Weirdos and freaks,

scientists and philosophers,

libertines and mavericks of metal music!

Half a year ago avantgarde-metal.com

began to sprout its branches into the

internet. Originally it was meant to be a

little harbour for lovers of the metal

sounds beyond the streamlines. But very

soon it became obvious that we are not

the only ones bored by the clichés and

conventions of the metal scene.

Your interest in the weird sides of metal

is stunning. More than 45.000 visitors

show that the metal revolution has already

begun! And so avant-gardemetal.

com grew rapidly. In February

2007 we started with four people. Now

the crew consists of 16 enthusiastic writers

from all corners of the world. More

than two hundred articles have been

written to present you the most experimental

and innovative sounds metal can

provide.

So we thought that the time was ripe for

a big Christmas present for you – the

first print edition of avant-gardemetal.

com. On 124 pages you can find

all online interviews and reviews of the

most important avant-garde metal albums

of 2007. And you can find the results

of your voting for the best albums

of this year. Discover the hidden Treasures

&

Never stop the Freak Show…

Chrystof

23rd December 2007

Index

Crew 2

About Avantgarde-Metal 4

Interviews

BETHLEHEM 5

DøDHEIMSGARD 12

ABIGOR 22

FLEURETY 31

KOROVAKILL 38

DOL AMMAD 44

ANGIZIA 51

MANES 60

SATANOCHIO 63

BERGRAVEN 67

KEKAL 69

THE AMENTA 74

IMPURE DOMAIN 78

[D]EKADEN[Z] 81

GIRE 84

ANSUR 88

UMBAH 92

BRACHIALILLUMINATOR 94

ABSTRUSE 98

Reviews

Retrospection 2007 102

Your Top Ten Albums 103

More new Releases 111

Hidden Treasures 118

Imprint 125

2

THE CREW

Chrystof Niederwieser

Tyrolean Alps

Admiral of the Editorship

Bernd Grünwald

Vienna, Austria

Webmaster and Designer

– design with Eclipse New

Media

– organizing concerts with

KV Kaltenbach

– music with Sternenstaub

Katja Honeywine

van de Barrel

Germany

PDF design and

MySpace Mistress

Studies Environmental Science

and Resource Management

writing for “The Grimoire of

Exalted Deeds”

aVoid

the southern Swedish

woods

reviews, stories and interviews

Bassist in Havok, Strange

Calm and Infernal Hellfire,

plus a few clandestine

projects – studying English

and Musicology

Olivier Côté

Montreal, Canada

reviews, stories and interviews

studying Philosophy – writing

stories and essays

EROS – Live, learn and love –

that’s all there really is.

Jegger

Austria

interviews

Guitarplayer for Tristwood

and Bearcht – writing a

doctorate in German philology

Jobst —

reviews, stories and interviews

author at its first novel peak

– writer and co-editor in the

Israeli reviews website “The

Blind Janitor”

Jonny Lignano

enfant terrible of reviews,

stories and interviews

Favorite guitar chord: e

Favorite letter: l

Favorite addition: c + l = d

currently developing a

dictionary of imperatives

that are no real imperatives

(i.e. Drehtüre)

3

James Slone

Lost Wages, Nevada –

now lives in Seattle,

Washington (USA)

reviews and stories

Freelance writer, film

blogger, radical activist,

performance artist, amateur

guitarist, lover of the

good things in life

Polygon

Bamberg (Franconia/

Germany)

reviews and interviews

Sound-wizard of the German

Black Metal

collective Membaris –

currently returned from

an academic exchange in

Riga

Tentakel P.

Germany- Hamburg,

pearl of the north

reviews, stories and interviews

-Drummer of Todtgelichter

-Lover of literature

-Watcher of weird movies

-Player of retro-games

revon

Hungary

reviews and interviews

Dives into: Origins of the

Avantgarde movement,

dadaist/surrealist movies,

literature, photography,

painting, astronomy

Suleiman Ali

Pakistan

reviews, stories and interviews

Planning Engineer by

Profession & family man

by calling – mastermind

of the weird musical experience

Burzukh

Trident

Southern Germany

Reviews

The mystery of life is not

a problem to be solved

but a reality to be experienced

Ulv

In the middle of Croatia

reviews, stories and interviews

A thought: “Gold is to

give silence a form”

Favorite addition:

d + c = Lignano

The meaning of life is to:

…. create

MvH

born in Wiesbaden, Germany

– now living in

Virginia (USA)

reviews

Musician, Military History,

Astronomy, Photography,

Philosophy, Reading,

Writing

More information about us can be found in the “about” section of http://www.avantgarde-metal.com. If

you’d like to get in contact with a crew member you also can find our email addresses there. Your

messages are warmly welcome!

4

ABOUT AVANT-GARDE METAL

“Avant-garde” is the French term for “advance guard” or “vanguard”. It refers to

people who venture into the unknown. Sometimes they find the shining shores of

the future there, the visions and ideas of tomorrow. Sometimes they get lost in

the forests of insanity, in the whirls of chaos and confusion. But it’s always new

worlds that they discover. Sometimes the avant-garde of today will become the

mainstream of tomorrow. But most avant-garde will always remain absurd and

strange to the masses.

Avantgarde-metal.com is dedicated to the pioneers of metal, to those bands and

musicians who incorporate new and innovative elements into metal, who break

conventions, tear down walls, violate borders. They build new worlds. They surprise.

More than for any other term in metal, the characteristics of avant-garde metal

are hard to specify. What’s fresh, innovative, new, surprising? The answer to this

question lies in the eye of the beholder.

Some say avant-garde metal is the art of creating deep and strange atmospheres

by experimenting with new instruments and sounds, strange vocals, unconventional

song structures, rhythms and harmonies, unusual lyrics or uncommon artwork.

Others describe avant-garde metal as progressive, psychedelic, surrealistic,

phantasmagoric, expressionistic, dissonant or extravagant interpretations of

extreme metal. But what do such words really mean? We don’t care, because…

…DEFINITION IS THE DEATH OF INDIVIDUALITY!

Avantgarde-metal.com was created to provide a home for all those metal bands

that try out new things and create their own, individual paths. It was created for

everybody who is bored with the petrified spiderwebs of cliché, commerce and

convention.

Anyway, avant-garde metal is freestyle. We don’t want to judge whether a band

or an album is avant-garde or not. All artists who claim to be avant-garde will be

featured here. Some of them might seem like ordinary, conventional metal to

you. About some others you may think that they are not metal at all anymore,

that they are something completely different. We won’t participate in such controversies

about categorization. Decide for yourself if a band inspires you or not.

If you know any weird artists that aren’t featured on this site yet, don’t hesitate

and send us an e-mail! And if you are a musician and have produced some weird

music, then your CDs are always welcome here.

ENTER THE WEIRD SIDES OF METAL!

5

BETHLEHEM

Dictius Me Spectare

By Katja Honeywine van de Barrel

Bethlehem is not only the name of a city

where Jesus was born and the whole insanity

of Christianity came to life. It is also a hyper

creative bunch of young/old, partly good

looking musicians creating sounds that wanna

make you jump off the bridge or some skyscraper,

that make you wanna cut yourself

with a knife, that make you partly wanna

masturbate or even cook rotten eggs with

horse worms and mouldy bread.

Bethlehem always went their very own way.

In 1994 they released their debut album

called “Dark Metal”, which nowadays is a

synonym for a whole new sub-genre. Their

albums are considered to be idiosyncratic

masterpieces with weird and enigmatic lyrics.

Jürgen Bartsch,

creative head,

bassist, lyricist

and electronic

technician of

Bethlehem, a

band which has

accomplished

so much since

the formation

in 1991. Jürgen

Bartsch, a fantastic

interlocutor

who talks

as long and

much on the

phone as my

mother at the

hair dressers.

“Mein Weg” has already been released 3

years ago. What has happened in the

meantime? Will Bethlehem disciples ever

get new fodder?

Sure, in the meantime I am preparing another

long player together with “Herr Morbid

of Forgotten Tomb” which is planned getting

recorded at late summer 2008. The recordings

should be done at the Priory Recording

Studios in England, since I and Greg

of “Esoteric” are in contact since the early

90s; we ever wanted doing something together

and so will do soon. Later on, the

tracks will get their final mix + master in my

own mastering studio. It seems like “Kvarforth

of The Shining” & “Théry Jonathan of

Ataraxie” will be responsible for the vocals

then, specially Théry’s vocals could be best

described as the original “Landfermann” kind

of style, coz they totally sound similar to

those ones. Pretty much extreme. Other musicians

surely will be “Olaf Eckhardt” for the

second guitars again and of course “Stevo”

on the drums. A very nice line-up we hopefully

also can play life a bit with.

In the last years I more cared bout my sideproject

called “Stahlmantel”, I did different

demos for since I started with this shit back

in 1999. Stahlmantel is kinda electro thing,

ourselves do call it, Dark Industrial Elite Suicide

= D.I.E.S. This description of course is

totally bollocks like nearly all of em are

somehow, but anyway. Without stupid crap

like that no one is taking you so serious,

right? So give you guys some bone, hope you

gonna feel comfortable with.

In 2007 we finished the recordings for our

latest demo “Satan Snuff Machine”. I again

wrote all the music for this, some dark, disturbing

and cold mixture of industrial elements

in combination with pure metal riffing.

A friend of mine from Seattle/USA, known as

“Nihilist” wrote

all lyrics this

time and was

responsible for

all vocals as

well. Pretty disturbing

black

metal vocals I

again have sent

thru some distortion

effects to

let it sound

more brutal and

cold. Nihilist btw

also is singing in

“In Memorium”

and “Abazagorath”,

both

US bands. “Satan

Snuff Machine”

already was released in China as a

limited edition of 500 CDs and also will be in

Poland thru “Metalrulez Prod.” with some new

layouts + two bonus tracks, this or next

month too.

I at the moment also am working on a vinyl

re-release of “Dictius Te Necare” for that

polish label, which will be done as a very

special edition of 66 copies with a T-Shirt and

some other crazy shit, and also as a normal

release limited to 500 copies or so. All songs

are re-mastered and do sound way more

brilliant now like on the original version.

Check out, personally I wont promote things

like that a lot, also wont with Stahlmantel.

Prolly check the Stahlmantel website or try at

MySpace.

6

The music on “Mein Weg” has been

pretty commercial compared to all your

other releases. Could that be a direction

for further Bethlehem albums?

I don’t think so. The “commercial” aspect

mainly is depending on the different musicians

who became part of those recordings.

My song writing still is the same one like in

the past, never changed anything special with

it. But the new guitarist does coz he is playing

another guitar style than e.g. Matton

once did and surely because of Meyer de

Voltaire who brought in something different

with his special way of singing. Another difference

compared to former albums was, that

with “Profane Fetmilch lenzt elf krank” I

started to produce Bethlehem releases by

myself coz more and more felt so uncomfortable

with those wannabe “producers” from

the past who basically had no fucken clue

how to let it all sound the right way. Still in

our re-room we always had a more powerful

sound like on any of those 90s albums; specially

Landfermann was such a pain in the ass

with his digital bullshit productions, never

ever will give those things

out of hand again.

Guess, a new Bethlehem

album will sound different

again, surely wont become

some “Mein Weg”

copy or so, more will become

something cold,

depressive & disturbing

thing again like on the

90s albums, but with a

more powerful sound

than in the past. I honestly

dunno yet, and

surely wont care bout this,

never before “arranged”

things too much, no album

ever was “planned”,

all ideas behind always are coming pretty

spontaneous, since we wont do this for

money, we always do what we wanna. Without

any compromises.

The album before was a fascinating mixture

of metal music, weird sound collages

and a radio play. Can you tell us

more about “Schatten aus der Alexanderwelt”?

“Schatten aus der Alexander Welt” originally

was done for the “Filmstiftung NRW” and

planned as some short movie for the “Das

kleine Fernsehspiel” TV series. I wrote the

short story as well as the script. But coz of

different personal problems, I don’t wanna

mention here, it could not be realized like this

and therefore was used for Bethlehem some

months later.

How satisfied are you with the realisation

of this album, especially concerning

the narrators? Sometimes it is hard to

transfer own ideas into someone else

who is speaking them out, but with another

intention than you probably would

have spoken… Would you rather have

spoken yourself?

Basically I am not quite satisfied with the

result to be honest. This surely has many

reasons, since my health wasn’t at a good

state during the recording sessions; I somehow

wasn’t so concentrated as well as motivated

like I normally am if working in a studio.

Another reason surely was, that things

like a new record company, as well as finding

actors or narrators in general for that thing,

re-writing everything for a more musical concept,

the huge pressure caused by people like

e.g. Matton who shortly before studio again

decided to leave the band, totally disturbed

the whole process. We did not had a singer

and Meyer de Voltaire came in only two

weeks before entering the studio, so there

wasn’t time for practising etc. The complete

Chaos! And a complete new situation for me,

coz it was the first time

in my life that I had to

work as a director,

specially those professional

TV actors who

spoke the main parts

of this radio play were

used to work like this.

Beside, we also had

uninitiated persons

who also weren’t used

doing things like that

before.

So everything became

some strange experiment

which basically

wasn’t planned like

that before and although I also spoke one

character “Archangel Gabriel”, I somehow

could not transport nor direct my personal

point of view into the whole radio play.

Therefore, the once very dark & disturbing

mood behind, was destroyed by myself and

artistically seen surely became some failure.

And surely Prophecy also wasn’t able to pay

money for once wanted speakers like e.g. the

German voice of Robert De Niro, as well as

others who probably would have brought in

some more professional touch in general.

Anyhow, I wont look back, the album was

done the best I could do at that period of

time. Specially with all those circumstances

working against me.

7

I know questions about lyrics and their

meaning are always stupid, especially

when it concerns such an enigmatic poet

like you. Still I think that the lyrics are

kind of the quintessence of Bethlehem.

So I’d like to talk a bit about it. Though I

am a native speaker in German I have to

admit: I don’t understand the lyrics at all.

But somehow they have a very strong

effect. At first my brain looses its anchors

and begins to spin – it’s all so

strange and distorted. And then your

words evoke very strong pictures in my

head. So one thing I’d like to know: Do

you try to consciously build a meaning in

your lyrics? Or are they more transporting

an irrational stream out of the sub

consciousness? Or do they have a special

meaning, but a very personal one that

just Jürgen Bartsch can understand?

Not really. All lyrics ever done not only should

have some exclusive meaning only for myself.

Since I am using a very metaphoric style,

everybody who is more interested in some

deeper themes than some stupid, metalcliché

oriented crap, surely will find him-

/herself back in those ones. Although every

lyric or poem is telling a pretty personal story

for me, I sometimes also experienced my

words more as some spiritual landscape,

some mood, feeling or atmosphere, telling

me some different story like the original

meaning did. Therefore, everybody who can

let these words come close to his/her mind,

also will find his/her own very personal

meaning behind em. This is wanted but varies

alot on the momentary mood of each human,

I personally sometimes found myself at

a wonderful place in a wonderful space but

also in some dark and horrible cave, known

as my sometimes own sick mind.

I remember well your description of the

Alexander world in an ABLAZE interview

long time ago. This has been years before

the release of “Schatten aus der

Alexanderwelt”. Are you still there

sometimes? Or has it become a shadow

of your past?

Haven’t been there for a while but this wont

mean anything. Because the last time I visited

my sub consciousness before I started

writing about it was when I was a 7 year old

child. And there was a break for around 20

years then. So, I am sure that one day the

enormous door again will open for me. Cant

await it.

Could the Alexander World be described

as the dark part of your sub consciousness,

your resort out of the boredom of

the real world? Maybe a parallel world

where strong morphines like heroin are

the key for entrance?

I honestly don’t think so. Like I said, it first

happened when I was a child and be sure I

had no fucken knowledge of drugs during

that time. It surely has something in common

with my sub consciousness, or could also

have with my mental disease. When I was a

child I first started escaping from reality, coz

the real one did not offer me so many positive

things in general. Since I already have

red some very personal things bout my past

in the internet, spread by some jerk I should

know personally, I don’t wanna comment on

those things any longer, somehow wanna

keep my personal experiences from the past

exclusively for myself. Hope you do understand?

Fine.

In the mid 90’s there was a picture

taken of you giving yourself a shot with

the needle. Did you consume drugs at

the time? What kind of drugs, did they

help to write the music and what is your

opinion on drugs today?

8

Drugs? I am not so sure yet Missy, but aren’t

some of em forbidden? Well, I still am a follower

of all Christian rules, only eat bread,

only drink water and have no sex.

What about the parts in the radio play

where the lobster is cooked? Is this a

personal memory of you? Would you

describe your father as cruel?

Yes its a very personal memory and I don’t

wanna comment on this too. Although I already

have done in the past. Shame on me.

Many of your lyrics deal with suicide.

Can it be a solution?

Totally! Still met many different people in my

life who somehow acted very wise by killing

themselves instead of go on torturing themselves

and their surroundings for further

years again. Surely this opinion isn’t wanted

so much, coz people say there “always” will

be some other “solution”. I personally am

thinking that this might be right in some

cases but in others this surely might not work

and instead of suffering in pure pain for the

rest of your life, mentally or physically,

one better should have the

strength to kill oneself.

We also have received many, many

letters of folks who somehow found

back to life with our suicidal interpretation

of music and art and surely

this made us all real proud. But personally,

I never would see Bethlehem

as a “solution” but more as only one

aspect for a way out of one’s own

misery. Kinda help in suicidal questions,

not more. As kinda last resort

before killing thyself.

Because of these lyrics you also had

problems with the police. How often

have the police come to your house to

shake you down for “bad material of any

kind”? Have they ever found anything

they could buttonhole you for?

If I get it right, they “visited” me four times.

The first two times they mainly came to my

house for interviewing, all other times they

took nearly everything with em they could

find here, letters, mainly letters, flyer, tapes,

drawings, lyrics, CDs, LPs, all that. Nearly got

it all back except some records like a Mayhem

bootleg with the dead Dead on it, some

pics showing me naked, completely covered

in blood, some letters with stupid swastika

etc. bullshit drawn on em, some old VHS stuff

showing early black metal bands during their

live shows, or more personal ones. Also never

got back the “Sid Vicious” movie on VHS,

which damn was shown on TV as well. And

surely more stuff I cant remember yet.

In the end I was accused of doing some Terrorist-

Network which was based on the

worldwide fan-letters I received to that time,

as well as some of my lyrics which would

spread some “violent theories” in their opinion.

The result was that Bethlehem could no

longer play shows in the area we lived in, and

that Red Stream has to change an album title

+ the booklet photos. My lawyer said it would

be wise doing, otherwise they surely would

accuse me again and I surely would get some

nice sentence for this shit. The original accuse

was smashed at the court, fortunately

the judge was pretty “open-minded” and it

somehow was possible to explain the artistic

concept of Bethlehem and Heavy Metal in

general.

9

You have had many line up changes with

Bethlehem. Are you difficult to work

with?

I dunno. Am I folks? Personally I

wont think so, but this surely

depends on whether other musicians

ever were comfortable

working together with me. Coz

me, I sometimes wasn’t and

better decided to fire some people

coz of e.g. not coming to

rehearsals for months, or bringing

their personal problems into

the band, or acting like real

“rock-stars” like Landfermann

once did, or did not come to the

studio while recording a record,

or any other reason.

Some other members fired emselves

coz they e.g. were afraid

of the success, or wanted to dictate their own

silly musical point of view, or whatsoever.

Surely this caused many, many problems in

the past but since I know that I could work

with so many different people these days, I

never would care about again.

You’ve been with Redstream for quite a

long time, then signed with Prophecy

and went back to Redstream. Why the

change of label?

I honestly have no clue! Like I said, I wasn’t

so comfortable with myself in that period and

therefore picked up interests of other band

mates too damn quickly. Today I know it was

some very huge mistake doing, specially coz

I of course had to care bout everything again

by exclusively myself although once it was

said, that “others” would take more responsibility

too. But anyway, guess too many things

already were said bout the “partnership” of

Bethlehem and Prophecy. So I better wanna

close that book forever.

I realized your new haircut on your new

Website and I realized further the use of

third Reich symbols such as the Reich

eagle but without the swastika

symbol. Why are you

using fascistic metaphorical

language? Are you showing

sympathy with the National

Socialism or do you want to

provoke? And why the hair

cut?

Well, the “haircut” was done

coz I haven’t cut my hair for a

long time and they started to

more and more “break” at the

peaks. Other than that I was

bored by always cleaning my

flat which was covered with

those long, brown hairs everywhere.

Somehow it was like I

would have a bunch of hundreds

of dogs at home. This totally pissed me

off. So one day I took some machine and cut

em all off, which somehow was like paradise.

Meanwhile they still are growing and became

longer again although I am not so sure yet

whether I again wanna have em hanging

around my knees. This sux alot. I am a German

Patriot, no doubt. But being a Patriot not

directly means being a Fascist. Those “Fears”

exclusively are typical German fears dictated

by different foreign countries and their interests

keeping Germany controlled. All Germans

once in their lives, – mainly at school

where one has to study the “right” history

written by people who have won the II. World

War -, were brain-washed and were manipulated

to believe that every thought coming to

your mind, whether it’s the idea of the socalled

“III. Reich”, or some symbols, or

maybe clothes, boots, music, art, whatsoever,

best can be described with something pretty

criminal. Exclusively done to start another

World War or to rot everybody who is not e.g.

“Arian” or whatever. The brainwash is working

really good, you also directly asked me

whether I would “sympathize” or “provoke”,

which is soooooooo typical getting asked over

here. Specially over here. But also in nearly

all other European country coz people over

there also are brainwashed with those subjects.

Instead of feeling too guilty they are

forced hating us.

So basically whole Europe is manipulated by

e.g. the United States of America or Israel.

Be sure they are following their own interests

and surely wont give a damn, whether this

will become traumatic for a population or not.

Basically this totally is wanted. Whether I

sympathize with National Groups or not,

surely wont become a theme here. Using

“fascistic metaphorical language” definitely is

an interpretation or yourself and I also will

10

not comment on those things here. All I can

tell you is, that I am a proud German man

who really enjoy living in Germany which for

me personally is the best country

in the whole world, I have

great respect for my Godfathers

and Mothers and to no time

would deny my cultural and

also historical roots, whether

they were good or bad.

So if e.g. using symbols of my

own culture, I definitely wont

feel guilty doing and whether I

gonna follow some “political”

aspect with this or wont, well

this always depends on the

things I mentioned here before.

I by the way stripped off the

chains of mental slavery long

time ago, no longer feel guilty

of being German and therefore,

see myself as some strong,

self-assertive, individual, and

free member of the global

community.

Some years ago I did an interview

with you where you disliked the

internet and tried to avoid it as much as

possible. And now you are having your

Stahlmantel.com and MySpace Page going.

Was that the reason for the haircut?

You changed your opinion about the

internet completely?

What the heck? Hahahaha, great imagination!

Cutting off your hair because of the Internet?

Somehow cool idea, wow! No I haven’t

changed my mind bout the Internet, it surely

still is some control system for the dumb, but

one also can use it to spread the word around

a bit more. Ever used it for e.g. writing

emails around the world, which definitely is

more comfortable than doing the “writing

letters” stuff from the past which on the one

hand was expensive doing and on the other

got lost so many times. My “Stahlmantel”

website wont be visited by people who are

interested in Stahlmantel itself, it more is

used from a handful of guys, who gonna

meet there on the small “Bethlehem forum”,

I once have opened there.

The Bethlehem MySpace profile at the moment

has around 13,000 clicks in a period of

four months, but basically this wont mean

anything. Never sold any records there, so

basically this network is done for really nothing.

The Stahlmantel profile was dead since

the very beginning. Those new and free “possibilities”

only are some other tool of the

momentary “Zeitgeist” which totally is impressed

by personal prostitution and global

entertainment of mainly useless crap. Sure, I

would be an idiot if not using this for my own

crap too, specially coz I pay for this and also

use it for the most important

thing in my life, being in a

closer connection with my girlfriend

who is living in Barcelona/

Spain, but it never was

the revelation for me in general.

Sorry to say.

Just recently you’ve told me

about your new job, similar

to Käthe Kruse and

Schildkröt, on creating fetish

dolls for dominatrix studios

etc. Can you send me

some pictures for agm.com

and tell me how you got the

idea of making such dolls?

Do you own Käthe Kruse

dolls?

No, I don’t and though I somewhere

heard this name before,

I honestly know nuthing bout

“Käthe Kruse dolls”. Unfortunately

I cant send you photos

at the moment, coz my new creation of real

seize Fetish Dolls isn’t yet finished. I am sure

I will finish the new series till end of December,

so if you would agree, I could send new

photos to a later date? Thank you. Well, the

idea was born together with a Dominatrix

back in 2006, she wanted to open a special

studio where beside getting e.g. whipped or

humiliated, you also could buy some Fetish

Wear or Fetish Latex clothes, fitting you like a

second skin.

Since I am experimenting with those materials

for many years now, I thought it would be

some cool idea also doing some more artistic

kinda things which surely isn’t exclusively

done for Studios or Scenes, but also for people

who follow some morbid taste. So, since

the end of 2006 I experimented alot with this

11

idea but always failed coz of many, many

handicraft- and also copyright problems.

Meanwhile I progressed with my techniques

and therefore decided to step away from the

original idea and better open my own company

called “Body-Drop” which is specialized

on creating those special artworks for a wider

crowd as well. Like in music, I don’t wanna

limit my art to only some special scenes,

everybody who wants em, can buy em of

course. If you folks should be interested,

please contact me under

“info@stahlmantel.com”.

In 1994 you’ve called your debut album

“Dark Metal”. Now many years later a

whole scene has developed around this

term. It’s even mentioned in online encyclopaedias

like Wikipedia as a special

subgenre of metal. What do you think

about that? Can “Dark metal” be seen as

an own metal genre? How would you

define?

Bethlehem = Dark Metal. Ever was, ever will

be. Of course it can be seen as an own genre

now, coz it is. Although in my opinion, some

bands did not get the original meaning behind

and just called it like that although playing

just e.g. usual black metal.

On the other hand bands like The Shining,

Silencer, Forgotten Tomb, Abyssic Hate and

many, many more somehow understood the

intension behind and since they call it “Suicidal

Dark Metal” which basically is the same

term, they all interpreted it in a very special,

unique and grateful manner. Which of course

honours us a damn lot, specially coz we are

the original creators of some new sub-genre,

followed by so many people these days?

So basically, beside some old German bands

like e.g. “Can” or “Kraftwerk”, also “Bethlehem”

created something not known before

and therefore helped to progress a worldwide

musical genre. This is more than we ever

expected. Amen.

12

VICOTNIK

(DøDHEIMSGARD, VED BUENS ENDE)

An Odyssey Of Lost Teeth

By Olivier Côté

As I don’t really believe that I could actually

come up with an introduction as interesting

as the man I’m about to introduce to the

avant-garde hyper famous hall of music, I

had the idea to let his own friends speak out.

Vicotnik aka Viper aka Mr. Fixit aka Osama

Bin Askeladden aka 498 aka Vicon-Tiki has

been around for at least fifteen years, and

throughout his multiple projects and personalities,

he obviously carried a strong artistic

statement up every musical scene’s tiny asshole,

whatever impact that might has had.

Ved Buens Ende, DHG (Dødheimsgard), Endwarfment,

Aphrodisiac, <CODE> and Den

Saakaldte represent some parts of his past

and present catharsis. Nevertheless, my only

true concern, during our written conversations,

was to give him an opportunity to

freely think through his own mindset. I can

therefore only hope that you’re all going to

enjoy the final transmissions. Directly from

outer space, please welcome Mr. Fantastic

Deceptionist, the great Indian psycho terrorist

Yusaf Parvez…

The man is uniquely intelligent. – Carl-

Michael Eide

Vicotnik, a remarkable friend and individual…

Always manages to surprise you either with

his ways or his creativity in music. Clever as

hell, devoted in everything he is doing…

Definitely one of the most interesting, in

every way, people I have ever met and an

honor for me being his friend! – Michael

Sykelig

Yusaf is a visionary in the true sense of the

word…He has a singular dedication to his

music, and an unflinching desire for it to be

the best it possible can be. When he plays

you a new riff, you can instantly recognize his

trademark sound and style, but despite how

familiar you are with that style, you will

never fail to be amazed by the new and unconventional

ways he contorts the strings to

fit his purpose. He is one of the few musicians

I believe has truly crafted a world of

their own and no one can touch it. – Andy

Aort Mcivor

Vicotnik is stubborn as fuck!!! – Apollyon

When I met Vicotnik in 1999 his arm had

been bandaged. I asked him what happened.

He replied that one day he suddenly thought

that his arm shouldn’t belong to him anymore.

So he tried to smash it. – Christof Niederwieser

Well, I’ve known this character for about

fifteen years now, and what can I tell you,

Yusaf has been a good friend, probably the

closest thing I have to a brother. He’s a very

reliant person, always there to back you up.

He’s most honest and doesn’t necessarily say

exactly what you wanna hear in a troubled

situation, but you get to hear what he means

is right. He’s a stubborn man and probably

the most enduring bastard I’ve ever known

ha ha! Think I haven’t seen him submitting to

anything without giving it all his best. He’s a

man with strong characteristics, and a will of

his own!!! He tends to become a bit unstable

in some situations (especially the alcoholicinfluenced

ones), he’s a bit moody, and you

don’t always know where he’s at or what he

is thinking. Anyway, I sincerely love him and

wish him only the best. – Bjørn Aldrahn

Dencker

Well hi there, Vicotnik! Congratulations

for your killer comeback within a sometimes

excessively much sterile metal

scene, Supervillain Outcast is for sure an

amazingly refreshing take on Black

Metal! You must be aware that truckloads

of people have been impatiently

waiting for DHG to give them a new blast,

because as we all recognize it, 666 International

had a huge impact on everyone

involved in appreciating Black

Metal’s historical evolution back in 1999.

It has been such a long time since your

last musical appearance as DHG, and I

would like it if you just tried to introduce

us to the realm of these seven years that

went by in between the release of 666

International and your actual state of

mind regarding music. Basically the

question burning on everyone’s lips is: in

retrospect, why in the hell did it take so

long to bring this new album to a life of

its own?

Hey man. Cheers for the praise. I was not

very happy when I read your first question

13

(laughs). If I ask you what you believe is the

most frequently asked question nowadays,

what do you say? You guessed it, this one.

Nevertheless, I will do my best to venture

down this road once again. I started planning

this album already when we were in the studio

recording 666 International. Some songs

in some form or another date to back then.

After touring in relation to 666 International,

I went to Spain to either finish writing the

new album or drink my self to death. I went

far south and rented myself a little house. As

I was sitting outside my door, drinking bottles

of wine with braids in my hair, the Spanish

kids ran by me pointing and laughing.

This appealed to my sense of cosiness, so I

put myself to the abuse everyday. I also

tracked down a place the locals referred to as

a really bad neighbourhood. So every night

around eleven or twelve, I filled up my pockets

with all the money I had and ventured up

and down the neighbourhood. It

soon became clear to me that these

criminals and robbers thought I was

CRAZY, and therefore did not touch

me. Other nights I ventured down

to bars where the macho men and

the bimbo women were courting

each others and I pretended to be

homosexual, grabbing the guys’

asses, and asked if they wanted to

spend some time with me. This did

not really sit well with the guests.

Funny enough, I was never asked

to leave and I never got kicked in

the ass, they probably thought I

would like it. One day, I was standing

in the shower and brushing my

teeth, and I could feel the teeth

bending backward. I stopped brushing

and tried yanking my teeth with my fingers.

It turned out every single one of them

was barely sticking in my gums. It was time

to go home. I had in fact been able to create

something of a blue-print for most of the

songs.

Well back home, I started gathering people to

get them involved, and for a long time it was

only me and Czral whom rehearsed. Members

came and went as we went along and in the

end we had our guys. In 2003 I believe, we

entered the studio to record our mess. Here

everything started going wrong, both technically

and with the line-up of the band. Half

the band suddenly left and left their work for

me. It was like having a birthday inside a

straight-jacket. Here started the real process

of finding a new vocalist, getting new lyrics,

making effects, editing, recording, mixing,

etc… Then I believe I took a pause while

working with <CODE>, and I now and then

worked as a studio engineer. But I have more

or less worked with the album since we entered

the studio to now. It’s very time demanding

when you have to learn the things

you are going to do. The time spent though,

gave me the opportunity to get a new band

on its feet and rehearse simultaneously as I

was working in the studio with various things.

In the end, I’m very happy with all our efforts

and I’m very proud of the album.

Now that was a mind-trip! Back in 2003,

many fans were shocked by what appeared

to be some deeply depressing

news. Your all-time colleague and only

original line-up member, lyricist and vocalist

Aldrahn, suddenly left the building,

and so did computer mind Zweizz and

experimental drummer Czral. What went

wrong between yourself and these highquality,

really unique musicians, since

we all can appreciate how essential their

roles were in the shaping of 666 International?

I want to point out

that Zweizz was

never the computer

mind in DHG.

He did not make

the effects on 666

International; he

played the synth

and the piano. The

guy responsible for

the effects on 666

International is

Ginge from the

Electro act SUBGUD.

Seeing

Aldrahn leave was

definitely the hardest

of the three. I

had felt for many years that I kinda made

music for me and for him. Aldrahn is still on

top of my list of friends and I am sure we will

do something in the future as well. He quit

because he was to become a father and could

not be so devoted to the band anymore.

Now, some years later, it’s been proven that

his exit was not really necessary. On the

other hand, I think that all of us guys that

have held each others hands for the last 15

years made a wise decision to let go. I believe

we all benefited from this, and as a result

of it we can become better artists and

performers. Czral had been my main cooperation

partner since the Ved Buens Ende

days, so the desire to break free from each

others and develop on our own was really

strong. Zweizz was more a result of a mutual

decision. He wanted to start making songs; I

did not want to compromise my life’s work for

something I probably wouldn’t like. So that

one was not very hard.

14

One has to remember as well that DHG had

not really been a band since we rehearsed for

Satanic Art.

666 international is mainly my musical catharsis.

I wanted to rid myself of every theme

I had made that I could remember and did so.

This is mainly an album that came out of the

close work between me and my producer at

the time, Bjørn Boge. Of course others contributed

as well, but as for the hard work,

sleeping, eating and shitting, that’s me and

Boge. Aldrahn contributed a lot in the sense

that he performed well and wrote the lyrics.

He is one of the best vocalists this scene ever

nurtured. Zweizz biggest contributions are

the piano interludes; all the synth and piano

in the songs were either arranged by me or

by the producer. 666 International is a constructed

idea. I am its father, but it has a life

of its own.

Alright man, thanks for clearing up this

issue. Would you then mind revealing to

us who are the new DHG band members,

in regards to personal anecdotes, to

their musical talents and to their particular

personalities? I would think that

you have chosen each one of them for

specific reasons; could you then please

expose at least some of these reasons?

The single greatest thing with these members

is that prior to joining

the band they

were like the biggest

fans. The

practical value of

having members

that love the band

is that it’s really

easy to pull in the

same direction. The

guys I have been

playing with in the

past are all great,

but they were very conscious about their own

careers. Picking the new guys was really easy

because of the fact that I’ve known most of

them for a great number of years prior to

them joining. When it comes to anecdotes, I

am not sure if it’s fair of me to put my members

in a predicament. We have seen each

others in about every fucked up situation you

can image. A year ago or so I and Kvohst

were trashing around the apartment, when

my heart suddenly acted up, and as I thought

I was dying, Kvohst was running around not

knowing how to handle it. He is a British guy,

so he didn’t even know the number to the

ambulance. I imagine how useless he felt,

running around with the phone in his hand,

while his band mate was getting less and less

conscious. The world really gets small in a

situation like that.

The members involved right now are Kvohst

on the vocals, Thrawn on the guitar, Clandestine

handling the bass, Darn playing drums,

Jormundgand taking care of the synth and of

course yours truly.

Well, how do you personally comprehend

your musical evolution within an important

metal sub-genre such as Black Metal,

which has now become kind of a trend in

many over-intellectualised indie magazines

and so-called experimental circles?

Do you think that you belong to any

scene at all, or in other words, are you

consciously contributing to the establishment

of one particular musical ideology?

Your first two albums were obviously

connected to old-school black

thrash metal, whereas with Satanic Art

and 666 International, everything became

much more blurred and abstract

when it comes to genre aesthetics. What

is now DHG’s artistic agenda?

Opinions in that sense are not very important

to me. Even Black Metal will die, but then

there will always be all the old albums, so the

spirit of Black Metal will never die. There will

always be good music around. What I do

hope though is that people know what they

are doing and why they are doing it, that

there is some sense of honesty to their craft.

15

I don’t get mad if some band from the underground

scene makes it real big. It’s basically

none of my business. I try to be conscience

about myself, I try to grow, improve

on all levels and basically lead a beneficial life

where pre-ordained dogmas or principals

have no value unless they are my own. The

same way it’s not really interesting either to

throw my wisdom upon the world, so to

speak. I think people will benefit more to

listen to their hearts than to listen to me.

I have chosen to have my contact with the

outside world through music. It’s not to prove

a point; it’s just putting my experience into a

kind of endless format. As to what I hope it

achieves? I hope it inspires people to create,

to be better people, to take better care of

themselves, to get more in touch with suppressed

areas of their emotional life, or

something completely different: basically,

what I hope to achieve is up to you…

Our artistic agenda will always change, like

human beings change. Even though we don’t

want to, we do. So since Satanic Art we have

become more blurred for the reason that we

have become more organic in a way. It’s not

just infantile fantasies or metrological report

of some kind. It’s a whole life inside our records.

Even the old albums are records of life,

in a simpler, more one-sided sense.

All my albums tell me something about myself.

I have faith, I think anyone would benefit

of having a belief system. It cannot be for

selfish reasons generated through fear, redemption,

hypocrisy, career, etc. Faith is not

about getting, it is about achieving. Faith has

to be the model for your personal ideal. I

cannot understand all the interest people put

into other people’s life, don’t they find themselves

interesting enough? For me, I do want

people to be close to my music if they feel it,

but I have no desire about them obsessing

about me.

I think there was a scene once that sort of

shared ideals, or to be more eloquent, a

scene where you shared a lack of ideals. I

mean come on, all of us were just kids, and

let’s face it: we weren’t much different from

any other teenagers growing up at the time,

except that we had somewhere to vent our

desires and our frustration. This argument is

thoroughly strengthened by the fact that if

you go take part in the Black Metal scene

here in Norway nowadays, you will quickly

see that it’s all about spending time together

and the shared interest in the music is what

draws the people together.

When it comes to me personally, I did not

start to listen to Black Metal and then got

interested in the occult. The passion was

already there. I have also grown up with

many different religious paths around me as I

have an Indian background. This is why Black

Metal put my butt in the seat as soon as we

were acquainted, because the flare for the

contents in Black Metal already resided inside

me.

Now let’s talk about DHG’s sick-to-thebone

homemade library. Aldrahn’s lyrics

and performances on 666 International

were basically all over the place and

quite out-there, so to speak, absorbing

elements from mythological narratives

as well as taking kind of a post-modern

twist on absurdist poetry – in one word,

it was downright unique. What about

Kvohst’s writing and singing, and how

would you say that they are directly connected

to the music found on Supervillain

Outcast?

I think Kvohst writes a lot better technically

and in a much clearer narrative. It’s easier to

write in an absurd fashion, because you are

not really revealing anything. “Gobbling

numbers to safety, aerobatic stance unblurred.

Focus rendering motion, tears cracking

strong hostile limbs.” I am basically talking

about eating breakfast and training, who

would ever think that? It’s easy to hide the

fact that you don’t have much on your mind if

you write in a way that in the end is 100 %

up to the interpreter. I am not saying Aldrahn

has nothing on his mind, but artistically

Kvohst’s lyrics suit me a lot better. Because

it’s not about shying away, and at the same

time they are kind of written from the viewing

point of the observer. I think it becomes a

bit bogus when your genius is dependent

upon other people’s interpretations. I feel our

lyrics now have the edge they previously

missed.

16

His performance on the album

was kind of a three way effort,

Aldrahn’s obviously, but also

our producer and my own. 666

International was not a rehearsed

album, it was a plan

and a vision I had, which I put

into commission with contributions

from friends and a whole

lot of work together with my

producer. I needed a kind of

catharsis, getting rid of all the

material I had collected over

the years. It’s kind of like a

crossover between music and

cabaret. So Aldrahn’s lyrics

worked like hand in glove. But

this time around, I wanted to

take a big step to the next level.

You were saying that with

Supervillain Outcast, you

had to learn everything

“technical” from scratch,

including programming, sampling, making

effects and so on. Listening to the

way you present Black Metal, I get the

feeling that you’re a fan of many other

forms of music, like for instance techno,

noise or whatever. I also know that back

in ’96, you took part in the dark ambient

noise band Aphrodisiac. Therefore I’m

curious to know if that’s a kind of musical

output you’d like to explore once

again, now that you can more thoroughly

handle electronic devices.

I was a little bit learned on the making loops

and effects bit. Not much but a bit. On the

other hand I knew nothing about being an

engineer and there is really a hell lot to learn.

Yes, I do listen to a lot of different forms of

music. In my estimation you only have good

or bad music, I am not that genre-oriented.

Different genres emphasize different emotions.

What happens with me musically is

nothing I really plan. We just have to see

what I jump into. Right now there is a lot

going on though, and I think in relation to

doing my very best, I have to stay concentrated

on the tasks ahead. Aphrodisiac was

making insane music without rock-oriented

music instruments, and it was a great dive

into the sordid psyche.

In a previous answer, you mentioned

that your interest in the occult was already

there, even before you discovered

Black Metal as a musical form. Let’s

guess that this interest has ever since

then very much expanded in space and

time. At the present, what do you mean

by “occultism” – is that some kind of a

life philosophy connected with any

known or unknown traditions in particular?

And how is your definition

of occultism affiliated

together with your

musical impulses?

When I previously said occult,

I used it as a general label of

anything being related to

spiritual phenomenon. I was

brought up in a Muslim family,

and in this day and age

Muslims are probably the

group of people whom take

their faith the most seriously.

My upbringing was subjected

to all the Muslim traditions

and customs. I was even

supposed to marry my

cousin. For most people subjected

to this, it’s natural

just to adopt the belief system

of your father. But for a

small group of people this

upbringing creates quite a

strong consciousness from a really early age.

Not far into my existence I came on odd edge

with my family. Being on my own opened

even more doors in my mind. I think all the

situations that put you at risk in some way,

either physically or mentally, are the most

beneficial. Faith-systems are a God ideal

that’s theoretically you, if you fulfil your potentials

and live in order to reach your capacities.

Finding your own nature is a lifelong

dedication. In order to do so you have to

emancipate yourself from basically everything

you know and start redefining, using yourself

as the tool to do so. True religion does not

concern everybody else, true religion only

concerns the man or woman who subjects

him/herself to it.

I do regard myself as a Satanist; this means

that I support self-indulgence. I seek for personal

truth and freedom, simplicity and efficiency.

It’s merging your soul with life’s fabric.

It’s a system of representation. We create

our own damnations and rewards. When I

became an outcast, the world suddenly expanded.

I made two decisions concerning the

years ahead. Number 1 – Get acquainted

with the world’s vast portions of philosophy

and religion. That’s the best way to understand

our history as well. In other words you

dive into all the world’s opinions and see

that’s basically what the fabric of the world is

– opinions. Number 2 – Was subjecting myself

to every kind of subjective experience I

could think of and later view them both objectively

and personally. All kinds of situations

were interesting, even the ones that did

not benefit me materialistically or in some

other form. The dirtier and darker the experience,

the happier I was. Processing information

in every thinkable angle and at the same

17

time living it; it’s kind of being an observer of

society. Not in a critical or naive way, but just

observe to become more knowledgeable and

powerful. Of course all this is very general,

but so is the question.

