A while back, I was completely blown away by the honesty of the French band Angoisse’s short but strong “Demo 2015”. The band’s attitude towards the style of Crusty Black Metal they have chosen to play comes so tangibly straight from their hearts, I was reminded of how rare it is to find (good) bands of this nature among the newer generations of copycats and imitators. After all, the roots of Black Metal are (at least in my opinion) strongly rooted in Punk, and having this attitude when creating honest Blackened art today, is much more “true” than any recent trends or arrogant elitist attitudes. This interview was answered by the whole band.
Greetings Angoisse! How has the autumn begun for you in your part of France? Is the band situated in Bordeaux and Nantes?
Angoisse: Hey man, actually it’s cold and the weather is bad, like raining a lot, wind etc… And that’s cool because we hate summer. The 3/4 of the band are located in Bordeaux and the rest in Nantes. But all our souls are in Hell, so it’s not a big deal.
The style of Blackened Metal you have chosen has to me the feeling of the early and mid-nineties (of especially Norway), as well as the Anarcho and Crust Punk vibes of old I admire totally. Was this a conscious thing when you formed the band, or did it happen by itself?
Asriel: I think that when we formed the band we just said “Hey, let’s play Black Metal”. The first guitars riff were pretty Crust Punk, cause that’s mostly what I am used to play, but I tried to play them with a BM mood in it (by using special chords that I don’t know the name, the ones that feel evil you know?). We haven’t discussed a lot of what kind of Black Metal we wanted to play, we just tried and it appears to be like it is.
Lord: Yes he’s right. We talked about this for a while, tried once, but it didn’t work well. Then we tried again, with just the idea of playing Black Metal. We asked around, found two other guys, and things are going well naturally. Two punks, two metalheads, and here we are.
Äaerzerath: I remember when we decided to form the band, we were at a Crust gig (Ancient Amblem, Ough!!) and Lord came to me and asked “Hey man, we want to play fucking Black Metal, are you in?” I just said “Yeah” and one month later we were playing together ! We wanted to play something old, loud, influenced by the old tyrants, Hellhammer, Venom and others, and the Crust feeling came by itself, by Asriel’s riffs and Lord’s vocals.
Do the members of the band share the same kind of musical tastes, or is the band divided when it comes to liking different styles like Crust and Black Metal? Is the style of Angoisse something that comes from all the members, or is one member more into Punk and the other more into Metal, and so on?
Asriel: Everybody in the band listens to a lot of things. Mostly Metal and Punk stuff for sure, and everyone’s got a sub-genre preference. Lord and Asriel are originally more into the Punk/DIY/Crust scene while Äaerzerath and Sorhyn are more into the Metal scene.
Äaerzerath: We are quite different in our musical tastes but when we decided to form Angoisse we all agreed in which musical direction we wanted to go. So this style came from all of us, by adding our own personal feelings but we are all going to the same place. And the fun thing is those who play Crust ask for more blast-beats, and those who are into Metal want more Punk feeling !
Lord: We trade feelings about music, name of bands of each other’s scenes. Stuff like, “You should listen to this and this band.” Same for the shows. We share a lot our different influences, with totally open minds. The only stuff we told ourselves is to play something heavy, fast, evil and raw, and see what happens next.
Sorhyn: Indeed, the band is divided, on one hand Crust Punk and on the other hand Black Metal. It comes into this kind of Black Punk !
You probably agree with me that the roots of Black Metal are firmly situated in Punk, with bands like Venom and Bathory playing “Evil Punk” in the beginning of their careers? If a young dude denies this today, it seems a bit ignorant, don’t you think?
Asriel: I totally agree with that. The music speaks for itself. Listen to “Eurynomos” from Hellhammer’s “Satanic Rites” album, this is fucking Punk Rock. You can’t deny that, it’s fact. If a young dude denies this, he’s not ignorant, he’s stupid.
Äaerzerath: And aren’t Venom’s guys “long haired punks”? I think young people (or not so young!) are often into the “new school” scene, and just don’t know the first bands and the first albums who made Black Metal what it is. I am also fond of Thrash Metal, which is often just Punk played faster !
Sorhyn: Today, most people say that bands like Bathory etc., are not forerunners of Black Metal. It just pisses them off. We can’t deny it, but we don’t feel Black Metal the same way.
Lord: I’m an old dude and I’m barely aware about these kinds of things. So let’s say I’m an old ignorant dude… And truly I don’t care. Who cares about being the best historian of Punk and Black Metal. But I see your point, and of course everybody should go a bit deeper in the past of all things, to get the sense of it. And not just listen to the mainstream, and not just be on the surface, like we all tend to do thanks or because of the internet. So to answer the question of what are the roots of Black Metal, maybe people should ask what are the roots of Punk. And are we talking just about music for musicians and performance, or are we seeing, thinking, seeking, the music as something that brings you a soul or an aura, and takes its roots in your feelings, your path, your surrounding. Then if all this takes its roots in frustration, pain, rebellion, anger and disenchantment, so yes we can say that the roots of Black Metal are firmly situated to punk. But it is also situated into Punk , if we consider the facts that it has been invented by a bunch of northern rednecks or white thrash, a bunch of losers whom didn’t know what to do with their lives, or in this life. Where the differences stand in this, is in politic, and activism. So to conclude, young or old dude, this music and everything that goes with it, is made by and for people who are dismissed by the rest of the society.
