Tag Archives: Spiritual

Ascension – The Dead Of The World

(World Terror Committee, 2014)

As I wrote in my last review of an Ascension release (their Ep “Deathless Light”, acting as a prelude to this full-length album), the band wishes to appear to the public as anonymous, letting the music speak for itself, and they were among the first ones to do it, regardless of the trend today. So we will not go into that in this review either, as we’ll let the music once again speak for itself.

Ascension first appeared to us in 2009 with their magnificent demo “With Burning Tongues”, soon followed by their first full-length “Consolamentum” (a Gnostic baptism ritual of the Cathars) in 2010, both giving a very professional and mature approach to “Religious”, “Occult” or “Spiritual” Black Metal. We have waited four years for a follow-up, and here we are, ready to receive our Revelations.

The album begins with “The Silence Of Abel”, with slow feelings (and riffs of course familiar in style to the previous material) for a few minutes, before exploding into a fierce blast-beating, also familiar from “Consolamentum”. The second song “Death’s Golden Temple” is a bit longer work, and features more variation in riffs and changes in paces compared to the first song. The third song “Black Ember” is a shorter and more intense spell, capturing the attention of those who might have thought the beginning of the album to be too calm. The fourth song “Unlocking Tiamat” features a bit more technical approaches to the basic style of Ascension, and also clear speech-like vocals unheard of before (in style) with this band make their first appearance. The fifth song “Deathless Light” sounds like a true masterpiece in the middle of the album, despite the fact it was featured on the Ep of the same name. This might be the best song of the album. The sixth song “The Dark Tomb Shines” is again perhaps a bit more intense and fast-paced experience after the epic previous masterpiece. One thing in common to all the songs of the album is that they contain many different parts, switching methods of magick with ease and comfort. The seventh and last song “Mortui Mundi” serves as a great ending to this brilliant display of musicianship and strong elevating atmospheres.

The guitars sound and act quite similarly as before, with even some leads here and there having the same “moogy” synth-like (in lack of a better term) effect found on “Consolamentum” as well (if you know what I’m talking about). There are also a few new more effects used, which suit the music great. Everything is played with great skill and a nice amount of variation.

The vocals follow pretty much the same logic as in the previous material, with a few more tricks up their sleeve. The vocalist preaches mostly in the raspy speech-like shouting reminding of typical Black Metal naturally, but also something more mature and intelligent. The drums are played with the same groove and precision as before, staying not too far back or in front in the mix. In fact all the instruments are in quite the perfect equilibrium. Some cool choir-effects here and there lift the music to even higher planes.

The overall sound is pretty similar with the previous albums, clear but murky enough to keep it atmospheric, sounding almost like recorded during the same sessions, regardless of the four year gap between the releases.

While “Consolamentum” featured perhaps simpler songs quite personal and different from each other, trying out a few different ideas among the more basic traditional Black Metal worship, these songs are a bit more similar in nature (compared to each other), at least with the first listens of the album. Then again, there are no clearly boring parts on this album, as the music keeps our Third Eyes focused on majestic Spiritual landscapes throughout the (almost an hour long) album. This is an album that will grow on you the more you listen to it, I’m sure.

The end conclusion is, that since this album contains more material in form of the amount of riffs and changes in the music than “Consolamentum”, this album is a bit superior to the previous work of the band in every way. These songs will entertain greater fans of the band for years to come. Well worth the four year wait!

This should appeal to anyone with an interest to higher (and lower) aspirations of the human psyche, and with musical taste covering a bit more than what 90% of todays “Spiritual Black Metal” has to offer. A definite masterpiece, once again.

Ascension (Facebook)

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Interview with Ascension

Ascension came to our awareness with their brilliant 2009-Demo “With Burning Tongues”, before completely proving their superior skills with their first full-length “Consolamentum”. Now, when the first reviews of their greatest masterpiece to date, “The Dead Of The World” begin to spread word of this band to those as well whom have missed the band in previous times, the time to show the Black Metal underground (filled with trendy clones of “Spiritual” and “Occult” nature) how true works of the Art are done is at hand. We will skip the speculations regarding whom may possibly play in the band, and let the faceless aspect of Ascension speak for the band.

Greetings! How are your feelings now that “The Dead Of The World” begin to spread the plague of your message?

Good, for the greater part. It is always hard to let something go that you love and hate in equal amounts. Something dies inside of you every time but that is the path we have chosen and that is how its supposed to be, I guess.

If I remember correctly, Ascension was among the first Black Metal bands to appear to the public as anonymous, letting the music speak for itself. Now, years later, it seems that (besides “Religious” and “Esoteric” topics becoming an ever-increasing huge trend in Black Metal) there’s a huge amount of bands surfacing anonymous, and the whole idea has lost it’s atmosphere. Do you agree?