Part 2: A Dance Between Chaos And Order

You said somewhere else that the new

DHG album is already composed. I know

it’s a bit early to start thinking about

that, but I would guess that throughout

all these years you’ve been giving shape

to at least a vision of DHG’s future. Is

there something you’ve not been exploring

on Supervillain Outcast and would

like to try out next time? Not to speak

against Kvohst, as of course his vocal

performances are quite intense, fully

accomplished and perfectly wellexecuted,

but is there any chance to

bring Aldrahn back to your musical madness?

I know you guys are good friends,

so that’s basically why I’m asking.

No, unless Kvohst quits there is no chance of

that happening. His style, range and ability

suit my ambition a lot more. Aldrahn has a

lot of heart, but also has a lot to learn technically.

I think he is content with what he possesses,

so it’s better that he does bands that

do not demand a clinical execution as well as

bringing along the heart into the equation.

Aldrahn has a great voice and he is by no

means finished with his career. I guess both

a Thorns album and a The Deathtrip album

are not ages away from being presented to

the public. I am also happy about the fact

that Kvohst is British; it gives a deeper exploration

of the English language. Now the lyrics

are as I want them, more accessible but

multi-stylistic. We can now thoroughly write

about certain themes, atmospheres, ideas,

etc. and keep a red thread from one lyric to

another, without being conceptual.

Most of DHG’s fans know how long both

the mixing and the mastering of Supervillain

Outcast took in order to get completed.

In comparison, some bands only

spend perhaps one or two months mastering

a whole album. Would you mind

introducing us to what was so hard to

balance within your sound particles?

Was there something specific you had a

hellish time to drive into perfection?

What was the most challenging part of

the mixing/mastering process? Without

going into too many technical details, it

would be highly interesting to read

about the sound-picture you were aiming

for and finally had the pleasure to

achieve. I believe that Thrawn was helping

you out throughout the whole adventure,

is that right?

I don’t think everybody in this scene is an

artist. A lot of people just want to play carbon

copies of the bands they like. I am ok with

that, it’s not my point. My point is that if I

wanted to make a Celtic Frost sounding album,

I would know exactly how long every

aspect of the production would take, and

could therefore make a realistic time-line.

When your idea is something that lives in

your brain, and wants to manifest itself

physically for the first time, things like time

do not exist. A wise man once said that great

art is never finished, only abandoned. This is

very true. I did not want to abandon my mu18

sic before it fitted the profile I created for it.

In doing so I ensured that a lot of my personality

went from organ to plastic. DHG is

not only about recreating a mood, like battery

albums sound and look cool, lets do this.

DHG is about pushing boundaries, both personal

and musical.

I’m sure most of us all discovered with

great pleasure your stunning approach

to bass playing on < code >’s first album

Nouveau Gloaming, as at last it was possible

to feel and hear prominent and intricate

bass lines within a dreamy Black

Metal context. I understand that you

also are the producer of the band. So

how’s the new album coming along;

what do we have to expect this time

around? And as the producer, will you

try to bring Simen’s voice to new, unexplored

territories, as I feel that within

Dimmu Borgir’s area of

sound, his singular potentialities

are somewhat

restricted to a

more epic-sounding style

of singing?

I would very much want to

take Simen’s talent in another

direction. His talent is

enormous, but his Borknagar

or Dimmu Borgir style

would not become < code >

that much I am afraid. I

would like to take Simen in

a much darker direction.

Glad you like the bass playing;

I think the album

turned out very well. The

new album is a bit delayed

due to other priorities. Me

and especially Simen are busy characters. I

produced the Nouveau Gloaming album, but

Andy had really put in the direction and the

context with his songwriting. Hopefully we

will be finished with the new < code > album

this summer. It’s not easy when both DHG

and Dimmu Borgir have had new releases

this year.

Please enlighten us regarding the new

band you’ve recently joined, I’m speaking

of Den Saakaldte. Is that only a sideproject

or a full-time band where your

contributions are of a great importance?

And after having played together with

Czral for such a long time, whose drumming

skills were quite impressive to say

the least, how does it compare with

Hellhammer’s technical capacities? Any

preferences?

Hellhammer is the more technical drummer

and hard worker. Carl is a pure artist. It’s

never about his mind or limbs, it’s his heart.

Carl is one of the most talented people I

know. Not because he is the best, but because

he is so honest in his work. Den Saakaldte

is a friend’s project, what it will become

is yet to see. Right now, Den Saakaldte

means helping out a friend, but I am sure

that as the material surfaces, I will get really

dedicated to that specific expression. I have

contributed with a riff here and there. Michael

does not really need my help on making

songs to his vision so to speak. I am sure my

main contributions will reside outside the

sphere of instruments.

Since some of your musical output

comes out sounding rather psychedelic

and soul-bubbling so to speak, I would

be curious to know if there have been

any legal or illegal substances that

somehow had an impact on the way you

handle your music in

DHG, or on how you

perceive it as a composer.

There are a few

mind-expanding drugs

out there that share

some elemental qualities

with DHG’s bursts

of emotional explorations;

what do you

personally think about

drugs when they are

absorbed in relation

with musical composition?

I leave that speculation

up to you. What do you

think? I have not made

any music under the influence

of drugs, but I do

think that what you put into your body also

comes out in expression. It’s already something

there that relates to the mind. If you

are a workout alcoholic, obviously that would

work better for you if you eat and sleep right,

but also if you ordain your mental discipline

in accordance to what you want to achieve.

That goes for every human being. If you are

a careless person, that will be apparent in

what you eat, when you sleep, what you talk

about, who your friends are, etc. Drugs are

not important in my life, exploration is. Nothing

is fixed in black and white, even though

we are thought to fit into that dualistic way of

thinking. Our world is made up on an antagonist\

protagonist relationship. The way we

have chosen to develop as a collective is just

a possibility. It is born out of an idea.

Even in our modern history things could have

looked very different right now. If Hitler

would have won two world wars (not very

realistic, but indulge me), our education sys19

tem would have been very different, as Darwinism

would fill up our schooldays. We

would teach more about differences than

similarities. Our cultural life would have been

dead. Sense of pride and honour would have

a different meaning. This isn’t any less fixed

than how we live today, but it illustrates a

general world work on other values in pursuit

of truth and happiness.

Back to drugs, I think anything you can conquer

benefits you, not necessarily in the eyes

of our state or your mother, but those two

institutions base their relationship to it on

concern (yes, I call motherhood an institution).

I think if one really is to see some things

worth, one has to base the right emotion or

deed to the right context. That’s why knowing

yourself is so important. I know a lot of people

think they have come to this next level

just by wishing so. But as soon as they are

struck by something really trivial by the outside,

like for example owing taxes, girlfriend

breaking up, etc., they tend to act programmed.

Defining self-worth from an outside

standing point. How would you react if

your girlfriend fucked some other guy?

Probably like most in your male demographic.

Why is that? Why is shifting blame and responsibility

suddenly such a welcome creed?

Why is it suddenly poor little helpless me,

and you dirty whore? I understand it on an

emotional level, and I have nothing against

people reacting in this manner. That’s a really

interesting point. Too many people have the

luxury and time to sit and define themselves

with words that practically rarely are tested.

To achieve this lifelong longing for experience

you cannot have the luxury of being comfortable

all the time. People rarely live up to

what they represent themselves to be when

their balls are against the wall.

There’s no wonder why we sit on pubs drinking

with our friends, while we define ourselves

as these big, great, important idealists.

Ha, what a laugh! From great strife rises the

Phoenix. I got a bit side-tracked. I could sum

up why drugs in 99 percent of all cases are

bad: because most people use them to escape,

not to form.

What happened to

Czral back in march

2005 must have been

such a shock, since he

had been your main

jamming drummer

and friend for all

these years prior to

his tragedian jump.

Then Ved Buens Ende

resurrected from the

tomb, but you guys

have lately once again

disbanded, since as I

understand it, Czral

wanted to mainly concentrate

on his riffing

style and therefore

refused to share the

composing content of

the band. Are you going to be linked, in

some way or another (for example in the

studio work) with the upcoming Virus

album? And what will come out of the

riffs you made while Ved Buens Ende

was still being alive; perhaps more

songs in the vein of All Is Not Self?

What happened to him is his business. What

happened to us is just as you say. Carl

wanted to make our project his project. Thus

I said: your thing is Virus, make that band

the best in the world. I understand that he

wants to do his own thing, and I wish him all

the luck in the task at hand. It would be

great to produce Virus, but I guess that after

15 years of band playing, communication has

become a bit unnatural. So I am unsure if it

really would benefit Virus. I will probably use

the Ved Buens Ende parts I made, that can

be taken in another direction, in DHG.

Let’s now regress in time; we’re in ‘93-

‘94, when Black Metal’s second wave

was arising, leading up to many new

unknown paths. Back at the time, you

were forming what is now considered to

be an all-time cult band, Ved Buens Ende,

together with Carl-Michael Eide and

Hugh Mingay. You guys were one of the

first to explore the more unconventional,

psychedelic and experimental side of

Black Metal. In retrospect, how do you

20

think Ved Buens Ende had or hadn’t a

musical impact on the scene? Were you

a respected band back then? And from

your perspective, what do you think

happened to Ved Buens Ende in 1995-

1997? I’m sure many old fans have been

wondering about that.

I think it’s a bloody shame that Ved Buens

Ende never outlived its potential. If we made

an album today with the experience we have

gathered over the years, I am sure it would

be something special. It’s not all lost though,

as Carl-Michael has his Virus, which in many

ways is Ved Buens Ende’s younger cousin.

We were not a respected band back then, but

we were respected individuals within the

scene. I think Ved Buens Ende was way

ahead of its time, having our genre in mind.

The interest in the band today is awesome;

the few releases we put out are pure cult in

people minds. I remember critics from Germany

back in the heyday (around 1995) even

claimed that we could not handle our instruments,

that we were shitty musicians. Then

those very same magazines would hail bands

like Martyrium and Graveland. I have nothing

against these two bands, but they were never,

what should we say, really clinical when it

came to their instrumentation. That’s a nice

way of putting it I think.

Ved Buens Ende was a deeply misunderstood

band, because it was difficult to connect with.

You know, some bands are really an instant

satisfaction, whereas with Ved Buens Ende,

you have to explore the music, its craved of

you as a listener. What happened to us? Well,

the same thing that happens to a lot of bands,

namely EGO. Carl-Michael and I should have

given Hugh more power in the band, because

he would have managed to keep it together.

Another thing is that Ved Buens Ende was

neglected because our other projects took

most of our time. I do not think Ved Buens

Ende will resurface in the nearest future, but

never say never. Maybe we just need a couple

of more years to mature as individuals

before we can re-animate this joint venture.

Is it ironic for you to consider that the

only time you went out on tour was in

1999 with one of the most popular bands

from Norway, namely Dimmu Borgir, in

order to present such a fucking challenging

and unpopular album? You seem to

have been in touch with that particular

band from the very beginning, as you

were singing on their first album For All

Tid, and even had their guitarist Galder

on Satanic Art; is that a band you are

particularly fond of, music-wise? Now to

the ultimate question: both of you have

released a new album almost at the

same time this year, so why in the hell

didn’t you go out on tour together once

again?

I think if we went on tour this time around, it

would actually be more successful. Dimmu

Borgir is not really my cup of tea. I think they

have great things going on here and there,

but they do not really nurture the feelings I

want to be in contact with when listening to

extreme music. I have tremendous respect

for their hard work and their fucking awesome

dedication. One of the, if not the hardest

working bands in this country. If you

don’t get inspired by their music is one thing,

but you really have to be blown away about

their dedication. I wish them the best of luck,

even though they seem not to need it at all.

Yes, I did some vocal work on their first album,

and a long scream on the second one I

believe. The reason for this is plain and simply

kinship. They are friends, and we have

really grown up in this scene together. Galder

played a little bit guitar for us back in 97,

before he was a part of Dimmu Borgir. At

that time his ambition resided in Old Man’s

Child, so the affair was brief. He is a fucking

great guitarist, both playing-wise and when it

comes to melody and arrangements. Gene

Hoglan once said he was the best guitarist he

ever worked with. That’s some testament of

your abilities. Maybe Dimmu Borgir and DHG

will do something in the future together, it’s a

difficult call. Practically it would not be much

of a problem, but I think our fan bases are

probably miles apart. All the best to them.

21

Earlier in our conversations, you were

touching the subject of observation, experience

and individual empowerment.

While reading another interview of yours,

I noticed how much you were

being critical towards capitalism

in general, especially regarding

the fixed state of

things, and how man, now

that he seriously believes

that everything is as it should

be, isn’t able anymore to picture

himself up to another

level of reality. Having now in

mind Theodor Adorno and his

famous phrase – “the task of

art today is to bring chaos

into order” – I would guess

that Supervillain Outcast is not only a

path you’ve found leading to self-growth

and self-realization, but also, somehow,

your personal statement against the actual

forms of social order. Maybe I’m all

wrong here, but I just want you to comment

on the possible power of artistic

idealism and freedom, when it comes to

their impact on our system’s economical

and human total decadence? Is that

something you are conscious about

when you start thinking about how DHG

is linked with the world

where its music is conceived?

In other

words: how does a supervillain

outcast relate

to the city that

first nurtured himself?

Those two things you

mentioned above are no

contradictions; they are

flip-sides of the coin. Yes,

I despise a lot of things,

but I am content over

everything’s brief moment

in history. So I am content

despising. It takes

one big change for the

whole world to be affected

by it. This in turn

will change what made the change in the first

place, and there you have the process all

over again. This is the pulse of the world; all

energy is an always constant thing. Yes, I am

the observer, not the meddler, I meddle with

people who are within my sphere here in life,

and they go inflicting their life on someone

else. The importance of self-growth is really

simple; without it, there is nothing. You yourself

have to value your ideals and your words

worth through practicing your disciplines under

conditions you don’t control to really understand

who you are. Reading books does

not cut it. That’s basically smooching off

somebody else’s valuable life earnings. Practicing

while being unchallenged will most

probably mean that your mental projection of

yourself is manifested in what you would like

to be, not what you are.

Humans are funny; I

think if you would have

asked ten people to define

an intelligent person,

99 percent would build

up a character very

much like themselves.

People tend to call people

they agree with for

smart just based on

agreeing. I think it’s very

easy for humans to be

drawn to what they want

to represent themselves with, so they can get

and project their answers from their companionship.

You can really see the weakness in

the human race through their habits. This is

an element that shows how tired and lazy the

human being has really become. Always

striving for this outside validity, and confirming

themselves through their group, partner

and constructions. The dance between Chaos

and Order works as much on a cellular order

as on a galactic scale. We are very much part

of this dance, we can even momentarily disturb

the equilibrium of it. Holding

on to our false structures of truth

will only make the process of failing

more painful. The human race

is really part of something completely

different, but we tend to

put absolute truth into what we

ourselves have created, that’s why

we cannot let go, and probably

why the human race will mean

absolutely nothing in the end. DHG

is part of my practice; one could

transform all of my efforts in life

endeavour into relating to DHG on

a smaller scale. Success is a key

word, but you have to measure

success yourself, so you really

understand what it means.

I am not from a specific City; I

was born in Oslo, raised in Stockholm and

New Delhi area and have also lived in places

like Askim and Malaga. I feel love for cities,

but what I love is what I have experienced

there. The experience is mine, not the City’s.

For me as an idealist, I must craft myself to

just as comfortable in a castle as in a coffin.

Thanks a lot to Mr. Parvez for his precious

time. I hope that you all had a good time

reading through his mind. Maybe to be continued…

22

ABIGOR

Inside The Fractal Lab

By Tentakel P. & Chrystof

There are many people out there who have

hoped for a resurrection of the beast ABIGOR,

and it seems Satan has answered their

prayers and unleashed it upon the earth once

again. Six years after “Satanized” ABIGOR

have released a truly satanic masterpiece

named “Fractal Possession”, and with that

they should finally manage to claim a place in

the Black-Metal pantheon. ABIGOR have been

a force to reckon with in BM since a long time.

Yet “Fractal Possession” is – while still maintaining

the coldness, brutality and the spirit

of BM – experimental and innovative to a

point where it even leaves most avant-garde

metal acts behind.

This trip into cosmic insanity can hardly be

compared with anything else, not even their

previous releases – Reason enough to shed

some light on the creative people behind it.

PK and the freshly returned TT share

thoughts with Chrystof and Tentakel P. about

the mechanism behind ABIGOR, Black Metal,

MP3’s and our satanic pope

.

Ch: Peter and Thomas, you’ve

been out of the metal scene for

quite some years. Now you’re

back with one of your best albums

ever. What has changed

most in the music scene since

your departure? Has it become

easier or harder for you to

spread your works?

PK: Hard to say, I never really cared

about “what changed”, but each coin

has two sides, so we definitely

benefit that it all grew up throughout the

years, on the other side it’s a shame that it

all watered down and the entire genre (Black-

Metal) is based on false images and sell-rates

while leaving the important attitudes behind.

But also new bands rose, new labels, new

forms of distribution and promotion, so I

won’t paint it all black, I guess it still undergoes

it natural selection and with Fractal Possession

we opened new ways for ABIGOR,

some might dislike it, but Fractal Possession

is a new chapter in ABIGOR’s history, it reflects

ourselves, and the spirit of the time we

currently live in – cold, nihilistic, death-trap.

TT: Spreading our work is not the major concern

basically, but of course, one or another

thought at the time an album is (artistically)

done appears. If it is easy or not these days

– it’s too early to give a well-founded analysis

about the present market and our position.

Remember, my departure was at the turning

of the millennium – things and technologies

changed and the net and MP3 may have a

negative influence and affect the quality for

the listener as well as the artists alike. With

people loading a hundred different tracks on

their player the whole thought of an album, a

self contained piece with a concept that includes

artwork and lyrics, slowly seem to

fade. Artists get reduced to “that great track

nr. 12 on my iPod”, and not to forget the

people’s acceptance of shitty converted MP3s

gets bigger and bigger, most people don’t

even get irritated when they hear this shitty

flanging low-bit rate MP3 sound in the background

somewhere. I could freak out every

time I hear it. So, I haven’t released music

for 6 years and I don’t know if all this has

already affected our field of music.

As for the Black Metal scene, where we obviously

spread most of our albums,

I just can say there’s many serious artists

and bands out there that create mature extreme

satanic art, while in the 90s, when we

peaked in terms of sales and “popularity”,

Black Metal was in its teenage years. With

Fractal Possession we clearly defined our

position again, we don’t belong to the “Lord

Supersilentultraevil” forest castle fantasy

type, and we don’t belong to

the old bands that once sold

much and now just produce

uninspired Black Rock’n’Roll

either. End All Life/Norma

Evangelium Diaboli is the

perfect partner in crime, the

most respected label hence

our first choice to execute

and spread our works.

I would go that far to say

EAL/NED rise above the Metal

market with many or even

most of their releases and

can be viewed as label for

extreme satanic art without any boundaries

of the average (B)M scene, which sadly often

sticks to the Metal stereotypes that were

conceived in/for the 80s and 90s, and falls

into ridiculousness instead of really offering

something more (or at least be REALLY extreme).

TP: So what are your thoughts on the

future of (metal) music then? People

starting to buy or download only MP3’s;

making CD’s, LP’s and such obsolete? Or

could there be a recollection to the “old”

ways- There is a vast number of reunions

these days, many bands from the

70’s/ 80’s returning to the stage with

varying success, even Led Zeppelin are

rumoured to reunite from what I have

heard. Could these bands manage to

infuse interest for the past into today’s

MP3-consuming youth? As you said, six

23

years are a long time- People listening to

metal nowadays might not even have

heard of ABIGOR before. Do you think

you could be one of those bands to ignite

interest for musical history in a new

generation?

PK: Now you download MP3s, back in the 80s

you got a tape, so there’s no real difference,

nor do I think, especially in (Black-)Metal,

bands, labels not distributions suffer from the

“illegal” downloads, if one likes the album/

samples the album will be bought. At

least none can foresee how it all turn out,

time will tell…

TT: The MP3 problem is not only one concerning

the “(music-)business” side, or not

only one how to handle a piece of art. It simply

affects how people perceive quality – and

I think soon they don’t give a fuck. A well

converted MP3 played on a good stereo is not

what I’m talking about (as it sounds quiet ok

if you don’t compare it), but today people

accept everything, as long as it’s free. I hear

so many shitty converted flanging/phasing

MP3s around me everywhere, in people’s cars,

in shops and cafes/restaurants etc, that I

sometimes ask myself if I’m the only person

with ears around.

The threshold of what people can take, of

what they’re used to listen to in terms of

average quality gets lower and lower. You

know, back in the days as T. A. Edison presented

his early wax “turntable” (a roller of

wax where you could record e.g.. a voice and

then play it back, the precursor of the phonograph

and the turntable) to the public they

were all stunned “how realistic it sounds” –

you can imagine how crappy that sounded,

but it was state-of-the-art. What I want to

say is that people easily adapt to something,

not too long ahead on this way and we arrive

at the point where people accept shit and

think it’s all good, where they lost the ability

to judge about quality.

But apart from the quality issue, especially in

Black Metal, music, layout, lyrics – everything

should be viewed as one piece of art, not just

the sound that’s coming out of a studio in

whatsoever form, be it vinyl, CD, a file (originating

“from the connection in the wall”,

that’s the horizon teenagers have these days.

They don’t care and they’re not as informed

as we were – when we liked certain albums

back then we knew the lyrics, could draw the

logo and knew every dot on the cover or who

was in the thanx list. Today it’s about a track

in the MP3 playlist only, albums matter less

and less). An MP3 player can’t capture, it

simply isn’t, such a piece of art. People tear

individual tracks out of the album context to

an MP3 playlist and the music looses it’s

meaning and also it’s value. How much is

such an MP3 worth? Nothing. And therefore

people loose respect of the artist’s work as

well. They forget that this sound file actually

has a history full of sweat and blood, and

quiet some people put in a lot of money before

the first cent comes back from sales, all

this seems like a long lost echo when I hear

people talk about their MP3s. People that talk

about their record collection have a different

access. You almost feel the value and history

of a respective recording when you have a

great album in your hands, but take a file on

your MP3player and you easily forget 1. why

you should pay for music and 2. what this

music has to say.

24

There are so many aspects why to strictly

fight the MP3 culture at any costs, economic,

artistic, sound-wise, etc. the perversity on

the other hand: people pay 700€ for several

old EAL releases, it’s mad. Back to your question,

EAL/Noevdia definitely has the right

answer to this: high quality vinyl releases

where you know there’s people that try to get

the best out of what they do, where the quality

of the releases, how they’re executed,

command respect.

You are able to look back on a vast number

of releases so far, and obviously

your style has developed away from

what it has been in the early days to

what it is now. Now, imagine anyone

would have shown you Fractal Possession

at the time you released, let us say

Nachthymnen; telling you that this is

what you will sound

like in twelve yearswhat

would have been

you reaction? Have

you even expected or

planned to release

albums for so long?

TT: Without a shadow of

a doubt I always thought

to release albums for at

least a very

long/unlimited time in

the respective times, and

at the moment do so as

well of course – if you

aren’t completely convinced

that what you do

at the moment is artistically

totally relevant for

your own spiritual health,

then better stop. That’s

valid for Black Metal and

other spiritual/religious art forms, not what I

expect of every artist in the world – there’s

many forms of and topics in art which are

only relevant (for the artist) for a certain time,

and that’s not a bad thing, but when you

create Black Metal you should be militant and

uncompromising in your conviction as well as

execution, you should be able to capture a

glimpse of infinity and therefore also believe

(at least in that moment) that you will do

what you do forever, because it’s so relevant

to you. The reaction if you played FP to us

back then would have been a kick of motivation

obviously. Back in the 90s we never tried

to reach absolute perfection – not out of laziness

but we simply couldn’t imagine how,

with our old working method (technical

knowledge and skills included), in the old

recording studio and with the old label/

budget.

Would you say that outer circumstances

slowed your progress, and if you had

better resources back then we would

have gotten something like, for example,

Fractal Possession much earlier from

you?

TT: You can’t separate the circumstances on

one hand and our own view about how to

create albums on the other, but if we had a

studio and engineering skills and a label like

EAL in the last century then why not, something

like Fractal Possession in terms of musical

skills and sound could have been made

in the 90s. Also in terms of style, because as

I always point out, there are no new influences,

we have always listened to a broad

spectrum of music. Just on the lyrical side

and the concept, this is something that had

to be developed and sharpened through the

years that needs experience and time.

25

In the 90s we accepted other inputs and topics

as well, stuff that seemed “dark and evil”

to us and worth writing about while these

days we are much more focused. It is natural

that the religious/spiritual side (of the music)

is bound to grow with your experience and

personal development, while the technical

(playing and engineering) could advance

really quick, especially if you have help, if

someone shows you how to record and mix,

and if you rehearse a lot.

The sophistication of ABIGOR has progressed

enormously through the years.

Even though one could recognize unique

melodies and style in your first outputs,

Fractal Possession works with breaks,

rhythms, sound effects and song structures

which are worlds apart from what

was in the past; yet ABIGOR have- at

least to me- always been true to themselves.

How would you comment on that

development? Have there been any catalysts

at one point or did this evolution

came naturally?

PK: Seen from my point of view, TT turned

out to a real sound-freak, and he’s responsible

for so much that has been created/

recorded, ideas we simply weren’t able

to realize on the past recordings. Beside all

that we recorded at his Hell-Lab studios, so

working without pressure of time and money

makes it all much easier at least.

I guess the longer you play your instruments

the better you become, so there’s no hidden

story behind all that, it’s a natural development

that makes working more effective and

easier then in the past years, also that “not

being involved” with the scene caused a

change/difference in my opinion.

TT: Natural progression, totally, no moment

of artistic/technical enlightenment. We have

been deadlocked in the 90s because from the

very first album on we found a way (to write,

record and release albums) that worked

really well. I mean, until and incl. Channelling

The Quintessence Of Satan (I didn’t participate

in Satanized) we progressed constantly,

true to our understanding of the musical conception

of Abigor which is bound to development/

changes/progress, but I couldn’t imagine

a single fucking step further with 4trackcomposition/

Napalm/Hörnix.

I think Channelling… is one of our best albums

(except for the vocals maybe which are

good but not that original – Thurisaz only had

a few days back then because Silenius left

right in the middle of the vocal-recording

session), but after Channelling… I was burnt

out. I couldn’t imagine what to do next, and

this was utterly frustrating – another “symphonic”

album (like Supreme Immortal Art),

another raw genuine album (like Apokalypse),

another one including acoustic instruments

(like Orkblut), or another album with a constant

3rd guitar (like Channelling…)? In the

years without Abigor we developed our technical

skills, broadened our horizon and

opened up our minds to find new and sharper

ways and means to create art that truly worships

the devil, not just copycat Metal with

satanic imagery.

The break and development was absolutely

necessary and natural, not a point where we

suddenly threw everything overboard and

found the (un-)holy grail. Hard work on ourselves,

as characters and musicians, is the

reason why we do what we do now.

TP: This might be harder to grasp maybe

for someone who can only judge your

progression through the various releases,

but I think I understand. Nevertheless, I

remember Peter stating when ABIGOR

split up that he had material already

which was far to advanced for the ungrateful

BM-scene as it was back then.

And now you say development has been

progressed through the years between

Satanized and Fractal Possession

Which leads me to the thought that

ABIGOR never really split up, more laid

on ice… Am I totally wrong to assume

Fractal Possession seethed beneath the

surface all the years, growing steady- or

have there really been years without

26

ABIGOR and Fractal Possession is a recent

outburst?

PK: No, ABIGOR was dead, not laid to ice! I

only used a few selected riffs from that “old”

material I wrote from 2003-2005 on Fractal

Possession. I wrote different riffs and songs

of course but not with the idea of the return

of ABIGOR in my back, that all just developed

after I met TT again, back in late 2005…

TT: As I said, Fractal Possession was more or

less composed and recorded in about 8

month, but also incorporated stuff that PK

wrote over a longer period of time. This

doesn’t mean anything, we could have also

used new material exclusively, but these riffs

and lyrics were great so why not using them

– what I want to say is it doesn’t matter if we

used some “older” riffs or not, at this stage

we do such an album in about 8 month,

that’s the point. And, what’s the difference at

all? If we needed 10 years or 2 weeks, what

the fuck does this change?

Ch: Concerning image and attitude

ABIGOR always have been Black Metal to

the core. You never wanted to be anything

else. Now many people see Fractal

Procession as one of the best Avantgarde

Metal releases of this year. Can

you live with such a definition or do you

still strictly prefer Black Metal? Or don’t

you care about such categories at all?

TT: We are Black Metal and nothing else,

definitely – music that operates within the or

at least uses many stylistics of Metal and has

satanic lyrics is Black Metal. Call certain BM

albums Avantgarde Metal, why not, the

avantgarde of Metal music can include Black

Metal, and if you look what’s called avantgarde

in (post-) classical and Jazz then you’re

perfectly right with your definition, it doesn’t

seem cheesy or inappropriate at all.

Airbrush-images, sheet metal swords and a

few other relics of the teenage years away

and I view Black Metal as a whole in a larger

context – which is art in general. With objective

measurements, take a Dimmu (as example,

not to point out this band, there’s thousands

alike!!!) album and you won’t find

much music/lyric/artwork-wise that truly

matters, nothing relevant – funny stylish

pictures with millimeter-exact makeup (that

has nothing to do with corpse paint) and embarrassing

clothes, cheesy visual artwork and

cheesy music.

It may be executed in a next to perfect way,

it may be the best Metal album of the century,

but as a piece of (satanic) art it’s worthless.

It isn’t even conceived to be something else

than a Metal album, I doubt those people

worship the devil and try to do something

uncompromising. Many Black Rock’n’Roll and

Fantasy Metal bands are just in it for the fun,

it’s their hobby, or because they’re professional

musicians, a “cool job” so to say. In

our case it’s different. Let me point out I

don’t talk about ridiculous art-school standards

(!!!), but when you hand out an album

to non-Metal people you get a good reaction.

Be sure, they will laugh out the average forest-

Metal cheese. But take a Deathspell

Omega album, take the latest works of

Katharsis, Diapsiquir, Blacklodge, Clandestine

Blaze etc – that’s not funny or cheesy, that’s

mature, uncompromising, extreme – not only

for Metal standards (Metal people can take a

huge portion of cheese) but to people beyond

this scene as well, got my point? Let’s take a

stupid example to make my point completely

clear: Take (your) parents, imagine we’re all

early teenagers. Show them a Cradle Of Filth

album, chances they take it serious in any

aspect are zero. Show them a DSO album

and if they understand what they have in

hands they will most likely be worried or anxious.

Serious mature Black Metal is just one

form of (satanic) art, but as such it MUST

reek of danger. Otherwise it becomes ridiculous

at a certain age. I named Dimmu and

Cradle as random example, but it’s definitely

not better in the self-proclaimed true Black

Metal underground!

PK: ABIGOR is still Black-Metal, and always

will be! The problem is that people are less

open-mined and mainly need strict definition

how it all has to sound, while we don’t. The

essence of our music is Black-Metal, it’s

based on spiritual values, not on musical

limitations and images of “black-leathercorpse-

painted want to be like Satanists.”

TP: So, if ABIGOR’s priority is to create

satanic art- could you imagine to record

something NOT metal under the name

ABIGOR? Even if you, PK, state that the

base of ABIGOR will always be BM,

wouldn’t you be intrigued by the thought

to do some non-metal intermezzi?

PK: Personally I can’t imagine ABIGOR exist27

ing on a “non-Metal-based” form because it’s

the essential for me, a main part of ABIGOR.

TT: For me, the field of Black Metal leaves

enough space to experiment, we will emphasize

this with our coming releases even more

than we did in the 90s, where we also moved

through a wider range

of musical concepts

from album to album

– this tradition will

definitely be continued

and strengthened.

But Abigor has a certain

definition and a

reason why we do

what we do – it’s not

just a tag, a name.

We want to achieve

something, realize

something. It would

have no sense to do a

Neue Musik or Electronic

album and call

it Abigor. From my

point of view after so many years of Black

Metal, and at the same time after so many

years of my interests in other musical styles I

think I have a long enough musical history

(as listener and musician) to be sure what

the musical frame for Abigor can be. If I

wouldn’t be so widespread with my personal

listening taste then you could assume that

maybe some day new musical interests have

a direct influence on Abigor. But why should I

want to do an electronic Abigor album after

15 years of Abigor and more than 15 years of

listening to electronic music? Got my point?

PK is totally right when he says the base of

Abigor will always be Black Metal, I can fully

agree (and as different as our personal musical

preferences are, as close are our vision of

how Abigor has to be).

TP: Fractal Possession in its entirety is

very complex, there is much to discover

even after several listenings – How do

you arrange these songs, especially the

elements which can’t be rehearsed?

Does a song appear as a whole in your

minds or does it grow?

PK: The main fact is that we don’t rehearse;

we even don’t have a rehearsal room. I compose

a lot of basical riffs/songstructures/

ideas, the rest is done in the studio.

There was some kind of pre-demoproduction

but there’ve been so much

changes and it all came to life during the

studio work…

TT: We never rehearse anyway, so we can do

whatever we want. No thought wasted on

live-practicability. So far the songs “grew”,

but for our next album we have a certain

concept where the pieces have to subordinate

in length, tempo and mood – unlike Fractal

Possession where each song is about as long

as the other and contains every element and

tempo. On the next album, every track has a

different musical purpose.

Ch: That sounds very enthralling. So

you’re aiming to write a kind of concept

album? Will it not just concern the music,

but maybe also the lyrics? Can you tell

us a bit more about it?

PK: I can’t, and if we work similar to “Fractal

Possession” it’s not possible, even I’ve different

songs and ideas finished/and still work on,

it’ll be different, that’s for sure…

TT: The concept has been developed for quite

some time now, but it’s AR’s mission to write

the actual lyrics now. We need to “synchronize”

lyrics and music for this album, they

won’t be interchangeable track-to-track, and

all I can tell you so far is: angels and demons

vs. human soul. Ungracefully because cautiously

said now, as this topic will actually be

presented and

treated like it

never has been

before (in music,

outside a purely

theological background)

but if I tell

you too much

about my personal

approach to this it

wouldn’t be a good

idea because AR

has the final say

about what it will

cover and what

not. How I or PK

or even AR would

describe it to you

now could be quite different from the final

shape as it’s too early. But of course it will be

written to hopefully receive a glimpse of insight

to Satan’s mysteries again, and it will

be based on a strict catholic background

(which incorporates more than enough anyway

if you follow the roots of Christianity,

where it comes from, what it adapted).

Ch: Once you described the cooperation

among you as “Data Exchange”. Both of

you used to write riffs and arrangements

alone. And then you met to make songs

out of your single works. Has it been like

this also for “Fractal Procession” or did

you sometimes compose together for it?

PK: It is data-exchange, but in my opinion

that makes our co-operation to something

really special, because none ever knows how

it all will sound when it’s finished. ABIGOR’s

songs undergo some kind of evolution, and

28

no, we never composed together for the album…

TT: Even more on FP than on the old albums,

you’re totally right. In the 90s we didn’t write

but at least rehearse the tracks together,

meaning that we met and

played guitar. Now we don’t even do

this, we just exchange CDs. For me

it’s the only possible way – you can

go right to your musical limits when

you don’t have to play and remember

all of it, you can loop a sophisticated/

complex part and work as long

as you reach perfection, on as many

tracks as you want. That’s a completely

new working method. In a

rehearsal room this would hardly be

possible.

More and more I like to see myself

as a composer, not as musician –

playing instruments is necessary but not

what I really like to do. If PK could look into

my mind, read my ideas and play my parts

then I would stop playing instruments. Yet

there’s no such thing like a head-to-MIDI

converter that really works.

TP: What should one experience when

listening to ABIGOR? Have your intentions

to deliver a certain impact on the

listeners changed over the years?

PK: Expect nothing, the more intense is the

experience while listening to ABIGOR.

TT: The listener should get a certain rush of

emotions, like I also have when I listen to our

music. You can’t be more specific than this,

because 1. music is 100% connected to the

composer, meaning it’s utterly personal and 2.

the history and (personal as well as musical)

experience of the listener determines his/her

listening sensation to a certain degree. Yet

there are universal feelings, a collective sub

consciousness, and the obvious predictable

reaction to certain sounds, noises, harmonies,

dynamics – I mean, in a dissonant fast part

one wouldn’t be relaxed and let the mind drift.

You can increase intensity and excitement,

that’s what we consciously do of course. Of

course you can try to influence the listener,

but that’s not the case with our music which

we write exclusively for ourselves at the moment

of it’s creation. After the work is done

of course we think about the listener as well.

I value the support of our listeners (and I do

appreciate it a lot!), but I can’t “waste” a

single thought during the composition.

If you intended to get a comment about the

“war against Christianity” with your question,

well, no comment, hehehe… By the way: the

pope just proclaimed in an interview that he

doesn’t see the future of Christianity as a

“folk religion”/religion of the common man,

but a deterministic force that shapes Europe’s

culture. Think about this, I like it – it would

shock the average Sunday-church-visitors to

the core if you tell them what the pope really

means with it. I think he, as an

intellectual theologian, scorns his

own followers, which is quiet a

satanic thought.

TP: No, I didn’t intend to get

comments on Christians but

nevertheless an interesting

thought on the pope, hehe. If

people would start using their

heads they would maybe come

to the same conclusion as you.

It IS satanic to scorn someone

who doesn’t want to think for

himself, being led by someone

instead of using his own given

freedom. And the pope would

do that by using his followers as instruments

in politics through his given

power. A satanic pope- I guess I like

that, too.

You have made a statement on “Nachthymnen”

which I believe to be a measure

to separate these people from your

music: “The music of ABIGOR is a

weapon and shall haunt all those who

try to discover something beautiful in

it!” Yet I see a contradiction in this

statement as I try to understand it. Obviously,

if someone only seeks beautiful

and happy music he/she would stay

away from ABIGOR, not labelling you as

“beautiful”. But, if anyone sees beauty in

your dark and hostile atmospheres,

wouldn’t the weapon ABIGOR fail to

haunt this person for he/she gains exactly

the pleasure from these twisted

moods in your music you want to deny

him/her? So, how was that meant? Or

has this statement become obsolete

nowadays perhaps?

TT: People that pinned down the sound of

Abigor to the “beautiful” elements of Nachthymnen

were confused (to say the least) as

they bought Opus IV and Apokalypse – the

albums that were weapons that haunted the

Goths that only loved Nachthymnen (out of

all our works), you see what we meant.

Ch: Back in the year 1994 your debut

album “Verwuestung – Invoke the Dark

Age” has been the very first bestseller of

Napalm Records. Without Abigor probably

the fast growth of Napalm in their

early years wouldn’t have been possible.

You released around 10 albums on this

label and have been quite close friends

with labelboss Max for a long time. What

can you tell us about your relationship

29

with Napalm? Why did you decide to

leave them?

TT: Yes, I respected and liked Max a lot back

then. I was involved with Napalm as much as

it gets over that distance (Vienna – Eisenerz),

you surely remember those times. But Max

changed, and although I had a quite unsteady

and unreliable time and haven’t been

the best business partner, he changed in a

way that’s not acceptable in my opinion, on a

personal as well as artistic (a label deals with

art/music) level. It’s a pity, those times back

then were a pleasure – recently I have seen

the With Us Or Against Us album at someone’s

flat and read the statements and looked

at the booklet, a nostalgic moment, but

there’s no looking back.

Max operates on another level

now, he does music business

and has nothing to do with

Black Metal or art, I mean Napalm

and EAL/NED are two

completely different worlds,

even the reason why each label

releases albums.

Finally we found a way to clear

up our problems to a degree

where both parties can live with

it and continue to work with

Napalm for our back catalogue.

My main concern is that we get

high quality vinyl releases of

our old albums.

PK: There’s no relationship

anymore, they’ve their “labelphilosophy”,

we’ve ours, our

ways separated, there’s no more to say about

it, nor are we allowed at the moment…

Ch: Thomas, you left Abigor in the end of

1999. In the meantime Peter has done

two more Abigor releases and worked on

several projects like Hellbound and St.

Lucifer. What have you done music wise

during these years?

TT: 2 more? In Memory was put together

when I still did Abigor (although I was gone

by the time it was released when I it remember

right) and the 7” includes a track from

Channelling on the B side, so I thought Satanized

is the main release that PK did with

other people.

I released nothing, I concentrated on audio

engineering, did some recordings but mainly

to learn all the new technology and equipment.

I didn’t have the plan to release anything,

or even create something where I

could fully identify with it that would stand

for my heart and soul in public. I did some

electronic tracks, the best way to learn software

and mixdown, because 50+ audio-

&MIDI-tracks of all kinds of synthetic and

acoustic sounds teach you to do a proper

mixdown and use your hardware right.

Ch: TT, you have become a real expert in

audio engineering and also built up your

own studio. Can you tell us more about

it? What gear do you use? What kind of

bands / music have you produced there

so far?

TT: Studer 963 console, Neumann M149/AKG

C414/EV RE20 as the most often used mics,

mainly outboard gear to “create the sound”

(Focusrite Red 3 compressor, Universal Audio

6176 channel strip, Culture Vulture valve

processor, TLA EQ 2, several

all-analogue effects like

tapedelay, phaser, chorus,

filter etc) and about 200qm for

a relaxed working atmosphere

with one side of the rooms

having many windows on the

first floor of an old factory. A

dark cellar would sound appropriate

for Black Metal but really,

for full days of concentrated

engineering I prefer daylight

and enough space. Asmodeus

& Vobiscum recorded and/or

mixed there, I did several

“mastering” kind of works (although

I usually don’t offer

mastering as I work with a

professional hi-end mastering

studio and a recording/

mixdown studio can never

offer what a 100% mastering

studio with specialized mastering engineers

can offer), and of course all kinds of “jobs”

like voices for adds, recording and mixdown

for all kinds of music, not Metal.

I didn’t see it in connection with my artistic

work, the studio is open even for the most

stupid Schlagermusik, I make no difference. I

try to make the best out of the job, if that’s

HipHop (which artistically I can’t stand, a

style I utterly scorn) or Metal doesn’t matter

to me – I just hear frequencies and see settings

on my gear, and improving the source

with my engineering work is my job, and if I

did (make something sound good) I succeeded,

I don’t have to like the music at all.

Ch: Now after recording “Fractal Procession”

in your own studio, could you ever

imagine to record in the infamous Hoernix

Studio again? I mean you’ve recorded

plenty of albums there and also

brought lots of metal bands to this place.

Still Hoernix has never been a metal studio

at all…

30

TT: Hörnix was good and fast in recording

drums, but the engineer gave no input at all

– and we surely acted stupid as well, we

thought we know how it MUST be, we wanted

to say how the guitar mics are positioned,

how to EQ something etc although we had

not the slightest clue about audio engineering.

And, we destroyed the often ok recordings in

the mixdown altogether (band and engineer)

in the end. So, I can’t blame the Hörnix guy

alone if something sounded bad – if we didn’t

say a word and let him record and mix alone

the result would have been better maybe,

that’s my view today – and I see the same in

my studio, young bands come and want

things so and so and not a millimeter different.

But a skilled engineer can show people why

and how it would be better NOT to do it completely

the band’s way. The Hörnix guy at

least was guilty of letting us do what we want

and didn’t show us how to get a better result.