How do you feel about the state of modern Black Metal in general? There is of course a clear trend of “Spiritual” Black Metal running the markets, with most bands sounding quite identical to each other. Do you find this entertaining, or just boring (like I do)?
Asriel: It’s hard for me to answer as I mostly listen to albums that are at least 10 years old… But I really enjoy Wolves In The Throne Room for instance. When there is blast it can be shit, right? What we surely find boring is the post-hardcore scene.
Äaerzerath: You mean all these bands playing 15’00 songs with a fucking linear blast beat all along? Fuck it! I don’t think the Black Metal scene is dead, if you ignore the “Post Black Metal” bands (which are called POST Black Metal!). There are some very nice bands, in Europe for the most part, like Quintessenz or Belliciste who play old and raw Black Metal. It is not necessary to play very complex riffs or very fast blast beats to be original, just play with your guts and you will be the best!
When was your relationship with Punk and Crust formed, is this something that comes from your teens etc. or did you discover this kind of music later, after discovering Metal? Do you follow any current Punk scenes?
Asriel: As I said I think that we all listen to a lot of different styles. A lot of them has been discovered when we were young of course, but we always discover bands. With the internet, you can discover 100 of them everyday, and some of them are really good. You can also listen to old stuff you haven’t heard when you were young, that’s really fantastic. I’m not sure young people who grow up with this technology are aware of the chance they have.
Äaerzerath: As far as I’m concerned I grew up in a small village where we had a Punk fest every year, so I’ve been close to Punk since my teens. I think Crust and Metal get closer to each other year after year, so you can discover new bands of both these scenes easily, when you go to a gig with a Death Metal band, a Punk band and a Disco DJ for example!
Sorhyn: As far as I’m concerned, I discovered the Crust scene after Heavy and Black Metal. Many Black Metal bands remind me of this kind of music, it’s probably thanks to them that I can appreciate it.
Lord: My relationship with Punk and Crust was formed more than 20 years ago. So when I was a teen… And when I grew up my mind changed due to life, but still I’m firmly rooted in the values that goes with Punk and Crust music. Everything can be discussed, but still… Some not. Then again I don’t know really what you mean by Punk scene… Regarding music I am a total fan of 90’s Crust (Portland, Northern Europe etc…), and I love Sludge stuff.
What can you tell me of the other bands and projects of the members of the band? Is every member involved in Punk or Metal in some way, or is there some other styles of interest to be found?
Ängoisse: Lord and Asriel also play in Aguirre, a Sludge band. They tour a lot in Punk places, like squats etc… Sorhyn have a side project called Sanskirt, a kind of crossover between Black, Death, Thrash and others.
How are the music scenes in your area in general? Are the scenes divided into for example Death Metalists, Black Metalist and Crusties, or are people of different tastes working together with live shows and so on?
Asriel: In Bordeaux, the scenes are now more mixed than before. Metal people come to Punk shows, punks go to Metal gigs… We have a lot of alternative places where really good bands come to play, we have a lot of good bands too, in a lot of styles. It’s really a good city if you want to be involved in music.
Äaerzerath: I think the scenes are going to be mixed more than before, even if some old rivalry is always here (Death Metal VS Black Metal, and other kind of elitism). We have a very great festival near Paris called the Fall Of Summer, where you can hear Death, Black, Doom, Grindcore and others, and I realised that everyone comes to all the gigs, so I am confident about the future. We need to be united if we want to go far, Metal music in general is going to die if everyone only supports his own friends or their own favourite bands.
How has your awesome “Demo 2015” been received? As you perform live as well, this must add to the amount of people discovering your music? Do you feel that playing live is essential to music like yours?
Asriel: For the moment, the demo is well received. We have got good reviews, and people seem to find it really nice. It was recorded really quickly, after maybe 5 or 6 rehearsals, but we needed to put it on tape to move on. Playing live is always an intense moment. For a short amount of time we try to put all our energy in the songs to make them more evil, more brutal… It’s not always easy but I think it’s really good for our band to play live and feel that energy.
Sorhyn: I know that the tape is appreciated by some people, even if not many people have listened it yet. Our music comes to life thanks to the live shows. Even if the sound of the tape releases the energy of a show, it’s not sufficient.
Lord: According to me live is really important, your learn more than when you only rehearse. The music evolves more when you play live. Then you got to know more the people you play with.
Äaerzerath: And there is a very big difference between your tape player and our fucking amps ! I love that kind of energy that makes you vibrate with the decibels !
Thank you for this interview! What can you tell me about your future plans?
Angoisse: We are working on new material, to prepare an album for next year, and we are planning to go to Spain (Basque Country) late September to play some gigs! We go step by step, we do not have crazy plans, but crazy lust of going forward ! Thanks for your time and interest, cheers !