I don´t know, to be honest. I am not following the contemporary scene too much. But everyone has the right to do whatever they want. The initial idea of being anonymous was to give people the chance to focus on the music, lyrics and artwork, with us acting as mere shadows building the entity of Ascension. When taking peoples approach towards Ascension into account, I daresay that we have succeeded.

There are many opinions of the fundamental nature of Black Metal, ranging from Intolerance and Fascism to extreme Individualism and Anarchy. Do you see Black Metal as fundamentally Spiritual, or Religious even?

Yes, it is. The fundament of black metal has always been it´s spiritual, otherworldly and transcending approach. It is the music of the Devil.

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Is Black Metal to you a form of Art soaring above basic Metal-mentalitites, or is this simply a “rocking” style of choice, favoured as the vessel with which to convey the Spiritual aspects of your psyches?

Taking into consideration what I said above, it is obviously more than another music genre to drink beer to. Black Metal deals with very powerful and dangerous entities. Entities that are everlasting and older than time.

The theme of the new album seems to be Death. Are you more (in this case) interest in the Alchemical Death of the feeble human Ego before rising from the ashes as a higher being, or in the total final Death ending the human Life?

The main topic of the new album is indeed Death, in many different aspects. „The Dead Of The World“ is an album about physical death as much as it is about spiritual death. It deals with a very sincere neglect of the mundane world in favour of the devotion towards our gods. Generally speaking, it is for people that consciously have chosen to turn away from god and the world in order to step into eternal darkness over the dead bodies of those left behind.

As you have been fascinated with Gnostic ideas (especially on “Consolamentum”), and as we have witnessed, the Black Metal community tends to make Satanic versions of just about every previously conceived Spiritual current, do you see any fundamental difference in the end results of the so-called Left Hand (so popular in todays Black Metal naturally) or the Right Hand Paths?

Yes, I do. But this is nothing I want to go into detail with in an interview. Let´s keep it this way: There are some lyric lines on the new album that deal quite obviously with the breaking of taboo or the violent tearing down of set moral standards. Maybe you will find your answer there.

The fans of your music had to wait four years for a follow-up to “Consolamentum”, an album which got many an individual highly interested in your Great Work. Although this waiting-period was not too long, I’m still interested in knowing what you did in between these albums? Does the music of Ascension usually form slowly, and get perfected with a lot of time?

After „Consolamentum“ we felt empty for a while. This is something quite natural for us. It takes time until new inspiration flows and get´s to a point where it cannot be held back anymore. Furthermore we started playing live which changed a lot of things as well. On top of that, our approach towards our art is a very sincere one. We give us all the time we need in order to create something of importance and significance for us. That process is anything but easy, taking into consideration the mentalities of the band members. After four years however, we succeeded and „The Dead Of The World“ will be released on the 24th of December 2014 by WTC in Europe and on a license basis by Season Of Mist in North America.

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Without revealing the actual members of the band, naturally, has the line-up(s) changed much after “Consolamentum”? Does the band today function in the studio as well as in the live-situation?

The line-up hasn´t changed since the founding in 2007. It goes without saying that the studio and the live line-up is exactly the same.

The new album features vocals by Mors Dalos Ra of Necros Christos as well as Magus Wampyr Daoloth of classic Necromantia. Also, the cover art is done by Erik of Watain. Do you have much contacts in the German (or global) music world, or do you prefer to keep your contacts to a quality minimum?

Let me correct you on one matter: The artwork was done by David Glomba, a very young and talented artist from whom we will hear a lot more in the future, I am sure. The layout was done by Trident Arts, yes.

I wouldn´t say that we have many contacts, it´s more that we choose quite carefully with whom we work or, in general, deal with. Mors Dalos Ra is a very important artist for us and a close friend. The Magus is part of one of the most interesting and best Black Metal bands ever. We are extremely honored to have both on the record exactly as we wanted it to be.

You have worked with World Terror Committee throughout your career. This cooperation seems to be a fruitful one?

Obviously. 

Thank you very much for this short interview. Please share us some future plans of the band. Do you plan to play live much? How long do we have to wait for new musical material?

Ascension will head out for a European Tour for the first time ever from the 19th of February until the 1st of March, 2015 together with Bölzer, Vassafor and Dysangelium. Find the dates for the „Under Four Wings Of Death“ on our facebook page at:

www.facebook.com/Ascension.Germany

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Taking into consideration what I said above on how the band works, I cannot estimate how long it will take us to create anything new. Maybe Ascension will release something in 1 year, maybe never. For now, „The Dead Of The World“ is the epitome of our achievements and our beloved and hated child.

Thank you for the interview.

Heil Luzifer!

Interview with Semjaza (Thy Darkened Shade)

In the world of underground Black Metal, especially in the case of bands dealing in Spiritual and Occult topics, it’s rare these days to find a band that has an original sound and approach to the Great Work, not to mention highly advanced compositions and playing skills. Thy Darkened Shade from Greece has these qualities, and after having heard their latest album, I had to ask a few questions from the main Magician of the band, Semjaza.