Anyway, of course I have completely different

equipment and learned like mad to be a serious

engineer, so I can’t imagine ANYTHING

else. There’s no alternative anyway, I couldn’t

book another studio because composition

and recording is one blurred process, I need

months “in the studio” for an album (to compose/

improve as well as record/mix)…

Ch: Back in the 1990ies you didn’t like

side projects at all. Now you are working

together with Zweizz for some songs and

also rumours about cooperation with

Mikael of Den Saakaldte are around. Can

you tell us more about it?

TT: I don’t remember that we were against

collaborations at all in the 90s. Both contacts

were made by PK. PK always had side projects,

even in the demo period and later with

Heidenreich.

PK: ABIGOR / ZWEIZZ is no side-project at

all, Sven just sent use some weird electoronical

sounds(noise) we’ll use on the upcoming

ABIGOR/BLACKLODGE 7”/MCD.

Concerning DEN SAAKALDTE I’ll maybe do a

few riffs, or 1 song for an upcoming album,

it’s no project, just an experiment, as I already

did for BLACK-FLAME for example. So

at least, there’re no side-projects, experiments

and co-operation between old friends,

yes.

Ch: Okay, the interview is nearly finished.

Thanks a lot, TT and PK, for this splendid

view into the world of Abigor. Before we

close, could you please dedicate a few

words to your future? Did you already

start the work for the forthcoming album

that you’ve mentioned? Are you going to

shoot out new masterpieces as fast as

you did in the 1990ies? Any last words?

TT: Yes, the work for the next album already

started and we could imagine a multitude of

interesting ways how to achieve steady excitement

for us concerning the music of

Abigor, so the next few albums won’t need

centuries to be written and released – but

how many albums this will be is not what I

can tell you at this stage. There’s no doubt

about the lyrical/conceptual continuity which

is guaranteed as long as we care about spirituality,

as long as we worship the devil (this

means the lyrical and conceptual side of

Abigor can be continued for centuries no matter

what our personal musical state is). But

the music will end when there’s nothing more

to say. If that’s in 5 albums or in 50, who

could say… in humbleness I pray to be

granted inspiration.

31

FLEURETY

Far Away From Any Messianic Complex

By Olivier Côté

Well, well, here I am, interviewing one of the

most underrated and underground pioneering

metal bands, whom were always mostly

known by name and reputation but almost

never through their one-of-a-kind musical

quality. Listening to the actual everexpanding

avant-garde metal scene, one has

to admit to the fact that they actually had an

impact on its development as a genre. Soon

enough I got in touch with their band coach

singer, drummer, lyricist, synthesizer and

piano man Svein-Evil Hatlevik, a most honest,

laid-back and intelligent everyday journalist.

Along the way I was even given a chance to

hear a post-1998 recording of a new Fleurety

song, which is aptly called The Animal of the

City. I immediately sat down deep into my

sofa, plugged in my headphones and started

the song at a very high volume. What a

shock! Could this be Fleurety at all? It most

certainly is! However, once I got used to it,

this experience made me remember that ever

since I discovered this band, I’ve truly never

been able to predict what would be their next

disguises. For now, have a seat and discover

the unstable world of Fleurety.

Hey Svein-Egil! Let’s hope everything is

fine on your side of the European

ground; anyway, wherever you are, a

sunny and warm summer is always a

welcome treat, right. Well I would like to

take this opportunity to explore in details

such a delicate subject as Fleurety,

the now cult experimental band you and

Alexander Nordgaren both gave birth to.

Ever since the year 2000, just after the

release of Dept. of Apocalyptic Affairs,

an album that took everyone by surprise

with its refreshing twists of mind, absolutely

nothing seemed to happen in your

camp. The momentum slowly faded

away so to speak. Why was that?

Any hurt feelings about that last album?

No more inspirations? Of course we

probably all know how Hatlevik kept on

going with DHG and Zweizz, but Nordgaren

all of a sudden musically disappeared,

heading off to India and other

exotic parts of the world. Between 2000

and 2005, what were then your feelings

about Fleurety and its artistic accomplishments

thus far?

Well, first thing is that summer here in Oslo

is the rainiest ever since they started scientific

measurements of the amount of rain in

18-twenty-something. Anyway, I was a little

surprised to see that nothing happened with

Fleurety after the Department of Apocalyptic

Affairs album. I was still making songs that I

intended to be Fleurety songs, but nothing

really happened. So it took me a while to

understand that the band was in a hiatus.

In fact, both the songs of the Zweizz 7″ Black

Necrotic Obfuscation

(Vendlus Records 2004)

were originally intended

from my side to be

Fleurety songs when I

started making them. I

programmed some beats

and some synth stuff, and

I did nothing more about

them, since I assumed

that Alex would add some

guitars. Then all of a sudden

three years had

passed, and there were

still no guitars, so I decided

to finish the songs

myself. Anyway, I was

very happy about the

Department of Apocalyptic

Affairs album, but lately

(last five years or something)

I’ve come to the

understanding that Alex

wasn’t too happy with that album. So well, I

have no problem with that.

Now it’s more like I continue one thread with

Zweizz, the electronic experimental one from

Department of Apocalyptic Affairs. But as I

see it Fleurety as it works these days is following

another thread that goes back to our

very first demo, and the years that followed,

with Min Tid Skal Komme. That kind of material,

that kind of mentality. That’s OK with me

32

now, but I don’t think I would have felt too

comfortable about this in, say, 2004. I was a

little embarrassed about the old Fleurety stuff

at that time, like Min Tid Skal Komme and A

Darker Shade of Evil, but in recent years I’ve

started enjoying that stuff. I can very well

put on Min Tid Skal Komme today and enjoy

it. (But not too often, mind you!!!) I wouldn’t

have been able to do those five years ago.

You appear to be preparing a special

comeback with the release of a 7” on

Duplicate Records which will basically

only contain re-recordings of two older

tracks. I always thought that, as an artist,

going through material from the

vault was like admitting to some sort of

a lack of inspiration regarding your present-

day creativity. Was this an easier

way to get back on track after all these

years, in order to get a grasp of what

Fleurety once has been and therefore

should be nowadays?

Hm. We had to find another label to release

this 7″, because of all the usual reasons.

Fleurety is cursed with label complications,

we’ve been since 1993, so well. We actually

made a deal with our very first record label

Aesthetic Death Records, who released our A

Darker Shade of Evil 7“, EP in 1994 and coreleased

Min Tid Skal Komme with Misanthropy

Records in 1995. This label is also

releasing the vinyl version of Min Tid Skal

Komme this autumn. We might be talking

November. This version will feature the A

Darker Shade of Evil EP and our very first

demo Black Snow that we released in 1993.

So let’s see what happens and when it happens.

Anyway, when it comes to your question

about “going through material from the vault

was like admitting to some sort of a lack of

inspiration regarding your present-day creativity”,

I agree. But I don’t think that kind of

thinking applies to Fleurety. If we were an

active band, like Darkthrone or whatever, it

would be an entirely different situation. But

for a lot of years (1998-2005) we weren’t

really an active band, so re-recording old

material is more like a way to get back on

track, some kind of way to reawaken the

dead. But as I said: Fleurety got lost, I guess

in some kind of fog of experimentation,

where the members of the band kinda lost

sight of each other.

So I think it is better to keep things clear,

and fuck all that experimental shit. I make

experimental music all day, so I don’t really

need Fleurety to fulfil that function. We’re

never going to sound like your usual metal

band anyway, no matter how hard we try. So

it’s more important to keep the band alive, I

think, than being all visionary and shit. I

mean, it’s cool to be visionary, but we need

to keep this band a social unit as well, that

brings people together. We’ve been doing this

as two people all these years, and we need to

keep doing this as at least two people.

Otherwise it wouldn’t be Fleurety.

Let’s return for the last time ever to your

almost entirely unknown and unpublicized

last album, Dept. of Apocalyptic

Affairs. One could obviously argue that

this was a total commercial nightmarish

fiasco, as I do remember how impossible

it was to get my hands on it back to the

day of its official release. Now what was

Supernal Music’s initial reaction to the

musical compositions that you guys gave

them? And nine years after its conception,

are you sometimes still able to give

it a few spins?

Last time ever? That sounds kinda dramatic.

As far as I know, the guy who runs Supernal

Music really liked the album, but I assume

that kind of music is not so easy to sell. On

the other hand, I don’t really suspect him of

having tried. The album has been out of print

for more than five years, and Supernal still

hasn’t released that second edition that he’s

been talking about for years. And in a way,

that’s fine by me. The problem is that he

doesn’t want anyone else to release it either,

which by my standards makes him a capitalist

pig.

Could you please present the line-ups

that you’re going to use for your upcoming

7”, and just say how you think that

they might have altered the way you

both compose together? Why did you

specifically choose these guys to play

with?

There are two different line-ups for the songs

33

from the 7″: One consists of Runhild Gammelsæter

(Vocals), Alexander Nordgaren

(Guitars), Necrobutcher (Bass), Hellhammer

(Drums) and me as more or less a producer

or band coach. The song is a re-recording of

a song off our Black Snow demo. The reason

we chose to do this song with Runhild is that

she’s the only woman I know who was really

around when the Norwegian black metal underground

existed and who would know how

to do that kind of vocals. I initially asked the

pretty well known Norwegian singer Maja

Ratkje, and she was about to say yes, but

she wanted money – she does these things

for a living, whereas Runhild works as a biochemistry

engineer, so she’s pretty well off.

And she was really enthusiastic about this

project too.

And somehow I have this notion that black

metal should not be made by professionals. I

honestly don’t think that black metal should

be someone’s way to put bread on the table.

It might have worked in a non-capitalist society,

but then again I doubt black metal would

ever come into existence in a non-capitalist

society. Or to be more specific: I have yet to

hear a great black metal album made by

people who play black metal for a living. Except,

perhaps, Ordo Ad Chao by Mayhem. But

I’m not sure yet if that album is really soooo

great. Time will tell.

But as things turned out, I’m really glad we

ended up doing this with Runhild, because for

her it seemed like it was a journey through

the time gate back to 1993. I didn’t have to

explain anything to her; she already knew

what we were looking for intuitively. I remember

I called her on the phone, asking if

she wanted to do some vocals for us, she

said: “Yeah, sure. I used to listen a lot to that

demo back in the days.” It was that Stephen

O’Malley guy who made that tape for her.

Now he’s some kind of rock star, and we’re

still a well kept secret. Things really do

change in ten years.

Anyway, I’m digressing here: So then we met

a couple of times, discussing back and forth

to make sure that my intuition was correct:

That she knew how to do exactly what we

needed her to do. When it comes to Hellhammer

and Necro Butcher, they are old

buddies. They are Alex’s buddies first and

foremost, since he used to play with them in

Mayhem, so that was more of the typical

“Guy comes back from some faraway place,

wants to meet up with his buddies and have

a jam”.

The other side of the 7″ has Petter of

Audiopain and Virus playing the bass and

Bjørge from bands such as Yurei and Rex

playing the drums. This song has a more

punk attitude I guess, so I think Fleurety is in

its most testosterous phase ever these days.

Considering where you guys come from,

I see Fleurety as at least one of the first

Norwegian black metal related bands to

have somewhat introduced a humoristic,

twisted colorful touch deep into the usually

black-and-white, down-to-earth

world of despair and suicidal teenage

aspirations that black metal came to be

associated with. I’m of course not saying

that Fleurety was a joke in itself, far

from that actually – but do you think

that, in a sense, a good laugh in your

case functioned as a first-hand antidote

to step out of the black metal rigid and

authoritarian structures?

Well, if there is something we learned from

the nineties, it was that it’s no problem being

tongue in cheek and dead serious at the

same time. That’s what the nineties were all

about, at least in Norwegian popular culture,

and I guess a lot of other places. If you see it

this way, Fleurety is a typical child of its time.

That said, we were dead serious all the time

way into 1995, and perhaps even longer. Hm,

it’s hard to remember really. But we’ve never

had an expressed agenda of “bringing humor

into black metal”. I mean, we don’t suffer

from a messianic complex.

But sometime after 1994 all the makeup,

social intrigues and talking about hate and

darkness began sounding hollow. And it still

does. So in 1996 we were all about leaving

the sinking ship and make some other kind of

music. I’m really glad we never made any

black metal in the late nineties with Fleurety.

In my opinion there is only one good black

metal album from the late nineties, and that

is 666 International. I don’t think we would

have made a black metal album with Fleurety

that would have been even half as good as

that.

34

You’ve collaborated before with both

Czral-Michael and Yusaf Parvez from

Virus and DHG fame, be it on a lyrical or

a musical level, and by my standards,

both Virus (VBE) and Fleurety do share

at least a few similarities in atmosphere.

What were your relations back in 1995

and were you guys all perceived as some

sort of pariahs by the overall “scene”?

You seem to be good friend with Czral-

Michael in particular; would it therefore

be possible that either you or he collaborate

with the other and vice versa in the

future? I’m obviously pointing my fingers

towards the next Virus album…

I remember very well the day when Yusaf

played the entire Those Who Caress The Pale

tape over the telephone. That was in 1994, I

think. That’s one thing nobody would do

these days. There were close relations between

Fleurety and Ved Buens Ende back

then. At one point we discussed whether

Yusaf should join Fleurety as a permanent

guitarist. Ved Buens Ende had good relations

with all of the other bands around, with some

very few exceptions. We were less popular.

So I remember Yusaf in particular being

somewhat of a devil’s advocate on our behalf.

Yusaf and Carl-Michael were also a part of

the Fleurety live line-up for a show in 1995 or

1996, can’t really remember which year exactly.

When Tiziana who ran Misanthropy

Records came over to visit us in 1994, we

played the Those Who Caress The Pale tape

to her, which led to Ved Buens Ende releasing

Written In Waters on said record label.

These days, relations are less intimate, but

yes: I will play some minor role on the new

Virus album, participating with some lyrics

and possibly more stuff as well. Czral also

borrowed some photos I had lying around,

and they might be used in

the layout of the new album.

I assume you’d want

me to reveal more details

about the upcoming Virus

album, but I don’t really

know much more.

Oh and now that we’re

exploring your cult past,

what did really happen

between you and Ulver

back in 1993-1994? I

remember reading in

their Vargnatt’s liner

notes how you Fleurety

were nothing. Quite

rude to say the least!

Now what was wrong

with the G-Man?

I don’t think there is much to say about this.

If I were to explain this, I would get it all

wrong, because I don’t remember the details

or what was the reason for anything. We’ve

been good friends for at least ten years now.

Fleurety, the band’s name, not only is

connected to the actual name of a demon,

but also concerns the psychedelic

substances he’s known to be giving a

form to. Would you dare claim that the

more psychedelic bands of Norwegian

black metal, at least in the nineties,

somehow came to experimentation

through the use of chemicals and other

sense-expanding substances?

I’ll confine myself to talking about hallucinogens

here: I’m not really sure about how

much of this went on. I don’t know too much

about other people’s use of these kinds of

substances, though I know certain members

of DHG used to be very heavily into that. I

took some substances like this on various

occasions, but that wasn’t until the very late

nineties, like around 1999.

You said somewhere else that Fleurety

will be taking a more stripped down approach

to music on your (for now only)

hypothetical next sonic adventure, going

as far as to claim that an upcoming lowfi

sounding full-length album wouldn’t

be out of place. What is so appealing

about that kind of minimalism? Do you

believe that you could regress to a onedimensional,

sordid black void world of

sounds, or are you once again taking the

piss at us? Jussi Lehtisalo from Krypt

Axeripper fame recently said that “regressive

is tomorrow’s progressive”. Is

that a musical philosophy you’d like to

explore further within Fleurety?

35

Dunno who Jussi Lehtisalo might be, but I’ve

never liked statements about how “X is the

new Y”. Experimental is the new mundane.

Silent is the new loud. Nerd is the new black.

Bread is the new cookie. Old is the new new.

Obesity is the new plague. And so on. Fucking

trendspotters. Obviously, if you’re interested

in exploring new ground, you’ll know

that as soon as someone identifies whatever

it is you’re doing as the “new cool thing”, it’s

time to move on to something else. Otherwise

you’ll risk being run over by all the

clowns who have just jumped on the band

wagon. Not a pretty sight, I can assure you.

So well, as I was talking

about earlier: At the moment

Fleurety works in an entirely

different way than it did ten

years ago. These days

Fleurety is more or less a

time portal that opens once

every year when Alex comes

back from England or India or

Canada or Rumania or wherever

he might be working at

the time. That means we

have to work quickly. We

don’t have any time to hesitate,

no time for discussions.

We would typically have one

day to record a song, that’s it.

So if there’s anything we

planned to do, that we didn’t

get time to do, and that

would usually mean that you’ll have to wait

another year until the time portal opens once

more. So how do you solve this? We make

the kind of music we know best: Simple

primitive black metal. It’s a question of survival.

If we had insisted on being “experimental”,

“avant-garde” or “sophisticated”,

we’d be dead.

But I don’t think we’ll ever enter a “onedimensional,

sordid black void world of

sounds”. I just put on our first recording of

new material since 1998, a song called The

Animal Of The City, and yes, it is in fact recorded

on a Tascam Portastudio, the same

type of equipment that we used for recording

our first demo way back in 1993. But it is in

fact also an electro-acoustic experiment with

old school recording equipment, rather than

just two thirty year old guys trying to be

teenagers again. So in some sense I’m contradicting

myself here. Or to be precise: I’m

demonstrating why this new Fleurety material

is not one-dimensional. Because what might

be correct along one axis, is not correct along

some other axis. Thus our music is at least

two-dimensional.

Oh yeah, I can clearly hear that this stuff

has got a multiple personality symptom

going on. You guys are now less messing

with tricky progressive riffing and more

playing with layers and layers of white

noise through what sounds like a static

but massive wall of guitars. You mentioned

Stephen O’Malley earlier on, and I

would like to know your opinion about

what he and his label mates are doing

with (black) metal in general. Is that the

genre’s future gateway?

Hm. As a person who used to study digital

signal processing at the university, I always

end up feeling somewhat uncomfortable

when people use the term “white

noise” about signals that aren’t

white noise. White noise is energy

distributed evenly all over

the frequency spectrum, and is

quite possibly the least interesting

kind of noise there is. It

sounds very much like the sound

you get when you turn on your

TV without it being tuned in to

any specific channel. The noise

you’ll hear on that song comes

from computer processing, from

sending the song through a portastudio

several times and some

of it is differences in signal phase

that turns into noise when it’s

layered a certain number of

times. So that was today’s lecture.

You’ll not gonna hear me talking about who is

“the future of the genre”, I don’t like that

kind of speculations. But I know for sure that

bands that work hard get somewhere.

SunnO))) have been working hard, therefore

they’ve come somewhere. Fleurety, by contrast,

never really used to work that hard.

That is, we took our music very seriously, but

none of us really had any serious ambition of

becoming “rock stars”. So we hardly ever

used to play live, we never toured, but we

seized the opportunity to get our music out to

people on CDs. And I guess that’s as far as

our ambitions went.

My experience with SunnO))) is through their

live performances, which I think are very

good. They played here in Oslo a couple of

years ago, and I got the feeling that their

tour was a black mass on wheels. Most black

metal bands would die to do a concert as

powerful as that, but they’re stuck with the

rock concert format, not being able to think

outside of the box. I have some records with

them too, but I never really came to the

point where I would listen to them more than

once or twice. But I like the way these people

make the music more physical, in the sense

that it appeals not only to the ears, but to

your gut as well. But I guess I’m more inter36

ested in this stuff because of their ideas than

because of their music. If I want to listen to

people who work frequencies with their music,

I tend to prefer more typical noise acts such

as Lasse Marhaug or Kevin Drumm.

And by the way, what is Alexander doing

around the globe? Is that a matter of a

job-related mission, or is the man only

very keen on exploring as many countries

as he possibly can?

These days he works in Rumania with some

computer game developing company. Other

places he’s lived have been either education

or work.

Have you ever heard anything of his I

Left The Planet side-project that we’ve

all read about but unfortunately never

were able to listen to? Was it any good?

I think the I Left The Planet recording

came out quite successful.

They recorded three songs in 1997,

I think. But this recording has not

yet been released. It would be cool

if it were to be released some time.

I guess that interested labels ought

to get in touch with Alex about this.

He has a MySpace profile, and there

is a link to it from the Fleurety profile.

Being the prime lyricist in the

band must be a handful job to

go through. What are you

nowadays trying to say when

using the pen? Is there a field

of thought and of styles that

you fleuretilly feel at home

with? What’s on your mind,

man?

I don’t write that many Fleurety lyrics these

days. I was really active ten years ago, but

now I make a living out of writing as a journalist.

Therefore I rarely sit down and write in

my spare time like I used to. The Fleurety

lyrics are to a great extent influenced by 20th

century writers such as Samuel Beckett, William

Burroughs, Franz Kafka and Virginia

Woolf. At that time (1992-1999) I was pretty

much fucked up mentally, and the last thing I

wanted was to write lyrics about how fucked

up I felt. But in fact that was more or less the

only thing I was able to write about. So in

some lyrics I go to great lengths trying to

make the lyrics be about absolutely nothing,

but more like an abstract painting made out

of words, and also play on the musical aspects

of each word. This may sound like a

very obvious thing to do if you’re into literature

and poetry, but my impression is that

this way of working is not so usual if you

write song lyrics for a metal band.

But if I would try to visualize the Fleurety

lyrics, it would look like maybe the entrance

of the emergency room on a hospital, where

each new patient is the lyrics for one song.

The Fleurety lyrics I’ve written recently have

been put together by samples from things

I’ve written as a journalist. I take a phrase

here and a sentence there from articles I’ve

written in magazines or newspapers. And if

you put that together you get some kind of

distorted image of what’s happening in the

world today.

Would you now say that after having

released the new 7” EP, Fleurety has

enough material to potentially start the

recordings for a new album?

Hahaha. No way.

Since we are driving this

interview for a webzine

primarily concerned with

avant-garde metal in general,

I’ve got to ask you one

thing: how do you feel

about the actual metal

scene? Is it diversified

enough to your own tastes

or is there still a whole lot

to do in order to reach its

full potential? What is

avant-garde and what is

not for both the composer

and the listener inside you?

The last couple of years I’ve

been listening more and more

to new metal acts. And

through MySpace I’ve had the

pleasure of having been in

contact with a good number of them as well.

I was surprised to hear the new Abigor album,

for instance. I really liked that. I’ve also been

checking out bands such as Joey Hopkins’

Midget Factory, Bergraven, Blackdrone Inc.,

Yurei, Execration, Vrolok, Organ: and lots

more that I can’t remember right now.

37

I had this very interesting experience a couple

of years ago. I was sharing an apartment

with a couple of friends, and one guy moved,

so we needed a new guy to move in. So it

appeared that this new guy who’d just moved

in was playing in a band called Nidingr. So he

gave me a CD with his band and wanted me

to listen to it, and I thought “Oh no, this is

probably gonna suck”. And that wouldn’t be

the best way of starting living together. I

mean, I had a huge problem with taking the

guy who had previously been living in that

room seriously, since he liked all the wrong

Metallica and Megadeth albums. I was prepared

for the worst.

So those of you who know Nidingr very well

know that their album Sorrow Infinite And

Darkness rules soooo hard, and after hearing

that, I started to check out more black metal

bands and stuff from related genres. And I

was so surprised to find out that there was so

much cool shit around. You know, I gave up

on the entire metal thing around 2000. I’d

been losing interest ever since 1995, but in

around 2000 I just gave up finding decent

bands. At that time there was more or less

only crap coming out, or at least: All the

metal stuff I ever got to hear was crap. But

these days I’m checking out new metal bands

with a huge appetite, and I’m constantly surprised

that there’s so much kickass stuff

around. After a while I also started a new

band with this new flatmate. He’s better

known as Teloch, and our band is called

Umoral.

I’ve seen that you’ve been having this discussion

about “avant-garde metal” on your web

site, and my answer to what “avant-garde

metal” would be is that it is an aesthetic ideology.

You know, in most other disciplines

like painting or video art or installations and

whatever, it’s usual to say that the avantgarde

is dead, in the sense that the wish to

break the rules and try to push boundaries

and all these things that are commonly associated

with avant-garde have become the de

facto norm. These days, if you want to break

the rules in the art world, you’ll have to be

reactionary. Or you can just plainly suck. But

metal is much more conservative than that.

Metal must be one of the most conservative

fields of artistic practice in the world, second

only to punk rock (perhaps). So metal is a

field where it still makes sense to be avantgarde,

in the sense that your aesthetic ideology

is to make music that’s more than just

average metal.

Very interesting remark there, I’ve just

started wondering what metal music

being always de facto avant-garde will

try to sound like when it will start to rebreak

the new rules, for example, as you

suggested, by seriously wishing hard to

be reactionary. Now isn’t this what you

in Fleurey are doing nowadays? Well, I

guess time is running out, right… I’d like

to say thank you very much, Svein-Egil,

for taking your time to answer my questions.

I honestly wish you all the best

with Fleurety: you guys ought to become

the next rock stars! Now what are you

doing nowadays? Any upcoming releases

from your part that you’d like to share

with our avant-garde metal enthusiastic

crew?

I don’t think Fleurety will ever become rock

stars. There will be cold winds of funeral frost

in Hell the day that happens. These days I

work and make music, sometimes getting

shitfaced on days off. Fleurety will be featured

on some strange compilation CD that

comes out next year with DIY black metal

recordings. We are working in getting our

debut album Min Tid Skal Komme reissued,

but it seems to take forever. After that we’re

releasing that new 7” EP I was talking about

earlier, which features some re-recordings of

material from 1993/94, with a more updated

twist, I guess. We’re also hoping to record

material for another 7” this winter. This will

be all new material, so this will be our first

proper recording of new material since 1998,

when we did the recordings for the Department

of Apocalyptic Affairs album.

Also: Thanks to anyone who ever reads this

far and to all the people holding that avantgarde

metal flag high.

Yeah, I guess that was a nice chat with a

pretty cool man, don’t you think so? Now let’s

all do Fleurety a favour and browse through

their back catalogue all at once and together

for a few days, hoping this is gonna send

inspiring and ass-kicking signals out to the

mysteriously slow-moving, Fleuretean miasmas

of cold and dark Norway.

38

KOROVAKILL

How To Transform Pressure Into Treasure

By Olivier Côté

Explorers of the mysterious and of the surnatural,

Austrian KorovaKill should be known

to you by now. Ever since 1994, they have

been disturbing the most underground of

undergrounds with their three mind-bending

albums, all of which never made it to commercial

proportions but nevertheless investigated

many new forms of metal expression.

Now that we can evaluate their historical

importance, it’s quite easy to realize that

they were one of the few real avant-garde

artists whose passion and creativity always

have pushed further the great art of music.

Call them dreaming spacemen, neo-baroque

thrash orchestras, astro-oceanic divers from

unknown worlds and dimensions! I say whatever,

they’re basically here to expand your

sensory systems. And that’s what matters the

most, or isn’t it? So for the last few months, I

had an ongoing conversation with mastermind

Christof Niederwieser, in order to clarify

what’s going on with his daily projects. And

here it comes, for your own pleasure…

Cheers Christof, I hope you’re doing

pretty well nowadays. Ever since you

released your last Korovakill album,

namely WaterHells, approximately six

years have passed by, without any subsequent

information to be found regarding

the band. Therefore most of your

fans, including myself, are starting to

wonder if Korovakill is still alive and active

as a musical entity. There aren’t

many bands out there equally pushing

the boundaries of music like you’ve been

doing it since 1991, so I had to ask you:

what has personally kept you away from

composing and releasing new music

throughout all these years?

Thanks a lot, Olivier! Yes KorovaKill are still

active, though nothing new has been released

since WaterHells. There are many

reasons for this break, and it would go too

much into detail to name them all.

One important point is my emigration to Berlin

in 2002. This makes regular rehearsals

very difficult. Another one is the fact that

Moritz and Renaud have several other bands

and projects that are far more successful

than KorovaKill. So of course those activities

have priority. Especially Moritz is touring

permanently all around the world. And when

he’s back in Austria he also needs his time to

regenerate and to be a private man.

Nevertheless I never stopped building music

in all those years. Many hours of new material

have been composed since WaterHells.

But it still will take a while before all these

fragments will be a complete entity that can

be released as an album. Actually we hope

that it can be finished in 2008.

Discovering WaterHells back in the day

was a delightful experience, mostly because

finding an experimental, boundless

metal band merging itself with real

watery musical themes and ambiances,

astrological imagery and a fishermen

narrative story is such a rare gem. Can

you still listen to this album for what it is,

or has it become only a musical step that

you have now surpassed as an artist?

And in retrospect, how do you understand

WaterHells particular textures and

colors, when you compare these with

your personal growth within the spheres

of experimental music?

I don’t spend too many thoughts on our former

albums. And I wouldn’t say that there is

a huge progression or “growing” between A

Kiss in the Charnel Fields, Echowelt, Dead

like an Angel and WaterHells. They all just try

to explore different worlds in different ways.

But I wouldn’t put one over the other.

The only point where you can see a progression

is the quality of production. WaterHells

was the first album that we did with an excellent

producer. Markus Stock has conjured a

marvelous sound. So WaterHells definitely is

our most professional release so far. But I am

sure that all the other albums are on the

same level music-wise. They just were recorded

in bad studios with very small budgets.

In some ways WaterHells is our least experimental

album. There aren’t tons of different

parts, rhythms, harmonies and languages like

on Charnel Fields. It’s much more homogenous

and repetitive. The reason for this is the

very strong concept orientation. The great

Ocean cannot be acoustified with lots of

breaks and complicated metrics. It just has to

flow like the waves and tides. So the single

songs are very homogenous in themselves.

The variety just happens between the songs,

within the course of the album. It starts with

39

repetitive heavy mid-tempo songs, goes on

to soft acoustic and orchestral tunes and

ends with high speed, furious staccato hymns.

So the flow of this album starts with water

and ends with fire – WaterHells

I also think that WaterHells

has been your least experimental

album, but only if

you compare it to your own

discography, because once

you start observing the

whole metal scene back in

2001, experimentation

wasn’t at its speak to say

the least. Is experimentation

something you would

like to rediscover and push

further next time?

You never can say what will

come out. It just happens. For

example with Echowelt we tried

very hard to make a very

catchy, commercial album.

When we had finished the

songwriting we thought that it

was much more simple and direct than A Kiss

in the Charnel Fields. And I still think so.

Actually, everyone else thinks that Echowelt

is by far our most experimental and innovative

album. No record company dared to release

it. The listeners decide what’s experimentation,

not the songwriter. So maybe we

should try to write a very experimental album

now. Then people will probably find it very

commercial and buy it…

In your listening case, and I know

you’ve been concerned with the question

of avant-gardism in metal lately (smile),

what defines the experimental, avantgarde

and furthering nature of metal? If

only listeners decide what experimentation

is, does it mean that the whole

avant-garde culture only is a biosocial

phenomenon that could be reduced to an

always-changing herd fashion?

It depends. On an individual level there are

thousands of musicians trying to create

something innovative. And there are thousands

of listeners perceiving it as experimental

or conventional due to their personal listening

experiences. If you sum up all these

activities you get the construct of a collective

level. Just take all the different bands featured

on http://www.avantgarde-metal.com. A few

of these bands may be perceived as avantgarde

by 90 or more percent of the readers.

And there are many bands where maybe just

20 or 30 percent of the readers think: “Wow,

this band really surprises me with their innovative

sound!” It’s very relative.

The more experimental bands you have listened

to, the fewer albums really are able to

surprise you.

Personally I never tried consciously to be

progressive or experimental. Songs come out

of the feelings, not of the brain. You can do

what you want, but you cannot

want what you want.

I always had a feeling that

within Korova’s earlier releases,

from A Kiss in the

Charnel Field’s more uncertain,

nervous approach to

Echowelt’s total blasting

force, you certainly had a flirt

or two with complete mental

confusion and pure musical

strangeness, while some sort

of a rebellious bizarre malaise

was carried on the whole

time with your uniquely troubled,

if not broken vocals. As

a performer and composer,

did it have any link with your

own personality back then,

whereas with WaterHells, a

certain peace of mind had been found,

thus the more relaxed, laid-back atmospheres?

Like I already said in earlier statements: the

songwriting is just an act of self-defense. So

of course it’s connected to our personality in

some way. Although I don’t think that there

is such a thing as personality – we have

countless and none. It’s not personality. I

would call it “decision” – decision to act in a

special way, to wear a certain mask, to

choose a certain shape, to let a certain spirit

flow through you for a period of time. That’s

all.

After Charnel Fields and Echowelt more extreme,

more bizarre, more dissonant and

eccentric would have been very boring. It

wouldn’t have added something new to our

sound anymore. So already with Dead like an

Angel we headed towards the opposite direction.

There are some mysterious ballads and

even pop-like songs and parts. Maybe it’s not

so obvious on that album, because the production

is pretty bad and hence doesn’t

sound commercial. And also WaterHells partly

went into this calm, relaxed direction. Here

it’s more obvious due to the excellent sound.

So most of all the reason for this changed

performance was the wish to explore further

terrains of expression yet undiscovered by

our former songs.

Self-defense, alright – but what is the

self defending itself against here? More

specifically: how is musical creation taking

shape in your case?

40

When the flood of inner pictures has reached

a certain amount of pressure there are two

ways: The destructive one where you get

totally overwhelmed by it or the creative one

where you canalize it into songs or writings.

Only the latter way is able to transform the

pressure into treasure.

Already in Dead like an Angel’s booklet,

there was a special mention about Katalypse

2025, an album you were supposedly

working on back in 1998. What was

that all about? There seemed to be quite

a complex, sci-fi and philosophical scenario

written down for this new record,

but what about its musical content? Why

did you finally abandon it in order to

complete WaterHells?

Katalypse 2025 was a futuristic scenario for

a book and for an album. It was about the

massive expansion of human senses by the

means of technical progression – biomechanical

sense-transplants, massive omnipresence

of information, mind drugs, etc. It starts with

two world epidemics of schizophrenia and

telepathy. In the end all individuals merge

into a single collective being. The whole globe

transforms into a single eye with view all

around in all directions, receiving all waves,

atoms, movements, stimuli at all scales and

zooms at the same time – vision, sound,

smell, taste and sentiment, even thoughts

and feelings all melt together as one – the

All…

But when you look at history there’s nothing

more old-fashioned and worn-out than former

future scenarios. Trying to write about the

future always catches you in the present zeitgeist,

in fashions and trends. It catches you

in time. I didn’t want to step into this trap

and preferred to choose a more timeless concept.

That’s the reason why I decided to

complete WaterHells. People 5000 years ago

can understand its deeper meaning and people

in 5000 years will still understand it. Not

so with the meaning of Katalypse 2025

It’s possible to frequently read from

your writing hand, as much in lyrics as in

interviews, words such as

the Great All, the One, the

Hidden Force, the Ocean,

the Eye, the Sea, the Total

Sum, the World of worlds,

the Entity, etc. Despite the

multiple word identities

you’re using here and there,

I get the feeling that all of

these could be in fact

boiled down to one pulsing

phenomenon.

Tao, Brahman, Apeiron, Hyle,

Quintessence, Bosenazelo,

Hunabku, Manitu, Orenda,

Wakonda, Wakan, Mana, Ain

Soph, Central Monad, Substance

or also Primal Force

and Great United Energy in

modern physics… There are

countless words for it. It took

me quite some years before I realized that all

these are just words, nothing more…

Nothing more, nothing less as we say… I

would even go as far as to say that most

words are just words – right! But being

the lyricist and should I say, your own

band’s great writer, is there something

one can do to push up the words to

something more involving so to speak?

So that they are indeed “just words”,

yeah, but they can also achieve maintaining

kind of an evocative or emotional

power when you do sing yourself

through them. To which degree of importance

are your lyrics accomplished

within Korovakill?

Lyrics always have been very important for

us in the past. Maybe too important, because

the lyrical flow always has been much harder

and slower than the musical flow. So 95 percent

of my compositions always remain unfinished,

because there aren’t enough words to

finish songs out of them. It’s very easy for

me to create music. It’s also quite effortless

for me to develop lyrical ideas and concepts.

But it’s heavy like a stone to catch them into

the shapes of words. On one hand the sound

and rhythm of the words must fit the music

and the atmosphere perfectly. On the other

hand the meaning of the words should create

a perfect flow of visions and pictures in the

head of the listener. It’s very difficult to

41

achieve this perfect unity of sound, rhythm

and meaning.

I think that you have nowadays started

mentioning an upcoming album for 2008.

It’s probably a bit early to work out a

whole prognosis regarding your own

future, but if you do consider the already

composed material at hand, do you have

an idea about what the new album will

become like? Will it be another concept

album? What’s on your mind, Christof,

this time around? Are you Korovakill’s

sole and only composer when it comes to

the arrangements and the soundshaping?

More than half of the new material is already

completed. The overall vision is fixed. In my

head the album is finished. But it’s still a lot

of work to put everything together and to do

the whole recordings. Somehow it will be a

mixture of our first four albums and something

completely different at the same time.

Let’s get surprised…

On our former albums I did most of the songwriting

alone. When a song was finished we

went to the rehearsal room and the others

arranged the lines for their instruments. With

our drummer Moritz Neuner it always has

been much more. His rhythmic creativity is

enormous. I conceived the songs. But his

drum lines gave birth to them and made

them live. On our last album WaterHells also

the work of Renaud Tschirner had a huge

impact. He did many additional arrangements

and orchestrations. And he took care of all

the electronic sounds. At the moment both

are extremely busy with their other bands

(Elend, Leave’s Eyes, etc.). So I will probably

do it completely alone this time.

Do you have any lyrics already written,

or some sort of overall conceptual indications?

Any particular themes you’d like

to work with this time?

Yes the whole concept is finished. But of

course it will remain my secret until the release…

Afterwards it will be your secret.

Well I can only wish that the tasks

ahead will not leave you completely

dead! By the way, how did you meet

Renaud Tschirner? Both of you seem

to know each other pretty well. I understand

he already was there with

you on Korova’s first album, playing

violins and pianos if I remember well.

Should we think that he always sort

of was a second-ear friend when it

came to your personal compositions?

We know each other from The Village. He

was number 7. I was number 29. We

were neighbors for many years. In 1992

we started to enjoy music together. When he

formed his first metal band I helped on guitar

sometimes. And he also helped on violin and

keyboards at several Korova concerts and

recordings.

Making music with Renaud always has been a

big pleasure and very inspiring. Sometimes

we listen to the newest compositions of each

others. It helps a lot to decide between several

possibilities, though a second ear doesn’t

change much in our creations.

Boring question but, are you going to

stay with Red Stream? I thought you had

a better distribution, at least in America,

with this label.

I haven’t spent thoughts on that yet. But Red

Stream is definitely a great label, very reliable,

dedicated and honest. Doing WaterHells

with them has been a big pleasure.

A while ago, there were some rumors

around that Korovakill would re-record

the whole Echowelt sessions with a

much improved sound-picture. Has that

been put on ice indefinitely? If it’s never

going to be done, why aren’t you releasing

the songs to your hungry fans via

internet?

Yes, I am really sorry that you have to wait

so long for Echowelt. Already more than 10

years have passed now since the demo got

rejected by more than 50 labels. But we definitely

will do it! The first test recordings already

were realized this summer. At the moment

I am very busy reconstructing the

whole original midi tracks with click and basic

keyboards. We used a pretty stupid midi format

back in the 1990ies. And it’s pretty difficult

to integrate that in current programs.

But I am sure we’ll manage that.

42

We won’t release the original Echowelt demo

recordings, because we already were totally

dissatisfied with them during the recordings

in the summer of 1997. It was a 100 $ production

in a small amateur studio with a totally

drunken producer who didn’t know his

gear at all.

Who was the Echowelt Man and what

were his purposes in life?

Was there an Echowelt Man? I really don’t

remember… Aren’t we all Echoworld men,

living in our pictures and imaginations of the

world without knowing at all what’s really

going on out there? Who knows will understand…

Now to something different.

I know you have been working

very hard with your scientific

career in the past few

years, even publishing a

book out of your results,

Über die magischen Praktiken

des Managements. I

just would like you to say if

you can see any functional

similarities between your

work as a Ph.D. and your

work as a musician and

composer. Do you sometimes

get musical ideas out

of your studies and vice

versa, are you acknowledging

any research ideas out of

your Korovakill activities?

In both areas I try to experiment

and create new ways of

thinking. In both areas just a

small circle of people enjoys to

dive into it. These are the only

similarities. When I am a scientist

the musician is dead. And

when I am a musician the scientist

is dead. Scientific work

most of all means reading a lot

of books and papers. It means

filling your brain with countless

thoughts of others. In contrast

creating songs means totally

rejecting any others thoughts. It means freeing

your mind completely from the outer

world. So during the times when I wrote WaterHells

University had to rest. And when I

wrote my last scientific work Prognosis in

Magic and Modernity (800 pages), I wasn’t

able to create full albums for several years.

There’s no synergy at all.

For the German readers, when will Prognosis

in Magic and Modernity be available

in a book format? In a few words,

can you present what it is all about?

It’s the history of prognosis from Babylon to

Wall Street, from Marxist-Leninist society

prognosis to market research, from culture

cycles to genetics, from science fiction and

utopias to futurology, from astrology to technical

chart analysis, from African necromancy

to macroeconomics. The first 600 pages contain

the different methods of prognosis –

visionary methods, methods based on reading

signs and methods based on patterns in

the timeline. The last 200 pages contain the

different philosophic and psychological aspects

of forecasting, the second oldest business

in the world…

It hopefully will be released in four books

over the next couple of years.

Were some of your university

colleagues aware of your music?

I mean, it coulhave been

funny to hear during a seminary

classroom someone

whispering to his right-placed

friend: “Before coming to our

meeting, I did some internet

research on this Dr. Christof

Niederwieser, and I got to

listen to some of his music.

Well, I don’t think we really

know who this man is!”

I never made much fuss about

my musical activities at University.

Anyway it’s already some

years ago that I’ve attended

seminars. Something like internet

research wasn’t common in

these days.

Artistically, I believe you

were much more active before,

for example in numerous

musical side-projects,

writing lyrics here and singing

there. Then only recently

you’ve surprisingly worked

with (in)famous bizarre director

Bill Zebub on his 2006

dolls movie, Dolla Morte,

lending your voice to one of

the characters. Can you

43

please present what was the role you

had to fulfill in there? And is this something

you’d like experiment with in the

future?

After Charnel Fields I was involved in a couple

of other bands and projects. But one day

I realized how much energy this takes away

from Korova. So I stopped all foreign obligations

by the end of 1999. Actually there have

just been two engagements that I really enjoyed

– the vocal work for ANGIZIA and the

electro songs that I did together with Renaud.

The voices for the Bill Zebub movie were

much fun for an afternoon, no big deal. I had

to talk English with hard German accent.

Probably there will be more narrator work in

the future. It’s a good possibility to push

vocal expression further. Some radio plays in

German language are loosely planned. And if

a young movie maker needs strange voices

for his next film, feel free to contact me.

Speaking of cinema and of theatrical

voices, when listening to your music and

extravagant performances, I imagine

you must have been (and still would be)

quite a special live act. How did that go

in the past, and why in the end did you

stop playing live?

Yes, our concerts always were pure madness.

I don’t think that my old body would still be

able to do it. It was so exhausting. We

stopped to play live in 2000. It just became

too much organizational work. I love organizing.

But in the case of our live concerts I just

had the feeling that I could use my energies

more effectively. With KorovaKill I want to

create music, not spend 95 % of the time

with management activities.

Our live line-up for a gig consisted of 6 to 10

people – musicians, guest musicians, light

and sound engineers… and I had to work out

the whole performance with each single of

them and organize everything.

So at the point where my scientific work intensified

a lot we decided to quit the live lineup

and regular rehearsals and just continue

with a very small studio line-up: Moritz on

drums, Renaud on keyboards and sounds and

myself for the rest. This helps a lot to concentrate

very effectively on our musical creations.

