in a small pub in Vasant Vihar. I can’t seem to place their names but a couple of those bands were good. I don’t think any of them were from Delhi though.
* Are there Indian brand guitars and musical instruments available to play Black metal or do you have all the brand names we use in the USA?
I haven’t been able to invest much time into trying out Indian guitar brands. I don’t think there are any good ones but I could be wrong about this. For now, what I’ve got is a Schecter Demon-7, an Ibanez Rg and a Takamine acoustic.
* How about recording studios? Many bands record at home using their laptop but some people prefer hiring a recording studio – what do you guys use?
As of now, it’s a home studio set up with a fairly decent effects processor running through an equally decent DAW.
* How did you find out about Black Metal?
The introductory phase was initiated by the legendary Emperor. Thank human for the interwebs.
* Which bands are your influences?
Plenty – Emperor, Drudkh, Katatonia, Neurosis – to name some
* Have you seen any European Black metal bands live?
Satyricon and Enslaved about a decade ago. Outside Black, seen Meshuggah, Megadeth in recent times.
* What are your favorite Indian Metal Bands?
I’m sure there are some good ones but nothing springs to mind.
* Can you recommend some Indian black metal bands for our readers to check out?
‘Kouros’, my erstwhile project. It’s not specifically black metal but it somewhat stems from it. ‘Fragarak’, blackened death.
* Do you play live at all? If so do you have any plans to tour India?
Since it’s a solo project, a gig is something that would require a live line-up. I’m looking forward to working towards that and making touring possible as and when the upcoming album is completed.
* How did your record deal with Transcending Obscurity come about?
The usual process, I sent them the links and hoped they liked the tunes which, as it turns out, they did. Mr Choksi got in touch promptly.
* What can we expect from Nightgrave in 2017?
A couple of full lengths and a couple of EPs.
* Any final words to your friends and fans?
Thank you very much for the support.
The majestic gloomy sound of the debut full length turned Frowning into an admirable name inside the Funeral Doom Metal scene. “Extinct”, a nice follow up to the debut album contains 5 stunning tracks of pure Funeral Doom. Mournful gut-wrenching growls, eerie cold melodic atmosphere, desolate tones of acoustic guitar, slow, crumbling and drone oriented riffs — all of these elements of the album ensure that a phenomenal Funeral Doom journey is awaiting for the listeners. With two released singles of this album, Frowning has already stunned the listeners, and now “Nocturnal Void” the first track of the album is exclusively premiered by Decibel Magazine, which can be streamed at this location
Check remark on this track from Val, the sole member of the band:
“”Nocturnal Void” is musically inspired by Worship, lyric is taken from Edgar Allan Poe’s “Spirits Of The Dead”, it features guest vocal from Stanislav Govorukha of Suffer Yourself. The idea was to create the atmosphere of a cold, mystical night, and I think I succeed.”