Greetings, Semjaza! How are things in Greece at the moment?

Greetings to you too, good things are happening here for us, we are eagerly waiting for Liber Lvcifer I: Khem Sedjet to be released. We have received support from all over the world and great reviews like yours, which is only the beginning since the album is not even released yet. We are really glad when people who admire the black arts understand our cause. As you know, we are not a typical band, we do not function like them, we do not just play around with music; for someone to fully understand our work, the artwork, the sigils, the lyrics, the practice of the Left Hand Path are of great importance. And obviously, we are much more progressive than a lot of bands, something that sometimes confuses the listeners who need their fast food music. Anyway, we are not suitable for people who want fast food music, that’s why we contained 78 minutes of fully inspired music in one full-length album. We follow our own will and not predetermined notions about how we should be or how the critics or the listeners want us to be, we just follow our true Selves as close as possible.

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Obviously, you can have also those who have no clue about the roots of this divine art-form and act like they know, speaking out their irrelevant comments and mundane views. I have seen ludicrous comparisons of Thy Darkened Shade with bands that I don’t listen and I wholeheartedly despise. The average intelligence of the human being is so low it amazes me. It is really obvious that unique art is for the few who can have the intelligence and the spark to comprehend it. The others can happily stay in their below zero cleverness of their everyday lives.

Did you say how things are in Greece? Mundane things are of no interest to us, so we completely ignore what is happening here.

Thy Darkened Shade has been formed in the year 1999, but you released your first full-length in 2012. What did you do in the time between, besides mastering your superior Art?

Thank you for such words, I was studying in universities, contributing to other bands, fulfilling army obligations, learning about mixing/mastering, applying my knowledge on some releases, writing about Lucifer and psychology and searching for Luciferian truth almost everywhere. My only priority was and will always be to receive the illumination of Samael and His bride Lilith, I view my life as correlated with that aim. Many mundane obstacles come and go, but I do not really care about them, they are just feeble human obstacles that only the weak cannot overcome. As you probably know, the quest for truth can take several lifetimes to actually be crowned with victory, my aim is to break the boundaries of Ouroboros and enter the Black Sun. This endeavor will remain the same until I am off from this earthly existence. The years that my unawakened ego was ruling my existence are long gone. It is about caring for my spiritual development and being as far as possible from the cosmic chains, I do not care about how other people interpret currents or believe that people who are occultists should be. I care about being one with my Higher Self and obtaining as much knowledge and experience here and now, shaping me according to my one and only true Self. For me this is the endeavor that all the Left Hand Path Gods teach us, to unveil our true Selves with pride and honor by our side, true individuation.

Your latest album “Liber Lvcifer I: Khem Sedjet” has an astonishing amount of complex riffs and amazing performances when it comes to playing the instruments. How long did it take to compose this (long) album?

I have a large back up of personal performed music from 1999 to 2014 in various forms from old recording tapes to Sonar bundle projects etc. This music consists of heavy/thrash/black metal music, to ambient, neofolk and even music using various VSTs to emulate classical orchestras. It is my task to choose for TDS music that really pulsates from somewhere far greater than human. Even back in ‘99 there were times that my black flame entered my music due to my only true essence, which stems from father Prometheus, but I was completely unaware of it at the time. It was not until 2008 that I really understood how to truly reflect my Self via black metal or how to translate His essence via my vessel.

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I never really stopped composing, receiving and revealing. My music is a part of a process I use in order to unveil my real Self and get closer to the source of everlasting Chaos. So, to fully answer your question I had many ideas, riffs, mantras, sigils, rituals of fire written for Liber Lvcifer I before Eternvs Mos, Nex Ritvs was even released so, I cannot calculate the years. I do have many ideas and some rough structures for Liber Lvcifer II right now, I received Liber Lvcifer I mastered files from V.Santura in June 2013, thus it is more than a year since LL I rituals were released by us.

How long have you been playing your instruments? Were you into metal as a kid and  so on?

I have been playing guitar since I was 13 years of age (I am now 31) and I love real metal since I was 11. Yes, I grew up with the classics of Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Dio, Ozzy, Bathory, Celtic Frost/Hellhammer, Angel Witch, King Diamond/Mercyful Fate, Slayer, Sodom, Heavy Load, Cirith Ungol, Manowar, Omen, Candlemass, Running Wild etc! And then an enormous stream of greatness came with the second wave of BM from all over the world. I still honor and I will forever honor real metal music with real values.

Hail the ancient ways of metal!

You seem to have a session-drummer on the album. Was it hard to find an individual who could handle the demanding job of playing the drums?