Are you at least kind of proud to have

participated in the awakening and pioneering

phase of experimentation within

the metal world? I personally think that

what you’re doing now with avantgardemetal.

com is a direct continuation of

that and a pretty cool gesture in itself.

At least from what I know, I guess it’s

fair to say that you’re quite a modest

and reserved man, but I say there

should be more creative individuals like

you in every artistic and scientific field. I

honestly hope that the inner

floods of pictures are going

to keep you boiling deep inside,

Christof.

Yes, I really enjoy seeing what

came out of our activities started

in the early 1990ies. When we

released Charnel Fields in 1995

most reviews have been very

negative. The metal scene was

quite narrow-minded in these

days and hated experimentation.

But we needed the mainstream

magazines and labels, because

otherwise nobody would have

been able to experience our

work. Probably there already

were many people interested in

avant-garde metal. But it was

extremely difficult to reach them.

The internet has helped a lot to democratize

the music scene, to connect people who love

the same kinds of music. So some years ago

I was very positively surprised that avantgarde

metal is more and more becoming a

widespread term. More and more weirdos are

enjoying the experimental sides of metal.

And they can get cool albums very easily

without fighting through the big walls that

were built by labels and mass media in former

days. I hope avant-garde-metal.com can

help to cultivate the styleless styles a little,

the metal beyond borders and to support all

freaks and weirdos, scientists and philosophers,

libertines and mavericks of metal music.

44

DOL AMMAD

The Kings Of Space Metal Opera

By Chrystof

Did you ever wonder how it would sound if

epic progressive metal unified with exquisite

synthesizers and electro sounds in the vein of

1970ies pioneers like Jean Michel Jarre or

Vangelis? And instead of a lead singer there

was a whole classical choir performing the

lyrics? Then DOL AMMAD definitely will become

one of your greatest favourites ever.

When I first listened to them one year ago I

was totally blown to another dimension

somewhere in the mighty depths of space.

DOL AMMAD create unique, innovative music,

epic landscapes of crystallizing sound. At the

same time they manage the legerdemain of

writing very catchy songs with big hit potential.

The 21st century of metal has begun

now. And DOL AMMAD show how the future

may look like. So enter the intergalactic

spaceship and beam to the planet of Thanasis

Lightbridge, creative head and visionary of

these mighty towers reaching up to the

stars…

Thanasis, you‘ve just returned from military

service two months ago. Despite

being at the army you found your own

label Electronicartmetal Records and

released your second masterpiece

“Ocean Dynamics”. How did you manage

these musical activities during this

whole year as a soldier? Was it difficult

for you to promote “Ocean Dynamics”?

Has military been an important experience

for you personally or just a waste

of time? How short is your hair now?

The last year has been hard for me, both with

the problems with our previous record label

going bankrupt and with my imminent army

duties.

I am afraid the military service is still obligatory

here in Greece and although now it lasts

12 months (it used to be 3 years in my father’s

days), it is still a distracting factor in a

man’s career and life, an obstacle that if you

aren’t willing to take your chances by wearing

a blonde wig and act gay, you have to go

through the hard way ;-P

As an experience it makes you test yourself

under strange situations, living without your

comforts, away from your music, sleeping in

a room with 60 unknown smelly guys, etc. It

basically forces you to respect and appreciate

all the tiny things in your everyday life that

you take for granted. Thankfully throughout

my service I met a lot of new friends and this

for me is the only thing that made this time

worthwhile. I hope Greece will start investing

more money on education and social welfare

than the military.

I miss my hair, I was long-haired for about

10 years and cutting it short after all this

time was a strange experience! I scare myself

every time I look in the mirror ;-P Thankfully

my hair grows back quickly,

it is all over my eyes now already!

Through all this craziness

of the last 12 months I

had prepared our second album

with Dol Ammad and was very

anxious how and what to do to

promote it. I suppose forming a

personal record label was always

in the back of my mind

since this music is so unique

and “different”, it requires total

artistic freedom and an innovative

vision that very few labels

display today. So once again I

chose the hard way, formed

“Electronicartmetal Records”

and never looked back! It may

be TONS of more work to do but

it is really worth it. I have direct

contact with the fans, the distros

and the media and it is a very satisfying

experience. Due to the limited free time I had

in the army I couldn’t explore my new label

to its full potential, but now I am back, I am

psyched and working as hard as possible to

expand its capabilities.

“Ocean Dynamics” is one of the most

visionary albums I’ve ever been able to

enjoy. On one hand it’s very innovative

and independent. On the other hand it’s

extremely catchy and has got a big hit

potential. Can you imagine that Electronic

Art Metal could become music for

45

the masses one day in the future? How

have the reactions of the media and fans

been so far?

Thank you for your kind remarks, I am honoured

that you feel this way about my music!

It’s true that although I try to create something

really different and experimental, at the

same time I don’t want to end up with music

that is inaudible and would only serve as an

experimental salad in a museum 😛 I don’t

know however if Electronica Art Metal will

ever be music for “the masses” but that

doesn’t really concern me as I rarely seem to

agree or act in conjunction with what “the

masses” think and do. I make music basically

for my own pleasure and for other adventurous

co-travellers that I discover along the

way! Only with these devoted friends is this

journey of music discovery worthwhile and

doesn’t end up being just some shallow music

with lifestyle-strings attached.

Can you tell us more about the lyrical

concept of “Ocean Dynamics”? In her

review Katja speculated that it could be

a Journey from outer space into our solar

system and finally descending into

the oceans of planet earth. In other articles

I’ve read that it’s a science-fiction

concept about a water planet. What’s

really the story behind? Is it somehow

connected to the concept of your debut

“Star Tales”?

Yes, just as in “Star Tales”, the lyrics of

“Ocean Dynamics” are science fiction stories

but this time theme-based around the liquid

element, the power of the seas. I live in a

sea-dominated country and city so the liquid

element is vital for my life. I really can’t

imagine myself living away from the sea. The

“Thalassa Dominion” story that mainly dominates

the album is about an aquatic race

living in a water planet. They are the spores

of an ancient space tribe whose actions resulted

in the devastation and corruption of

the liquid element through the eras. This time

I worked together with a good friend who

writes these kinds of short-stories and we

had a great time coming up with aquatic

space themes! I like to have a different

“theme” for each album although I must confess

that I am not such a fan of lyrics in general.

I rarely read the lyrics in bands’ booklets;

I always focus on the music no matter if

the band speaks about cosmic epic battles or

how to make a cheesecake ;-P However, I

am a sucker for all things sci-fi related so I

think that my music will always have a space

flavour.

DOL AMMAD is a huge collective consisting

of a 14 member classical choir, 2

session members on vocals and drums, 2

band members on guitars and bass and

finally Thanasis Lightbridge, yourself, as

the mastermind. To what extent would

you call DOL AMMAD a band? How much

are the others involved in the creative

process? Are you doing all the songwriting

and arrangements alone or do the

others take part in that?

Dol Ammad is not a band in the typical form.

I don’t distinguish members as “session” or

“band” members. It is true that I compose all

the music and control everything in the creative

process but this doesn’t diminish the role

of any of the participants. I like to think of

Dol Ammad’s albums as movies where I am

the director and the rest of the guys and girls

are actors and technical crew! I have a personal

dream and vision with my music, but

you need people to make the dream come

true. I am grateful that I work with such talented

personalities.

Is it difficult to work with so many musicians?

You have to do lots of coordination

and motivation work. Is this something

that goes easy for you?

It can be difficult to coordinate all those people

and arrange all the parts but I like the

challenge. Through this process I have

learned a lot and already in “Ocean Dynamics”

I used experience I had gained in “Star

Tales” to make the job better and easier.

However I do plan to user a more compact

group of people for the third Dol Ammad album.

The choir consists of 7 women and 7

men. Do they sing exclusively for DOL

AMMAD? Or are they a professional choir

that also does other performances?

Most of them are professional choristers and

soloists in various choirs and solo acts in

46

Greece. Some are even teachers of solo and

choral singing and most have participated in

the biggest opera and symphonic events in

Greece. I am privileged to be surrounded by

such great musicians.

Great musicians and also very good looking,

at least when it comes to the women.

Did the optical aspect play a certain role

in your choices? Or did you spice up the

band picture with some photo models ;-

P? Or is it just that Greek women look

very beautiful in general for the eyes of

North Europeans?

Hehe, of course Greece has very beautiful

women and the band picture actually depicts

the singers and not some models! LOL! But I

understand your point of view since when I

visit Northern Europe I think that all the

women are amazingly beautiful there! You

see we are more used to brunette – brown

eyed beauties and feel that blue eyes –

blonde hair are more “exotic” , so this must

have the vice-versa effect on you ;-P But to

get back to the music, beauty has and should

have nothing to do with singing skills and

music nature of a person and a band. I am

totally against the countless bands seeking

pretty faces to front their band. I mean why

should I buy a musically shallow CD just because

they have a great looking girl on the

covers, videos etc? This is targeted to brainless

listeners and shares the same principles

as all those advertisements that display

babes and sexual innuendos in everything

from yoghurt to car tyres! I want nothing to

do with that and I wish the same for our listeners

too.

You came into contact with drummer

Alex Holzwarth (Rhapsody, Sieges Even)

through a common friend. What made

you choose him, especially since you are

a drummer yourself? Was it difficult to

convince him for DOL AMMAD? Will he

also play on your future releases?

Especially since I am

also a drummer and

drums are my second

biggest passion after

synthesizers, I wanted

the best possible drums

for my music. Alex

Holzwarth was a hero

to me for many years

and didn’t think twice

when I had the chance

to get in contact with

him. It wasn’t difficult

to convince him; he

just requested to check

the music first. I was

honoured by his participation and I hope to

work again with him in the future as he is a

great person and phenomenal drummer!

Some people see similarities between

DOL AMMAD and Rhapsody, because the

drumming of Alex is so characteristic.

What do you think about that?

It is true that in the power metal songs of Dol

Ammad there are similarities in the playing

style of the drums but this can be said for

any power metal band. We are also often told

that Dol Ammad has similarities with Therion

due to the use of a choir. I am a fan and respect

both of these bands but I think that Dol

Ammad is doing something totally different.

What will always distinguish us are the use of

electronics and the adventurous compositions,

things that I don’t ever plan to compromise.

For “Star Tales” the drums of Alex

Holzwarth have been produced in Germany’s

Gate Studio. In the photo album

on your webpage you are drinking a

Kakao in Porschestrasse 1 in Wolfsburg

and also have some fun with the bears of

Berlin. How did you like Germany?

Haha! Oh yes, I had a great time in Germany!

I stayed there for 2 weeks and it was

47

awesome! I visited Wolfsburg, Gifhorn, Berlin,

Hamburg and Hanover. I have lots of friends

there, I cooperate with German musicians

and German companies, and I feel very close

to this country! If only I had the time to learn

the language…! As for the Kakao, people who

know me are aware that I drink more milk

than water ;-P

So the next DOL AMMAD album probably

will become a concept album about a

milk planet ;-)?

LOL! Great idea! In fact I always look for

something to honour the great existence of

milk. Maybe I should write a song like “Calcium”

or “Dominion of the Holy Cows” (In 14

parts) ;-P

Can you tell us how you manage the

whole recording process? For “Star

Tales” you’ve recorded some parts in

Germany. For “Ocean Dynamics” did you

do everything in your own studio – recording,

mixing and mastering? Has the

choir been recorded as a whole with

some stereo microphones or each singer

separately?

Yes, in “Ocean Dynamics” all the production

took place in my studio in Thessaloniki,

Greece. I used various techniques for the

choir and for this album I think it is easy to

notice that the recording quality is better

than the debut. I like to record both the

whole and each voice separately (3 to 4 people

at a time). For the third album I plan to

use some new techniques I have come up

with.

The sound of “Ocean Dynamics” is marvellous.

Do you have lots of high-end

technique in your studio? Or are you one

of those clever producers who manage

to create excellent sound with small and

cost-effective technical means? How

does your studio look like?

Thanx! I have some high-end equipment but

they are nothing compared to huge commercial

studios. In my studio I work together

with my good friend Argy Stream with whom

we share a common passion for detail and

fidelity. We take care of every little detail and

use various techniques that in the end give

you a great result without having to sell your

house just to buy that special esoteric preamp!

Having said that, the studio is always

expanding and upgrading and we are now

open to creative bands or musicians who’d

like to use our experience and equipment for

their work. I get this request a lot so I will

soon also post photos of the studio in our

website.

You are influenced by the great synthesizer

pioneers of the 1970ies like Jean

Michel Jarre or Vangelis. Do you use

some original analog gear from those

times like Arp or Moog? Or do you mostly

work with software plugins? What do

you think about all the new software

emulations of analog gear?

I have analog and virtual-analog synthesizers

which I love! I am not a big fan of plugins

and soft-synths although I do use them a lot

also. I think in the recent years the quality of

soft synths has been greatly improved but I

believe more in the power of software libraries

than just software for analog emulations.

If you’ve grown up with MIDI and hands on

control of a synthesizer I don’t think you’ll

ever be fully satisfied by a plugin and a

mouse or even with a controller having to

map everything and create scenes etc. Although

I do use all the latest technologies

and stay up to date with the music tech progress,

I witness that I tend to go back to

simpler and older techniques the last years. I

think that it is easy to lose control with technology

and to miss the whole point of music

making.

Yes, that’s absolutely true. Many musicians

are loosing themselves in gearslutting

and drown in the new possibilities

that modern technology offers them. But

even if you are using your gear wisely it

can rob you much time. You told me that

you had a computer crash in your studio

that blocked your work for weeks. Do

you sometimes wish to make music

purely without having to dig between

countless cables, plugs, knobs and electronic

labyrinths? Maybe like in the past

when composers had a piano, some

sheets of paper and then gave the scores

to an orchestra? Or like in the future

48

when the head-to-midi-converter (a vision

of TT/Abigor) makes the music

stream directly from your head out of

the loudspeakers?

LOL! Head-to-midi?! I would prefer Head-to-

CD-Factory but we’ll have to start from

somewhere ;-P Seriously though we as mankind

are really in our very early baby-steps in

technology and have a lot way to go. Yes, I

had an unfortunate and simultaneous crash in

2 of the 3 computers in the studio and I had

some difficult 3 weeks trying to save the

work and bring back order into chaos. Thankfully

nothing was lost except for the time

delay and some thousands nerve-cells in my

brain. It is true that I push these machines to

their extremes but you should never count

and rely 100% on them. I think back-up and

restoration plans should be top priorities in

computer environments. I am not sure if the

composers of the past were always fully satisfied

by the way their “tools” performed their

music, a “crash” in an orchestra would be

maybe a drunken violinist ;-P

I do sometimes wish I could make music

more easily and every time I play on a classical

piano I am amazed by its purity and natural

form. However I am afraid I am trapped

forever in my electronic labyrinths and there

is no turning back now…

You also like Mike Oldfield. I think you

both share this peaceful, positive mood

in your songs and also the catchy melodies.

Did you ever think about experimenting

with folk or classical instruments

like him? Maybe not for DOL AMMAD,

but for other projects?

Oh yes, in Dol Theeta! There is a lot of experimentation

with ethnic instruments,

mainly bagpipes, violins, flutes. I love the

sound of bagpipes it is the most captivating

folk instrument in the world. I also plan to

make a sample library of a great Greek folk

instrument when I have the time. It is an

instrument that few people know in the world

and of course there are no libraries for it. I

have found a great player of this instrument

and when I have time we will meet in the

studio to construct a virtual instrument for it!

Can you tell us more about DOL THEETA?

You will also play drums for it. And your

homepage says that it will concentrate

on your meditative and atmospheric

sides. When can we expect the debut

album? And what can we expect?

Yes I also play the drums in Dol Theeta and it

is turning out a HUGE album! I thought it

would be an easier production compared to

Dol Ammad and everyone was like “ok, now

you are 3 people only, this production will be

shorter” but the songs are very lengthy, deep

in emotions and feelings and have tricky orchestrations.

I am not even sure what to

expect of the debut album… Just like with

“Star Tales” we will start from somewhere to

try to find ourselves through it. The plan for

Dol Theeta was conceived when I started

infusing lots of meditative and softer/ambient

parts in Dol Ammad and didn’t feel satisfied

with it… I mean I want Dol Ammad to be in

one word “EPIC”! So I decided that electronica-

art-metal must be portrayed by more

than one band and thus Dol Theeta was born.

I am really happy with the result and also

very anxious to see what the final outcome

will be. The music is so narcotic, you dive

into the songs and sometimes you dive too

deep it gets scary…It is an electrifying inner

journey that defies limits and structures.

You are going to do a video clip for it.

Can you reveal anything about it?

Yes I think I can now reveal the first steps of

the Dol Theeta world. I have decided to release

a single before the full album. The single

will be for a song called “Goddess” and it

will also include our first ever video clip! We

are currently working on the Graphics for the

video with the help of my greatest friend who

is an expert in Computer Programming. I am

really excited to see the final result!

And did you ever think about creating a

“negative twin” of DOL AMMAD with a

dark and dissonant basic mood? I mean

you already had some dramatic, furious

and dissonant parts on “Ocean Dynamics”.

But in general the mood is very

positive and makes you feel good and

optimistic even in dark hours.

Of course! It is the third “Dol” in the world of

Electronica – art- metal, a third project that

will appear in the near future! There was an

innuendo about it in my message on our

website when I announce Dol Theeta but few

people noticed it ;-P Anyway, yes I have a

VERY darker side which I can’t wait to ex49

press and share with our friends. It is when

this third “Dol” project comes out that our

listeners will finally have the total picture of

my music and understand my vision. All I can

say now is that it will be something really

extreme, an audio-violence experience that

will amaze and shock you!

Will this probably go a bit into the direction

of “Thalassa Dominion IV”? There

are several very dramatic and dissonant

parts in this song and also some hyperspeed

blastbeats?

Yes there will be inhuman blastbeats in this

darker project but it will be nothing like Thalassa

Dominion IV, you really haven’t heard

anything like this before… If Dol Ammad

sound unique, then this is ages more alien to

the ears. It is an audio violence that scares

the hell out of all my friends when they visit

me while I work on this stuff ;-P Imagine the

cruellest grind-gore death

metal band but with an

electronica speedcore

instrumentation! But

that’s for the future to

come… 😉

You seem to be a very

spiritual man. I read

somewhere that you

are practising Yoga

and also have a certain

interest in topics like

astrology. What do you

think about so called

esotericism? Of course

you can also choose

another word for it,

since “esotericism” has

been misused a lot

within the past decades.

I am a man that thinks a

lot, in every second of my

life my brain is in constant thoughts and

ideas and in day-dream-imaginations. I often

suffer from insomnia, megalomania and lack

of concentration into what is known as “real

life”. I always compare everything that happens

to mega-cosmic and micro-cosmic

scales and this can be very tiring sometimes

especially when you try to relax. I am very

interested in Yoga but not so much in astrology.

Maybe you confused it with astronomy

which is a fascinating science. Regarding

esotericism, as in knowledge that few can

grasp and remember, I think we are heading

towards ages of esotericism since the huge

clueless masses are undereducated in a world

where knowledge is so freely and easily

available. You can see it in all aspects of life,

music – art – politics – society. An elite-few

in a world of zombies…

With mega-cosmic and micro-cosmic

scales to you mean thinking in fateful

analogies? Like e.g. bears escape from

the zoo in several American cities and at

the same time a bear market arises at

the New York Stock Exchange? And you

think there may be a secret relationship

between those coincidences, an analogical

relationship between microsphere

and macrosphere?

Yes and no at the same time. Even the words

“Yes” and “No” which often carry the result of

a decision can be a microsphere and macrosphere

respectively. My mind drifts helplessly

through thoughts like when I make a cup of

coffee at the same time a supernova blasts a

star into shock waves of energy. This fusion

was the result of years of the star’s aging

under which star a centipede

on earth is devouring a rat or

a mother scorpion is carrying

its first scorplings on her

back. It’s this constant zoomins

and outs that go on inside

me…I can’t know if they

mean anything or if there is a

secret relationship between

them… It would be scary if

there was.

Can insomnia be an inspiring

state of mind for you?

Do you often create music

while being sleepless and

overtired? Or is it more a

state of mind where you

cannot concentrate on

proper musical work anymore?

Yes I am creative when I am

tired and stressed. But it

starts to have an impact on

my health, I can’t remember

the last time I was relaxed mentally…

You said you aren’t a big fan of song

lyrics. What about books? Do you have

any favourite authors? Or do you prefer

sound over word in general?

Oh no, I love books! My favourite authors are

Douglas Adams and Phillip Pullman. I just

don’t pay that much attention to words when

I listen to music. It is a whole different experience.

I do prefer to listen to music in my

free time but I often try to steal some time

for a good book also.

The South Park version of the famous

DOL AMMAD band picture is great. Are

50

you a South Park fan or did you just like

the idea of having a funny caricature of

DOL AMMAD? Which musician’s cartoon

do you like most? I think DC Cooper is

portrayed very well.

Yes I love South Park! Our good friend Ntennis

Papakostas had this idea to do a South

Park version of Dol Ammad using online software

that someone has created. Ntennis sent

me an email asking for my permission and for

some details of the members! Like who have

blue eyes etc! I think he did an amazing work

and reproduction of the entire band but I

can’t stop laughing with Alex Holzwarth and

his bongos! I also like my lightsaber ;-P

Okay, Thanasis, thank you a lot for the

very pleasurable conversation. I am sure

we’ll talk again soon on your forthcoming

works in 2008. The last words belong

to you.

Thank you Chrystof and the rest of the AGM

crew for the amazing support and pure

friendship! It was an honour and one of the

best interviews I’ve experienced. I would also

like to thank all our fellow music travellers

and to ask their patience for the upcoming

Dol Theeta releases. Various reasons beyond

my powers made it impossible for me to

make a 2007 release. What I can promise is

that in the first months of 2008 you will be

presented with a massive album. A huge

music adventure of space melodies and inner

emotions that I am sure you’ll love. To my

ears it feels like the best music I’ve written

so far in my life. I wish you all the best for

the New Year, may you live free and happy

and may you never stop dreaming! Space on!

51

ANGIZIA

A World of Their Own

By Jobst

Only the name itself should make your mind

rumble. Saying Anzigia is unique and bordershaking

is to say the least. Let alone the

words, the music stands for itself, a wacky

world to dive in. In order to try and solve

some of the mysteries behind all of this, I

called upon the mastermind behind this ensemble

to investigate some more. Welcome

to the bizarre world of Michael Haas and

Angizia.

I think that Angizia is an indescribable

project. When I introduced it to people,

they naturally asked me, “what the hell

is it?” and I replied: “well, it’s… theatre

metal”, so that plain mortals can understand,

and they’ve said, “Oh, so it’s a

rock Opera!” and afterwards I haven’t

managed to explain, nor define Angizia.

What do you think of people’s efforts to

define Angizia? Can you define it? Do

you even want to?

The main problem in describing Angizia for

other people is connected with the matter,

that we didn’t pursue a certain musical style

in the course of our 10 years and 6 albums

lasting existence. For many Angizia friends

our last album “Ein Toter fährt gern Ringelspiel”

was a brilliant radio play with morbid

demands, for others it was a special kind of

“musical theatre” with many figurative and

narrative moments and for others it was a

rock opera with influences from jazz, circus

music, dramatic musical, classic and klezmer.

I am not that satisfied with all these tons of

simplifications, which many of so called

“original labels” use to explain the music of

their bands in magazines or for promotion

flyers. Believe me, I hate proclamations such

as “They sound like the old Dark Funeral and

the new Dimmu Borgir!”, “They are the musical

brothers of Cradle of Filth” or “They sound

like Burzum and Darkthrone!”. The principle

is very simple. Labels wish to inform, that

their new signed band sounds like all their

other bands. But that’s the point and for sure

a “music-economic” problem for music such

as Angizia, Devil Doll or Korova, which is not

reducible to one simple word or a trashy

compare. Bands such as Angizia, Devil Doll or

Korova have defined and invented themselves

and are not to categorize in shitty

drawers, which are necessary to guarantee

full and fat label wallets. I am sure: All these

bands are not appropriate for labels of these

“modern times”, which just search for bands

that have a very similar style, but a different

name. That explains, why Angizia is not that

interesting for money horny labels. From an

economic and profit-oriented view Angizia is

really uninteresting.

Angizia was always bound to my special visions

and influences and my ideals to tell

bizarre stories with bizarre singers and instruments.

The bizarreness of Angizia could

be explained with 20 or 30 words, but nevertheless

so many people react the same,

nearly boring way: “What the hell is that?” I

don’t like all these well meant bold and eyecatching

terms such as “theatre metal”, “rock

opera”, “classic metal” or “metal with classical

influences”. To say it much easier: I don’t

really like to explain Angizia for the masses.

Angizia is done to express original and unrecoverable

music. If Angizia dies, a whole

musical drawer is lost. That’s it.

Speaking of definitions, I had the impression

that you’re some sort of superartist:

write music and plays, sing, conduct

the ensemble etc. How do you capture

yourself, within and out of the

Angizia complex?

Well, all these things you have mentioned are

neither difficult, nor supernormal or out52

standing. That’s a normal thing for so many

artists. It’s a circumstance that comes with

my certain urge to realize my own plays.

That gives kind of “supervitality” and Special

Forces for all these creative works and tasks.

Singing, realizing and performing my own

figures is really easy, also making music to a

theme which I have fired in my brain or explaining

special intentions to other musicians

and singers.

Conducting the ensemble for sure is the most

difficult job, because there are so many different

dates, persons and characters to handle,

that I often had to spend 3 or 4 hours a

day for telephone calls and about 20 hours a

week to canvass all the musicians, singers

and painters with my car for improving all

these details, which are necessary to make

the whole thing perfected. Yes, indeed –

that’s the most difficult job in Angizia.

Stressing out your point on Angizia being

“unprofitable” for labels, that might

explain why only the two first albums

delivered through Napalm Records roof’,

while all the others came to the world by

your own label? Was it your decision,

breaking to a label-free road, or the

“market demands” led to let go? Along

the way, did another labels pursued interest

or did you wanted to keep Angizia

forever independent, in Speight of possible

signing?

Well, keeping Angizia independent in retrospect

for sure was the best decision for “39

Jahre für den Leierkastenmann” and “Ein

Toter fährt gern Ringelspiel” (our last two

albums). I am absolutely convinced of that.

We had the absolute and unrestricted power

to make unalterable and uncompromising

music, epic and in general INDIVIDUAL ART.

Suddenly there was no “know-it-all”-label

boss with daffy ideas and continual improvement

suggestions, neither related to music,

nor to layout, promotion and distribution. If I

compare Angizia to times, where we had

been signed to Napalm/Records, we now

really had the unique possibility to escape

from this compacted and “always the same

and in one direction”-thinking of Napalm,

which certainly wasn’t the best thing for

Angizia itself.

Napalm was an interesting label for Angizia,

when they had been smaller and “(in the full

sense of the word) more “independent”. This

time (1995-1996) they supported many

original bands of the 90ies (Angizia, Korova,

Abigor…) – and they really had “soul”, time

and will to encourage there “beloved music”.

But as soon as they have seen their chance

to have a big slice of the suddenly existing

and expecting money with “undergroundmusic”

by promoting uncomplicated, flat and

“naked-wife-and-tits”-music they lost all their

privileges and forgot all their bands from the

“starting area”. That’s a phenomenon they

share with many other labels worldwide. So

many labels wished to grow or “expand” and

really shared any trend, a wife with big tits

on oafish covers could originate. Angizia and

other bands all of a sudden became “most

unwanted”, but ought to have get a special

promotion for a different segment of music

and music listeners. Of course we didn’t join

these shallow trends and of course we hadn’t

been ready for musical compromises with

efficient simplifications and boring chords or

53

arrangements, which became a trend

throughout all music styles in this new millennium.

On the contrary, we have developed

our music in an incomparable direction and

improved our work day for day – a long way

of music, which was announced by suddenly

omnipresent (but once individual oriented)

labels in the years 2000, 2001 or 2002.

But I have to compliment Napalm for their (it

seems so) successfully economic development.

In this regard Angizia and Napalm

went different paths in music – and both Napalm

and Angizia did a respectable job, I

think. Of course I

couldn’t comprehend

their new orientation –

“to keep with the time

and every possible

trend”, but to be honest

Angizia after “Das

Schachbrett des

Trommelbuben Zacharias”

didn’t match with

Napalm’s label policy

and all these gothic

similar releases.

Angizia is deep, bizarre, morbid and unconventional

music and has included very interesting

impulses (polka, klezmer, jazz, rock,

metal, classic, radio plays, modern theater,

circus music…) which weren’t that optimal

for “angry or pure erotic music”. “Gothic

metal”, such as Napalm pursued after Angizia,

Korova and Co. I have disliked for its basically

flat and simple outputs. I never felt

thoughtfulness in this music, but of course, it

way very easy to consume after 8 hours work

a day or especially for relaxation. Angizia in

no moment of a 10 years lasting existence

was done for relaxation.

So Irene Denner and I hat to discuss a new

situation in 1998, shortly after Napalm/Black

Rose had released our last album (“Das

Schachbrett des Trommelbuben Zacharias”)

in this co-operation. And we decided to keep

Angizia alive without the financial support of

an interested label and without a functioning

distribution or sales network. “I did it my way

– and it was an important way for Angizia.” –

Independent from many money horny labels

of nowadays.

Of course we all the time searched for suitable

labels, who would share and support our

ideals and this very special “bizarre music

style” (the whole shebang) – first and foremost

because of the fact, that we would have

got anymore possibilities for our albums and

much more time and money for our studio

work. I really had the slight hope, that there

will exist a few labels, which are really ready

for Angizia, ready for our music and ready for

our intentions – but of no avail.

We really experienced hard (not to say “very

hard”) times while being absolutely independent.

In this situation you are independent

from everything and we managed every

step ourselves with no financial help from any

label or distributor. Angizia – that means 12

or more professional musicians, which we

had to finance. No one in Angizia was kind of

“non-professional”. This luxury – collecting

professional artists for Angizia – had cost

much money, which we had to pay ourselves,

but it’s a most important thing of Angizia to

convey my plots and stories for you listeners

with brilliant musicians.

Today I am really tired of all these labels who

“love our music”, but have no courage to

release this “beloved and special stuff”. In

process of all these years (especially in the

new millennium) I became really disappointed

from many people, working in this

“so original and non-commercial underground”,

because they once proclaimed “that

Angizia is one of the most outstanding bands

ever” and with this thinking they also promised

“all the world and his wife” to support

54

Angizia – adequate and extensive. And what

happened – many of them forgot their

thoughts and jumped on all these trendy

wagons, which have driven in another direction.

Many of these self-appointed “trendsetters in

underground music” of today destroyed various

original bands from the past by supporting

this special plagiarism of crappy and

shitty bands, which flooded countless magazines,

fanzines and websites and beyond that

all the brains of magazine readers and music

listeners. THE SIMPLIFICATON OF MUSIC

WAS AN ATROCITY AND FOR SURE “THE

DEATH” FOR THE FURTHER DEVELOPMENT

OF QUALITATIVE AND ORIGINAL UNDERGROUND

MUSIC. Sure I have respect for the

financial success of some underground labels

and it’s indeed legitimate to earn money with

superficial music, because that’s the will of

some 100.000 listeners. But it’s sad enough,

that many original bands disappeared as a

result of “craven label policy”.

Even an interesting narrow segment of interesting

labels has missed the chance to present

really original music (and beside Angizia

I could name 10 other bands with a similar

destiny). To be honest: For me it’s an inconceivable

outrage, that bands such as Devil

Doll, Korova or Angizia couldn’t be supported

from one of these “great, new and original

labels, which much more than other labels

support individual art and especial music!” O

yes, I “haunted” the label strategies of some

labels and all their pseudo-artistic stuff,

which they released in the last 4 or 5 years.

All in all meaningless music – and many

bands out of this “new generation” proudly

announced in interviews, that they have been

big fans from Angizia, Devil Doll or Korova.

That’s very ironic.

Regarding Angizia’s unique blend of influences,

can you describe the main artists

that gave you inspiration and spiritual

guidance, if so? Moreover, I must

ask you about the Jewish influence, both

in music and in some epical motives –

well, as a Jew that somehow connect to

this cultural world, I was a bit astonished

within the first listening and it remained

quite an enigma for me. Can you

shed some light upon it?

I think there are not really special artists

which influenced me in my work for Angizia. I

have written my plays with the intention to

launch an absolutely new “music style” for a

serious audience. I had so much inspiration

to do that, but there also have been so many

elements in Angizia, which descended from

artists such as Irene Denner, Cedric Müller,

Emmerich Haimer or Gabriele Böck. Of course

I had the last word, but with all these mentioned

artists, especially with Irene Denner

and Gabriele Böck I always felt united for the

same aim – “presenting a completely unusual

and inimitable musical creature.” We pulled

together and have worshiped our own creation.

In the last years Angizia was a small firm,

consisting of Irene Denner and me in economic

and artistic belongings. I also think,

that there had been so many irreplaceable

artists for special Angizia albums – for example

Christof Niederwieser for “Das Tagebuch

der Hanna Anikin”, Aliosha Biz for “Ein Toter

fährt gern Ringelspiel” or Krzysztof Dobrek

and Jochen Stock for “39 Jahre für den Leierkastenmann”

– cause they have surrounded

basic Angizia elements such as the singing of

Irene Denner or the authoritative piano play

with unique individual singing, acting or playing

(an instrument).

In the last years I personally found inspiration

in Klezmer, Circus Music, Classic (especially

Russian composers such as Kabalewskij,

Schostakowitsch, Tschaikowsky, Rachmaninow,

but also Schumann and Brahms),

mostly perfected Jewish music and Russian

folklore. I absolutely admire incomparable

spoken voices (Otto Sander, Klaus Kinski,

Ignaz Kirchner, Meret Becker…) and absorb

55

special soundtracks and in particular scores

from John Williams (MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA,

SCHINDLER’S LIST, MUNICH). I think, there

exists just one leading violinist – namely the

Jewish musician ITHZAK PERLMAN – who is

able to transport such an emotional power for

the score of a movie such as “MEMOIRS OF A

GEISHA”. If any other musician would play

the solo for the leading theme of “Memoirs of

a geisha”, you would definitely hear that.

Watching and feeling Perlman’s intensive

violin play makes me highly infected – in this

case I watch special movies sequences 100

times. In such moments I go in trance.

Well, for Angizia in special it was not difficult

to dip into special (musical) cultures. Our 3rd

album “Das Schachbrett des Trommelbuben

Zacharias”, but also “Das Tagebuch der

Hanna Anikin” have been very Russian oriented.

“39 Jahre für den Leierkastenmann”

and “Ein Toter fährt gern Ringelspiel” on the

other hand had been dedicated to the Jewish

soul in music in main parts of our compositions.

I think, from 2001 to 2004 I felt like a

Jew because I was interested in so many

Jewish themes, superficially “Jewish music

and films”, that I felt the decision to involve

similar elements for “39 Jahre für den Leierkastenmann”

and “Ein Toter fährt gern

Ringelspiel”. Jewish music touched my soul –

and I have enjoyed it to compose Jewish

themes for my own plays. The clarinet and

violin solos for “Ein Toter fährt gern Ringelspiel”

have been transported by mostly perfected

instrumentalists, thus they became so

much vigorous and emotional.

Remaining in the influences area, aside

from the musical characteristics, Angizia

is also correspondent with the great tradition

of theater in Austria, as I see it.

Do you agree with that? Can you point

other (theatrical, lyrical) influences on

which the concept of Angizia was conceived?

Angizia is not really corresponded with the

traditions of Austrian theater. Maybe it was

pure chance that some parts of “Die Kemenaten

scharlachroter Lichter” sound like

Austrian operettas, but although the theater

itself maybe is the most important vigour in

Angizia, we are not comparable with typical

“musical plays” or “Austrian dramatic art”.

Angizia is a very lively project with very

wacky and extraordinary voices and instruments.

I think, they would be too wacky to

include them in repertories of our opera

houses here in Austria. The medium “Theater”

is obvious in so many sequences of

Angizia’s music, but the “Austrian theatre

tradition” especially is connected with a conventional,

classical and proper idea of “Theatre”.

Angizia is neither conventional, nor

proper. Lyrically I tried to create non-typical

librettos for non-typical plots. I don’t think

that Angizia follows a certain tradition, neither

in music, nor in lyrics, but we surely

embodied a special type of “crazy theatre” for

almost 10 years.

Lyrically, how did you get the ideas for

the plays?

I think I am much more cinematic than epical

thinking and working – thus my lyrical work is

bound to many theoretical pictures and paintings

I set together to the whole thing, while

searching for the most perfected conception.

I am a critical cineaste and really intrigued

with so many different films and theatrical

plots – therefore my main inspiration is cinematic

and not really lyrical. Possibly I pro56

ceed much more like a film director and not

like a dramatic adviser. In any case I first of

all complete my plot and in the course of the

finished plot I write my libretto. Furthermore

I am not in permanent search of new ideas,

while creating a new Angizia play. Lyrically

(and I speak from the libretto itself) I always

think in theatrical monologues and dialogues.

This way enables a more dramatic orientated

art and allows most lively and omnipresent

figures. Angizia plays are typical for its (social

and vocal) interaction between central characters

of a story. And they are only well done

with different and interesting figures. Before

a story is ready, I need my honest faith in

interesting characters such as a

weird Jewish organ grinder or a

chess playing Russian drummer

boy. It’s for sure my most important

aim to develop and

process unaided and independent

ideas, figures and stories.

This is the first step in creating

something special. I never glom

ideas from other plots, plays or

stories. That’s idiotic and boring!

The main theme behind “Ein

Toter fährt gern Ringelspiel” is

the tightrope walk between

death’s conscious melancholy

and its ironic sarcasm. I wished

to create a surrealistic story

with bizarre figures and their lively characters

in the scenery of Königsberg’s cemetery after

the 2nd world war. I believed in the force of a

metaphysical world and a more satirical access

to “death” and its related themes. It’s

one author’s most interesting “role”, when he

has the possibility to show one figure in two

lives: Elias Hohlberg, organ-grinder and protagonist

of “39 Jahre für den Leierkastenmann”

came to death within the story of our

4th album, but relives a really dreadful, but

characteristic existence on devil’s foggy and

marshy cemetery within our 5th album “Ein

Toter fährt gern Ringelspiel”.

I wrote his bony stature and corpse in a bizarre

story round black puppets, childlike

themes such as rocking horses, marionettes,

children rhymes, but also wished to create a

stage for the protagonist’s nostalgic and sorry

view on his earthly living and existence. Thus

the drama of this story is a classical one, but

associated with lots of shudder, evil, sarcasm,

irony and morbidity. I think, the morbidity of

“Ein Toter fährt gern Ringelspiel” is the most

characterizing specification of this 5th Angizia

album.

The main inspiration for “Ein Toter fährt gern

Ringelspiel” was the third and surrealistic act

of “39 Jahre für den Leierkastenmann”. I

wished to create a whole story round a dead

and buried organ grinder, which shouldn’t be

too severe or serious in the sense of “Dead is

cruel and evil!” or “A cemetery is always calm

and certainly a place for eternal rest!” The

story is always written with a certain wink

and I always had the intention to hide many

nostalgic and cunning elements behind the

main story line, which have to be discovered

from the listener when devouring this 75

minutes. Of course THE DEAD itself is a main

and omnipresent figure, which has place in

each chapter of this play. But it’s the same in

love songs, or not? Here “love” is the main

parameter of the lyrical approach. So a listener

shouldn’t knock against the

partly doomed and sarcastic lyrics

of “Ein Toter fährt gern Ringelspiel”.

Every Angizia work had to do with

dying, the death and his consequences.

With the first albums we

have shown a more limited and

poetic access to the death of protagonists

such as Konstanz Bürster

(“Die Kemenaten scharlachroter

Lichter”), Hanna Anikin’s

mother (“Das Tagebuch der

Hanna Anikin”) or Elias Hohlberg

(“39 Jahre für den Leierkastenmann”)

– and I have to repeat a

statement of the Austrian actor

and theatrical director Paulus

Manker in this connection, who once meant:

“Every serious artist needs a proper relation

to death and its soul!”

Always a hard and tricky question –

what’s your favorite Angizia album, and

why?

Definitely “Ein Toter fährt gern Ringelspiel”.

It’s the most courageous and intractable album,

because of the fact, that the plot itself

is more controversial, peculiar and narrative

than other Angizia plays. It’s so difficult to

stage and experience a figure in calm and

quiet moments (only voice or voice and piano…)

during a musical work with aggressive

and “rhythmical rock-jazz-and-circus” music –

the interesting opposition to enable an album

with bizarre and quiet narrative elements and

figures on one side, but also loud, florid and

very lively sequences on the other I implemented

with “Ein Toter fährt gern Ringelspiel”.

I know it’s kind of untypical, unpopular and

“non-commercial” to offer different spoken

voices between complex, dramatic music –

but “Ein Toter fährt gern Ringelspiel” I did in

the thought of a completely inefficient and

uneconomic musical existence. It took so

much time, money and energy to realize this

album that I am really proud of the 76 minutes

lasting result with which I can identify in

57

every single moment while listening. Maybe

it’s a common principle of an artist to identify

with the latest work best. Well, I think every

Angizia album has raised different expectations

and there are really various opinions

concerning the favorite Angizia album of our

listeners. I noticed that within a questionnaire

in our website’s guestbook

(www.angizia.com).

Personally I am convinced, that “39 Jahre für

den Leierkastenmann” was the most important

Angizia album, because of the fact, that

we pointed the way, which we wished to go in

the new millennium (more crazy elements,

very eccentric voices…). More than that we

experienced in new studios, with new musicians

and arrangements and a more theatrical

and “circussed” way of (musical and lyrical)

thinking – independent from any label or

label strategy.

“Die Kemenaten scharlachroter Lichter” for

sure was one of the most audacious debut

albums of an upcoming band. It was such a

complex and baroque styled play with a fantastic

17 years old piano player, who was

able to transport every

single thought of my

extensic baroque plot.

It was a fantastic work

with so many idealistic

musicians and artists.

In this connection it

shouldn’t be forgotten,

that we had been no

20 years at all at this

moment. And many

contemporaries in the

90ies released Seattle-

Rock or in any case

music in honor of their

big paragons such as

Pearl Jam, Paradise

Lost or Metallica. “Die

Kemenaten scharlachroter

Lichter” however

was an independent

release and so

many musical journalists couldn’t comprehend

what we wished to implement with this

“new-kind-classical music-rock”. O yes, I

remember really strange Angizia-reviews in

this time.

I also enjoyed “Das Tagebuch der Hanna

Anikin”, which especially in Mexico was the

most beloved Angizia-Album ever, because I

often evoke the fantastic cooperation with

Christof Niederwieser, an outstanding singer

and one of these great personalities in the

avantgarde-metal underground.

“Das Schachbrett des Trommelbuben Zacharias”

itself was Angizia’s most beloved album

in Russia and Ukraine. In 1998 I dedicated

Angizia’s music to the Russian soul of music.

It was my personal approach to a Russian

motivated plot and the symbolization of Russia’s

society thinking with a simple chess

board. And Angizia sounded so special and

rare on this album. “Das Schachbrett des

Trommelbuben Zacharias” was a very important

chapter in our own era.

In general I have to say, that I always

searched for new and exciting musical and

lyrical elements with every new Angizia album,

which should contrast pleasantly from

former works. But in any case a listener had

to feel: This is (a hundred per cent) ANGIZIA

– and nothing else. So I have to stress, that

no Angizia album was done to compare it

with other Angizia works in “quality” or to

locate a special “improvement” as we always

worked for the intention(s) of a play and the

individual story itself. I loathe the poor fact,

that so many bands just release modifications

of their last works (the same ideas, the same

sound, the same lyrics…) to have a constant

audience and a steady inquiry. That’s really

mind-bending and artistically uninteresting.