When we record an album, we first do a completely mastered pre-produced version of it, in order to achieve exactly what we need on the forthcoming production and avoid errors. This pre-production version should be consecrated with the energies that we want to summon so for us to proceed in the recording phase. We are not one of those bands that go blindly and record. As far as the drums are concerned, this time me and my brother of blood (C. Docre from Acrimonious) did the drumming arrangements beforehand for the pre-production phase, we then gave the files to a well-known progressive musician in the death metal scene in order for him to comprehend what we need and to record the drums for the album. He expanded our initial ideas with his ideas and real killer sound (authentic real metal playing without trigger). The drummer’s experience and technique was mesmerizing. I knew from the very beginning that he was going to do a great session for us since his work is also demanding musically.

The album also features vocals by Magus Wampyr Daoloth, a figure who has been involved in the Greek scene for ages, producing essential albums and playing in important bands. Is he still much involved in the Greek scene (or at least some aspect of the Greek scene)?

He can speak better for himself, my opinion is the following: we can see that he is still involved with Thou Art Lord and recently Principality of Hell’s album was released via WTC. I am really glad that I introduced him to the home of WTC, since I grew up with his music and I still value his art high. He was completely involved back then by producing albums for almost everyone in the Hellenic black metal underground and releasing influential music with Necromantia, Thou Art Lord, Rotting Christ, NAOS, RAISM, Diabolos Rising, Wampyre ShadowWolf amongst others. A lot of people here were influenced by him not only by forming bands but also by joining a well-known vampiric organization from abroad, he is the sole reason why most of the 90’s black metal bands from here were/are members on that organization.

Musically, his involvement in the scene is totally inspirational and historical; Necromantia should be praised as one of the best bands from the 90’s with groundbreaking releases like Scarlet Evil Witching Black or the masterpiece split with Varathron. Necromantia are working on a new album, I am really looking forward to it and I expect them to take care of everything including a great artwork that this music should be accompanied with. I am really pleased with his vocals on our track, when I finished with the composition I had his vocals in my mind and he delivered it with the best possible way – the Crossing the Fiery Path way. It is a privilege for me to be working with him and I will be glad to work with him again in the future.

Hail Morbid!

How do you see the old Greek Black Metal mentality compared to the new and younger one, is there a difference? Is Greece divided into smaller scenes, or do the many bands have some sort of communication amongst each other? Or do most bands operate by themselves?

I was not living in Athens when I was young, so I don’t know how the things were here back then. However, in the 90s in Crete, it was me and some few others that were into this kind of music, most of my metal associates were completely indifferent towards black metal. Back in the day, there was an obvious constant fighting even amongst us, fighting that I really enjoyed, almost all of these wannabe tough metal people that were fighting with us back then, are now pop music ‘’lovers’’ while I remain the same black metal (and metal in general) enthusiast that I always have been, but much more mature towards the music and towards spirituality. I do not really follow scenes, I just buy or trade from bands that I find relevant and of course there are many of them from Greece too. Lately, I really liked the first album of Heretic Cult Redeemer which was made by the ex-singer of Acrimonious, the latest release of Zemial and also, right now I am listening to a great album by Order of the Ebon Hand called XV: The Devil.

You have been signed to World Terror Committee for your two albums, a label responsible for a lot of quality releases. How did you end up working with them, did they contact you or vice versa? 

Much respect for Sven and World Terror Committee, one of the few labels that care for real black metal values and support their artists. I sent them the Eternvs Mos, Nex Ritvs mastered files and they replied immediately with great enthusiasm. The label released many favorite releases of mine from Orcustus, Ascension, Katharsis, Chaos Invocation, Flagellant and others.

You label your music among other things as “Acausal Necrosophic Black Metal”, which brings to my mind the Lawlesness (acausality) of the music, as well as themes (musical and philosophical) involving Death. Am I on the right track with the meaning of this classification?

Music alone cannot be acausal, however we draw the ultimate insight/inspiration from the acausal continuum, that’s why we have the privilege to name the final conception of what TDS is about as such. It is therefore a name penetrating the essence of this band as whole and not some parts of it. Any other labels are irrelevant and have nothing to do with our art. My aim is to produce music only when acausal energy is presented in my being and I try to find people who are, if not striving for acausal energy themselves, at least sensible towards it (sometimes humans don’t even know that they are sensible to). With that saying and much more, we become a nexion of Luciferian forces into Malkuth. As a certain tradition explains and as we know, the acausal beings have the ability to shape shift/time travel and open nexions to certain sometimes spiritually awakened and other times not spiritually awakened individuals. The presence of the Dark Gods on the earth gives rise to numerous legends that can be translated through all religions. Thus, Prometheus, Lucifer, Iblis, Ahriman, Kingu, etc are all acausal Gods for us that present similar acausal energy and are the ultimate of inspirations. I have seen many retarded humans speaking about nexions and have no clue about what this holy word means, when you call They come.

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Necrosophia, relates to our father Qayin and our mother Qalmana, our true blood, everything we do will be forever dedicated to Them, along with our death and final resurrection in acausal forms. My perspective towards the Gods of the Dark will be sooner or later revealed via two books of Promethean revelations.