I’ve understood that the band is currently

frozen. Any particular reason for

this status? Any intentions of bringing

another score? Are you active in other

musical / literary / theatrical frames?

Angizia is currently frozen, because of many

different things, but in general familiar, economic

and temporal reasons. I don’t know if I

should like, love, deny or refuse this status,

but it’s a fact, which was brought with the

problems of independent existing. I am proud

of having released intensive albums through

my own small label “Medium Theater”. But I

58

reached the point, where I had to say: My

next work would be once more a very costly,

extensive and for sure outshining release,

which I am not really standing at the moment.

In Angizia in process of time all became bigger,

larger, more intense and expensive and

for sure more energetic. It’s nearly impossible

to release a 6th Angizia-album with own

financial resources and it’s less promising to

find a label, which has will and courage to

realize a similar project. It’s much more unimaginable

to find a label in the nowadays,

which we couldn’t find in the past. Otherwise

I am not sure, if I am ready for dealing with

one of these money-horny people, which

present their stuff as “pseudo-original” instead

of more or less well done plagiarism. I

am not active in other musical, literary or

theatrical frames at the moment, but I have

some conceptions for more literary orientated

projects (with or without musical participation).

In fact I don’t mind, if 100, 1000 or 10

000 people listen to my plays. Angizia albums

wouldn’t be less

good or professional

if it would be just

10 listeners world

wide. CD sales have

nothing to do with

musical quality. But

that’s an attitude I

won’t share with

any label boss of

the nowadays.

How did the Austrian

metal scene

accept Angizia?

In the 90ies the

Austrian metal

scene consisted of

Abigor, Summoning, Korova and Golden

Dawn… and maybe we had been part of this

scene. But that wasn’t really important for

our own development. In fact Angizia was

accepted from all these bands, especially

from Korova, Abigor and Summoning – and

otherwise we also appreciated all these bands

and projects, which all had been part of Napalm

Records. I really had pleasant contact

with Christof and Moritz from Korova, Thomas,

Peter and Michael from

Abigor/Summoning and Alex from Amestigon,

with which we released a split album for Napalm/

Records in 1995. At the end of the

90ies I found deeply friendship with Jochen

from Dornenreich, which today most probably

is the most popular Austrian metal band.

The Austrian underground “lived on” important

personalities and many interesting and

very different projects. Each of these projects

has given this underground an individual note

– and it’s sad enough, that bands such as

Korova do not exist anymore. Today it’s for

sure impossible to speak about a “scene”.

There are so many meaningless bands, which

often disappear shortly after being founded.

Angizia and Korova especially often had main

problems to convince thousands of Austrians

with their really eccentric music, as both collectives

still had been busy to pull their original

ideas through a “no original” music scene.

To be honest: Angizia has much more fans in

Mexico, Russia, Greece or Canada than in

Austria itself. Angizia’s music is very provocative,

sulky, obstinate and thoughtless original

– and more than that our music demands

serious musical empathy and precise listeners.

That is all in all reasons enough for many

conventional listeners to buy more shallow

music instead. Angizia is strenuous, but

qualitative and most professional. I never felt

to be part of a “metal band”. Angizia in no

time of a 10 years lasting existence was a

“metal band”.

Since we’re dealing

with Avantgarde

metal, can

you describe what

this concept

means to you?

Who are your favorite

acts within

the genre?

I think Angizia is a

logical representative

of a project

“beyond the border”.

Our unadjusted selfcenteredness

and

the conscious distance

from musical

categories developed our music much more

“avant-garde” than adapted to musical trends

or standards – above all we used instruments

in a nearly unusual way. We stressed classical

instruments in rock-like musical sequences

and connected classical singing with

eccentric voices. My plots are as good as

inappropriate in every METAL context and our

arrangements have nothing to do with any

other existing musical project. They are peculiar

and unadapted. Some people say they

are out of place in a musical “pseudo revolution”

which is full of sex, Satan, gothic, evil

and in general clear and simple words (for

the masses). That’s mainstream and I don’t

know how to shape “mainstream music”!

“Avantgarde” in any case is a conscious distance

from traditional listening and composing

habits. An Avantgarde musician evokes

discords and dislikes every fuckin’ search for

more harmony in an arrangement to sound

more plausible for 100.000 listeners. Avant59

garde (metal) bands need courage for atonality

and have to be provocative, innovative

and stylistically confident. That’s it.

Angizia is AVANTGARDE MUSIC, but no

avantgarde metal band. Metal is a category,

which we didn’t belong in 10 years of our

existence. Metal is dominated by guitars –

and we used e-guitars at best differently and

consciously neoteric or “non-metal-like”. My

ultimate Avantgarde metal bands had been

ARCTURUS (in the first place), ULVER, VED

BUENS ENDE, possibly THE KOVENANT (in

times of “Animatronic”), DEVIL DOLL (in very

special moments of their fantastic music) and

for sure KOROVA. From all present “Avantgarde

metal” substitutes I just honor FANTOMAS

and DORNENREICH.

Most of so called “Avantgarde metal bands”

of the nowadays cannot touch my soul at all,

although there exist of course several well

done projects with great musicians and interesting

music. I always prefer the original –

and all mentioned bands and projects are

unique and unrepeatable. Even this is a very

important fact of AVANTGARDE MUSIC.

I really appreciate the intention of Christof

and Katja to forward a conception for avantgarde

music and I deeply support the whole

idea of “avantgarde-metal.com” It’s an important

platform for all these bands that can

or could meet the requirements of “avantgarde

music”. It’s a collection of the most

significant “avantgarde-metal-bands”, which

themselves could bear up against this so

fuckin’ boring and adapted music hype, which

apparently is and was so much interesting for

the commercial orientation of music labels

and managers in the last 10 or 12 years.

But I am sure: The underlying quality of

Avantgarde (metal) bands and many appreciable

projects beyond the border the major

part of mankind will comprehend in 20 years

at the earliest. The fixation of many labels

and magazines on catchy tunes and all these

transparent trends perhaps is understandable

in cause of economic strategies, but it’s dissembling

and laughable at the same time, in

which determined manner all these labels and

magazines have destroyed the “real quality”

of music and underground: – THE AVANTGARDE.

http://www.hasharat.co.il

60

MANES

Outside Of Dogmas

By Jegger

Manes, one of the most outstanding musical

collectives in the world of such heterogeneous

subcultures as metal, industrial, electronics

etc., is back with an extraordinary record

full of different artistic elements. ‘How The

World Came To An End’ is the title of this

absolutely mind-blowing new album which

does not fit any musical category or genre.

There is a special reason why the members of

Manes can be called audio scientists or why

their music can be called art. But what is

Manes? That’s obviously a question which

cannot be answered at all. But we can try to

get a little bit closer to these guys by asking

them a few questions. So let’s dip into their

musical and artistic understanding of “omni

directional deconstruction”/destruction by

talking to Manes members Cern and Torstein:

First of all, how would you describe the

style of music Manes is playing at the

moment?

cern: varied audio, outside of most genres

and dogmas

Torstein: We’ve never really had a need to

define our music in any easy way, and at

least not find a crowded genrebooth to rot in.

It’s fun to read what other choose to call our

music (and some people certainly should be

awarded medals for their creative tags), but

we prefer to let the music talk for itself when

it comes to defining what it is, if anything at

all. One of the worst ones is Rock/Pop, so

let’s go with that…

Would you say, all the musical elements,

you integrated into your sound were part

of a master plan to escape from all the

stereotypes, dogmas and rules, which

are included, when a band in general is

playing traditional metal or especially

Black Metal or was the reason for your

musical diversity something like a natural

development in praxis to become an

artist (in your meaning of being an audio-

scientist?) on a different level of

musical expression?

cern: not really. it was mainly “wow, this and

that idea is cool, let’s use it on the album”.

but, our attitudes and inspirations are extremely

varied and different, and when we

join forces to make something more proper

than just ideas and themes, we all have too

many ideas, and we have to juggle everything,

mix, mash, cook, stew, until we all say

“yes!”.

Torstein: We haven’t had any voiced grand

plan to avoid stereotypes, no, but it’s a part

of what Manes is about and who we are. We

don’t measure what we do up against other

bands, we just do what we do. We don’t try

to be untraditional, because the traditional

isn’t a part of our equation when we make

music. We have no such goals.

Could you please try to recapitulate your

steps and phases of musical progression

from the beginning of your career until

now and is there a special reason why

you started out as a band with a blackmetal

background in the 1990ies?

cern: oh shit… manes started in ’92 as a side

project. I was playing in atrox back then, but

wanted to do something a bit darker and

more intense, so I formed manes. first as a

one-man band/project, but shortly after

joined by sargatanas (from perifa). the two of

us did three demos, the debut album in ’98?,

and some demo-re-releases. the current incarnation

has been going with only minor

modifications to the core-setup since 2000 or

something.

What do you think could be the reasons,

why people call you a progressive or

avantgardistic band?

cern: it probably has something to do with

the current, extreme narrow-minded-ness.

thou shalt not do something anybody might

dislike, play it safe.. which is exactly the opposite

of our main interests and motivation?

Torstein: The safe and well-documented

route is more often than not the path to

commercial success, so many bands seem to

find this the smart way to go to achieve their

ambitions. Money and fame. We actually try

to focus on the music, and that may certainly

61

qualify for a quick avantgarde label, wouldn’t

you agree?

Let’s talk about your last record ‘How

The World Came To An End’. What is the

lyrical concept behind this album or the

songs and what are the lyrical differences

to your other former records Under

Ein Blodraud Maane (1999) Vilosophe

(2003) and [view] (2006)?

cern: the first album were quite traditional,

lyric-wise, mostly in Norwegian, one in English,

topics like suicide, death of everything,

desolation. vilosophe became more philosophical

and mental, more varied topics. how

the world is a bit more focused, perhaps a

mixture of both, darkness, suicide, fear, but

in a metaphorical and abstract wrapping.

Torstein: Negativity and nihilism is something

that can be found as the essence in most of

Manes’ lyrics. As Cern points out, the first

album might have had a more direct expression,

but it’s not like it’s miles away from

what we write about today. I guess we could

say it’s drawn down to a more personal level

now.

What are the different styles of music,

you where operating and playing with

while recording your last record and

which types of music are included into

the current sound of Manes to get your

own style when you think about ‘How

The World Came To An End’?

cern: we incorporate the elements we like,

and don’t think too much about what other

styles having this or that as more common

elements. there is no sign saying “never do

this” or “always do this” around here.

Torstein: We don’t go looking for genres to

combine or foreign elements to incorporate,

we just let things flow free as much as possible.

Nor do we include any special types of

music into anything. It’s just one type.

Three words and your own construction:

avant-gardism – post-modern – progression

– ‘omni directional deconstruction’.

How could they fit into your – in my

opinion – open understanding of music?

cern: let loose your imagination, drop all

imagined rules and dogmas, do your thing,

and people start to call you things like that.

Torstein: Tags like that is not relevant nor

interesting for us. We don’t strive to be progressive

or avantgarde, it’s more of a drive to

do something that excites us and keeps our

enthusiasm fuelled. Omni directional indeed,

but maybe more destruction than deconstruction.

Would you say, your music is art, or is

this a label, Manes does not want to get

in contact like a lot of other bands in the

metal and rock genres?

cern: yeah, I feel manes is more ‘art’ than

band. things like that have a tendency to

sound very arrogant and stuff, but that’s not

our intention. we want to express something,

our own things, not compete with anybody on

some others terms. the ‘art’ word is a bit

biased, but I think it kind of fit.

In an interview with another webzine

called ‘voices from the dark side’ I’ve

read that Manes have no singular concept

and that you describe your band

more like a hydra which is an interesting

picture to describe the inner structure of

a band. What was the idea behind this

metaphoric statement?

cern: hm, who said that? Torstein probably…

anyway, interesting analogy. interviews tent

to be very there-and-then, spur of the moment,

etc, so things get said without thinking

too much, etc, but…

Torstein: That might have been my statement

yeah, and it’s true. We are very different

people involved in Manes. We have different

tastes in music, we have different

views on recording and concerts … quite a lot,

really. But our common ground is Manes. We

have a chemistry that boils down to our output,

be it as albums or gigs or anything. We

focus on what we think is cool to do as Manes,

and open up for what we all think is good shit.

62

Is your band more something like a collective

of many artists with a democratic

approach or are there special members

in the band, who could be called musical

dictators and art directors?

cern: so far, I’ve been handling most of the

underlying electronics, and perhaps some of

the main structures, but when it comes to

actually transform those loose, sporadic and

meaningless ideas into ‘proper’ music, we are

all on equal standing. not really democratic or

anything, but nobody is more ‘important’

than anybody else.

Would you say, that there is a progressive

scene with rock and metal growing

in Norway at the moment (I’m thinking

of bands like Extol, Red Harvest, maybe

Gåte, Thorns, Ulver, etc. by the way) in

which musical diversity is in the foreground

or is your country still the land of

Black Metal?

cern: for such a small (and Christian!) country,

Norway has a bunch of interesting bands.

perhaps people up here are more split in

opinion, and dare to do their own things,

perhaps belonging to this or that clique isn’t

too important here? don’t know.

Torstein: Norway hasn’t been the land of

black metal for a long time now. We may still

have a few really good black metal bands

here, but it’s not very visible. Well, unless

you count bands like Dimmu Borgir and Satyricon

as black metal (which I don’t). Anyway,

as some people seem to forget, diversity

was a major part of the Norwegian black

metal boom in the early 90ies too. I can

mention Emperor, Mayhem and Darkthrone

as examples. None of their defining moments

sounded very similar in expression. They may

have had lyrics dealing with somewhat the

same subject matter, but all three of them

had a sound of their own. Anyway, we have

as much diversity here as most places, I

guess, with some hip-hop, jazz, prog, metal,

pop, country etc.

Is it hard for you as an innovative band

with a metal background to be accepted

in the different parts of the music press?

cern: yes and no. we haven’t worked too

hard with expanding anything, so there hasn’t

been any lack of response, he, but, as

both our history and our label candlelight is

safely anchored to metal, I guess we’ll be

‘stuck’ here forever…

don’t know, don’t care too

much.

Torstein: Acceptance isn’t

something we care too

much about. We see a few

reviews coming in from

magazines of various

shapes and sizes, but for

me personally it gets a bit

abstract and hard to view

as anything besides just

reviews. I don’t know

what we’re considered to

be, as some sort of general

stance… nor do I

know if “How the world

came to an end” is generally

viewed as a successful

album, a flop, a statement,

a piece of art or total sell-out, true or untrue

or what the fuck else. We have moved on.

Are there any future plans?

cern: a lot! remixes are a-coming, there will

be a remix compo coupled with some software

endorsements, some internet projects,

expand into different ways of expression (not

just audio), even more cooperation and collaborations

Torstein: Yes, we’re working on a lot of new

stuff already. We are well underway with the

pre-production of our next album tentatively

titled “Be all / End all”, and slowly also starting

to see the outlines of some other smaller

releases/projects too. We’ll probably do a few

gigs here and there as time goes too, we’ll

see what happens. Hopefully, our brand new

website at http://www.manes.no will be done this

year, but you can check at

http://www.myspace.com/manes to get news and

updates.

Thanks for your time and space.

63

SATANOCHIO

Metal Threat Anonymous

By Suleiman

The Satanochio management and the band

were kind enough to promptly provide detailed

answers to all my queries. Here then,

in all its madness (mostly uncorrected from

the original transcript) are words and ideas of

a metal killing machine. The interview was

conducted via email with Satanochio (vocals /

guitar).

First of all kudos and congrats for producing

one of the finest slabs of innovative

black / death metal in recent years

with I am Satanochio.

Hello and thank you so much man, we really

appreciate your words. It’s nice to meet

open-mind metalheads, hehe!

Kindly elaborate on your pre-Satanochio

musical backgrounds? What bands were

you in before forming this insane outfit?

Before Satanochio we were playing in different

bands, all metal-related…but, unfortunately

I cannot mention their names. Nobody

knows who we really are, and believe me,

this is our philosophy and I don’t wanna

change that. So, before Satanochio each one

of us was trying to make something with his

band…but none of us succeeded very much.

We had all kind of usual guys around us, with

usual ideas, playing and composing usual riffs

and we didn’t like that way. We had enough

of “usual”, “traditional” and everything that

can be considered “good” by usual people.

We wanted something else, something different,

we wanted to search beyond the traditional

metal, and even we are talking about

heavy metal, black metal or death/grind

metal. That’s the way I did Satanochio, to

make the music that I want to hear, not to

copy some “great satanic true black metal”

band. We are all listening to all kinds of metal,

we have all the most honest respect possible

for the traditional metal, but we are all very

interested in making something fresh.

How did Satanochio form? Where did

you guys meet up?

At the beginning was just me and Satan Imparat,

a strange guy that I knew from my

childhood. Together we wanted to build the

sickest metal band from Romania. We had

some rehearsals in late 2004, and in January

2005 we recorded the crazy tracks for “The

First Strike Of The Possessed”, that was released

in march, same year. After a short

Satan Imparat fell into a deep depression and

some severe mental problems and he left the

band. In May I think I had a jam with one of

my best and old friends, Grui Sanger. After

that rehearsal I knew that he is the right man

for this band and from that day he remained

the second guitar and bass player in Satanochio.

He is the best guitarist I know from

these lands and he has also some great vocal

touch (he recorded the backing vocals for “I

Am Satanochio” album), also he has a unique

style to compose drums (he programmed

shot by shot all the drums for the “Daemon”

maxi single, the “I Am Satanochio” album

and the “Heihaiheihei Caini” single).

In spring of 2007 we found this guy, Nimenea,

a great drummer from our town, and had a

rehearsal with him. Like Grui he remains in

the band as our drummer. So I can say for

the first time that now Satanochio has the

perfect line-up…and with this line-up we

recorded the new material called “Vagrant

Matter Heritage”. So, after all these stories,

we are all good friend, we are like a big great

family, surrounded by devoted friends. This is

what we are, haha!

What inspired the relentless and quite

brutal nature of the music?

When you ask me about inspiration for brutality,

the first thing that comes through my

mind is Romania, with all the problems and

middle age mentalities from here. Let me tell

you a short story: yesterday I did a great

mistake. Something that I really don’t do

usually…I watched TV for 15 minutes. I think

that last time I did something like that was 2-

3 months ago. Yes, I watched TV and I remained

shocked when I saw what was on the

main news. A bunch of big farmers that demonstrated

in the front of the residential yard

64

of the Agriculture Ministry, dropping milk

over a small mountain of animal fecals…I

don’t judge their acts, I just think about the

simple image of them doing this, with that

horrible faces, that toothless large smiles,

and about the reason that makes them acting

in this way. For me this is like a sick piece of

brutal middle age, and it gives me the total

inspiration for making a track like “You Deserve

To Die!” or “The National John Doe”. I

cannot take this anymore, I just can’t! This

madness must stop and the only weapon I

have to fight with is my music. I cannot stay

back home and leave all the bastards throwing

their lies over the poor mindless crowds!

We are not free. Look around…just look very

carefully around and see how many of us are

the slaves of some stupid philosophy. I cannot

take anymore a generation of whores

that teach their daughters to act

like whores; I cannot take anymore

generations and generations of

religion-related minds and acts! If

I’ll stop doing this, there will be no

difference between me and a sheep.

And I’m not a sheep, I am a human

being that can think, that can

dream that can grow and evolve,

that can explore everything, that

can do everything!

In your opinion, what separates

Satanochio from the current

hordes of extreme metal?

I don’t know for sure, because I’m

too much into this…the guitar

playing mode, the notes, vocals,

sound, message, lyrics, production,

drums composition, combination of

styles…everything, I guess?

There is an undercurrent of humor in the

songs and the imagery, that makes it

fresh compared to a lot of so called kvlt

bands. How did this come about? Will

this bloom further in the future?

Yes, I must admit, we had a strong cynic

humor in our lyrics. I don’t know, this just

came out naturally, I guess… It’s just the

reflection of this world. It’s like a mirror that

reflects macabre jokes… everything that we

hate we consider as a brutal joke. Church,

State, Democracy, Freedom … big words,

small inventors with big bank accounts and

big powers. When you want to build something

serious, when you are thinking about

the human progress and evolution, the mindless

crowds are the last people that will admit

you as someone serious. And it’s more than

possible that they will admit this only when

they will feel a benefit coming in their lives

based on your work. Only then…maybe.

This has to be asked. Why the masks?

The masks are very important for our message.

It’s not about Satanochio the masked

guys that make strange metal music. Satanochio

represents the revolted human, we are

just a metaphor, our real faces are not important

in this story. The revolted human is

also intelligent, that’s the way he is revolting

with a mirror over his face. He is cynic, ironic,

considered evil by default of the herd of

sheep. His only chance to find his freedom is

to use this mask. It’s the only way that he

can make the words of revolution audible.

Otherwise the eyes of the crowds will never

fall over him…otherwise he will remain always

just someone in the crowd.

65

How do the song structures come about?

Is it a main composer led effort, done in

layers or a result of jamming?

Yes, I usually compose the basic song, but

after that I work on it with Nimenea and Grui

Sanger and it just happens…a new song is

done only when every Satanochio member is

150% satisfied with it. This is our way.

Do you play live often? If so, do you plan

to expand the line-up to re-produce the

density of sound onstage?

We have never played live. Even

though we had a lot of offers for

this we didn’t accept. In the future,

maybe this will change.

Anyway, for the moment we are

just working on our stage looking

effects, and this will take a while.

You know, I cannot imagine Satanochio

playing live as a usual

metal band, because we are not.

We want to offer to the fans a

great show, with a great scenoraphy,

something never seen before.

But for this we will need some

serious time.

Why has there been a switching

of record labels between

your releases?

The first time when we switched the record

label was this year, in January, when I and

Grui wanted to auto produce our “Heihaiheihei

Caini” single. It was for the first time

when Axa Valaha Productions was not into

our stuff, because we wanted to see how we

can manage our things using other methods.

In August Twilight13media became our new

official label and that way was released our

“Dark Visions From the Fog” DVD. For “Vagrant

Matter Heritage” we found another

label interested in our stuff, so the new E.P.

is a co-release of these 2 labels, Twilight13media

and Krudd Promotion & Booking.

I guess these new arrangements will remain

for a long time, because we are all good

friends.

What sort of progression can be expected

on the new EP Vagrant Matter

Heritage?

Vagrant Matter Heritage is a conceptual E.P.

based on the symbol and connotations of

number III. It’s the first material recorded in

our new line-up. These are the first tracks

composed at the rehearsal room with our

new drummer. The sound is much better, the

lyrics have more substance, the insanity is

stronger, the compositions are better…

Vagrant Matter Heritage is our heritage

to the world, is the summary of our lives,

beliefs and experiences. It’s the best material

we ever did and it is showing the actual Satanochio:

stable and certain on its way.

When can the next full-length album be

expected?

Next album…in 2008 for sure! It will be

something much more beyond, I can assure

you! Hahaha!

Are there any other (musical)

projects by the members

that we should know

about?

Yes, Grui has his own bandproject

that is called Grui

Sanger. You can check it at

http://www.myspace.com/gruisange

rband.

It’s really fantastic what Grui

works there! He has a unique

story behind his concept and

he is working on a fantastic

record! He also had another

brutal project called Hang Him.

Really, just listen to the compositions

of this guy, how he

plays the riffs and how he

composes his drums; really, I

am a fan!

What’s the metal scene in Romania like,

and are there others pushing the

boundaries like you?

66

I just saw a few good bands here, maybe

because the crowds here are more traditional

bands unfortunately. If they are not traditional,

they are based on a very clear style

for sure (death metal, heavy metal, metalcore,

etc). I really don’t know a real boundaries-

pushing-metal-band from Romania. We

had all kind of problems caused by our style

and image over here, where a big part of fans

respect only the traditional values of metal.

Even if it was very hard for us, we understand

also that it was very hard for them to

accept an unusual band like Satanochio in a

country where a tribute band has a bigger

value than one based on it’s original

stuff…but I saw that in the last period we

didn’t have problems like before, so I think

that maybe people begin to accept us in a

way or another. Though this aspect is actually

good, we want to be satisfied first by our

records. I really don’t care if the entire country

hates me or loves me; all I care about is

my passion and its results. Now, when the

number of fans is growing day by day, I’m

glad too see people feeding their souls with

our works!

Last but not least, who is the hacker who

spread the disinformation about the Satanochio’s

breaking up and made it seem

like your official website?

A bastard and a full…what can I say? This

story shows very clear how the low-minds

over here can act sometimes, how some guys

dedicate their abilities only to the destruction

of creation. I really don’t care about that

website; we have a new one, much bigger

and more beautiful. I care just about the

work of a man that was destroyed by another

man only for pleasure.

What makes me very sad about all this shitstory

is that I heard this guy is from another

Romanian band….that is, from my point of

view, a dramatic situation.

Thank you for your time. May you rock

loud and true!!!

Thank you for spending your time asking a

madman about his reality.

All The best!

67

BERGRAVEN

A Small Chat About Death

By aVoid

Interview performed and translated

by aVoid. OK’d by Pär himself (May

27th 2007)

I have paid my friend and musical colleague

Pär Gustavsson a visit on this

calm Day of the Pentecost, at the warm

end of May. He the sole member of Bergraven,

responsible for the black beast

of an album called “Fördärv” (“Ruin”),

released in late 2004. We are listening to

Leaden’s “Monotonous Foghorns of Molesting

Department” spreading its bleak

misanthropy, a suitable frame for the

discussions about his new album, musical

methods and the beyond to come.

The second Bergraven album, Dödsvisioner

(“Deathvisions”), was released

in the United States May the

22nd, through HydraHead Records,

and will be released in Europe

through Total Holocaust Records.

How would you describe this new

record? What are your thoughts behind

it?

I would like to describe it as the journey

between dying and being dead, set to

music. The music is based on lyrics

based on the ideas and thoughts I have

about the moment of death. Stories of

near death experiences, and the way

religion looks at death and dying. It’s not

easy to make music out of it, but I have

tried. Musically it’s quite sombre, but

then again, so is death. However, I am

only an observer, these are only my

thoughts, not my opinions. The only selfcriticism

I have is that I maybe shouldn’t

have made it as raw as I did, but I suppose

that came natural. It is hard to restrain

yourself when dealing with these

subjects.

So where do you find inspiration for

your creations?

The lyrics come from my own thoughts

and ideas. I often get stuck on certain

subjects very intensively for periods of

time… for example the thought of the

moment of death long enough to write

Dödsvisioner. Bergraven is the part of

me that are these thoughts.

Musically, I’m inspired by my lyrics,

which I always write first. I try to shape

different sounds and atmospheres into

music, even images and sceneries at

lengths, to capture visual feelings. How

does the house of a plague-infested man

sound in G minor? Other’s music also

inspire me, of course. The emotions of

Burzum is unavoidable. I listen to a lot of

black metal, but other genres as well.

Sprawling gloomy music in general; Angelo

Badalamenti, Joy Division, The Cure,

Chris Isaak… Musicians who manage

“dealing with feelings” inspire me.

Do you believe in a reality beyond

our senses – before and/or after

death?

Yes, somehow. I cannot – and have no

reason to – rule out that there are energies

beyond our senses. I have no reason

to prove that there are, either.

Death itself is such a thing – people may

claim to have seen and experienced

death, but I haven’t in any concrete way.

But I do think many have.

Can it be experienced? How?

If you can reach beyond our senses,

then yes, it can be experienced. A few

can feel certain things other can’t, but

I’m not one of them. It would be a

shame if we couldn’t contact a spirit

world, if there is one. I haven’t tried

though.

68

What lies beyond the grave, do you

think?

(…a long silence.) I have thought a lot

about it, naturally, but what I believe…

that is a good question. There are many

theories of what happens, but I haven’t

died yet, so I don’t know. I’m actually

surprised that the suicide statistics aren’t

higher, considering how curious people

usually are. I cope with life, with my curiosity

growing bigger and bigger. It is

the biggest mystery of

life, you know… Whether

you end up in heaven,

hell or a big black void.

You can only speculate,

as everyone should. Or

maybe not, it is quite

anguish.

What does the word

Bergraven mean?

Berg means mountain, and raven is, well,

raven, in Swedish as well. A black mountain.

It is a metaphor for all the dark

thoughts that are ventilated more seldom

than other. That black mountain

within me is Bergraven.

Why do you only sing in Swedish?

P. It’s how I express myself the best. My

knowledge of the different angles and

interpretations of the other languages I

know is too poor. I sometimes refer to

old Swedish proverbs and such, that

aren’t translatable. It’s strange that people

don’t use their mother tongues more

often, seeing how many bad lyrics there

are. I mean, compare Rob Darken to

Dani Filth. Need I say more?

You are the only member of Bergraven.

Is this because a), you want

total control, or b), the lack of appropriate

musicians?

A little of both. I want to have control of

Bergraven of course, but it springs from

the absence of like-minded musicians. I

need musicians who are creative, who

compose and write as much as I do, not

just going along playing what I tell them

to play. And those are hard to come by.

Dödsvisioner was recorded at

the infamous Necromorbus

Studio, with Tore G Stjerna

recording and Perra Karlsson

(from Nominon, In Aeternum,

etc) playing session drums.

How did they affect the final

product, what input did they

have?

Well, we all worked on the arrangements,

how long different parts

should be played and other small details.

Perra and Tore go back a long time, so

there weren’t any conflicts as to what

should be done and what shouldn’t. We

weren’t three individual wills, but worked

together as one combined will. To

have a second opinion from musicians

as experienced as them

means a lot to the process. Will

this or that work? And they of

course brought their own individuality

to it.

How do you think Dödsvisioner

will be received, and

who will listen?

I am sure that many who are into

Black Metal will be broadminded

enough to allow my non-Satanism,

deviated harmonies and many

clean guitars. I also hope that a wider

mass can grasp and identify themselves

with the emotions. And hear the screams

and distortions as amplifying the emotions,

not me trying to make angry and

heavy music. I think that music is moving

towards what it was in the 1980’s,

with many more accepted genres,

equally popular, as opposed to the late

90’s. I make the kind of music I would

like to hear, that I think is missing, and I

hope other thinks it is missing as well.

69

Do you have any side-projects?

Yes… a lot of them, with or without

names. Infernal Hellfire is a tribute to

the extreme metal of the 80’s, mostly to

develope my technicality as a guitarist. I

make a lot of music; my focus isn’t only

on Bergraven.

What is then the future for Bergraven?

Will there be live performances?

I have a new album finished, that I hope

to record eventually. It is a natural continuation

of Bergraven. And I have been

trying to put a live line-up together. If

there is a will to realize Bergraven onstage,

then it would be very welcome. I

will continue to think and develop Bergraven;

it isn’t a project I will cancel

anytime soon. I make music for myself,

so whether there is any interest from the

outside or not, Bergraven will still exist.

And so, we reach the end of this interview.

A question to conclude;

what are your thoughts and views

on the state of extreme metal today?

I think that the scene is filled with less

inspiration then it was years ago. If

you’re into extreme metal it’s not just

playing the riffs everyone else has been

doing before, you have to have inspiration

and do something new. Darkthrone

have done their albums and concerning

black metal there is no need for people

trying to sound like them.

So you can say that there is a big inflation

going on and that is something I at

least try to change. I think this is something

that has happened since everyone

can record their own record without any

big amounts of money. You don’t have to

try very hard and you sell some records,

but you sound like everyone else. Today

Extreme Metal has also become really

big and I don’t know actually if I like it or

not, mostly because the biggest band

don’t seem to have any inspiration or

energy, in my opinion. I don’t see

the ”demo-energy of darkness” that I

find in old records. A band that has been

able to uphold these things is Trelldom.

They just put out a new album that

sounds exactly the same as they

sounded 10 years ago BUT with new

riffage, and amazing vocals. They also

have a very ambient feeling that really

haunts the listeners and not being focused

on sounding too extreme with

double kickdrums clicking your ears out

for example. To get the sound of darkness

there is big need for listening to

other genres and mix it with a good

sense of feeling. I do not mean in the

way Mr. Bungle does it, but more in the

way of Lurker of Chalice. I think that’ll

wrap it up for you Andreas, and hope

that you will be able to express your

wants for new sounding extreme metal

in the future.

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69

KEKAL

The Light At The End Of The Tunnel

By aVoid and Chrystof

Despite having a leading role in their native

scene, producing six albums of highest quality

extreme avantgarde metal in over ten

years, Kekal is still one of South East Asia’s

most well-kept secrets, having yet to conquer

the West. Intrigued, aVoid and Chrystof

hunts down mainman Jeff Arwadi, now residing

in Canada, to shed some light on this

obscure Indonesian trio…

A: KEKAL have released six albums over

the last decade. Still you are a tip for

insiders within the metal scene. So

maybe you could start with a brief introduction

of KEKAL to our virgin readers.

How did it all begin? What does the

name Kekal mean?

Well, Kekal has been around for 12 years

now. We just celebrated our 12th anniversary,

silently and quietly. We came from Jakarta,

the capital city of Indonesia, entered the

scene in late 1995 and released our first official

demo tape in 1996 to spread our name

and music locally and regionally, then we

recorded our debut full-length album independently

in 1997 and licensed it to various

labels.. After 2 albums then we got some

exposure within the European underground

scene, first within the Eastern part of Europe,

and then in Germany and BeNeLux after Fear

Dark released our 3rd album, and we continued

to record another album in 2003. We

toured Europe in 2004 as the first Indonesian

band that played shows outside Asian territory,

and our 5th album was released in 2005.

We just got our 6th album out few months

ago, called “The Habit of Fire” which is also

our first album who entered the North American

market. So far, we’ve been known as an

independent band who never wants to get

signed by record label, to maintain our independency

and control over our artistic freedom,

and also to own our recording masters

and copyright. Instead of band signing, we

always prefer to license our finished albums

to record labels. One of the reasons why we

haven’t been known that well. As far as our

band name goes, Kekal means ’immortal’

or ’eternal’ in Indonesian language..

A: Over the last five years or so, you

have become less and less traditional

concerning composition and concept.

How has this progression been received

by the press & the audience?

We started to switch into the new direction

when we recorded our 3rd album “The Painful

Experience” in 2001. We lost many of our old

fans back then, especially those who were

into melodic black and death metal. We got

mixed responses; they were either love us or

hate us, nothing in between. But we moved

on and continued to do music like this. However,

since our 4th album “1000 Thoughts of

Violence”, people were used to the fact that

Kekal is no longer the band they knew from

our first 2 albums, and we started to gain

new enthusiasts from many different musical

backgrounds.

As for the press, mostly we get very positive

reviews, despite a very few reviews who told

us that we suck because we’re not metal

enough in the eyes of these reviewers, but

we always ignore that kind of reviews.

I think if people are open minded enough to

accept different musical styles, then they will

like Kekal. Right now, our enthusiasts and

loyal supporters came from many musical

backgrounds, not only metal but as broad as

jazz-fusion, punk, hip-hop, experimental, and

electronic-dance music backgrounds.

70

A: Were there any particular circumstances

that made you leave the metal

behind? A growing boredom with the

genre, or just a desire to break free and

find new listeners? When you’re stuck

inside the metal genre, I suppose it’s

hard to reach outside of it.

We didn’t leave the metal behind. Our decision

was intentionally to break its limits.

Metal music was not originally invented with

the vision of creating a tight box with exact

size, let alone to create walls inside the box

called sub-genres. But then when it was established

as a part of the genre and moreover

as a part of rock subcultures, people

then tried to put limits and now it seems that

it can no longer be expandable if we don’t try

to tear down these walls. It happens in electronic

music as well, it happens even in jazz

too. Music styles become genres and then

genres becomes subcultures.

I hope you don’t see music in genres, because

it’s how 95% of people see music

nowadays, and it’s not an avantgarde way of

seeing the music. It’s the MTV and pop culture

way of thinking. That was a part of major

labels and MTV campaign, to create boxes

so they can target the music to the specific

audience and build the number of audience in

each box, because it was a lot easier to control

and manipulate when they were pooled.

What we are tired with is the limits, like all

these tags and sub-genres that people always

associate them to us. Kekal has a unique

position, that if we are being promoted and

marketed only to music fans within one or

two sub-genres, we won’t survive. So what

we do nowadays is to find more and more

new listeners everyday, while continue fighting

to tear down all these limits. It is beyond

boredom. It’s a method of survival.

A: How has the KEKAL sound evolved

throughout these six albums? How much

has been “forced” to reach a set idea,

and how much has come naturally?

Everything comes out naturally. We just don’t

want to limit ourselves whether in listening to

music as well as writing the music. We listen

to any kind of music, and most of our favourite

musicians and bands nowadays are outside

metal. And since we don’t want to limit

ourselves in writing and playing it, these influences

would come naturally when we write

the music. We never want to become a

unique band. Uniqueness must be genuine,

must come from the heart, otherwise it would

sound fake. Also, our instrumental and song

writing skills have progressed throughout the

years, so right now we are able to write and

play more complex music, in terms of musical

structure and arrangements.

A: Is there any band or artist that has

influenced you more than others

throughout the history of Kekal?

When we just started out until we released

our official demo tape in 1996, I think Bathory

and Iron Maiden influenced us more

than others. But after the guitarist Leo came

in, he brought his influences to the band, and

I started to listen to prog rock and electronic

stuff.

A: You are one of the few bands I have

come across that actually place themselves

in the avantgarde metal genre.

Why is this appropriate tag for KEKAL?

I really don’t know. Honestly, while I don’t

mind with the term avantgarde metal, but I

think this term should not be used to establish

a sub-genre. I believe these kinds of

bands try to make fresh music by putting

many of their outside metal influences into

their music, with the idea of limitless creativity,

but when another sub-genre has become

established, it would create nothing but limits,

and I don’t think it’s wise if we try to establish

sub-genre that limits creativity and expression.

Back in the early 80’s, when thrash

and death metal weren’t established as subgenres,

I heard many original bands came up

with their own interpretation of what is fast

and brutal music, but during the 90’s when

all these stupid sub-genres started to emerge,

we saw more and more bands copying each

other, because there are no space left but

they had to conform to the scene, so they

could not get away from limits.. I believe that

music should not be limited at all when it

comes to an artistic expression.

C: Your latest work “The Habit of Fire”

has been released some months ago.

How have the reactions been so far?

It is still hard to tell at this stage, as not

many album reviews from the media showed

up yet, especially in Europe. Perhaps we

aren’t important enough, I just don’t know.

Last album, it needed about 6 months or so

for the review to appear in a printed magazine.

But so far, we’ve got very positive responses.

Same with the individual responses

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from listeners that we’ve received through email

and myspace. Mostly they told us that

they had to give ”The Habit of Fire” some

more spins before they got hooked by the

music, but once they got hooked by it, they

told us that this is the best Kekal album, or at

least one of the best.

C: For “The Habit of Fire” you also

changed label. Your last 3 outputs have

been released by “Fear Dark Records”.

Now you have licensing deals with

“Whirlwind Records” (Germany) and

Open Grave Records (USA). I’ve heard

you aim to reach people outside the extreme

metal scene with this approach.

Are you still satisfied with this strategy?

I guess you read that from the Fear Dark

website..? Actually, we left Fear Dark because

of various reasons that are one of the

reasons, but not the main thing who made us

to switch label. The licensing deals with 2

record labels came out because it was the

best thing to do, unless the album being licensed

to a bigger label that operates 2 offices

in both USA and Europe, it is better to

have 2 smaller record labels who release the

album to their own separate markets. Our

friends told us that we should release the

album through a U.S. record label too because

there is a growing trend for the kind of

music we do and more and more new listeners

being introduced to it.. So we took their

words seriously, while maintaining the European

market that we already had. Fear Dark

as a record label is very strict to the extreme

metal territory, but Whirlwind Records has

somewhat more diverse as they have nonmetal

bands as well. It is better for us to be

placed into a more diverse field because of

the nature of our music.

A: “The Habit of Fire”, is a conceptual

album, dealing with the urbanized modern

world. What are your opinions on the

state of our World?

What we always believe is that human tends

to corrupt. It is in our blood, our hedonistic

human tendencies that control or influence us

to make decisions, but by doing that, the

result is that we are always heading to something

called destruction. I do believe that

what we do is always to gain short-term

benefits. I don’t have all the answers to those

problems in the world, but first thing we need

to be aware, that when we make a choice,

the tendency is always been hedonistic rather

than altruistic. It is becoming more and more

complex when these things are done in the

name of security, nation, God, and religion.

People should be aware and critical of this,

otherwise they would be easily being deceived

by those who have power or who are

in control.

A: If you had the power, how would you

turn this hedonism towards altruism? Is

there any “magical solution”, or is it up

to evolution to sort things out?

I would say that better to leave the“if I had

the power” words to all those politicians who

are running their campaigns. I will keep continue

making music. I mean there are different

ways to create awareness to all these

wrongs that happen in our world. Michael

Moore’s documentary movies are good example

of creating awareness, and they get

huge impact on the society, but he’s not a

politician himself, well at least for now. He is

doing that in capability as a documentary

filmmaker. But I must add that creating

awareness doesn’t always have to be connected

with the politics within human group

interactions such as in governmental, corporate

or religious institutions. Awareness to

oneself is also included.

A: Faith and Religion is always a hot

topic when dealing with underground

music. Considering your previous affiliation

with so-called “white” metal bands

on tours and splits (Crimson Moonlight,

Slechtvalk, etc), what importance does

faith have for Kekal as a band? I’m not

trying to stigmatize you as a religious

band, I’m just interested.

For me personally, faith is something that

motivates and drives you to live the life as

human being. People might have a faith in

oneself, as well as faith in God or higher

power, or might have faith in many other

things from an amulet to a broken tooth. As a

musician, it is important to maintain drive,

72

and faith helps creating the drive needed to

write music, especially if the music acts as

the songwriter’s medium of expression. I

happen to believe in something good, that’s

why I am always looking for better life and

try to improve health, for example. But it

does not have to be associated with religion

whatsoever. You don’t have to be religious to

ever believe that there is light at the end of

the tunnel, and you don’t have to be religious

to have a good diet and workout some exercise.

A: Since you started in the mid-90´s,

how has the Indonesian metal scene

evolved? How socially accepted is it today

to play extreme metal in Indonesia?

When we started out, the scene was in its

early stage as not so many bands back then

who had their own songs and released demo

tapes. Most of the bands were still playing

covers of well-known metal bands. But it has

progressed and improved both in quantity

and in quality. As long as whether it’s socially

accepted, I don’t think the scene ever encountered

something like a brick wall. Metal

has always been underground over there,

and it hasn’t been known enough in the

mainstream market and mainstream music

industry, but I think in Indonesia, there are

more independent channels for metal bands

to become more and more known to the

masses.. I’m speaking about quantity, because

there are TV shows that accept videos

from independent bands, including metal

bands, and also there are bigger music festivals

which metal bands can share the stage

with mainstream pop bands too.

A: Are there any certain Indonesian

bands you can recommend?

It is hard because I don’t listen much to Indonesian

bands nowadays. But I would recommend

a band called Cranial Incisored. I

helped mixed and mastered their new promo

CD, so in this case, I am familiar with their

music. They are one of few bands in Indonesia

who are trying to blend music styles altogether.

A: How does a Kekal song come to life?

Who does what (especially now when

the Pacific Ocean is in the middle of the

band)?

”The Habit of Fire” is already recorded before

I came to Canada, so there was no ocean

between us, only concrete walls and flooded

streets. But for the future material, we haven’t

talked about how we deal with our current

situation yet. Let’s see what will happen.

But Kekal will continue no matter what the

situation is.

A: Both you and Azhar are vocalists. Who

is responsible for the clean vocals and

the screams respectively?

We didn’t split our vocal jobs specifically

based on which type of vocals. Most of the

clean vocals are sung by me, but that’s not

because I’m the one who responsible to handle

the entire clean vocal department. It just

happens.

A: Why have you chosen to use programmed

drums (expect on Acidity); for

practical reasons – everyone in a band

know how frustrating drummers can be,

especially when recording – or aesthetic?

Actually not all drums are programmed.

Since ”The Painful Experience” album, used

real-time human performance and combined

it with the mathematically-programmed ones

while doing the editing on the real-time part..

The real-time performances were done with

MIDI drum pads. And other than that, we

also put electronic beats and loops. Because

of the current technology of music production,

which in many cases producers use triggered

drums and manipulate the performance data

as well as the sound in the studio, there are

no separation between what is real and what

is programmed.. They are blended together,

so if you asked me if Kekal drums are programmed,

I would say not really. I call our

approach of drum production as “hybrid

drums”. It’s a mix between human performance

and matrix editing, and all was done by

the help of the sophisticated digital technology.

C: You’ve moved from Indonesia to Canada

one year ago. What have been the

reasons for this big step? Did you already

adapt yourself to your new environment?

How do you like Canada so

far?

Well, the reasons are personal, both for me

and my wife, since she also came with me to

Canada, and it’s nothing to do with Kekal

73

actually. I can adapt myself quite fast here

for the culture and such, maybe weather was

the hardest part since I never experienced as

cold temperature in Canada as in Indonesia.

There is no winter in Indonesia, and winter in

Canada is quite extreme. I like Canada for

being more open in any aspect of civilization,

compared with my home country. It’s healthier

for me to be at the more open environment.

A: How do you think

moving to Canada

will affect your

creativity?

I don’t think it will

affect creativity in

terms of the quality of

my song writing, because

that depends

more on motivation,

drive and will. Maybe

the emotion would be

different, I’m a bit

more calm and laid back right now, and that

would definitely give something different to

Kekal’s music in the future.. I’m not as angry

and uneasy as when I did ”The Painful Experience”

or ”1000 Thoughts of Violence”, for

example.

C: You’ve been one of the very first

Asian metal bands touring through

Europe in 2004. I guess this has been a

great experience for you. Can

you tell us more about it? Has it

been the first time you left Indonesia?

Did this tour influence

your decision to move away

from Indonesia?

No. This tour didn’t influence anything

about my personal decision in life.. It

did help to test and get used a bit on the

winter, because when we were in Sweden it

was about minus 6 or minus 7 degree Celsius.

When I came to Canada, I was already prepared

for the minus 20 degree something.

The tour was great, and because we didn’t

have very tight dates, it was about half doing

job and half having a holiday. It wasn’t the

first time I was travelling outside Indonesia

or South East Asian region, I was in Australia

before, and lived there for about a month.

A: Being Swedish, I’m curious… What

was the response from the crowd when

you played in Linköping?

It was very good overall. The response from

the crowd was great, one of the best crowd

responses we got on the whole tour. There

was a little problem, but we already anticipated

to that kind of thing which would possibly

happen to us, we weren’t surprised

when it did happen.

A: Will you do live shows again? Your

songs seem to become increasingly

harder to perform on stage.

I wish. It’s too early to say yes or no as it all

depends on the situations. The truth is that

we are unable to do shows to support ”The

Habit of Fire” at least for a year, as I am the

only member who’s in Canada and the others

are in Indonesia, but who knows in next couple

years.

C: Okay, Jeff, now we finally come to the

last question. What will the future bring

for KEKAL? What are your current plans?

In what direction do you think your further

work will evolve?

Right now I’m working on the remix of some

Kekal songs. I can’t really go into details at

this moment as things haven’t been finalized

yet, but we will post the updates on our forum

as well as our myspace blog once everything

is done. We do also have some plans

for the next year, but once again they are

still at the early stages and things might be

changed, so I don’t want to speculate for

right now. However, Kekal will stay and keep

moving forward in the current path, that

means that we will continue to progress

within this direction, in which evolution is a

part of the progression.

C: Thank you a lot! Any last words?

Thanks a lot aVoid and Chrystof for this interview.

We appreciate that. To anyone who

might not familiar with Kekal, feel free to visit

our myspace page http://www.myspace.com/kekal

to check out our songs online as well as getting

the information on where and how to

obtain our new album ”The Habit of Fire”, as

well as our previous albums. And you are

more than welcome to leave a comment or

send us a message. Cheers!

74

THE AMENTA

A Virus For Dissidents

By Jegger

What would Oswald Spengler do if he was

born in our times? Would he dig himself deep

into historical books to search evidence for

the decline of the western culture? Maybe.

But maybe he would also go to Australia and

form a band like THE AMENTA. Extreme music,

alien outfits, monumental futuristic artwork

and a dissi-dental philosophy (means

dissidents with sharp denture)

– this is THE AMENTA.

Jegger, at the moment on

holidays in Sicily, sends us

this Interview with keyboarder

Chlordane – enjoy!

In the world of metal

music The Amenta is

known as a dark extreme

metal band. Could you

please describe the style

of The Amenta to our

readers?

Chlordane: We consider

ourselves to be Extreme

Music. We have never considered

ourselves a Death

Metal, Black Metal or Industrial

Metal band, though

people do try to classify us

as such. Our music is the

result of experimentation

and trial and error. We have

never sat down to write a death metal song

or black metal song, we try to create MUSIC.

I don’t think that a band should be classifying

itself. It is way too fucking limiting. When you

have classified yourself as a “Black Metal”

band before you have even started writing

then you are setting yourself limitations. The

Amenta has no limitations. We make music

that pushes the boundaries of music, therefore

it is Extreme. The only words that I feel

comfortable using to describe The Amenta is

extreme, uncompromising, ugly and dark.

Any other classifications or adjectives are

irrelevant and irritating.

Are there any bands, which influenced

you musically and are there any special

music-styles, which are important for

The Amenta beside metal?

Chlordane: We try not to be influenced directly

by other bands. I think the best way to

approach music is to listen to as much music

as possible, from a variety of sources and

genres, take it all in, appreciate it and when

it comes time to write a song, lock yourself

away and don’t think about anything other

than what sounds good in the song at the

time. As soon as you start thinking “I want to

sound like this band or that riff” then you

have lost the fucking battle and you might as

well just release a shitty Darkthrone rip off.

If anything inspires us, rather than influences

us, from other bands it would be their experimental

spirit. Musicians those are unafraid

to take huge risks musically. Musicians

that are trying to invent their own musical

language. They are the inspiring

musicians. And it

isn’t my fucking job to point

them out for you. I don’t

care enough to educate people

on what I believe is correct

about music. As far as I

am concerned, if you want to

listen to shit then you get

what you fucking deserve.

As far as listening to other

musical styles other than

metal, of course we do. We

find MUSIC interesting, not

some bullshit false “brotherhood”,

meat headed, close

minded shit. We listen to

pretty much anything and

everything. If it’s interesting

and I haven’t heard it before

then I will listen to it no

matter what genre it springs

from.

Does The Amenta accept

any musical boundaries?

Chlordane: Of course not. As I mentioned

previously, to accept boundaries is to lose the

battle before you have started. We are musicians.

We can do what ever the fuck we want

to express ourselves. As listeners you have

the right and opportunity to decide if you

want to listen to it or not, but either way it

will not change how we create and appreciate

music. I like to think that anything is possible

for us. When we create music we are trying

to keep ourselves excited, and it isn’t exciting

to create music with restrictions because you

are afraid to take a risk. It is the risks that

create the excitement.

How is the line-up at the moment and do

you play live?

Chlordane: The line up is solid at the moment.

The Amenta has a very strong core and as

long as that core stays solid then The Amenta

will stay strong. We do play live. We are just

75

about to undertake an Australian tour with

The Berzerker and Akercocke.

Our live shows are fucking stressful and expensive

for us. It takes a lot of technology

and is a logistical nightmare to re-create

what we do on record in a live context. But

according to the reviews, we pull it off. The

new material is going to be even fucking

harder. Not only is it harder to play in the

sense that it isn’t grounded in any “metal”

technique but it is also very layered and intricate.

It will be exciting to bring into a live

situation, I think. But it’s going to cause a

shitload of stress.

Let’s talk about your record Occasus. It’s

one of the most outstanding records in

the heterogeneous subgenre of Industrial-

black-death-metal. Do you feel that

there is a lot of positive feedback coming

back from the metal scene, or do you

have problems with your sound to be

recognized?

Chlordane: Feedback for Occasus has been

great. We got many perfect score reviews in

zines and websites all over the world. There

are always detractors, but that is the nature

of the beast. Perhaps an album shouldn’t

appeal to everyone as that means it is appealing

to the lowest common denominator in

people. An album should challenge people. I

think Occasus did that. That’s something that

we hope all our releases will do. Of course it

would be nice if everyone bought Occasus

and appreciated it intellectually as it was

meant to be appreciated, but we know that

this is impossible. Not everyone is going to

appreciate a new intellectual idea. And we

are not fucking dumbing down our music to

appeal to idiots.

Is there a difference between the reactions

of your listeners (or if you want:

“fans”) and the music media?

Chlordane: Not really as far as I know. Of

course you would like to think that the music

media is made up of fans but this is not always

true. Everyone was very positive about

the album, I guess the only difference between

the “fans” and the media was that the

media had to express themselves in 300

words of a review where as the listeners usually

have a more visceral reaction.

The production and the song writing of

Occasus are fantastic. Who came up with

this idea to create such a wall of sound

and how do you write songs?

Chlordane: Thank you very much. Our song

writing is something at which we work very

hard. The wall of sound came from our writing

techniques and the techniques we used to

record. Our song writing is based in improvisation.

It is very rare that a member will

bring in a riff or part that they have written

at home. Generally our writing sessions involve

brainstorming an idea first, finding an

idea that we find interesting enough to pursue.

Then we might all pick up a guitar or

keyboard or whatever comes to hand and

play until something clicks. The idea is then

recorded and we play over it, finding new

chords or rhythms.

I like to think that we have created our own

musical language. We do not write using conventional

harmonies or keys. Our musical

language is based more in the timbre of a

sound. We have got to the point where we

are all able to understand the musical qualities

of noise and this assists us greatly in

making our music.

Would you describe yourself as a democratic

band or are there any members

who play a leader role in The Amenta?

Chlordane: I don’t believe that any successful

band is really a democracy. A democracy

basically means that everyone’s opinion is

given equal weight. Which is great in principal

but it never works out that way, politically

or musically.

Musically, I think it works better to have an

open forum where everyone expresses their

ideas. These can then be discussed and de76

bated but the ultimate decision must be

made by a much smaller group of people,

exactly as it is in a political “democracy”

where politicians are voted into place and

then decide an idea amongst themselves

without consulting the man on the street. We

are very lucky in The Amenta, because we

have a very strong writing and ideas team. It

is this team that makes all the ultimate musical

and artistic decisions for the band.

What is the lyrical concept behind Occasus?

Chlordane: Lyrically, Occasus deals with the

decline of the western world. It is my belief

that consumerism, weak government, advertising,

and religion have made a very weak

western world. Globally the west is the spoilt,

hypochondriac kid at the party. He is weak

and vulgar.

Occasus posits the idea that western humanity

has made its own trap and refuses to free

itself because it is comfortable. Western Humanity

allows itself to be led blindly. It

doesn’t have the strength anymore to fight.

It is decaying. We are in endtimes.

Your last album Occasus was re-released

in June 2007 and you’ve opened a discussion

platform called “Virus”, which is

in your words “an antidote to primitive

thinking.” Can you tell us something

about these activities?

Chlordane: Occasus has indeed been rereleased.

It has been issued as a limited edition

CD/DVD pack. It has the full original

album plus our 2002 MCD Mictlan and an

extra new track. The DVD contains the Virus

film cycle, the film clip for the track Erebus,

the first official release of the Soundtrack to

the Hidden Earth, which was an experiment

in sonic texture from 2004. The release

comes with all new artwork. We just received

the package two days before I am writing this

and they look fucking amazing.

The Virus Discussion platform is an extension

of the Virus film cycle. The idea is that humans,

by nature, think primitively. For example

they will see a symbol and immediately

associated other stimuli and prejudice

with it. They do not think deeper into context

or intent. There is not attempt to understand.

Humanity merely reacts when they should be

sitting back and analysing.

The Virus films aim to show extreme imagery

constantly juxtaposed against its opposite. It

is propaganda without an agenda. The idea is

that people will HAVE to sit back and think

about what it means. The discussion platform

is there for people to discuss, debate and

above all to think beyond surface reactions.

Check it out at virus.theamenta.com. It is still

in its very embryonic stages but we are in the

process of building it up to something truly

amazing.

The Amenta has an extraordinary aesthetic

style. What are reasons to choose

such a visual concept?

Chlordane: That was what suited the release

at the time. As you will soon see we are not

defined by that image. Things are constantly

changing. It’s not a matter of reinvention but

showing other facets. Our new album will

show another side.

Your record label ‘Listenable’ posted the

message: “THE AMENTA IS THE HIDDEN

EARTH FORMED IN A FALTERING NEW

MILLENIUM EMBODYING A NEW AGE IN

EXTREMISM.” Could you please describe

for us your general lyrical and musical

concept of your band?

Chlordane: The new age in extremism is us

reclaiming the term extreme. People are under

the misguided idea that extreme music is

defined by speed, technicality and absolute

bullshit such as the pitch of the vocals. This

would make me fucking laugh if it wasn’t so

depressing. We use the term extremism to

77

represent extreme IDEAS. An idea is extreme

when it challenges people. Any new idea by

that nature is extreme. This is reflected in the

lyrical and musical concept of the band. We

are constantly looking for new ideas to challenge

ourselves and our listeners. I have no

interest in being part of what modern metal

considers extreme. I wouldn’t listen to that

shit and I sure as fuck don’t want to play it.

It’s boring, pointless and frustrating.

Three words: avant-gardism – anti –

progression! How could they fit into your

understanding of music?

Chlordane: Avant-gardism is an excellent

idea when used correctly. It translates

roughly to vanguard or advance guard. So

therefore it represents the artists who are

pushing boundaries. Going first and forth to

create the paths that others follow. I think it

is extremely important in order for music to

progress and ultimately for me to be interested.

However, I do NOT believe that most

of the bands considered avant-garde are truly

so. It seems in metal that anyone who does

something slightly weird is considered avantgarde.

Unless you are pushing music forward

then this term cannot apply to you. Just using

classical music in heavy metal is not

avant-garde for example. It has been done.

It is not new. It offers nothing.

Anti- A first bastion of the primitive thinker.

You should never approach something determined

to be against it. A knee-jerk reaction

to be against something is proof that you

are not an evolved human. Truly evolved

humans will approach an idea neutrally and

allow their logic to determine whether it is of

worth or not. To be instantly anti-anything is

pathetic. This has NOTHING to do with my

music. Progression is extremely important

and is tied to the idea of avant-gardism. Music

must progress or otherwise it will decay,

exactly as the western world ahs done.

Would you describe The Amenta as art?

Chlordane: Of course. Art is self expression

packaged for outside appreciation. That is

what we do. We are expressing ourselves and

allowing you to see it. Therefore The Amenta

is art.

Your next record will be released in October

2007. Can you tell us something

about the musical and lyrical direction of

your upcoming album?

Chlordane: Our next album is entitled n0n

and we are in the process of recording it now.

It is a very different animal to Occasus. This

album is very dark and odd. It’s stitched together

from radio chatter and extremist political

speech. The guitar work is much more

abstract. Less typical metallic riffage, more

noise based. Synth-wise we have rejected all

the typical pseudo-orchestral junk that other

bands use to live out their Dimmu Borgir

fantasies. The synth sounds are all designed

by us. They are uglier and nastier then other

band’s guitar sounds.

Lyrically it deals with Media, Prostitution,

Politics, Junkies and Simpletons. Basically the

world is sick and this is a list of its symptoms.

This is a very different album. We refuse to

repeat ourselves. We may make friends with

this one, we may lose friends. We don’t really

care. This is the best album that you will hear

this year. If you are interested in something

new and exciting check it out. If you prefer

music that is stale, repetitive and obvious

then I am sure you will find something else to

fill your vacant little lives.

Any last words?

Chlordane: Check out virus.theamenta.com

and http://www.myspace.com/theamenta for updates.

Buy the Occasus re-release.

Stop being so boring. Stop allowing yourself

to be led. Start thinking beyond your prejudice.

Start thinking instead of reacting. Step

away from things. Take a look. Decide if you

want to be a part. Don’t believe everything.

Don’t watch TV. Believe something strongly

enough to kill for it. Prepare for nothing and

expect everything. Embrace a chaotic lifestyle.

If it feels safe, it’s probably killing you. If you

are comfortable then you are complacent. If

you feel you have succeeded then your goals

aren’t high enough.

The Amenta – music for dissidents.

78

IMPURE DOMAIN

The Ultimate Frontier Of Sound As An Auricular

Torture

By Jegger

Wow!!! Impure Domain is one of hottest extreme-

metal acts Italy has to offer. These

guys have left the orthodox path of trivial

metal-boredom a long time ago by mixing

Industrial-Death Metal and Electro- Trance

with Black Metal. Do you think Aborym is

heavy? Do you think Diabolicum is extreme?

Listen to these guys and you will hear what

the term “Storm-Detonation” should stand

for!!! Angy Impure, vocal-extremist of this

outstanding band, tells us something about

the Impure Domain collective, their music,

avantgardism and their future plans!

Jegger: Yo Angy, can you tell us something

about your band Impure Domain in

general (history, sense of the bandname,

discography)? Please introduce yourself!

ANGY: Well, we were born in the beginning of

’99. In 2000 we recorded “Progression to

impurity”, in 2002 “Vivere di Male/The Evil

within”, while we were playing some gigs

with important acts like Aborym and Undertakers.

In 2004 “HIV Parade” was out, and

now we are making the “Universal murder

promo” and search for a serious label with a

widespread distribution. The band name IMPURE

DOMAIN at first was mainly referred to

an anti-moral, anti-religious concept, while

now it has a more nihilist meaning, a sort of

“promised land=land of shit”.

Jegger: Could you recapitulate the different

phases of your musical progression?

ANGY: On our first record we played a sort of

hyper fast black metal with an attitude influenced

by acts like Bathory, Venom, Darkthrone.

Since our second release we started

adding some various electronic/industrial

elements in order to increase the dynamic

range of sound itself, arriving to mix with our

new promo death/black metal with industrial/

harsh soundscapes, the planet autopsy

in notes. Obviously this mutation also involved

the lyrical aspect, since the themes

became influenced by nihilist literature as

Cioran, Celine, Artaud and so on, till reaching

the use of W. Burroughs’ “cut-up technique”

on HIV Parade.

Jegger: I want to go a little bit deeper

into the lyrical aspects of your work.

What do you mean by using themes of

nihilist literature such “as Cioran, Celine,

Artaud and so on, till reaching the use of

W. Burroughs'”. Can you please explain

this a little bit more?

ANGY: Regarding nihilist literature, I adopted

some themes such as “anti-humanity”, “despite”,

“cynicism”, the futile existence of a

“moral code”…instead, about W.Burroughs,

the technique he adopted consists of a free

association of mental images and words and

in a sudden writing-act, and in this way I

wrote the lyrics for HIV Parade.

Jegger: What is your lyrical concept in

general?

ANGY: The lyrical concept that could contain

all this is APOCALYPTIC ART.

Jegger: How’s the feedback of the media

so far?

ANGY: The feedback was very good, mainly

about “HIV Parade”, that is the CD that had a

bigger distribution/visibility.

Jegger: How would you describe the

style of music, you’re playing at the

moment, and what is your musical background?

ANGY: I’m not a lover of classifications, man,

hehehe, but if someone puts a gun into my

mouth to make me say what we play, I’ll

answer him: apocalyptic extreme metal.

We have different backgrounds, in fact

Psykoblaster (guitars) is more into

death/black metal, Nevropathic (synths/ pro79

gramming) is a die-hard electro/industrial

maniac…I am a mix of them, listening to

extreme metal and industrial randomly, lol.

Jegger: Ok, which types of bands do you

like?

ANGY: We all listen to different types of

band/sound: Nevropathic is deeply into the

techno/industrial scene; Psykoblaster is a

fanatic of death/black metal, and I listen

from extreme metal to industrial, from movies’

soundtrack to punk ’77.

Jegger: Are there any bands, which play

extreme metal in a progressive way at

the moment in Europe?

ANGY: I could mention DODHEIMSGARD,

TRISTWOOD, ARCHON INFAUSTUS, AKERCKOKE,

THE AXIS OF PERDITION five

bands I esteem so much.

Would you describe your band as avantgardistic?

ANGY: Why not, in an extreme sense, yes…

we always tried to rape the genres, to fuck

the boundaries, to menace “the structure”;

we are aware to have the weapons to do

that: the “will to dare”, in a Luciferian sense

of the term, man.

Jegger: Hmmm, you mentioned “the

“will to dare”, in a Luciferian sense of

the term”. Are you working with the traditional

lyrical elements of rock-metalblack

metal, or would you describe your

music as something like modern and

provocative art?

ANGY: We feel surely modern and provocative,

but obviously with apocalyptic themes

and sound…Lucifer is to be intended as a

metaphor of our will to break boundaries and

clichés.

Jegger: How is the music scene in Italy?

Is your country still the land of Glory,

Power and True Metal?

ANGY: Hehehehehehehe, we don’t give a fuck

to those disciples of the fuckin’ light, with

their fuckin’ dragons and fuckin’ swords useful

to satisfy their anal desires: the “metal

music” is the only TRUE thing in their imaginary

life. But we have also great bands, such

as YCOSAHATERON (necro/ industrial/ ambient),

ABORYM, HATE PROFILE, while among

new acts I could suggest you A:MADE (Nevropathic

industrial/techno side/project) and

KINETIC DEAD OF UNIVERSE (alternative

rock/ industrial).

Jegger: What do you think of bands like

Ensoph, Aborym, Malfeitor, Ephel Duath?

ANGY: I really like and respect ABORYM and

MALFEITOR, two different conceptions of

HIGH QUALITY BLACK ART. I don’t know very

well the other two acts, so I cannot judge,

sorry.

Jegger: Would you call these bands typical

for Italy by doing something special

or is it true, that Italy loves trivial metal

stuff?

ANGY: I consider these bands “non-typical”,

cause in Italy there is still an insane passion

for dragons, swords and female whispers,

fuck.

Jegger: Your homepage shows me that

Impure Domain needs and wants to have

a strong and unique visual concept.

What’s the idea behind that? Art or

something else?

ANGY: Yeah, you’re right, behind that there is

our passion for EXTREME ART in all its forms

(movies, literature, exhibitions) and actually

Nevropathic is providing for visual concept,

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since he is a maniac of video-art and installations.

Jegger: Could Impure Domain

be described as [extreme]

Modern Art?

ANGY: Absolutely yes, the

ultimate frontier of sound as

auricular torture.

Jegger: How do you write

music?

ANGY: I write excerpts after

seeing a weird movie, while reading a book,

at late night during the hangover/time, so I

have often lyrics at hand…Psykoblaster starts

playing some guitar riffs and Nevropathic put

his noises and mental perversions among the

notes: they two often compose during a

movie/sight or alcoholic rituals.

Jegger: Yeehaa….Alcoholic rituals? Do

you mean you are cooking pasta, drinking

grappa and immolate a true Italian

Mermaid?

ANGY: Hehehe, my band mates in Rome often

practise rituals with alcohol, also in a

composing phase; my favourite alcoholic

ritual, instead, is drinking wine and red beers

together with my woman during AC Milan

soccer matches, invoking the incarnation of

the Mighty Lord of the Goal, F.Inzaghi.

Jegger: Why do you play this sort of music?

Is it for the ladies?

ANGY: A precise reason doesn’t exist. We are

conscious we do our best (and reach our personal

satisfaction) when we play so extreme

and we could feel bored playing metal music

in a “normal way”. My lady likes it, so it’s

enough for me, but our music is mainly for

aliens, deviated priests and alcohol-addicted.

Jegger: Hahaha! Good answer! Ok, Code

666, Scarlet Records, Avantgarde Music,

Cruz del Sur. Which label would you prefer

and why?

ANGY: I respect all these labels, but let me

say now it’s their business to value our proposal

as original and interesting, hehehe…by

now, get ready for the re-issue of “HIV Parade”

by the Scottish label CDG Records. So

stay tuned…

Jegger: What are the main differences

between “HIV Parade” (2004) and “Universal

murder”(2007) (music, lyrics and

visual concept)?

ANGY: About music, the new tracks are more

death metal oriented (see vocals and guitar

riffing) and the industrial traces mark the

songs and fit into them in a perfect way,

according to me. Lyrically speaking, they are

more sadistic and “religious” in a mocking

way. The visual concept now is made by

Nevropathic, so it will be surely better than

in the past, more steel, grey, blood, shit.

Jegger: You’re using a lot of industrial

elements. What’s the reason behind putting

this together with Black and Death

metal?

ANGY: We all think they increase the coldness,

the violence, the fury and the clinical

relax of an autopsy… they paint exactly the

decaying scenarios we mean to show.

Jegger: Do you play live?

ANGY: If in the future there will be cool opportunities,

why not, even if it isn’t our main

purpose…

Jegger: Are there any future plans?

ANGY: Recording the remaining tracks for

“UNIVERSAL MURDER”, waiting for the reissue

of “HIV PARADE“ by CDG Records, increase

our knowledge and feed our will, to try

being always “one step ahead” in the conception

of extreme music.

Jegger: Any last words?

Thanks for this interview, really nice talking

to you, bro… For all the readers of “Avantgarde

Metal”, please check out our websites:

http://www.impuredomain.net

http://www.myspace.com/impuredomain

81

DEKADENZ

The Beauty And The Machine

By Polygon

Quite unnoticed the German [D]ekaden[Z],

who are around the underground culture

since 1998, have released their debut album

“Elektronoid” last year. The longplayer features

electrifying extreme metal with dozens

of weird electronic/industrial decoration and

an interesting lyrical concept. Over the last

decades the work with ingredients of extreme

metal and electronica has become a challenge

for musicians, who want to go a few

steps further than the typical

drums+guitar+bass+disgusting vocals concept.

Symptomatic for most “industrialmetal”

releases (beside

very few exemptions like

ABORYM’s “With No Human

Intervention”) was

their half-hearted realisation

and artistic weakness.

I have to admit that I

don’t see in

[D]ekaden[Z] the revolutionaries

of any genre

nor is their debut a classic,

but at least with

“Mechatronik” and “Vom

Untergang” they created

two pounding and cold

roboter-symphonies that

made me just want to

grab my digital pen to do

an interview and learn

more about their weird

cosmos. Singer L.O.S.

and machinist “@noize”

were so kind to answer

my questions.

Hello guys, greetings from Latvia. How is

good old Germany doing these days?

@noiZe: Hi there! Can’t say what’s going on

here these days as we are currently too busy

working on our next longplayer to recognise

it. But things are going very well for us.

Thanks for asking.

When I was a teenager I sometimes

used to work in some factories in my city.

I really hated it, but it was good and fast

money. However, in these days I felt

what “human alienation” was all about.

Being part of the machine, the merciless

system of money accumulation. According

to your biography, “Eletronoid” deals

with the consequences of the technical

and digital revolutions. What exactly are

the outcomes of the last two decades

development for the evolution of human

being?

@noiZe: That’s a good question, as we just

installed our 750GB divX player, full of porn

in our studio, 5min before.

L.O.S.: …and two zombie movies

@noiZe: No doubt, the Internet is a huge

step in evolution. When we grew up, there

were only analogue wired telephones, and

now the I-phone in our pocket connects us to

a world-wide collective 24h a day. We’ve all

become small cyborgs. We take what the

wire gives us.

L.O.S.: and what if this wire will be cut one

day?

@noiZe: And of cause Laboga guitar amps

are also a great invention in our century.

Your overall concept, e.g.

lyrics, outfits and music

has an obvious connection

to the “Brave New

World”. The way how you

create your music, by

using sound software,

programmed drums and

synthesizers, wouldn’t be

able without the rapidly

developing technical

skills of mankind. On one

hand you have a critical

eye on our today’s situation;

on the other hand

you don’t miss to use

present advantages to

create your own visions.

How does that fit? If

there is an alienation of

human being that should

be criticised, wouldn’t it

make more sense just to

sit in the woods and

smash some acoustic

drums to the melodies of

a flute?

L.O.S.: That’s easy to answer as the question

is wrong. We don’t criticise the technical

revolution at all. If it all leads to the destruction

of us, that’s the way it has to be, and

that’s fine with us.

@noiZe: Art shouldn’t be critical in my eyes.

We are just painting pictures. Yes of course,

our paintings are not the nice looking ones.

Expressionism 2.0 maybe.

As you may have noticed our webpage

deals with vanguard art exclusively.

Since the launch of avantgardemetal.

com there has been a lively discussion

about what this term really

means and how one should define this

82

style (not to speak about its musical

genesis). My dictionary tells me that

“avantgarde” is originally a military expression,

which stands for the soldiers in

a battle who fight in the very first row

and who are supposed to die first. Do

you feel sometimes like a warrior of the

first row and how do you define “avantgarde

metal” for yourself?

@noiZe: I simply don’t want to define it. For

the warrior in the first row the whole terrain

is undefined. We are not making music to be

industrial, avantgarde or whatever metal. I

hate bands that are hiding behind a genre.

Definition leads to routine and routine means

death to the art.

L.O.S.: Those who put us into these genres

are the listeners. That’s OK….you may do

that if you want to, but we are only making

music.

Would you consider [D]edaken[Z] to be

part of this movement?

@noiZe: No, I don’t think we are. Maybe a lot

of our fans are part of this movement and we

like a lot of bands that are put into this genre

(Ram-Zet or Dagoba for example), but music

does not have to be in a special genre to be

interesting for me and the most of our fans.

Music should create impressions and play

with our feelings.

L.O.S.: It just has to feel good. Some feel

comfortable when they receive pain, some

when they fuck with groups of teenage students

and some when they are listening to

our music.

As far as I know, you started as more or

less common melody Black Metal act.

What music had an influence on “Elektronoid”?

Do you have any idea where

this journey might end?

@noiZe: Puh…can’t remember anymore. Of

course we are influenced by other bands,

feelings, weather, guitar amps, drugs, sex or

whatever, but you don’t think about a

why….that’s why we make music. If you say:

“Hey maybe in this song, you must have

been influenced by this or that?”, I would

say: ”Yeahh…maybe, but it’s not important

to me. Important is: There is this song and it

sounds good to us, and it makes us feel like

we wanted to feel, when we wrote it.”

L.O.S.: exactly…

Let’s go once more back to the digital

revolution. The Internet offers a lot of

possibilities for musicians like you and

me. Platforms such as mp3.com or

MySpace provide a meta-level between

artist and fan, where nobody really is

dependent on a record deal to spread his

or her ideas and visions. It’s possible to

reach a lot of people in different countries

all over the world. This might be

seen as the total freedom of expression.

Anyhow, I have very negative feelings

about music as “User Generated Content”.

The value of art is decreasing as it

is available at the push of a button. For

me one should invest some effort in order

to get music. One should walk out

into the city, or at least call a mail-order

and wait for something someone worked

hard for with pure devotion. At least

something should rotate when I listen to

music and it shouldn’t just exist of bits

and bytes.

83

What are your feelings towards the invention

of mp3 and “innovations” like

MySpace? As far as I know you published

your album before the regular

release on CD in the Internet. Why did

you do that and what was your experience?

Will you continue to first provide

the music of [D]ekaden[Z] online?

L.O.S.: Yes you are right. I also prefer having

music on a real CD with nice jewel case and

booklet, but we have just entered the next

generation. Most people of our generation

have never seen a gramophone, those of the

next generation will maybe never own a tape.

The kids, growing up today are downloading

their music via itunes on their ipod (we are

not sponsored by apple!!!) or their mobile

and nobody knows what comes next. We

won’t change that. Everything old will die one

day and something new will be created.

That’s evolution.

When I saw your live appearance at the

Nebelmond-Festival in Germany (with

avant-garde godfathers ARCTURUS –

lucky bastards!) after the concert some

of you guys were sitting lazy on chairs to

enjoy some of the other bands. I remember

thinking “These guys take their

concept very serious”. Is there any esoteric

idea behind the name

[D]ekaden[Z]? What does this word

mean to you and how does decadence

influence your lifestyle?

@noiZe: Decadence does not only influence

our live, but the live of everyone in this time.

It is the headline of our time somehow. Just

think how much money you spent to stay

alive and how much you spent to live.

Do you get any inspiration from philosophy

and/or literature?

L.O.S.: You want me to say something like

Nietzsche, right? No I’m sorry. Reality is the

cruellest author. Of cause we like philosophic

literature but philosophy teaches to make

your own thoughts, not to copy the ideas of

other people. This is called religion.

@noiZe: Would you ask a philosopher if he is

inspired by music?

What is the difference listening to your

songs being on angel dust or in a sober

condition?

@noiZe: Well, “elektronoid” was not written

to be used with angel dust. It was written for

LSD, but we realized that LSD is no more up

to date, maybe we will produce our next

longplayer for angel dust too. As limited edition

maybe.

L.O.S.: Just try it out, you only need angel

dust, sold by your local dealer, and “elektronoid”,

sold by us.

What is the reason for being before

death’s salvation?

L.O.S.: We are the once who asked this question.

It is my job to ask it!!!

@noiZe: Maybe the question, maybe there is

no reason, but only the fact that we are here.

What is there going on nowadays in the

[D]ekaden[Z]-camp? Are you working on

a new album? Please give us a short

overview about your future plans.

@noiZe: After we just deinstalled some of our

band members, we are now working hard on

our second longplayer. I’ve mixed down some

previews of our preproduction for you and the

community, and you will think that “elektronoid”

sounds absurd compared to it.

L.O.S.: [D]ekaden[Z] are currently only

@noiZe and me, and I really have to say

things are working much better now. No

compromises any more, no more discussions,

the music we make is just what comes directly

out of our minds. @noiZe is now playing

guitar, and that’s why we are writing our

songs with guitars, drums and vocals first.

The synths are added later. That has the

amazing effect that we just add parts to our

songs that are sounding like the sense of my

lyrics, even if they are only played on guitar.

We always tried to achieve this by using

synths, in the past. When we now add the

synthesizers, the orchestra or the digital

drums, everything sounds so extreme, that

you know what the song is about, even without

vocals.

@noiZe: After we have finished song writing

and preproduction, we will record the album.

This will be around spring 2008. We are

happy that we got an endorsement with

Laboga for guitar amps. Also we are looking

forward to have a real drummer for the recordings.

We are currently looking for musicians

(2nd guitars, bass, and drums) for live

performance.

84

GIRE

The End Of A Dream

By revon

This Autumn kicked off with a sad

announcement, Gire has split up

due to guitarist/vocalist Zolcsi’s

will to stop all his musical activities.

But for Gire still there was

another gig to be held – and for

me another journey and concert

to go and enjoy. On the 22nd of

September, after 12 years Gire

ends its career with a concert

held at the II. Hódstock Festival.

But before their very last performance

I had an interview with

keyboardist/lyricist/programmer

Tamás in the backstage talking about past,

present and future.

What have you been doing before joining

Gire, Tamás? What other musical projects

did you have that time and which

are the still-existing ones among them?

I joined Gire and around that time created

my one-man project, Thy Catafalque which is

still active. Before Gire there was Darklight,

but nowadays it isn’t necessary to release

albums as Darklight and now I use my own

name. Later Gort came which can be considered

as the child of Catafalque and Gire. Oh,

I have nearly forgotten Towards Rusted Soil

which is used to be a black metal band.

How did you become a member of Gire?

How old were you that time?

Well, it was in 1996, so I was around 20. The

others were my friends. They recorded a

demo and wanted a keyboardist in the band

afterwards. They were thinking about having

samplers and industrial effects in the music

like Prong had.

How have you been feeling yourself in

Gire at the beginning as a new member?

Oh, we knew each other from our childhood

we were friends since then, so it was easy to

fit in. Those who liked this music in the ’90s

all knew each other. I was a bit older than

the others but we were attending the same

school so there wasn’t any problem with it.

What was your way of thinking about life

and everything?

(Laughs) I hadn’t been thinking about this, I

was attending a teacher trainee college, later

got graduated but didn’t really like it, and it’s

not my profession today either.

What ideas did you bring to the band?

We can’t deny that you were the one

who brought new, revolutionizing ideas.

The first song we wrote together

was “Törjön testünk!”

and it was full of samples.

There were industrial clicks

and cracks, similar to the

sounds of clashing iron, Necropsia

featured something

like this on their album “Mélység”.

So in the first version

of “Törjön testünk!” you

cannot find ordinary keyboards

and synths, just

samples. As the time went

by I had been playing a lot,

trained myself and managed to play new,

more complex melodies and such. So as I

improved, much more keyboards came into

the music but they were not effects and samples

anymore, but real keyboard playing.

Never wanted to go for the vocals?

In Thy Catafalque I’m the vocalist.

Yeah, I know, but in Gire?

Oh, no, I didn’t want to perform the vocals

here (laughs). There has always been a vocalist.

There wasn’t a need for another and in

concerts I can’t do them while simultaneously

playing on my instrument.

When did you start to write poems?

Around the age of seventeen, everybody

starts it around that time.

Did some poets influence you?

Oh, yes, sure, some of them actually did.

Can you name some who had this impact

on you?

Yes, the poets and writers of Nyugat, all the

three generations but one of my favourite is

Radnóti, I like his works very much.

Do you still write new poems?

Yes, but not that often as in the past.

Will these new ones be published in the

future?

Yes, when there will be enough to bring out a

new volume. The first volume contains poems

from the past 8 years, so the new release

85

won’t come out tomorrow. Frankly, I’m not

that type which sits down and thinks; “Yes,

I’m about the write a poem”, no. When inspiration

comes I write it down, but that’s all.

It’s a slow progress now. It was faster and

more productive in the past, because I was in

bad mood.

And how did the idea come to use your

poems as lyrics?

Well, there wasn’t anyone in the band who

wrote lyrics. However, the first demo featured

lyrics of Zolcsi. But later he stopped

writing and they knew I had poems. So we

tried whether they can fit in the songs, and

actually it worked. So this is it, we use them

since then.

Where does the inspiration come from?

From your fantasy or are they based on

your real life?

Based on my feelings, that’s all. I don’t think

it should be propaganda-like or connected to

political or social happenings, but must mirror

my feelings and thoughts.

How do you create music? I’m sure you

are responsible for the keyboards and

the drum machine.

Yes, I am. Zolcsi does the guitars, imagines it,

then plays it and after all we discuss whether

it is good or not. But I wrote the main part of

the songs recently and he played guitars for

it, despite the fact that some time ago he

brought his ideas first, and then I put on the

keys. Balázs also came up with good themes.

What was the main path to follow during

the band’s career? To make something

new, something more colorful? Was

there anything like that?

There was, probably in the beginning. Around

that time in Hungary every second band

played modern brutal metal (as they were

called that time) covering Pantera, Machine

Head, Korn, so did we.

Then we figured out we

should play something

that differs from it, using

the keys more intensely.

But later it disappeared

and we didn’t mind it, we

just did what we liked, so

the will to play music

differently had gone, we

didn’t care for more what

the others played.

What is your opinion

about the Hungarian

metal and the world’s

Avantgarde scene?

I think there are good

metal bands in Hungary,

I like Watch my Dying, Isten Háta Mögött –

actually they are really respected in certain

circles, but I also listen to Aebsence, Wackor,

and to some old ones such as Necropsia,

Subject, The Bedlam, Korai Öröm, Másfél and

VHK. But I like those strange bands that are

playing something different.

And what about the foreign acts?

Well, I really like Sleepytime Gorilla Museum,

UnexpecT, Arcturus… I also like the new

Ulver album.

Wow, I have only listened to one track

yet.

There’s a Black Sabbath

cover on it, did

you know? It’s great.

Yeah, I knew, but

I’ve never really listened

to Black Sabbath.

Oh, but that song is

one of the best on the

album. Anyway, I’m

not really into this, I

only know a few bands,

but I don’t look for new

ones on the internet, I already have too

much music at home, and have no time to

listen to them.

86

Any of them influenced Gire?

Yes, their way of thinking, the way they look

on music. It is possible to create music in a

different way. I think it is good to hear what

they figure out, their crazy attitude to music;

breaking the rules, this inspires me too. But

on the other hand I don’t like when it’s just

mixed together and directly for to differ. In

my opinion there must be a certain image of

a song. It doesn’t matter whether it is created

in an ordinary or in a progressive way.

How did Gire feel in this scene? Are

there bands you had good relationship

with?

Yes, sure, we never had arguments with the

bands we played together with – during the

12 years we didn’t play too many times either,

we only had 82 or 83 concerts, it’s not much

I think. Personally I haven’t got any problems

with the scene.

We could say that

the Hungarian

metal scene is

responsible for

Gire’s disbanding

but no, that

wouldn’t be true.

We could say they

don’t admit the

talent and it’s

hard to break out

as well, but no,

the reason for

splitting up is not

this. I think we

are well respected

in the press, as well as in certain circles. We

felt really good ourselves.

Yes, we arrived to the concert questions.

So which ones were the most memorable

ones in the past 12 years?

Probably one of them was the support gig for

Ektomorf at the A38 Ship in January. We

liked the place. Another one was performing

before Soulfly at Petöfi Csarnok. This was a

great thing really. We also liked giving concerts

at the Nightbreed Festivals, as well as

in Marco Polo.

You have a Marco Polo video on youtube,

Zöld Zivatar, right?

Yes, we have that one.

Have you ever been invited to play

abroad?

No.

Never?

Once we played a gig in Senta (Serbia) supporting

Watch my Dying.

Never wanted to make music abroad?

Hungarian language could have been a problem.

In this case I don’t want to translate the

lyrics. Anyway, the whole band travels to

abroad in the near future.

But you don’t, do you?

I do.

Really?

Yes.

Wow, that’s new for me. And where will

you go to?

To Scotland.

You too?

Yes.

And what are you going to do

there?

Nothing, I don’t know. (laughs) Okay,

I will definitely do something but

have no idea at the moment. I have

many friends living there, for instance

Imre, the ex-vocalist of Gire. I will

travel to him. Balázs, our bass player

lives in Scotland as well; Zolcsi will go

to Tamás Rozsnyai, the exguitarist/

vocalist of the band who

lives in London. But this doesn’t mean

that we will continue playing in Gire.

Zolcsi won’t do it anymore. We are

still good friends as we were always, no matter

what happened in the band…imagine that

our ex-drummer Gábor took us here.

How much did you usually rehearse for a

concert? And how did it go?

For this one we practiced 3 times of this week

and we managed to play the songs well.

Do you personally go to concerts?

I used to go many times but in this year I

don’t even know where I went to. (laughs) I

remember I wanted to see Cynic

but actually I didn’t go. However

I’ve been to a festival organized

by a broadcasting company but it

was a piece of crap…at least it

was free of charge. Actually I

don’t want to pay for concerts or

anything. I don’t buy CDs either. I

have no money at all. This is why

I move to Scotland, this is the

reason why I leave Hungary. Here

87

in Makó, there isn’t any possibility for a good

job.

So you leave the hospital? (Current place

of job)

Of course, I do. Look, I get the minimal wage

in every month and it’s simply not enough. I

only have money to go to job to Szeged Hospital

on the every next day, nothing more.

That’s the problem. This is why young people

are leaving Makó.