Your lyrics deal with the Left Hand Paths of Western Magick, and you have also used the term Theistic Luciferianism. Spirituality is apparently something that is strongly present in your everyday life?

Hellenic, Zoroastrian, Babylonian, Egyptian, Hebrew, Roman, etc magick are all huge influences. Therefore, the essence of Promethean Fyre can be found behind all religions and magical systems in the world. It is us that we have to decipher the codes and reveal His mysteries. Many people have been devoured by searching for the truth, for me the aim is not to be devoured but to be like Them, Self-created Gods. Spirituality is the only thing that matters and I try to link it with everything in life and death.

It is very common for a Black Metal band these days to sound like Watain and use themes such as Gnosticism and the Qliphoth as an inspiration. This is clearly a trend, but do you see this as a positive or negative phenomenon, and how long do you see this continuing?

It is even trendier for reviewers to say that a band sounds like Watain. I am sure you know these self-proclaimed reviewers, the ones who only know a couple of big occult black metal names and state them wherever a band with distorted guitars, occult lyrics and good production come in their way. These ‘’experts’’ have nothing to do with this divine art form, I am speaking for those who do not care for unique music, but care only to state their retarded opinions for the masterpieces of our time by not listening at all to the music. To answer your question, the nexion that Dissection opened was so huge that nearly no one ignored. The occult rock scene and the black metal scene were and forever will be heavily influenced by Jon Nödtveidt. It was Reinkaos that fully introduced the path of 218 to the metal/rock population; some of the individuals heard the call of Naamah, while others felt nothing but fear or should I say envy too? Of course, there are always hollow bands that want to copy others and have no clue about what they sing and write. This is rather easily detectable, the miss match of occult terms and the stealing from random sacred texts is not uncommon in the ‘scene’. These posers never really cared to invoke, to astrally project, to do meditation, to awake their kundalini serpent or even to charge the sigils that they use in their own releases. I really like to have Watain leading the way, than any other well-known band, since Watain are one of the few bands that care for Luciferian illumination and produce art of real value. As long as it takes for the practitioner to return to the everlasting waters of Nun, there will be real artists that will draw inspiration from the Qliphoth and Gnostic Luciferianism.

Hail the eleven!

Thanks for the interview! Any last words or revealings of future plans?

Thank you too for the support and the interview! Some really inspiring conceptual split releases are going to be revealed also, we are rehearsing to bring chaos upon the masses when the stars will fall.

Thy Darkened Shade (Facebook)

Thy Darkened Shade (Bandcamp)

Interview with JL (Devouring Star)

Devouring Star from Finland offered on the band’s debut Demo two magnificent songs of original and classy upscale Black Metal, when compared to most new bands within the “Spiritual” or “Occult” current of the Art. The band consists of a single anonymous member, and as he is ready to unleash his first full-length album, and plays live (with a session line-up) as well, I had a few questions for the man behind this great music.

Greetings! How are things in your life at the moment?

Greetings. My life at the moment regarding Devouring Star is focused on the release of the first-full-length ”Through Lung And Heart”, and in planning of things to come. Other than that, the contents of my life are not connected to interviews dealing with Devouring Star.

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Devouring Star as band is quite young, but there is a strong feeling of professionalism and imagination coming forth from the music, both in forms of compositions as well as execution of the songs. It’s quite evident you’re not making music for the first time in your life?

Devouring Star is the first project, where I create music under a certain name.

In today’s underground, we can find a lot of bands performing this certain “dissonant” (regarding the style of the riffs) material, with themes revolving around the Occult and Religions, and this may already be seen as a trend. Do you see it like that, as a trend, or perhaps as a genre of Black Metal on it’s own, formed during the years? There are people whom probably regard it as a “higher” form of Black Metal?

The dissonance of the music is just a tool with which to mirror certain themes musically. I see this similar kind of music, which is not so-called “traditional” Black Metal, as it’s own style within the genre. However, the style of Devouring Star comes naturally, fitting to be a musical representation of the lyrical and ideological sides of the band. A “higher” form is not defined by the structure of the music, but the entirety of the whole. Black Metal is still in it’s fundamental purpose more than just music.

The lyrics of the band are intelligent and multifaceted, and travel clearly in the world of Occult and Spiritual symbolism. What are the greatest themes and sources of inspiration behind your lyrics, or are they perhaps so diverse, you let the listener/reader interpret them as he or she sees fit?

My way of phrasing things is usually symbolic and the lyrics must always be written in the way they give the listener different ways of interpretation. If the lyrics wouldn’t challenge the reader to think, they would be nothing but words on paper, without any greater meaning to the lyricist, as well as lacking any greater agenda. The themes of my lyrics are at least Metaphysics, and the Philosophy of Death.

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Does so-called Occultism mean to you the language of “Mystical” phenomenons, and the Art of controlling them, or do you see it more as Philosophical symbolism and Psychological phenomenons?