Oh, I see.. Let’s have a look on your side

projects. What about your ambient one

headlined by your own name, Kátai

Tamás? Will you continue working on

new material?

It’s the matter of my mood. The album “Erika

szobája” was a really special one. It has its

story…I need another story like that to make

another album.

Is there any chance that you will feature

covers of poems written by other poets

on the new Thy Catafalque album like

you did on “Tünö Idö Tárlat”?

No, not really, mainly because of the copyrights.

Last time it was a big problem, I don’t

want that procedure again that I had with the

poems of Radnóti and Weöres. Fortunately I

had no problems with Ady because he died

much earlier.

What can we expect from the music?

Will there be rough, heavy songs and

light, soft ones as well?

One will find tracks in both of these styles. It

will be more extreme in variety. 10-15 minutes

are already done, and there will be a

song which is similar to “Héja-Nász az Avaron”

concerning the atmosphere. It will be a

4 minutes slow, doom-like song. However, I

don’t want to mix too many styles like a maniac

if it’s not for a good cause.

And what about the lyrical themes? Will

there be changes? You told me in an email

that it will contain more songs that

have something to do with Autumn. But

there is the cosmology, time and space

as a theme in your lyrics.

Oh, well, there were songs already featuring

Autumn, have a look at “Héja-Nász az Avaron”

or “Zápor”, but yes, there will be new

ones, like “Öszi Varázslók”, which is obvious

(“Öszi Varázslók” is “Autumn Wizards” in

English). I’m not sure about the themes yet

but time will tell.

Will it be a digipack release?

Well, first the songs must be completed, and

here’s my problem. We are planning to move

to Scotland in the middle of January. So I

have to finish the master CD at least. I won’t

have time abroad to write music and such, I

can’t bring out my PC there. So it will be

waiting for my return.

How much time will you spend out

there?

I don’t know, nothing is in shape yet. Currently

there are so many changes in my life

that I cannot tell surely. Permanent things

are also changing, so does the view I look on

music. It won’t be the most important. But I

really try to work every day on this release,

Nikoletta comes tomorrow to record some

female vocals for two new songs but I don’t

want to mess up the whole thing, so the album

will come out when it has to.

Do you think the

band managed to

achieve the most it

could or not?

No, no…I don’t know.

We succeed to record

the CD. I’m really satisfied

with the album.

I’m proud of it. And in

my opinion we had

much more in ourselves,

so I would

continue with Gire. But

we all know what the

situation is. Recently

Zolcsi suffered from a

lack of creativity and I

didn’t want to create it all myself because

then it would be Thy Catafalque material.

Gire wasn’t about just me, but the three of us.

But we cannot continue in a situation like this.

There isn’t any point to run this band for

more. We aren’t sad about it. Okay, I am, but

we must admit that this was the right decision.

88

ANSUR

Mad Max, Cognac And Postapocalyptic Cigars

By Jegger and Chrystof

Ansur is a young Black/ Death Metal band

from Norway, which is nothing special, as we

all know. But Ansur is different. Is this the

new Norwegian avantgarde/ extreme metal

phenomenon after bands like Emperor, Zyklon,

Thorns or early Myrkskog? Due to the

band their last record Axiom incorporated

“stronger progressive elements in addition to

the black and death metal styles to create

something more characteristic and unique”.

Indeed these fresh guys are very promising

to become a new progressive extreme metal

sensation. Jegger and Chrystof met Espen

A.R. Aulie (EA – vocals, bass, and lyrics) and

Torstein J. Nipe (T – guitars, programming

and composition) for a glass of cognac and

some illegal Havanna Cigars…

C: Torstein, you’ve just returned from

holidays in Sicily. Any weird stories

about that? Donne with moustache? Mafia

trade with body parts? Men mistaken

for women at the nightly beach? Or just

the typical Scandinavian debaucheries

with Italian wine and

grappa?

T: My cover was to go there on

vacation with the family, but I

was really doing a secret mission

for the mafia. I came there

to sell six legs, four arms and

one moustache. Because I was

mistaken for a woman at night,

no one could see what I was up

to, and it all turned out a success!

C: Your Debut “Carved in

Flesh” (2004) seemed to be

influenced by Darkthrone very much. It

was raw Black Metal with some little

innovative elements. Just two years

later you released your killer-album

“Axiom”, a masterpiece of avant-garde

metal. What was the reason for this

radical change in style? Drugs or drug

withdrawal?

T: Thanks, hehe. Well, I was about 15 or

something when “Carved in Flesh” was recorded

in my cellar, and I guess we just matured

a great deal since then. I’ve grown up

with progressive rock of the 70’s, which is

true of all members of the band; my first

meeting with a guitar was when my father

taught me the riff of “Breathe” (Pink Floyd)

when I was 5. So instead of nerding around

like the other kids, listening to 90’s trance, I

was playing guitar. OK, maybe Scooter was

really cool (still is actually), but you get my

point! So I guess we “went back to our childhood

roots”, by throwing in progressive elements.

It’s really important for us to play

whatever we want, regardless if we turn into

a Scooter cover band (not that this is planned

in near future!!). I have no relationship with

drugs at all, but I can only speak for myself

of course. But my favourite bands would

probably not be what they are if it hadn’t

been for the 60-70s drug-frenzy.

C: How did the Norwegian Black Metal

Scene react to “Axiom”? Do you feel like

lost sons now? Did any BM-lunatics

threaten to punish you for this “untrue”

album?

T: The scene reacted amazingly well (if this

“scene” of today could be defined), and to my

big disappointment, we got NO hate mail.

NONE! No death threats or pub-beatings for

being uNtR00 or anything. People in the

metal scene have only given us compliments

here, and we got no bad reviews in Norway

at all. It’s always nice for a band to get to the

point where followers of the genre know who

they are. By the way, I hope our new album

will hit all minimalist old school losers like a

kick in face! The old school

fans actually seemed to like

“Axiom”, so that’s a little

strange.

J: I know you don’t like to

talk about that so much.

But can you give us some

hints about the concept

behind “Axiom”?

EA: The thing is. I really don’t

know how we came up with

the idea of mixing an alien

invasion with unsolved, biblical

mysteries into an “Axiom.” My

guess is either loads of alcohol or too much

of the shit Erich Von Däniken writes.

The writing gets a lot easier when you have a

red line to go after, and I think the listeners

89

get more into the album with these moodswitches

we include in the lyrics. And if not,

fuck it. We tried right?

I wont give you any hint’s I’m afraid, but if

you check out what an “Axiom” is, and if you

read the lyrics on Axiom and eventually our

upcoming release I’ll bet you’ll figure it out (if

you’re a smart, capitalistic, up going, young

man)

J: What is a Post-Apocalyptic Wasteland?

Could you describe that a little bit

clearer and what do you mean with your

musical definition: A journey through

peculiar soundscapes?

T: That quote was from one

of the first reviews we got

of “Axiom”. I think it fitted

pretty well. A Post-

Apocalyptic Wasteland in

our case is a barren terrain

destroyed by a nuclear disaster.

Just watch the Mad

Max-movies, which also

served as inspiration for the

concept of the album, both

visually and musically.

C: You mentioned Erik

Van Däniken. Do you

believe in UFOs? If yes,

do you think they come

from outer space or from

another dimension?

E: I believe that every “proven” alien visitation

in our time is made up. The thing about

Däniken is that its either bullshit, or “semifacts.”

Unlike others he presents hypothesis’s

that I find interesting and sometimes logical.

Some of those hypothesis’s are included in

the background of our “fictional universe,”

and I doubt that anyone have understood it.

YET!

C: “Axiom” has been recorded in your

own studio. What equipment did you

use?

T: Everything was recorded on a computer.

We play only stylish instruments, and that

means Fender Stratocasters and Marshall

Amps. The Rolls Royce and Rolex of music

equipment!

C: Fifteen Years ago bands had to record

their songs on 4-track tape recorders.

For bigger productions you had to go to

expensive studios. Nowadays it has become

very easy to make good and extensive

productions at home. Do you

think you could have done an album like

“Axiom” back in the 1990ies? How much

did the process and possibilities of recording

influence your songs?

T: We broke a little mental barrier when we

decided to do it at home. I’ve only recorded

an album in another studio ONCE, and I decided

to never do it again. I think influence

and opinions from other people sets a mark

on the product, and we want things to sound

as much as us as possible. People can be

sure that everything is done by us, and we

don’t have to think about things as time pressure

for example. So we thought “why not do

it ourselves?” It is also very important for us

to drink cognac and smoke cigars while we

are in the studio.

EA: So by lowering the production costs we

are able to buy more expensive cognac

brands and illegally imported Cuban cigars.

Increased quantity and quality. Win/win

right?

C: I know this is a boring standard question.

But what does “Ansur” mean?

EA & T: Wow, that’s like a boring and standard

question! Anyway, it’s like a rune or

something. Google is your friend.

J: You are working with Nocturnal Art at

the moment. How is the relationship

with this company? Is Samoth a nice

chief and do you feel sometimes like a

Zyklon-Cover band?

T: Samoth knows the music industry and

business, and we have learned a great deal

from him, plus good advice etc. Working with

Nocturnal Art is great, if they hadn’t picked

us up, we probably would be signed to some

shitty underground label from Eastern Asia.

EA: We actually tour as Zyklon sometimes, so

they can sit at home and smile. It’s funny;

90

we earn more money that way. Zyklon last

Inferno festival that was us! No seriously, no

one thinks we sound like Zyklon at all.

J: What do progression, individualism

and avantgardism mean to you? Do you

feel like a band that redefined the extreme

metal genre?

T: The traits you mention there is very important

to us. Maybe we haven’t redefined

the genre yet (or genres), but we will! Besides,

no other extreme metal band play concerts

in suits and ties. So we have already

redefined style with our exclusive appearance!

C: Suits and Ties, Cigars, Cognac, Rolex,

Rolls Royce…Aren’t you afraid to loose

ground under your feet sometimes? I

mean many young Bands do…It starts

with fun and ends with hybris.

T: You forgot limousines! I’m afraid we have

already lost touch with reality, and the

ground under our feet disappeared last year.

Seriously, if we’re talking about our music, I

would with all my heart see that it never

touches the ground. I wouldn’t like it at all if

we ever made stuff that was “down to earth”.

Actually I would like it to be as far away from

the ground at possible, we want it to sound

spaced, unearthly and kind of “dreaming”.

C: Yes, it’s the privilege of artists to create

their own worlds beyond the common

world. But imagine you would have

to be a politician. You would have the

power to let the world in your head become

the common world. What would

you do then? What would you like to

change?

T: I can’t really say to you what I’d change.

That would really be giving away my plans for

world dictatorship! Otherwise, I hope that no

one gets that kind of power. Particularly

scary, with communism on the rise again (at

least here and in Russia). What would you

like to change?

C: I would make an ANSUR song the new

national anthem of Uruguay. By the way,

into which new musical territories will

you flow on in the nearer future?

T: The new album will be a mingle of progressive

metal, 70s progressive rock, 80s

prog-pop, extreme metal, blues/jazz and a

whole variety of different stuff woven together

in a very special way. The arrangements

are taking up most of the time, but I’d

say the album is about 70% percent finished

when it comes to writing. There are preproductions

recorded also. It’s more melodic

and dramatic than Axiom, kind of a “larger

scale”. There are little synths on the album,

but a lot of Hammond organ to get that 70s

progressive rock feels, you know?

There are also choruses in the songs, in opposition

to Axiom, which was a little unorganized

when it came to the arrangements.

C: Choruses? So maybe you will end up

in the Billboard Charts one day?

T: I’d like that very much.

E: Why not?

C: You’ve done lots of concerts in Scandinavia.

Are there any plans that you will

also tour through the rest of Europe?

E: We’ll tour the entire world for that matter,

but that thought isn’t just realistic yet. When

we have the time and resources at disposal,

we will.

T: Yeah, we would very much like to play

gigs abroad, but the opportunity hasn’t come

yet. We talked to some arrangers, but nothing

was planned.

C: Many bands complain about bad and

unprofessional conditions on tour. Do

you think groupies can compensate for

that? Or are you in the tight hands of

girlfriends?

EA: Why make a commitment when you can

get laid without it?

91

T: Girlfriends are bad for the creativity, the

music comes first. When a girl starts to take

up my time so I can’t make music, she instantly

gets dumped.

C: Okay Espen and Torstein. Now we’ll

change rolls. You can ask me a question.

T: Okay, this is part of the lyrics of which

song by which famous 80s artist? “There’s a

concert hall in Vienna where your mouth had

a thousand reviews. There’s a bar where the

boys have stopped talking they’ve been sentenced

to death by the blues”

C: I guess FALCO, right?

EA: Who’s the 31st president of USA?

C: Internet says my good friend Herbert

C. Hoover. And now you can ask yourself

a question – one that you always wanted

to answer, but nobody has asked it so

far.

T: Do your amps go to 11?

EA: Yes.

C: Okay guys, thanks a lot for this very

cool interview! It was fun to meet you.

You are definitely one of the most promising

young acts of the whole scene! So

never stop the madness!

We won’t! Thanks for the interview. Looking

forward to reading a review of our NEXT album

here on AGM.com!

92

UMBAH

The Tech-Grind Anti-Band Aesthetic

By Suleiman

Finally here is an interview with the insanity

that is Umbah aka Cal Scott. This man is

single handily pushing industrial-cyber extreme

metal into new and strange realms

with each new release, all without proper

distribution. Therefore he remains very much

a true underground phenomena, not to mention

completely DIY in action and philosophy.

So open your ears, eyes and mind to the

sound of the beyond.

When did you start mangling the axe

(playing guitar)?

I was 15 and picked up a homemade shark

fin.

What were the main forces behind Necrosanct’s

break-up?

The rhythm guitarist left then we carried on

for a while as a 3 piece but it had lost its

momentum so it just wound up.

What was the original idea behind Umbah’s

inception?

After recording some riff ideas to mates drum

machine I just thought that is a cool thing to

do. So I got a 4 track and just started. It was

different from being in a band, it was more

rewarding. With every new track I discovered

I could do something better and different,

things that a real band couldn’t do. So the

idea behind it was to see where that could go.

I was and still am very curious to find out.

Inspirations for Umbah?

All the mysteries, complexities and weirdness

and insanity of life.

What convinced you to go the DIY route,

instead of the standard studio/label contract

and distribution shebang?

Never had money for studio time for Umbah

so the default route is DIY. Anyway I prefer

recording alone when I have a good head on.

Of course having a label and distribution

would be great, cause more people would

listen.

Who is / are the primary influence(s) in

your guitar playing?

Originally inspired by the old death metal

scene, but when started listening to guys like

King Crimson and Mahavishnu it opened my

eyes to other awesome styles.

Your all time favourite bands and artists?

So many including Cynic, Meshuggah, Suffocation,

Gorguts, Ulver, Roni Size and some

weird classical shit as well.

Your current play list favorites?

Monstrosity, Dillinger Escape Plan, Origin,

Morbid Angel.

What does Umbah recording rig consist

of?

I have been using a Shark fin guitar, and now

93

have the old bass guitar from Microcosm…

cheers Ben. Also a fantastic Digitech

GSP2101 guitar preamp. But have been experimenting

with some GuitarRig for the last

few tracks. I used a Rode NT2 mic for vocals

on most Umbah tracks.

Always record with AcidPro these days. I

used it since V1 now its on V6 so I know it

inside out, its got rewire capabilities so now I

can run softsynths and drum software inside

Acid, a true symbiosis. And the various fx

come from either plug-ins or a rather fine

Chaos Pad II.

Is playing live ever going to be an option

with Umbah?

That would be total dream… can you imagine.

If I could find the right drummer and bassist

I would love to, but so far not been that lucky.

Where do the gothic overtones in Umbah

come from i.e. is Bauhaus or Killing Joke

responsible for inspiring some of this?

Not sure really cause I never had much

gothic in my collection, Tristania are good,

and I liked some of The Fields of Nephlim

stuff (the cover of Elysium does weird things

to my head), and also had a cool Killing joke

tape once.

What does the future hold for Umbah?

… a journey into new worlds, imagine what it

will sound like in 10 years time, I guess I

have to continue or we’ll never find out.

Any chance of more conventional distribution,

because this sound deserves to

be heard by as many as possible?

Err.. Its something I have not really looked

into yet, and I do no promotion/distribution

so I guess its no surprise Umbah is a complete

unknown.

What is the idea behind Microcosm and

are their any other projects underway?

Microcosm was a 3 piece group back in the

mid nineties, I played guitar and did vocals.

It was one of those cool rare vibes, we played

with no rules. Did some gigs and after one

demo we moved to different places so it finished.

Live stuff is always a laugh so I always have

side projects with mates, at the moment I

play drums in a more psychedelic band and

play guitar for a local hardcore band. Also

engineer some demos each year for local

bands for a bit of fun.

What is your view of the current metal

scene and the future?

There are always a lot of bands I keep discovering

fresh music and don’t see that ever

changing.

Last but not least the ever helpful Cal has

uploaded the complete Umbah discography of

the last 10 years in mp3 format on his website.

Run now to the site http://www.umbah.

co.uk/ to get the goodies.

This is music to disintegrate in hyperspace,

and it’s yours now for FREE.

Truly an icon making music for art’s sake.

Respect.

AVANTGARDE METAL

RECOMMENDATION:

13 exquisitely weird albums of

Cal Scott’s

UMBAH

DOWNLOAD FOR FREE at

http://www.umbah.co.uk

94

BRACHIALILLUMINATOR

Communicate As If It Was 1899.

By Jonny Lignano

Coincidentally Bozkovich, the mastermind of

Brachialilluminator and executor of the

Mighty himself and Sgt. Lignano were

working for the National Austrian Post

this summer. Whilst he was working

in a small post office somewhere in

Vienna, I was dutiful working in a

small post office in Kötschach-Mauten

[don’t bother looking that up, it is

between the middle of nowhere and the end

of the world].

Whilst work itself was boring [as hell, for the

Satanist readers among you] for both of us,

we were in communication-heaven and able

to (mis)use the available resources without

knowledge of any superiors [besides the

Mightiest, of course]. Before we started what

might be known in ‘The Great Book of Music

History’ as the first “telegram-interview”, we

sent a sheer enormous amount of telegrams

between our two offices. The one I remembered

most was his telegram,

citing the entire lyrics of Frank

Zappa’s ‘Valley girl’ in an envelope

that played some

Dadaistic electroclash when

opened.

In case you wondered: telegrams

are still in use, and yes, they are awfully

expensive for puny non-post officeworkers.

Fortunately we did not have to

morse the questions and answers back and

forth, these days there is machinery that

does the real work.

So after excessively

testing we used telegrams

to make this

interview. Occasionally

we sent each

other images via the

teleprinter (funniest

day with the teleprinter

was, when we

sent each other all the

national flags of all

the UN-countries).

What you are about

to read is a collection

of the best telegramdialogues

that were

sent between June

15th 2007 and July 26th 2007. To enhance

readability I left out all the technical yada

yada that accompanies this technology from

the centuries that brought you trains,

Nietzsche, electricity, world war I and II,

Snickers, Ghadaffi and Dr. Who.

Lignano: Please give me three adjectives and

two nouns to ‘Melt Banana’.

Bozkovich: great. great. greater. Favorite.

Band.

Lignano: Did you ever play a fruit at the

orchestra?

Bozkovich: No. But if I was allowed to, I

would like to play mashed potatoes.

Lignano: Are you playing a Kramer guitar?

Bozkovich: Sure. Heavy as Heavy Metal can

be (in the 80s, at least!).

Lignano: How many guitars do you have?

Bozkovich: Including the basses and the

mandolin – five.

Lignano: Was your

song “Liberia” influenced

by Michael

Jacksons “Liberian

Girl”?

Bozkovich: More by

a Liberian girl I

used to know.

Lignano: Can you

send me an image

of that Liberian girl

over the teleprinter?

Bozkovich: No, but

I can send you an

image of “Sons of southern parkness”.

Lignano: There is this awesome part in “06 –

Dept. of Psychonautics/New World Order”

where you sing “I think you are brainwashed”

forever, do you have any idea what the M.

might have wanted to tell the world with

that?

Bozkovich: Actually it’s “Brainwashed but

never dried” – the state of many humans

before the Dept. of Psychonautics started its

work.

Lignano: Oh, I must have misheard.

95

Lignano: Were you ever not allowed to enter

former Yugoslavia?

Bozkovich: I was not allowed to enter former

Yugoslavia once. That must have been in

1993. Had to go back to Budapest to get a

Visa. They didn’t like Austrians and Germans

too much at that time – all of them were sent

back. The Japanese who were with us got

their visa on the spot.

Lignano: Did you play there?

Bozkovich: No, I have never been in the Anti-

Nowhere League.

Lignano: But you did play in/with Malignom,

Mandragora, Die Leber Vs. Screaming Sisters,

When Yuppies Go To Hell, Spiess und

Schwarz and Gebrüder Göd ft. Stefan Weber.

Bozkovich: Yes.

Lignano: When did Falco leave

Brachialilluminator?

Bozkovich: This must have been

when he decided to work with

Wickerl Adam.

Lignano: Are you tattooed?

Bozkovich: I don’t have tattoos.

Lignano: Are there people with

Brachialilluminator-tattoos?

Bozkovich: I haven’t seen any

so far. But I like the idea. I

once found a “Brachialilluminator”-

song on a “Soukuss-

International” site. So anything

can happen.

Lignano: Do you still have the

link for that site?

Bozkovich: Can’t find it now. It was a Russian

site. Might have gone offline.

Lignano: Tell me more about your poem

indonesian teddy bear.

Bozkovich: It developed when I was in Indonesia

(surprise!). Actually it was three times

longer but I had to delete the most obvious

parts.

Lignano: So most of your lyrics are written

while being abroad?

Bozkovich: I often get inspired while being

abroad. For the rest of the lyrics, nowadays,

they are forced out. I mean, I find a topic

and then I force myself to write down my

thoughts on that topic within ten or twenty

minutes. I wrote many more lyrics in my

punk-phase. Most of them were useless,

anyway. My last lyrical inspiration in Austria

turned out to become “Hackln is fian Oasch”

[“Working sucks balls”; transl. lig].

Lignano: That was on your first release 2001?

Bozkovich: First CD release – yes.

Lignano: Would you like to tour Japan?

Bozkovich: Screaming teenagers, expensive

food, drunken office people and maybe meeting

Melt Banana

or Ex-Girl or The

Ruins? No question…

Lignano: This

was actually just

a test question

whether you are

real musicians,

because all real

musicians want

to tour Japan.

Lignano: What

are the travel

plans for the next album?

Bozkovich: I suppose the next album will deal

with health. Bodily or spiritual health. Details

have still to be confirmed with the Mightiest.

If it were meant to deal with spiritual

health, it would of course become collaboration

with the Dept. of Psychonautics.

Lignano: You are singing about six departments

on “new world order”, is this

all there is, departmentwise?

Bozkovich: These are the departments

that should most necessarily be known by

the citizens. Of course there are other

ones, as well. You can’t run a whole “New

World Order” with only six departments.

But the Mightiest tries to keep the government

slim. Not like in (former, but it is

still known as) Malawi, where they have

54 ministers.

Lignano: Are you ready for the famous

avantgarde-metal.com word rap? Rules: I

give you one (or maximum two, or maxmaximum

three) words and you must

answer with one, maximum two or maxmaximum

three words.

Bozkovich: Shoot!

Lignano: Peter Gabriel Bozkovich: Geneses.

Games.

Lignano: Star Trek

Bozkovich: Ears. Black woman.

Lignano: Jochen Rindt

Bozkovich: Austrian!!!! Death.

Lignano: Columbo

Bozkovich: Mad magazine.

96

Lignano: Klaus Eberhartinger

Bozkovich: Dance star.

Lignano: Joschka Fischer

Bozkovich: Brutal youth.

Lignano: Slayer

Bozkovich: offended easily

Lignano: Loddar Matthäus

Bozkovich: –

Lignano: Los Lobos

Bozkovich: Espanol. Don’t know.

Lignano: Ephraim Kishon

Bozkovich: Funny. Racist.

Lignano: Beer

Bozkovich: Great. Motörhead.

Lignano: Elvis Presley

Bozkovich: Dead.

Lignano: Fritz the cat

Bozkovich: Pornographic. Hells angels.

Lignano: Perfect!

Bozkovich: More than good.

Lignano: I assume you have seen Gwar live –

what was your preferred distance to the

stage when seeing/hearing them “perform”?

Bozkovich: About

15 meter [~15

feet] – far

enough for not

getting overrun

by the newcomers

when the

blood is spilled

the first time but

still near enough

to find it funny.

Lignano: Do you

still have cloth

with Gwarbloodstains?

Bozkovich: That’s

a great joke of theirs. They sell expensive

white t-shirts for people to get them stained

during the concert. But the colour is risible…

Lignano: Did you buy one?

Bozkovich: Haha, nope.

Lignano: In what relationship stands the M.

and Gwar?

Bozkovich: I have seen a documentary on

“shock rock” once. There the Mentors told the

audience that they are real and Gwar is just

show. So I suppose, in neither.

Lignano: Is he pointing to the Mightiest?

Bozkovich: The Mightiest is really very political.

Before this interview I never thought of

him being to do with religion. No, I don’t

think he cares about that stuff.

Lignano: So the M. is rather materialistic and

aural?

Bozkovich: Materialistic sure. My job is to get

the aural message done; I suppose he has

other employees for dealing with different

sensual areas. But I don’t ask too many

questions.

Lignano: Who is your favourite porn star?

Bozkovich: If Geri

Halliwell were one, I’d

say – her.

Lignano: What is your

favourite figure in

chess?

Bozkovich: Magma.

Lignano: Huh?

Bozkovich: I am listening

to them right now.

“De Futura” from the album “Üdü Wüdü”.

Predecessors of the Mightiest – or Brachialilluminator,

I’m not quite sure if they were the

masters or the means.

Lignano: Oh, those. Sorry for my lack of musical

knowledge!

Lignano: What is your favourite song by

Morrissey/The Smiths?

Bozkovich: Sorry for my lack of musical

knowledge!

Lignano: Who is your favourite author?

Bozkovich: R.A.Wilson, Crowley, Kapuscinski,

Ken saro Wiwa.

Lignano: The Unabomber?

Bozkovich: I think

that’s Kazcynski.

Lignano: Oh. True

that.

Lignano: What’s your

favourite Manifesto?

Bozkovich: Probably

the Roxy Music album. Although I don’t fancy

them too much…

Lignano: Do you own the well-famous vinylsampler

“Wiener Blutrausch” from 1979?

Bozkovich: Unfortunately

I only have it on

MC. I had never been

willing to pay 500-1000

(Austrian) Schillings or

more for one record.

Lignano: I think even

more…

Bozkovich: At that price I’d rather buy a car

than an album.

Lignano: Or hookers!

Bozkovich: Even better.

97

Lignano: What’s the most offensive thing in

this picture?

Bozkovich: Offensive? I don’t know. Where

do you come up with that stuff?

Lignano: Post-office-boredom. Most of the

stuff floats in the interweb. Some in my head.

This might be easier:

– Do you think he listens to Avantgarde

Metal?

Bozkovich: I think he prefers Jello Biafra.

Lignano: Are you aware that your domain

name brachialilluminator.com will expire at

the end of august 2007? For how much would

you sell it?

Bozkovich: I get frequently reminded by the

“domain registry of America” or what ever

the name of these suckers is. A warning to

everybody.

Lignano: Do you think that “Diplomatie ist die

Fortsetzung von Krieg mit anderen Mitteln” or

that “Krieg ist die Fortsetzung von Diplomatie

mit anderen Mitteln”?

Bozkovich: “Fußball ist die Fortsetzung von

Politik mit anderen Mitteln”. Or the other way

round, can’t remember. Actually there once

has been a war cause of a football match

(see Kapuscinski, Richard. The Soccer War.

Translated William Brand. London: Granta

Books, 1990).

Lignano: Why should our dear readers rush

to http://www.brachialilluminator.com and not to

http://www.niddl.com after reading this interview to

buy CD´s?

Bozkovich: Because there’s gonna be a relaunch

of the Brachialilluminator site as soon

as the further projects get into shape.

Lignano: I think Niddl and Brachialilluminator

could produce great stuff as Niddlilluminator.

Bozkovich: Brachianiddluminator.

Lignano: Would you like to write a review on

a niddl CD for avantgarde-metal.com?

Bozkovich: Definitely. But I would need the

CD first.

Lignano: Pure Awesomeness! I will organise a

niddl album for you.