Occultism walks hand in hand with symbolism, which is defined by it’s interpreter. Philosophy comes in it’s original form from the person himself, and it’s highly likely that to most who are not dedicated enough on their own path, the Mystical energies and Spirituality are Psychological phenomenons. Spirituality can however be seen in a very earth-bound way as well.

You have most likely received a lot of great feed-back and offers for deals after the release of your Demo, and now your first full-length album is about to be released through Daemon Worship Productions. How did this deal came to be, were you approached by the label or vice versa?

To me, Daemon Worship Productions has been a label with clearly a certain theme and agenda in their releases. As I have had respect for the work they are doing for quite some time now, approaching them was a natural choice.

You also play live. Has it been difficult for you to find people to perform your very personal music on stage? Do you see Devouring Star more as a studio- or a live-band, or perhaps both?

Finding the live-members happened naturally. I see Devouring Star as both, but there are certain demands for myself which must be fulfilled in live-appearances. Our so far only gig was not enough in this case.

Photo by: Marco Manzi
Photo by: Marco Manzi

The Finnish Black Metal scene is seen from the outside perspective usually as the workings of a certain group of friends, although there are a number of bands in this country working sometimes completely on their own. How do you see yourself in this matter? Are you interested in doing cooperation with other bands, or do you prefer to act on your own and let the music do the talking?

I naturally respect artists with similar interests, and therefore cooperation is not completely excluded. However, Devouring Star is my own channel with it’s releases. My work does not need to convince anyone else but myself.

I want to thank you for this short interview! What are your future plans with Devouring Star, besides releasing the new album?

The plans for the future are naturally in the future. At this point we are however working on advancing in regards of possible live-shows. Thank you!

Devouring Star (Facebook)

Devouring Star (Bandcamp)

Live Photograph by Marco Manzi (Facebook)

Devouring Star – Demo

(Tridroid Records, Sarlacc Productions, 2014)

Devouring Star from Finland strikes to me as something extremely familiar, and also as something extremely fresh.

The familiar part being there are a lot of bands of this genre these days, with many quality labels (apparently) cashing in on the popularity of “Spiritual” and “Occult” Black Metal. Then again, if we can indeed talk of this kind of music as a certain genre within modern Black Metal, perhaps we should criticise these bands within the concepts of this genre, and not as Black Metal in general.

The fresh part of Devouring Star is the fact that this doesn’t sound like typical Finnish Black Metal, being more thoughtful and of a better quality. Also, the little things that make the music are all nicely personal and original enough to make this a positively new kind of experience, compared to most bands of this style.

This demo features two songs of about five and six minutes in length. The first song “Chaos Omega” starts slowly, with the dissonant-like riffs, not unusual within this genre but quite original in nature, well produced software-drums, and splendidly performed low speech-like Blackened vocals, taking us straight to the abyss of human consciousness. Quite hypnotic and repeating, although complex at the same time, the first half of the song passes by in the psychedelic euphoria this kind of music can bring at it’s best, before exploding into a more furious blasting storm, making the drum-software sound a bit too unnatural compared to the slower parts. The second song “Todestrieb” is a bit more intense work of art, but otherwise following the same upscale path begun by the first song. This song features even more original dissonant guitars and perhaps even better playing. Some Death Metal elements are also a bit more apparent, but not too much, keeping the music within the circle of Black Metal. These songs stand multiple listens, that’s for sure.

What makes Devouring Star stand above most bands of the genre, is the certain class and style apparent in the crafting and playing of the riffs, and planning of the overall song-structures. Also the sounds fit the feelings nicely, being not too damp and not too cold. The vocals sound personal and of high class, without too much effects, and the lyrics are enjoyably intelligent and multifaceted.

As Devouring Star has also played live, I can picture this stuff working nicely on stage as well. Daemon Worship Productions has also announced the upcoming full-length “Through Lung And Heart”, which is most certainly one of the most anticipated releases of the near future for a lot of Spiritually-oriented Black Metalists.

If you like bands like Ascension, Deathspell Omega, Aosoth etc., check out this demo and keep an eye on the upcoming full-length, as well as any possible live-performances by the band. Personally, I thought I can’t be positively surprised within this genre of music anymore when it comes to a new band, but it happened.

8.5/10 – Antti Mikonmäki

Devouring Star (Bandcamp)

Devouring Star (Facebook)

Tongues – Thelésis Ignis

(I, Voidhanger Records, 2014)

Tongues is the Great Work of two Danes going by the names Qvortrup and Thorbjörn, and this is pretty much all we know of the band, although their music consists of somewhat familiar components.

The album starts with an Ambient intro reminiscent in feelings of the album-cover artwork, after which we are mentally attacked with ferocious and truly twisted-sounding partly dissonant-sounding Black Metal, bringing to mind all these “Occult” and “Spiritual” bands which draw their inspirations from bands like Deathspell Omega (not a fully fair comparison here though), but also with a hint of Portal (if they were a more clear-sounding Black Metal band). Still, Tongues do have a personal sound, making their debut-EP quite a fresh listening experience.

The guitar-sounds are pretty distorted and clear, bringing both Death and Black Metal to my mind, in sounds as in the nature of the riffs. Nevertheless, there is something really unique to Tongues in these riffs. The vocals sound sometimes high and screaming Black, sometimes more low and growling Deathly, sometimes I’m even hearing straight old Beherit-worship in there. The overall spectrum of the vocals performed on this release is however pretty vast, with all kind of cool parts here and there to spice the experience up.

The drums are played with the demanded feeling and skill, and their sound is good enough, fitting the overall sounds well. There is also a part with ethnic percussions added on top (or beneath) the main drums, which sound cool. At parts the band may theow for example a d-beat Thrashy part in the midst of all the Death Black chaos, and this combined with the more clear shouting vocals, bring to my mind the logics of Teitanblood, without totally sounding like a copy.

The songs have such an amount of riffs and good playing, this release can be enjoyed as a trip into well-performed extreme Metal music, but as the atmosphere surrounding these songs is so great, they can also be taken as conveyors of deep Spiritual states. Magickal stuff for sure. For example the final song could work on it’s own as one of the best Ambient Ritual musick I’v ever heard.

I would recommend the band to take all the elements which make them personal and separate them from the trends of “Spiritual” Black Metal at the moment, and run with them to their studio (temple) next time, only to emerge with a next release of even higher and more original Art. However, this is such a strong start for this band, and as I am enjoying the material the more I listen to it, I have to heartily recommend this to all into the aforementioned bands (whom know what I’m talking about).

8.5/10 – Antti Mikonmäki

Tongues (I, Voidhanger Bandcamp)

Interview with J.K (Mortuus)

Among the swarms of Spiritual and so called Religious Black Metal bands of today, Swedish Mortuus has always stricken as one of the truly honest and professional ones, and it’s no surprise they are signed to one of the greatest labels around – Ajna Offensive. I was most grateful for the band to answer my questions, perhaps shedding a bit more light into the workings of the band, besides their otherwise already illuminating art. This interview was answered 19.10.2014.

Greetings! The Scandinavian autumn is upon us, but how are things in your life otherwise?

Things are pretty good and I always enjoy this season – it’s easy to breathe, sleep and it also happens to the prime season for night time walks here in Sweden.

Your first release (EP) “Silence Sang the Praise of Death” came almost 10 years ago through Ajna Offensive, and not too long after that the now hard-to-find first full-length “De Contemplanda Morte” embraced the minds of many. What lead you to be signed by this great label?

I think Tyler was getting a few copies of my fanzine ‘G’hinnom’ in 2004 and I took the opportunity to also send him a CDr with the songs for the EP. I can’t remember if we planned to have it released, but he liked what he heard and our collaboration has been steady ever since. I like the approach Ajna has; he always goes for quality before quantity and puts effort into releasing interesting stuff instead of trying to increase the thickness of his wallet. More people should follow his example.

How was the response to your first releases? I’m guessing they might have been a bit difficult for the average Black Metal listener to grasp, but then again the musical side is definitely among the best of this kind of Black Metal, and perhaps more approachable in that sense.

Far better than I imagined. Given how ”full of information” most black metal was at that time, I thought it would be too repetitive, boring and slow for people. I obviously haven’t read all the reviews of the EP and debut album, but as far as I know it received very good response. Good reviews aren’t that important to us, but you know, music demands a listener. We’ve never been a band with good sale rates but I reckon that we have listeners who take their time to really dig into the material. That means more to me.

Between the first and the second – again amazing – full-lengths, there was a seven year hiatus. Did you work slowly during this time, or take a break and wait for the right states of mind to emerge in order to create a follow-up?

It was more of a break situation, and I’d say that we ”waited” for the right states of mind to emerge – or better put: for a time that allowed us to really force the right states of mind into creative activity. Both of us were really tired of the scene in 2007 and went on to do different things. Hinze has been moving around and I’ve been focusing on my studies. We’ve always wanted to do another album, but you really have to be able to put a hundred percent into it. We began writing for the album in about a year before it was recorded. Some of the riffs we ended up using are older though. The oldest material I contributed with is from 2002 and I think Hinze also used some material pre-dating the birth of Mortuus.

Mortuus 02

During the time in Mortuus, have you always been a part of the Swedish Black Metal scene, communicating with other bands and so forth, or have you distanced yourselves from the world of gigs and other social gatherings and just focused on your art?

No. We have friends in the scene, but that’s it. Before doing my first gig with Ofermod in 2012 I hadn’t seen a metal concert since the rebirth of Dissection gig in 2004. I have all the respect in the world for black metal as an art form, but the scene is secondary to that. I have very little feelings for it – it’s just something that’s there. I have better things to think about. Most of the ”metal people” I hang out with are people I know from an occult milieu rather than a music scene. I think that Hinze’s interest in the black metal scene is pretty non-existent. We’ve mostly kept to ourselves, I guess. It’s also a symptom of the metal scene not being very big in our home town. I don’t live there anymore, but there’s just Naglfar, Woods of Infinity and a few other bands.

How have you been received in your home country, where we have seen bands like Watain enjoy such an amount of success it’s sometimes hard to imagine?

Mortuus is fairly unknown. We haven’t put any effort into changing that. Artistic success is not determined by the amount of followers you have on facebook. Watain have worked really hard to get were they are now, and they really deserve their success. It’s weird though; I thought more black metal bands would reach the ears of so called ”normal people”? I expected a real black metal boom when Watain won a grammy.

Many Swedish bands seem to worship (and not without a reason), and copy even, bands like Bathory and Dissection. Do you have any clear examples of other artist which continue to inspire you?

Bathory and Dissection were definitely among the best bands to every emerge in this country. We’re not consciously inspired by other bands, but you know, things you like tend to color the way you write music.

Being from Sweden, which is as Lutheran as Finland (or Christian by habit), what lead you to use the older forms of this faith as the basis of your lyrical approach? Many bands embrace Satanic principles or philosophy in order to distance themselves from Christianity (which is kind of a strange conclusion to make), or adopt the “Pagan” habits of their native country, but the Spiritual Satanic current of Black Metal seems to think quite the opposite.

I don’t know what the spiritual satanic current of black metal is. There seems to be a lot of confusion in it. A mishmash of ”cool sounding” dark stuff. I think that Satan as a symbol and force is valid beyond christian horizons, although it may seem contradictory. If you rely exclusively on christian definitions of evil you’re bound to end up with a lot of problems already inherent in christianity. I consider the left hand path to have more in common with shamanism (at least in method) than doctrines of salvation and condemnation. I believe in polarization rather than dualism and monotheistic religions becomes pointless with that perspective.

There are many Biblical and even Kabbalist themes in your lyrics. I’m guessing you are inspired greatly by scriptures such as the Torah or the Gnostic texts, but are there other areas in this world filled with mythologies that interest you?

Not so much of the Torah or gnostic evangeliums, but the Zohar, Sepher Yetzirah and Bahir had a big impact on the lyrics of our first album. Neo-platonic mystical philosophy in general played an important role in it. ‘Grape of the Vine’ is based on occult practice rather of philosophical contemplation, but when ”translating” powerful experiences gained during dark magickal workings into words, without being plainly descriptive, it’s pretty much bound to enter the world of philosophy in a semantic way. I’ve been delving into phenomenology the last years and it’s a philosophical discipline (especially with Merleau-Ponty and Don Ihde) that is combinable with practical occultism in another way than neo-platonic thought. That sort of thinking tends to end up in a theoretical approach which isn’t always useable in the in a practical context.

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How big is the role of Occultism and Spirituality in your daily life? Do you actively practice some form of Worship or Magic, or are these themes more of a Philosophic contemplation?

It’s been a big part of my life for about a third of my life. It’s not necessarily something that I have to talk about. I think I’ve been open enough with it in the lyrics of ‘Grape of the Vine’. Mortuus is a symptom of it. Both practice and contemplation is important, but practice has to lead the way.

Is Black Metal as a lifestyle important to you, or do you “only” use it as a vessel for your higher intentions and states of being? Have you always been into Metal mostly, or are there other music styles that fascinate you just as much, or more?

What is black metal lifestyle? Wearing the same clothes as the rest of people you meet at gigs? Thinking that you’re the one defining what is ”real black metal” and what is not? Getting really drunk and behaving like an asshole together with your long-haired friends? Black Metal has a special place in my heart, but I like a lot of different music styles. Black Metal is simply a very good medium to channel what we want to say with Mortuus.

You also apparently play live these days. Is this a new phenomenon or did you play gigs before as well? How does the live-experience work for you as a band? Do you find yourselves to be more of a studio-band or both?

We’ve considered Mortuus to be a studio project, but it feels interesting and relevant to take it onto a stage now. The first, and only planned gig, is at the Aurora Infernalis festival next week. If it turns out to work well live there will surely be more gigs. We’ve rehearsed quite a bit and the material works way better in a band situation than I could imagine.

Now that the world has truly witnessed your capabilities as songwriters and creators of extremely powerful atmospheres, do you plan to continue on this path, and perhaps release more music more rapidly, or does the Mortuus admirer have to wait another seven years for more material?

We’ve already begun working on a new album, but we have to find a new way into it. It might be finished next year or in ten years – releasing an album for the sake of releasing an album is not an option.

I want to thank you for this great opportunity to interview you! Any last words?

Nope.

Mortuus (Facebook)