Bozkovich: It will be my pleasure.

~~~

The whole telegram interview (/I imitate

Bugs Bunny voice: “Remember kids, you’ve

seen it first here on avantgarde-metal.com!”)

was a whole new working experience for me;

and please don’t tell it to those boys.

98

ABSTRUSE

Transgressing The Veiled Substants

By aVoid

Greek duo Abstruse – now reduced by 50% –

is one of the strangest entities I’ve come

across so far since the genesis of this site.

Enthralled by their hallucinating singularity

and wicked cerebral compositions, I had no

other choice but to make first contact and

explore deep into the Universe that is Abstruse…

Good day to You sir(s), and thank You

very much for agreeing to do this interview.

Abstruse is for most readers – me

included – a very new name. Tell us a bit

about this entity. Which musicians does

it contain? When and where and how

and why did Abstruse begin?

Substant: Abstruse was created in 2002. I,

Substant, and Veiler were the duo on the first

unreleased demo ”Neuronal Paths’’ (2003)

and on the recent one, ”Transgression”. We

started this project as a mean to materialize

obscure, mysterious or eerie if you wish,

musical ideas, and it all happened in a suburb

of Athens. The musicians that have helped as

so far are all drummers with a specialization

to different styles of music: Kostas Daskalias

(Jazz-swing), Bill (Prog-rock, metal) and

Shapeshifter (Extreme metal). Now Veiler is

no longer involved in the project and it became

a one man band (temporarily?).

As I wrote in my review of

Transgression, you have pretty

bold ambitions. You succeed

none the less to truly transform

your ideas into music. What is

the ultimate goal of your

musicianship? What compelled

you to combine these elements

(the visuals, especially)?

Speaking for the future I would like

to explore and expand the orderbased

system that I am working on

and also -something that we started

from ”Transgression” – to work on

the analogical relationships between

different senses such as visual to

sound combinations to odourproducing

smokes, lights etc. This

holistic approach is a part of

Abstruse’s philosophy. It may also

bring to mind some works of

Kandinsky back in the 1900’s. Also

the gestalt theory gives some hints

about how does this ‘work’. There is

also a hope to give new air to

breathe to these relationships by a program

(working on) that decodes motion properties

into sound properties.

You are definitely very skilled musicians.

What background do you have as musicians,

conservatories or autodidacts?

And for your visual artworks, do you

have any formal training? Tell us about

the “Secret Order” part of your website,

where the interested can find enlightenment

in the obscurity of your tonality…

(As a musician and musicology student I

found this particularly interesting.) Is

the “Majestic scale” your own invention?

Basically we are autodidacts. Although, I am

very interested in studying the 20th century

and contemporary music. Thus a minor in

music back in the university along with some

good courses and ”extracurricular” books

really helped. For the visual part now Veiler

founded his own forms

in digital art and he is

still studying graphic

design. My specialization

back in the

university was film

studies with two senior

projects in Video Art.

Now for the secret

order part…It speaks

about.uhm..orders!

These are patterns of

intervals or motifs that

are used in Abstruse’s

music and represent

different musical

characters to give a

short description.

Order also is a musical

language that counts

intervals as digits

(such as semitones)

thus departing from

conventional scores.

99

The most important thing about them is that

you can see very clearly the numerical relationships

of the intervals with the characters

produced and thus construct new ones by

combining their properties. Also the patterns

have an identity on their own without the

need to refer to modes or scales.

Majestic scale is the order of [1-3-2-1-3-2]

series (counting in semitones from the root

note and then from the next one). In a way

it’s Abstruse’ invention though to tell everything

it can be derived from the diminished

scale (half-tone, tone…), but there is an effort

for a ‘tonal majestic’ system that uses

hierarchical relationships between the notes

such as in major or minor systems.

Do you use all the methods of Schönberg’s

Twelve Tone System – inversions,

retrograde, etc? What other methods of

modernist composition do you use?

In reality the most ‘Schoenbergian song’ that

uses the techniques, including a retrograde in

vocals, is ‘Avid Saith’, one that was not complete

in ‘Transgression’s demo release. (It

can be heard on MySpace) Moreover ‘Alliance

Optimum’ or others partly have to do something

with the techniques but rather with the

not full use of the series or the rules of

Schoenberg. ‘Entropy. In Order’ as its title

implies is aleatoric or random music that later

was put to pieces together or ordered with a

conscious effort. The lyrics here too are what

is known as automatic writing (surrealism).

Many different orders, modes and a wholetone

coda, in ‘Neuronal Forest’ which has an

unmetrical rhythm and together with the

whole-tone arpeggios or [-4-2-6-] orders give

a sense of floatation… ‘submerge’ as the

theme opening phrase provokes.

There is also a need for new methods to be

found… Such as the new possibility of the

‘float scale’. This one uses virtually every

possible frequency-sound and in order to be

systematized and thus to be functional is

taking ratios from other forms of art. For

example color ratios or geometrical ratios

make sound frequencies and new harmonies

are breaking into music, but this time from

outer artistic forms.

You let digitalized programmed parts of

your compositions interact with analogue

parts that are “really played”;

what is the reason for this and what effect

does it have on the music? Do you

reach the desired effects?

Well, the main idea is that ”it’s all an illusion”

referring to the conventional common reality.

By combining live-played drums with drummachines

or human played guitars with programmed

ones in a way that it is not easy to

comprehend (also a definition of abstruse).

What it is real and what is artificial is not

easy to distinguish and sometimes the artificial

is confused for the real one and the opposite.

But, man, what the hell does it mean

for something to be natural or artificial? I

believe that is the human intervener that

decides for that. The desired effects were

mostly reached in ‘Transgression’… but for

future projects maybe other ways will be

useful.

What have the reactions been to you

rather compelling and difficult compositions?

From critics (like me), labels and

ordinary listeners? The complexity you

describe above might be hard to grasp

for someone who haven’t studied musicology

at University level; how important

do you think understanding the cerebral

aspects of Abstruse is to truly enjoy your

works?

The reactions so far are varied as expected.

Some critics were very interested and made

very positive reviews and also asked for interviews

while there were a few that were

totally negative as they could not ‘digest’

100

either our peculiar instrumentation or the

complexity of our music. So far a Greek label

was interested to distribute some stuff for

free (promotion), and labels such as Metal

Blade answered saying that ‘you have some

very strong points, but the style you play is

not what we are interested right now’. I think

the problem here is to find the right label that

is willing to take more risks. We got very

good feedback from MySpace listeners, some

played songs of ours into their pages or

asked for the demo. I liked the fact that people

from different backgrounds grasped our

music.

Now about the complexity of the music I believe

that it is well balanced between straight

riffs to more chaotic ones in a way that is not

demanding for the ordinary listener. This is

also strengthened by the fact that most of

the people gave attention to the mood that is

created and not so much to the techniques or

the forms. Though many songs have to be

heard several times to be ‘absorbed’ and

maybe celebrated.

Both you and Veiler were in a band

called SHADES OF DARKNESS. What became

of it? Do you have any projects

(music or other arts) beside Abstruse

that one should be aware of?

This is a funny story from our teenage years.

Back then we have formed a band with another

guy that knew me and Veiler, and we

got to know each other from him. We realized

that we had similar views then, by having

black metal influences at that period and by

preferring dark melodies. Thus, we started

something that would produce only one written

song, not very aptly named:

D.U.C.O.T.O.C. (dark underground cells of

tormention of Christians). These teen age

years… I remember them and they seem so

fucking funny with their naive ness and their

primitive expression of opposition. Veiler has

his own project band under his name and I

have a project that is intended to be more

psychedelic: ‘The Netherealm’ (yes, some

diminished influences are actually from Mortal

Kombat!). Also, I do research in the Media

Technology field for finding new ways of artistic

expression or combinations of different

already established forms.

What general musical background do

you have – did you pick up a guitar as a

teenager playing metal riffs, later to discover

the magnificence of the last two

centuries of art music? Or the other way

around?

As a teenager I was more into the dark metal

stuff, so I bought a BC Rich Warlock guitar, I

plugged it into the amp and started playing

whatever was coming out of my head, trying

to play as many different fret combinations

that I could imagine. We both though never

tried to make a cover or learn big parts from

other bands in the genre. Maybe there was so

much a need for a personal expression. After

the narrow teenage years passed, new musical

horizons opened: electronic music, 20th

century classical and contemporary, flamenco

and whatever seemed to cling to Abstruse

was taken in a thorough account. The need

for creating personal means of expression

and ones own associations indeed was

strengthened by these influences, too.

What subjects do your lyrics touch? How

do they relate to the name of the band

(a pretty uncommon word synonymous

with, correct me if I’m wrong, “obscure”

or “hidden”) and the overall theme of

your creations? Does the visuals relate

to the general mood or message of the

songs?

Basically Abstruse’ lyrics are united by a concept

that will always be there: The need of

finding these weapons that will release the

human animal from its bounds. Several styles

of writing to produce that are used, as humans

use different forms of writing to express

their entities. Scientific writing for clarity

and method, symbols to bring on relations

101

from their unconscious, surreal automated

writing and bizarre cohesions and raw angry

words filled with the desire to wake up as the

value of freedom is one’s consecutive alertness.

Sometimes coded words are used to

force someone to study the hidden relations

between these phenomenally unrelated literary

worlds. Everything is related to that in

Abstruse’ concept: photos, visuals and any

means of the human experience, to present

that reality is not one single picture but has

many different shades. And there are shades

that are yet unknown to us, beyond the limits

of a sleeping-decepted consciousness.

What’s up with the scorpions?

I believe you don’t mean the band right? Ha!

Ha! OK. There is a song on ‘Transgression’

which is called ‘Brontoscorpion’ and it belongs

to Veiler. By regarding his very interest in the

Evolution theory, this song is a symbol of

power and by using the magnificent characteristics

of this ancient monster. That it’s

‘seeds strive till nowadays’, the symbolism is

accented more.

What does the future hold for Abstruse?

Releasing albums, staying independent

and underground… live performances? I

can see how the latter would be quite a

spectacle, given you holistic views on

your art (no sense left untouched!).

Several concepts are planned for the future.

There is a chance that this will be under a

new name but if this happens it will be announced

under the Abstruse MySpace. Would

like to stay underground but under a sympathetic

label and the live is of course a very

seducing option (as already some festivals

wanted to include Abstruse in their program),

but is one that has to be considered after all

previous issues are resolved.

I hope everything works your and Abstruse’s

way. Thank you a thousand

times for this very interesting interview.

Stay bizarre, to the Death!

102

RETROSPECTION 2007

For summaries and conclusions there’s no better time than the cold month of December. It is also

the half-birthday of the Avantgarde-Metal website. This panoramic survey’s aim is to bring in mind

again the albums and events of the passing year. Maybe we feel the absence of a homogenous line,

when judging and defining this year’s musical products. After all we had newcomers and veteran

bands from other ‘scenes’ that came into second being with the element of surprise. We also had

veteran bands of the so-called underground that conquered us once again.

In some way, the yield is eclectic. Of course, maybe it’s too hasty to crown this musical-inspired

gathering as a ‘sub-genre’ or ‘scene’, as confirmed in the ongoing debate on our website’s forum.

Where the substance of the new albums is coming from, lies in the eyes of the beholder / definer /

musicologist. It is quite impossible to find an agreement about what avant-garde metal is. We are

in an environment which leans on definitions of all sorts. A consensus about albums is impossible.

Yet, we can point to some key albums that were most important for our website’s participants.

In spite of that, many of this year’s albums (and the ones that I’ve lend my ears to, in a personal

perspective) can be characterized by innovativeness and also by the lack of it. Valor is the rooftop

of the musical acts – and it is the heart and mind of this website.

On the subject of people’s choices, we can track down several names which reappear over and over

again. The quite-new and much anticipated grandmaster ULVER’s “Shadows of the Sun”, together

with another anticipated album of their maniac neighbors DÖDHEIMSGARD – “Supervillain Outcast”.

Unlike the metallic sharpness of DHG, Ulver represent a group of bands that are “metal-havebeens”,

but still manage to win over the “scene”. Bands like ELEND and their absolute masterpiece

“A World in their Screams” or THEE MALDOROR COLLECTIVE with “Pilot” reflect the very unique

blend of innovativeness and valor that I was talking about. What about bands like SLEEPYTIME

GORILLA MUSEUM and “In Glorious Times” or MANES’ “How the World Came to an End”, with

lighter metallic edges, but oh-so-very innovative minds? Art-metal jive continues with HELLA’s

“There’s no 666 in outer space”.

In this ‘scene’, all is all. And indeed, we had much of it this time around: from the blackish depths

rose two ancient, yet shaped anew giants – MAYHEM and ABIGOR. The first, tackling avant-garde

borders some years ago, came back with a creation so deep and profound. It is avant-garde by

itself. However, a very interesting album belongs to Abigor – a resurrection with new skin. “Fractal

Possession” stroke many of the followers in amazement, breaking all known and unknown borders

that were indeed a blast from the past. Moreover, the mysterious French duo DEATHSPELL OMEGA

reached hazy and harsh dimensions with the new epos, “Fas – Ite, Maledicti, In Ignem Aeternvm”.

Other bands with black roots are SIGH that delivers us the great “Hangman’s Hymn” and BLUT AUS

NORD with their “Odinist”.

From nearby borders of more traditional-craved metal genres, creations like BERGRAVEN’s “Dödsvisioner”

and Swedish SHINING’s “Halmstad” shook a little bit the acceptable avant-garde metal

definitions. They are crafted with deep and bare emotions, sometimes more than the average

metal-listener can tolerate.

One can also find a fair amount of debut albums and other continuance releases, hailing from new

and less-fresh bands. Starting with “The Green Walls” of BLACK ALBATROSS, Luxembourg’s LE

GRAND GUIGNOL with “The Great Maddening”, the “Pelopia” EP from operatic Finns ABERRANT

VASCULAR and the MCD “Nova Persei” from the French black-dreamers SMOHALLA.

In a sad manner, this year two unique bands come to their ends – French wackos CARNIVAL IN

COAL and Hungary’s GIRE (who released their debut earlier this year). It’ll definitely be interesting

to meet those band’s refugees in other musical frames. Meanwhile, we still have audible memories.

On account of all this, I reckon that 2007 was a hell of a year. Oh, and if I missed anyone, I deeply

apologize – keeping all in mind isn’t so easy.

Jobst

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TOP 10

AVANT-GARDE METAL ALBUMS 2007

The year 2007 is almost completed. So we asked you, our honourable readers, to tell us

what impressed you most this year. An overwhelming amount of answers came in. So

thanks a lot to everybody who has sent us a list with your five favourite avant-garde

metal albums of 2007!

Each mentioning of an album has been given one point. These points were summed up to

your overall ranking. And here are the final results:

01. DøDHEIMSGARD – Supervillain Outcast

02. ABIGOR – Fractal Possession

03. ULVER – Shadows Of The Sun

04. MAYHEM – Ordo Ad Chao

05. BERGRAVEN – Dödsvisioner

06. SIGH – Hangman´s Hymn

07. SLEEPYTIME GORILLA MUSEUM – In Glorious Times

08. MANES – How The World Came To An End

09. DEATHSPELL OMEGA – Fas – Ite, Maledicti, In Ignem Aeternvm

10. UNEXPECT – In A Flesh Aquarium

On the top of the list there’s no surprise. ABIGOR and DøDHEIMSGARD are leading headto-

head with a big distance to the rest of the field. For a long time it seemed that Abigor

would win the race. But in the very end Dodheimsgard overtook them and landed on the

peak.

Astonishment arose about the third place. Ex avant-garde metal grand signors ULVER

manage the legerdemain of reaching this high position although their masterpiece

“Shadows of the Sun” doesn’t contain any metal elements at all. That’s really avantgarde!

And the second surprise is UNEXPECT on position 10…because this album already

has been released in August 2006. So it really seems to impress you a lot.

We also would like to congratulate BERGRAVEN for shooting up to position 5 with their

debut album “Dödsvisioner”. This promises much for the future.

So thanks a lot once more to everybody who participated in this ranking! And here your

favourite albums are again in the music of words:

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DøDHEIMSGARD – Supervillain

Outcast

(Moonfog, 2007 – Norway)

Avantgenre: Supervillain Metal (Of Course!)

This album only lost a pubic hair’s width to being

my favourite release in 2007 to ABIGOR’s “Fractal

Possession”. Now, I could going on why this is so

and what “Fractal Possession” has what “Supervillain

Outcast” has not, but that would be unfair to

this ambitioned, refreshing record which announces

DØDHEIMSGARD’s return after a long absence. And

how they return: “Supervillain Outcast” is a weird,

strange soundtrack to all perversions, abominations,

anomalities; to everything disgusting, sick,

and twisted the 21st century has to offer.

While on “666 International” DØDHEIMSGARD’s

new style was something which did not quite went

together well in my opinion (that is, the cold technical

Black Metal with industrial elements), DØDHEIMSGARD

seem to have found the perfect way

to put everything (and more) together to make it

whole. “The Vile Delinquents” for example starts

with heavy riffing, only to explode into an ultra-fast

blastbeat with shredding guitars, catching breath in

one of DØDHEIMSGARD’s typical, groovy midtempo

beats and ends in a blast-inferno; vocalist

Kvohst spitting pure hate the whole song, sounding

as if he would turn his throat inside-out to scream

out what he has to. The next song, “Unaltered

Beast”- weird beats, supported by rythmic guitars,

strange electronic machine choirs and industrial

elements. There is “Chrome Balaclava”, an acapella

choir song. “Ghostforce Soul Constrictor”,

straight Black Metal with a nearly danceable rhytmical

intermezzo. “The Snuff Dreams Are Made Of”,

the second regular song surprises with a clearly

arabian touch, introducing an instrument I do not

know the name of but which has to be some kind

of an arabian flute… “All Is Not Self”, a calm, melodic

song with clean vocals not unlike to what

Kvohst did in <CODE>. Melodies are mainly in the

background, more supporting the drums and leaving

room for the uncountable other instruments,

soundscapes and effects which make this album

sound like some hatefueled drug-trip.

Nearly everyone should have guessed by now that

the days of true Black Metal like on “Kronet Til

Konge” are over for DØDHEIMSGARD, and for good.

I do like good ol’ Black Metal the way it should be,

but even this narrow- minded (or maybe…) genre

has arrived in the 21st century, as hordes like

ABIGOR, MAYHEM, ABORYM, SECRETS OF THE

MOON or DØDHEIMSGARD have proven successfully.

And DØDHEIMSGARD have set a high standard

for the next releases labeled as this “modern”

style of Black Metal, that’s for sure. If you like it

straight, old school and raw, do yourself a favour

and do NOT listen to this.

Tentakel P.

ABIGOR – Fractal Possession

(End All Life Productions, 2007 – Austria)

Avantgenre: Satan´s Technical Department

“The music of ABIGOR is a weapon and shall haunt

all those who try to discover something beautiful in

it!” This statement is found on the “Nachthymnen”-

Album; taking them literally I’ll try to convert most

of their outputs so far into- weapons. Here I go.

Verwüstung / Invoke the Dark Age: A spiked club

Orkblut – The Retaliation: Same as above

Nachthymnen: A sharp falchion

Opus IV: A rusty bastard sword

Apokalypse: A war hammer

Supreme Immortal Art: A pike

Channeling the Quintessence of Satan: A guillotine

Satanized: Absorbent cotton with chloroform

Fractal Possession: ?

Yes, finally it has arrived. A new ABIGOR- Album. I

thought Reunions were only for members of aged

norwegian Black-Metal Bands fearing to sink into

oblivion, and I am glad I was wrong there. You

can’t speak of austrian BM without mentioning

ABIGOR, and with this album they have proven

that once again. I do not think that it is necessary

to waste words on ABIGOR’s biography here, for 1)

it should be known to most of the metal scene

anyway and 2) for the unlucky individuals that

have missed this band so far may check the link to

their site above.

First, let’s set things straight : This album has by

far the best sound of all their albums and can easily

withstand international competition as well.

Everything is clearly audible; from the eerie guitars

to the once again hammering drums to the new

singer to the fitting embedded soundeffects.

Speaking of soundeffects: there are plenty of them

here, and sometimes it’s hard to tell if it is a real

effect or some freaky guitar sound. Oh, and Thomas

Tannenberger has returned to the drumchair

of ABIGOR where he belongs. I don’t think one has

to argue about the skills of Moritz Neuner, who has

played drums on “Satanized”, but at least I had the

feeling that his style did not fit ABIGOR too well.

Now, hearing Thomas on this album there can be

no doubt that his style is exactly what ABIGOR

105

needs. This guy was and is simply one of the most

groovy, tightest and most dynamic Black-Metal

drummers, period. And the new singer A.R. takes

ABIGORS vocals to a new level: Mostly snarling like

MAYHEM’s Attila, this guy manages clear, spoken

passages as well as growling and screaming.

The songs: A perfect symbiosis of the last two

albums. The cold, precise riffing of “Channeling…”;

combined with the strangeness of “Satanized”. A

good balance of infernal blasts, technical parts, and

slow, melodic parts. Although you can’t really compare

ABIGOR to them, the created atmosphere is

not unlike the last two MAYHEM- outputs, to give

you at least a diffuse picture. I’d have a hard time

which songs I would recommend to listen to, each

one is unique but bears enough elements to recognize

ABIGOR. My personal favourites are “Liberty

Rises A Diagonal Flame” which brings up nostalgic

memories of glorious “Nachthymnen”- days and

“The Fire Syndrome” which, with an eerie, aggressive

atmosphere, opens gates to demonplains

somewhere beyond the stars and briefly, riffwise,

mentions “Opus IV” (as does the start of “Injection

Satan”).

ABIGOR have topped themselves here, easily

achieving top grades in creativity and innovation.

The songs are unbelievable complex and at the

same time straight; there is a huge amount of

breaks, effects and samples involved, but what

sounds like too much works out fine in the end. So,

what weapon is “Fractal Possession”? I can’t get

the picture of a machine-armed with surgeon scalpells

and killing with deadly precision- out of my

head somehow…

Tentakel P.

ULVER – Shadows Of The Sun

(Jester Records, 2007 – Norway)

Avantgenre: Sad Aurora Sublime

Soon after the release of the wildly colourful and

adventurous Blood Inside, a record with which

Ulver, it seems, unleashed all of their aural quirkiness

through many shifting cut-up, eccentric postrock

big band styles, silence came haunting us

once again. What were they doing? Where would

they go? Pro-evolutionist gentlemen Rygg, Sværen

and Ylwizaker kept their growing new piece of art

as secret as most natural arcanes; and then, not

only have they invited along the way an Oslo String

Quartet, a very talented trumpetist, a feedback

guitar player, but also got on board none other

than Christian Fennesz and Pamelia Kurstin respectively

playing supplemental shimmer and theremin.

With such a diverse and impressive crew, everything

was possibly imaginable!

Now to the music. Well, Shadows Of The Sun is

pure beauty and sadness enveloped in their most

exquisite aural expressions. The whole album is a

floating and etheric experience in itself, and a very

delicate one at that, where you are invited to contemplate

your own emotions being transformed

into sound pixels. Stylistically, there are some of

the most honest ambient tracks Ulver have ever

composed; for example, once you drown yourself

deep into both Eos and Funebre, two of my favorite

cuts here, it is hard not to get fascinated by the

obscure, almost aquatic and submerging overall

feeling at play. More beat-oriented parts also are

present now and then throughout the record, and

with a natural, acoustic drum sound, they somehow

display cool, laid-back jazzy patterns as a

backing-up for the more romantic, shadowy moments.

At first, it may appear that Ulver have simply gone

back to the more glitches and epic eras of their

glorious past, but I don’t think that back then,

firstly – so much attention was given to sonic details,

and secondly – neither was the atmosphere as

sombre and deep as this. Indeed, as in everything

else, experience allows you to go further and that’s

certainly what Ulver are doing with Shadows Of

The Sun. To me, they are now up there with the

masters of the piano-ambient genre, including

inspiring artists such as the Fennesz & Sakamoto

collaboration, Elegy, Machinefabriek and Circle

(Miljard era).

Only to give you an idea: microscopic particles are

painting the smallest corners of the sound-picture,

heartbreaking piano melodies subtly evolve around,

Rygg’s vocals are bass-heavy enough to sometimes

leave a warm droning side-effect, drums are

splashing against symphonic cuddles… I would say

it takes a couple of listening sessions before the

whole thing reveals itself to you. The textures are

so rich, so involving, so warm in sound that they

keep a perfect balance between the acoustic instruments

versus the machine drones, and that

must have been one of the hardest challenges to

go through, while giving form to such a “complete”

record. Even a certain pop sensibility comes out of

a few songs, but never in a cheesy way – this music

is for sure honestly sad and beautiful, whereas

it’s not melodramatic and candy-pink at all. For

example, they’re covering Black Sabbath’s Solitude

and turn it into a most sensitive sweetness that I

can’t get enough of – my future is shrouded in dark

wilderness – so sensual…

Even though she’s playing on only two songs, a

special mention has to be made about thereminist

Pamelia Kurstin, because she seriously creates

amazingly flowing and real emotive passages – and

I can only wish Ulver would have used her talent a

little bit more. As a whole, the album, just like its

cover representation, is one reflective, symphograndiose

dusky affair, and the more I listen to it,

the more it sends bio-vibrations down my primary

and secondary peristaltic waveguts. Now how’s

that even only possible?

Olivier Côté

106

MAYHEM – Ordo Ad Chao

(Season Of Mist, 2007 – Norway / Hungary)

Avantgenre: Abysmally Surging Blackest

Metal Of Truest DEATH

A whirling shapeless thing, clawing at you from the

deepest pits and abysses of the human soul and

the voids outside of our understanding… Scorched

black tentacles with chainsaws attached shredding

your mind… Dissonant chords strung over chaotic,

aimless riffs, devoid of any kind of normal progression

or musical shape… The hellhammers float

around, disjointed rolls abruptly cutting off the

crackling rumbling beats… (nowhere to be found is

the trademark Hellhammer sound, fortunately, the

percussion sound surprisingly acoustic.)

The prodigal son Attila is the deranged scientist/

sorcerer, who gazed a bit too long into the

Abyss, seeing too many unspeakable things therein

to regain his sanity… Tormented shouts turning

into maddened laughter… From barytone proclamations

of impending doom to ghastly inhuman

squeals and howls to the deepest chants and

growls from the maw of Nihil… Voices speaking of

humankinds littleness against the forces of the

universe; apocalyptic magick spells and mythological

chaos-salutations… Praising the fall of civilisation

in anti-religious misanthropy and exhaustion of

grief and wrath… The guitarwork may be fierce

and menacing, but this creation is still thoroughly

vibrating with melancholy; like a saddened deity

longing for warmth and understanding, only able to

spread disease, turmoil and strife to the world in its

desperation.

After the clinical sound of its most recent predecessors,

Ordo Ad Chao is draped in a filthy damp production,

which may deter some listeners. To me,

this is preferable, the production (by Mr. Knut

Valle) forcing you to really listen and fall into the

music. Not easily accesible, as extreme metal

should be. For the first time in over ten years, can

the Blasphemer step out of the ominous shadow

that is the legacy of Euronymus; Ordo Ad Chao is a

darkness so complete and possessed that it can

compete with the swansong of the Prince of Darkness

and Death. For the first time in many years

can Mayhem truly claim their name and title. This

is nothing but the True Mayhem.

aVoid

The anticipated and well publicized album harkening

the return of Attila as the voice of Mayhem.

Now although this is a band that firmly resides

within the realm of Black Metal as oppossed to

avantgarde, this is an album that takes a step in

every direction. Where Chimera (previous album)

was a more straight forward (comparatively speaking)

Norwegian styled Black Metal release, the

aptly titled Ordo ad Chao could very well reside on

the other end of the spectrum from its predecessor.

What Chimera lacked in spirit and individualism,

Ordo ad Chao makes up for with sheer daring and

reckless abandon.

The song structures and overall writing are audacious

indeed, sounding like the members locked

themselves in a room with their favorite hallucinogen,

hit the record button, then played and wrote it

all at once. Like a roller coaster to hell it dives and

ascends with use of numerous stops and starts

within many of the songs and no chorus’ or conventional

writing. It does not play like a collection

of singular songs but more like one song split into

parts, and when listening to the album on repeat it

is sometimes hard to know which track you are on.

It compiles aspects of the chaotic movement and

technical prowess of Grand Declaration and fuses it

with a kind of free flowing playing style, wrapped

within the atmosphere and darkness of De Mysteriis.

It is an evolutionary step forward into the

primordial ooze from where they came. If the universe

collapsed again and then a new earth formed

this would be the soundtrack of such a neo-sphere.

With Atilla back make no mistake this is not, as

some may have hoped for, a repeat performance, a

De Mysteriis Prt II. Atilla’s voice is of course a

trademark but on this album he brings more than

that to the proverbial table. At times psychotic but

always dynamic and dark, this is his Oscar performance

as the narrator for Chaos. This is also a

personae embraced in a live setting as his stage

performance seems to be a perfect compliment to

the chaotic insanity of the music.

The drumming is as expected from a drummer with

a resume such as Hellhammer. His timing is tight

but the playing is almost loose, more like a jam

session than a studio recording. On his forum he

stated that the drums are all natural except for the

bass drum which had to be triggered in order to

have the clarity when going 300 bpm (you read

that right). It’s no wonder that the American tour

was cancelled due to his inability to perform, cause

no one else could have done it.

Apparently the bass was recorded by guitarist

Blasphemer ostensibly in order to see his complete

vision to fruition.

Now although a phenomenally written and performed

album understandably some may be taken

aback by the production and its very low muddled

sound. That is to say that the mixing of the album

is great but that the CD does not sound as if it was

mastered, or at least not very well. So one can

either enjoy it as it is presented, or turn the treble

up on your listening format of choice, or download

a music editing program and turn up the treble on

each individual track and then burn your newly remastered

CD. Whichever method you choose this is

a piece that dares you to take a step within and

requires above all an open mind, a dark room, and

if necessary, a mental enhancement of choice.

MvH

107

BERGRAVEN – Dödsvisioner

(Hydra Head Records, 2007 – Sweden)

Avantgenre: Dante’s Cold Inferno

When one begins his departure towards death, this

journey is bound to open in deep silence, of reckonings

to come. Cleaning mind and soul is highly

necessary before diving into this faraway yet incredibly

close realm. In this manner opens one of

the best albums I’ve lend my ears to this year.

First of all I’d like to stress out the point that this

album isn’t “proper” avantgarde. It’s original

among the elusive genre called “dark metal”. Alas,

one can try hard to stuck the avantgarde needle

and come with dry hands, yet declare that what

counts in this case are the feelings the music

leaves behind. The borders Bergraven’s music

crosses on and off are not so common as one

might think. I tend to believe that albums like

these are not so common, when the music clings to

the heart and refuses to go, when it begs for life –

the listener’s life. This music is located in the wide

term of a man’s creation, that dares to be deep,

sometimes deep like one sees in it the first times of

revealing music.

“Dödsvisioner” (“Visions of death” – thanks to

aVoid for the translations) is an excellent example

of the dark metal genre – drizzling from some elite

genres into an ice-cold mélange. Instead of rat’s

eyes, there’s mid-tempo doom metal. Bat’s wings

are removed to the benefit of Swedish black metal

aesthetics, preferring melodies over irrational

speed. Bergraven, as I see it, is a part of a group

of metal acts (who nourish on the weak definition

of ‘dark metal’) such as Shining, Forgotten Tomb or

even Void of Silence, who imbibe their main point

from the monumental Katatonia album “Brave

murder day”. Bergraven is not different according

to the experience of carving unforgettable emotions

within few songs. Also song structures and

distortion settings go as far as this peak of metal.

The first glance into the second album of the oneman

act of Pär Gustafsson is located at the cover.

This meticulous and elegant photograph gives an

adequate shade to the world introduced throughout

the music – a gothic and gloomy hall with closed

doors. In a quick gaze one can almost miss a person

(of unknown gender) lying on its back, its spirit

already gone underneath the soil. On the left side,

there’s a man peeking, one cannot tell if it’s a

painting on the wall or the inspector of the underworld

domain assuring departure. This is the very

start of a deathly journey.

The opening track, “Döende” (“dying”), is a real

spirit-blower. After the silent beginning hazy voices

burst slowly out of nowhere, under the listener’s

feet, standing on a firm soil, underneath lays only

netherworld. When the music comes forth, after

almost three minutes of serenity killer silence, the

listener finds out that all this exposition was actually

an elevator. He’s already deep down. The

fleshy guitars bite, with them come synths in the

costume of bells. As the name implores this is the

ultimate dying experience according to Bergraven.

From this moment on the listener becomes Dante,

soaring over different netherworld rooms, all with

the same texture based on the beautiful combination

between the rough distortion and the clean

strumming, and giving right away the creeping

shuddering. And yet, each room is another vision

of the same phenomena. The clean guitars, hauntingly

hurting, illustrate the void, this absolute vacuum

of the underworld domain. Simultaneously,

the distorted angry guitars remind that in the same

domain there isn’t necessarily blood, fire and sulfur

feasts, but loneliness and stagnation. Basing on the

genre outfits, the combination ‘clean-harsh’ isn’t

that overwhelming with surprises. However, Bergraven

manage to load unto this much clever riffs

and movements, keeping the songs with lack of

boredom and moreover, high chills.

Another enthralled song is “Ondkall”, tearing apart

the ‘clean-harsh’ duo and zigzagging between

these torn entities, eloquently speaking the language

of the dead. The utter zenith of the song is

at the last minute, when a shivering yet ordinary

solo hits a clean riff, struggling over with a sneaky

bass line, showing once again that the “heaviness”

on which we fed isn’t all distortion grounds. This

plain solo is spine-tingling and terrifying with its

simplicity. It surely left its mark on me. This is no

peak of innovation, but god-darn-it, this is so

touching and exciting. This is everything I need:

emotion and atmosphere, smart musicianship with

a twist and the ever-rare ability to leave a taste for

more.

This is an album of long songs (accept the second

one, a short instrumental track), curving through

themselves, jumping from softness to harshness

and vice-versa, from a bewitching melody to another.

The production is tight – every instrument

gets maximum resonance and only Pär’s voice is

coming into being every song anew, may it be as

its spearhead or as it’s a second trumpet for the

guitars. In between barrages of sad guitars, piercing

through long ambience sequels, echo this

bluntly gentleness and become a pause from the

netherworld journey – there are benches for resting

along the troubled way.

Bergraven outline his death cycle – the first song

keeps mid-tempo throughout its end and becomes

slow until fading out in the last song, “Döende (an

Avslutning)” (“dying (an ending)”), saying all begins

and ends (of course) in death. This track is a

proper ending for the album, a snail-slow and

treading echo of the beginning, setting fire to cold

flames. In this sounds crawling, the album dies into

the silence after, of the listener yet again breathing

deep inside and his searching eyes – what now?

For me, it’s quite easy – I’m clicking the “repeat”

button.

Jobst

108

SIGH – Hangman´s Hymn

(Osmose Productions, 2007 – Japan)

Avantgenre: Mirror Avantgarde

I am going to spoil my own punchline this time by

telling you why I label this release “Mirror Avantgarde”:

Because it is not Avantgarde. And by that,

it is so much Avantgarde it hurts. Why is that? If

you have a bunch of Avantgarde-bands, and one of

these bands decides to leave Avantgarde behind,

to become (or to return to something) straighter

and simpler, this band does something that the

other bands do not. And that pushes it avant the

garde of Avantgarde. Understood? No? Well, me

neither. But what I do understand is, that SIGH

have delivered their most straightforward, their

less experimental, their (maybe) simplest album

yet. Luckily it is not, by far not, their worst.

Bad tongues (may they forever suffer in heaven)

allege SIGH to be just a japanese CRADLE OF

FILTH-clone. Although it would seem that these

foul-mouths haven´t heard anything else from

SIGH, I can see why someone thinks that way. Not

unlike COF with their last album, SIGH have returned

to their very roots – pure Heavy Metal.

You´ll find riffs on “Hangman´s Hymn” that could

have easily managed their way onto an IRON

MAIDEN-album (listen to “In Devil’s Arms” to see

what I mean). Another band comes to mind if I had

to compare SIGH´s latest album to something, and

that is THERION (from which they have “borrowed”

a riff, undoubtedly – compare the beginning of

“Inked in Blood” to THERION´s “Wine of Aluqah”

from “Vovin”).

Due to the nature of this album (which was meant

to represent a hommage to german opera composers

of the romantic era) you will find choirs and

orchestration, the other side of the coin that is

“Hangman´s hymn”. Straightforward Metal and

classic composers – a mix which makes this album

sound epic and devastating. The new drummer

Junichi Harashima (Satoshi Fujinami has taken

over the bass) adds a more aggressive and faster

note to SIGH than ever before (his blastbeats get

near the 200 bpm-mark, which is not exactly fast

when compared to some swedish blast-orgies, but

which is pushing the monumental compositions

forward), although he refrains from doing more

than the standard 4/4 Thrash pattern as much as

the previous drummer did.

Though I was a bit disappointed by hardly getting

any experimental parts on “Hangman´s Hymn” this

time, especially after the ingenious “Gallows Gallery”;

after a few rotations

I didn´t care anymore. Great orchestrated and

composed Heavy Metal with Mirai´s unmistakeable

voice, catchy melodies with an aura of grandeur

and the new (female) member Mikannibal on sax

and backing vocals is enough for me to put

“Hangman´s Hymn” into my top five for this year.

Just keep in mind, if you are looking for something

overly experimental and avantgardish, maybe this

time you should look another way.

P.S.: In case anyone wonders why I list SIGH in

“Top 5 albums beyond the border 2007” and not in

“Top 5 avant-garde metal albums 2007” – that is

how I feel “Hangman´s Hymn” should be placed.

Yet this was often labeled as Avantgarde elsewhere,

so we decided to put it up as such. For this album

somewhere between Avantgarde/not Avantgarde I

suggest that everyone should judge for him/herself.

But then it always comes down to that, doesn’t it?

Tentakel P.

SLEEPYTIME GORILLA MUSEUM –

In Glorious Times

(The End Records, 2007 – USA)

Avantgenre: Grim Street Theater

“In Glorious Times” churns, slithers, and grinds its

way through a psychotic array of moods and

sounds, with songs ranging from anguished paranoia

to grimly amusing misanthropy. The experimental

rock/metal collective Sleepytime Gorilla

Museum carved out a niche over the years playing

extremely heavy and spastic hard rock and metal

with a vaguely jazzy dissonance straight out of

Henry Cow and the Art Bears. Here, they’re a little

more spacious: less dense, more textured than

bludgeoning.

The songwriting is still unpredictable- torchy pop

next to rattling percussive passages, death metal

violence riding shotgun with noise rock, found

sounds and morbid violin solos hovering over jagged

RIO rhythms, swinging New Orleans dirges

paired with groove metal breakdowns by way of

Primus and Meshuggah- but the overall thrust is a

little more accessible than prior work, more melodic

and less heavy handed. As in the past, the

whole band contributes vocals, percussion, and fret

time on an array of specialized instruments, making

it a team effort, with communal composition

and performance taking center stage and all emphasis

on workmanship.

As usual, the overriding tone of the work is grim

and morbid, indigenous American Gothic with a

109

shade of forlorn immigrant misery, a kind of re

imagining of 19th urban malaise for the age of

gentrification. With a more diverse array of moods

and a crystal clear production, “In Glorious Times”

is a good introduction point for anyone interested

in exploring this band’s strangely quixotic sound.

James Slone

MANES – How The World Came To

An End

(Candlelight Records, 2007 – Norway)

Avantgenre: Dark Triphiphop

Nobody wants the truth. Imagine a dark cave

where water runs down the walls and the neon

light reflects some people doing weird things on

weird electric machinery including a Commodore

64 (or 128) equiped with a Final Cartridge, digital

Super 8 projectors and gadgetery like that. Image

there’s no people but Manes in their cave. Imagine

there were no wars. Imagine John Lennon posing

for Nike and doing photoshoots in the central park,

posing with his exclusive John-Lennon-Ipod (see

figure 1) and talking about yoda, yo-yos, generals,

generals in wars and wars in general.

Imagine a world full of sounds that were produced

by Manes exclusivly. Nobody wants the truth.

Imagine crossing the street, where the street lights

inform the pedestrian with spanish children tunes

and when a car breaks it sounds like a hammer

that is dropped onto a pillow. Imagine a world full

of images that were produced by Manes exclusivly.

Imagine crossing the street where there are no

zebra crossings but real zebras fixed to the traffic

light post, cars that don’t look like cars but srac

and drive backwards. Imagine there was no song

called ‘imagine’.

The beeps in #5 at ~3:00 are the greatest beeps I

heard in a long time. One of the dreams of a reviewer

is that one of his sentences is used by the

record company in an ad for the album, similarly to

those weird slogans at the end of movie previews,

you know the “Remarkable. Boldly great. The New

York Times.” So I will try my best to find some

slogans for this album that can be used by their

label for advertising:

“This is the ‘Srgt. Pepper’ of the 21st century.”,

“Good. Better. Manes.”, “This is sex for the ear.”,

“Iresistible. Without the spelling mistakes.”, “Beyond

beyondness.”, “If we had 2005 one would

think we had 2007.”, “Imagine nobody wants the

truth.”

Jonny Lignano

DEATHSPELL OMEGA – Fas – Ite,

Maledicti, In Ignem Aeternvm

(Norma Evangelium Diaboli, 2007 – France/

Finland)

Avantgenre: Sophisticated Black Metal Art

This album has been in my possession for a mere

week, and I am the first to admit that this review is

premature. A complexity like this need months of

digestion before realization of it’s immensity is

complete. But I must write this.

This is the second part of Deathspell Omega’s unspeakable

trinity, beginning in 2004 with masterpiece

Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice, followed

by appendices Kénôse, “Mass Grave Aesthetics”

and “Diabolus Absconditus” (the latter two

songs from split releases). Roughly translated (my

Latin skills are puerile and laughable at best), the

title means “The Divine Order – Thus Cursed, in

Eternal Flames/Forever Burning”. The chaos of the

forerunners is here taken to a new level of extremity

unheard; the sulphuric violence is breathtaking.

These French diabolists have opened a gate, and

through it came a satanic Beast screaming and

throbbing, in spite and fury spastically clawing and

tearing at the light. Then, as it’s abysmal seizures

have ended, a calm besetts your mind, letting you

breath and contemplate upon the aural rape you

just suffered. Deep in the ambient silence, a choir

and it’s orchestra is silently incinerated… listen

closely, and hear the beast breath… It awakens,

dances with you, mid-pacing through disharmonic

ballrooms in the deepest circles of Hell, in disjointed

improvisations… Only to plunge back into

rabiate madness, raping you over and over again,

tearing your flesh and soul into shreds and dust.

110

Fas tells of how mankind is doomed to Perdition

and Damnation from the beginning, and it is much

more personal and poetic than it’s disputational

precursors. Mikko Aspa’s sore growls sound older

and harsher than before, and yes, the Lord of all

Perdition and Madness is truly speaking through

him, as He is working through the always so obscure

musicians. They are truly possessed, and

“evil” satanists like Watain are but a candle in

sunshine to these orthodox theologists. The music,

in it’s compositional trinity, is more complex than

ever, tonally and rhythmically closer to Alfred

Schnittke, Ved Buens Ende and Gorguts than Darkthrone.

In this flurry of blastbeats, orchestral samples

and disruptive dissonances there is a profound

darkness I cannot describe. It must not only be

heard, but felt and realized. This is more than

metal, whatever prefix you choose. This is art.

Note: The official translation of ‘Fas: Ite, …’ is “By

divine law, go, you cursed, into the eternal fire!”. I

wasn’t that far off. (aV., 2007-09-17)

aVoid

UNEXPECT – In A Flesh Aquarium

(The End Records, 2006 – Canada)

Avantgenre: Hyper-technical Metal Gang

Bang

In A Flesh Aquarium, the most emblematic album

of the seven-piece musical, theatrical avant-garde

group named unexpecT came out last year. The

music of these freaks cannot be compared to any

other band. It is “coreless” – meaning that there

isn’t a main musical style. Considering that they

mixed at least 15! different musical styles together

on their infamous 2006 album, the “corelessness”

isn’t surprising, but the music is.

These weirdos manage to blend black metal with

tango, death metal with jazz, circus music with

ambient, medieval music with trip-hop. They have

three vocalists who are able to sing, growl, shout in

super wide ranges, from soprano to high shrieks

and deep growls, from glorious choirs to narrative

speaking and clean singing… and much more. Most

of the time their vocal style is more similar to a

crazy, psychotic theatrical presentation than a

simple performance.

The structure of a heavy metal song is just as easy

as 1+1=2. Verse, bridge, chorus, verse, bridge,

chorus, solo, chorus, chorus. However in the case

of unexpecT the situation isn’t that easy, sometimes

1+1 happens to be 3. You will feel your brain

aching and you will hit on “stop”, screaming blue

murder to those who created this. But before you

do something you will definitely regret, please calm

down and listen to it ten times more. What will be

your first word after it? I wouldn’t be surprised if

you would say “fascinating” or “stunning”. But it’s

much more. The band incorporates the law of large

numbers which gives their music a unique feature:

you won’t ever find this album boring. To sum it

up: you have to listen to a song at least ten times

to feel the same vibrancy of the rhythm you feel

while listening to heavy metal. Then you would

probably be bored. The only problem is that you

are a limited human with limited qualities and

cannot adapt a one hour long song. So what remains

is pure excitement during each single listening.

These guys are (the) true masters of avantgarde

music. With their astounding, outstanding

creativity, technicality and complexity they surely

have brought something abstract, surreal, “ultraplanar”

to this world. The lyrics are exclusively

written in metaphors by syriaK (except “The

Shiver” by CaotH) and every listener will find different

truth in them for himself.

This release should (must) change every listener’s

way of thinking about the whole world. This album

shows that there is a new, differing angle to look

on things, on life, on music, on feelings, on impressions,

on relationships, on past, on future, on your

role in the universe. Hope I’m not the only one

who’s having this album as a cornerstone of his life

and musical taste. This flawless masterpiece is a

must in the collection of those who consider themselves

as open-minded avantgardists.

revon

Listening to this album for the first time brought a

totally new experience to me. I had to switch it off

after two minutes to avoid a massive brain overload.

I just needed a little rest before diving totally

into the raging whirlwinds of mania. Such an excessive

Gang Bang of all Metal genres wildly crisscross

I have never heard before. Those Canadian

bastards describe themselves as “black, death,

(*)core, symphonic, progressive and melodic

metal; classical, operatic, medieval, goth, electro,

ambient, psychotic, noise and circus music with an

occasional jazzy touch.” And this is really a litotes,

because it’s much more.

There are lots of technical virtuosos out there in

the Metal scene. But just very, very few are able to

make catchy, atmospheric songs out of it. Unexpect

manage it to play two different guitar-solos, a

solo on a 9-string E-Bass (!), a violin-solo, a drumsolo

and a duel of three different voices at the

same time – and it still remains a catchy song!

Unexpect definitely are masters in songwriting. And

their Nomen est Omen. There are countless different

parts in a song. And you never know what will

happen in the next second. Furious staccato dismemberment

with BM-Screams and DM-Growls

follows calm ambient-sounds. Groovy Metal-riffs

mix with dissonant Free-Jazz, proud Tango and

epic Hit-Melodies. There are no limits! You have to

hear it to believe it! Each second of this album is

unpredictable and surprizing. If we had ratings,

this would be a 11 out of 10.

Chrystof

111

MORE COOL NEW

AVANT-GARDE METAL ALBUMS

AGALLOCH – Ashes Against The

Grain

(The End Records, 2007 – USA)

Avantgenre: Naturally Epic Blackened Metal

With four years since their last release (not to

include a few hard to get EP’s) this album sees

them return reinvigorated and moving forward

almost as if no time had passed. To a certain extent

this album picks up where their previous efforts

left off. By taking the blackened folk-metal

from their first full length “Pale Folklore” and mixing

it with the more acoustic oriented “The Mantle”

this album is a perfect illustration of what exactly

Agalloch is musically.

The greatest disparity between this release and its

predecessors lay in the mixing and mastering of

the album. The guitars continue, as before, their

interplay creating the musical foundation of the

album, both mournful and uplifting. With the distorted

guitars coming across slightly heavier and

more omnipresent in the mix, while the acoustics

intertwine within and without to make up an overall

full and fluid sound. However, the real strength of

this recording derives from the driving power of the

bass and drums that carry each song forward with

a forcefulness of purpose (instrumental interludes

excluded, of course). The bass being very low in

frequency, but well mixed, provides this album

with its heaviness and wall of sound, not completely

found on the two previous full length releases.

The black metal vocals are brought to the fore on

much of this album, their raspy style giving it

forcefulness and a smattering of angst while still

keeping the overall mood of melancholia in its

entirety. The clean vocals are again used to great

effect, interweaving emotional emphasis into each

sorrowful and exultant piece that one finds

throughout this tapestry.

This is an example of a band maturing without a

loss of identity. A band who possesses an individualistic

identity in an industry and world which is

becoming more a vacuum for musical individuality

and personality every day.

If you have not yet heard this band (one wonders

why) then this would be a great place to start. For

those of you who have heard their previous efforts

and do not yet own this, then by all means what

are you waiting for, you will not be disappointed.

MvH

AGHORA – Formless

(Dobles Music, 2006 – USA)

Avantgenre: Buddha Progressive

The first time that “Formless” collided with my ear

drums I can’t say I was impressed. As I listened

the first time through the album I even reached the

state of occasional disappointment and thought to

myself: “There it is, the first negative review I’ll

have to write for avantgarde-metal.com.” But by

the time I listened to all the songs I began wondering:

Did the band have a creative drain by replacing

the rhythmic section? Did Santiago Dobles

invest so much creativity in “Aghora” that he had

no more to offer? How comes that seven long years

aren’t enough to replenish your ressources? And

how does that work with all the mind and body

balancing activities he goes after with great dedication?

Aren’t those supposed to bring out more and

more creativity? I concluded for myself that the

answers lie in front of me and that I have to listen

to this quite a few times before making my final

personal judgement about it.

My perseverance was well rewarded! It’s not that

“Formless” is more complicated then its predecessor

or that you have to access a new and higher

level of spiritual enlightment in order to appreciate

it. It just depends on what you expect from this

follow up.

I was quite surprised to hear that the metal dose

has been noticably raised on this one! Don’t let the

Intro make a fool of you. “Aghora” started with a

crunchy riff while “Formless” initiates its listener to

the beating that is to come by gentle psychedelic,

indian tunes that will give you a truly wrong impression

of the pace of the upcoming journey. It’s

not like the songs are now completely built around

the concept of acoustic mass destruction but there

is so much more of it now that I wondered where

the calm interludes went to and when I will be

allowed to breath. Well there are just better hidden

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and distributed in a manner that gives the song a

stronger live edge.

I mainly liked “Aghora” fort the epic blasting like in

“Satya”. Now I got a whole lot more of it, but at

first it sounded simpler to my ears which has unsettled

me a bit. That impression was quickly dissipated

by the time I lent the harmonies more attention

and enjoyed the fact that the vocals were

given more room to expand and carry the song in a

more angelic manner.

All in all I advise anyone who doesn’t enjoy this

album by its first listening to spend some time on it.

Otherwise you are on your way to prive yourself of

a truly enjoyable and fascinating album. Let’s hope

that it won’t take another seven years fort he band

in order to assemble the next, hopefully just as

great, album.

Trident

BLUT AUS NORD – MoRT

(Candlelight Records, 2006 – France)

Avantgenre: Detuned Psychosis Black Metal

For a long time Blut Aus Nord have been darlings of

the “true” black metal scene. Their productions

have been raw. Their music and their lyrics have

fulfilled every cliché. But one day Satan came to

them with a special mission: “My dear disciples!

Black metal has become a trend for kids. You have

to invent a music even darker, scarier, much more

evil than anything else! Drown them in fear,

nightmare and psychosis! Take away their sanity,

and then take away their souls!” And Blut Aus Nord

got lunatic eyes and a frenzied smile. They took

the frets out of their guitars. They erased all timecodes

and bars out of their drum computer. And

they put all reverbs on ten. And Satan was proud

and saw that it was evil!

MoRT creates naked landscapes filled with bizarre

sculptures of total death. It draws you down into

the deepest spheres of rotting nightmares and

skeletal delusion. Slowly your blood flows out from

your veins. Your head begins to spin. You loose all

orientation and sink down to the very bottom of

bare existence.

MoRT is so different from everything else you’ve

ever heard before. It’s the purest essence of black

metal and something completely different at the

same time. The guitars are extremely detuned and

cold. The raspy vocals are many miles away. The

drums are drunken and meander slowly in their

own vomit. And a blurred delirium covers all. Check

out this masterpiece from a parallel universe’s hell!

You won’t be the same anymore!

Chrystof

BLUT AUS NORD – Odinist (The

Destruction Of Reason By Illumination)

(Appease Me Records, 2007 – France)

Avantgenre: Liquid Black Drone Metal

Well first of all, I have to mention that I haven’t

been a die-hard black metal fanatic for a few years

already, mostly because I believe it’s not really an

expanding genre anymore. But to every general

law there always are at least a few exceptions, and

indeed Blut Aus Nord ought to be mentionned here.

Weirdly enough, I didn’t know much of this band

when I suddenly bought their new record out of a

pure coincidence. As a matter of fact, I’ll never

regret doing that!

It could be because black metal has now become

out of my usual interest, it could be boiled down to

the most honest fact that I’ve always enjoyed the

strange emotional effects that both atonality and

dissonance can induce me into, it could be that I

love letting my mind drift out to imaginary floating

soundscapes… Well, many reasons can explain

every single human experience, but I believe that

Odinist is an extremely well-done heavy

voivodesque drone metal album. There, I said it!

But why am I writing this? Because in every song

presented here by Blut Aus Nord, I can clearly hear

massive waves rising high and falling deep down

only to recycle themselves again, and again, and

again, in slow-motion lavas of sounds. In its entirety,

the album is surfing on these kind of aural

shores. Another good point to mention is that the

vocals have almost been mixed within an enveloping

ambient and noisy atmosphere which follows

like a bio-plasmatic aura most of Odinist’s compositions.

They are inherent to the sonic textures and

never in front of it.

As an all, it’s quite repetitive, sure, and almost

linear and without any explicit dynamism, you’re

right about that – but I’ve got to claim that in this

case, that’s the whole point! I’m saying this because

I know some people have been complaining

about how uneventful this album really is. But

please listen through the subtle riffing mastery

displayed here – there’s so much atmosphere and

feeling deep inside every note and at the heart of

every tone. It’s not about rythms, it’s not about

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technicalities, neither is it about blast beats and

earth-shattering evil stormy passages. The guitars

rather are fluid-like, heavy-foggy, crawling underneath

while reaching out for the stars. When my

roomate heard only a few moments of a song, his

initial reaction was to mention how cool and laidback

the guitarist seemed to be. Of course it’s dark

music, but in a relaxing, borderline somnolent and

dreamy way, as if they wanted us to find some sort

of a hidden beauty into apparent creepiness and

fear.

I don’t really know how to explain this further other

than by informing you that it sucked me in its spirals

right within a few minutes of playing. Let me

sum it up with only a few expressive words – mesmerizing,

mysterious, stellar, eerie and magical.

Yeah, I can only wish all black metal records could

contain at least half the flowing e-motion that Blut

Aus Nord have summoned here. Thanks for the

massage, guys! I have been illuminated…

Olivier Côté

DOL AMMAD – Ocean Dynamics

(Electronicartmetal Records, 2006 – Greece)

Avantgenre: Electronic Art Metal Aquatic

Space Opera

When I looked at the album cover I first felt like a

beaten dog, which then was slowly and carefully

nosing the CD until realising it was a friend and not

a foe.

“Ocean Dynamics” is a continuous concept starting

in outer space, represented by the powerful first

four tracks of “Thalassa Dominion I-IV”. The journey

moves on into the solar system and “Solarwinds”

is tied on with fast and fantastic drums

which really sound like solar winds. This is musically

so amazingly well done, that you could distinguish

between a storm and a wind. The wind here

even carries the cries of dolphins into the atmosphere

very softly. Further, continuing from “Descend”,

descending to earth into “Lava” where the

fire from the sun liquefies slowly, to then finally

ending in the ocean (last three tracks). Here you

can listen to more water sounds when you were

missing them in the first parts.

One has to listen to the entire album to develop an

understanding of the whole idea musically as well

as lyrically, because after several minutes of each

song completely new parts appear in a sudden and

make the album very fluctuating; with plenty of

tempi and arrangements, sounds and partly different

styles of music, from Funk-Jazz to extreme

Black Metal- like drums and percussions, mostly

somewhere in between all these genres in the upand-

mid-tempi.

What makes this band unique is the combination of

Metal and 70’s electronic music with distinctive

synthesizer sounds similar to Jean Michel Jarre and

Vangelis. It seems like the marriage of Berlin Love

Parade with some Rock Festival. The Metal music

to some extend reminds me of Luca Turilli and

Rhapsody, certainly because of Alex Holzwarth

(Drummer of Rhapsody of fire), who seemed to

find asylum in this project with his characteristic

way of drumming.

The second cherry on the top constitutes the choir

of 14 people (seven women and seven men). They

represent the operatic bombast throughout the

album and also “flow” with DC Cooper (Ex-Royal

Hunt) in “Aquatic Majesty”. Therefore, “Ocean

Dynamics” is the perfect symbiosis of electronic

music, operatic music and Metal. It can be seen as

a complete art work with its wonderful orchestration,

lyrics and also with its amazing cover art work

that was designed totally coherent.

You have to decide whether this is your cup of

ocean dynamics or not. I find it to be a fantastical

album, where ocean meets universe with a lot of

atmosphere in between. All my thumbs, including

big toes up!

Katja Honeywine van de Barrel

FURZE – UTD

(Candlelight Records, 2007 – Norway)

Avantgenre: Black Furzing Metal

“Furze” is the name of the Blade on the Reaper’s

scythe – the one and only trademark of the one

and only Reaper, made “music”. Woe J. Reaper,

sole member of Furze, began back in 1996 (when

black metal, according to the Reaper, died). HE is

the only one who knows the Truth. UTD, which is

the third Furze volume (excluding demos, a 7″ and

a 10″), is not an album but a split cd, with Furze

and Furze. The two sides are called Beneath the

Odd-Edge Sounds to the Twilight Contract of the

Black Fascist and The Wealth of the Penetration in

the Abstract Paradigmas of Satan (consider the

taste of the titles, that is the taste of the Furze).

Again taking up the black flame of metal from

Trident Autocrat (2000), rather than the doomier

aspects of Necromanzee Cogent (2003) – though

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slowing down a couple of times – this is some violent

stuff.

What is? Harsh scrawny sound, horrifyingly necro,

though not at all unprofessional and bedroomy but

rather elaborate, like a mix of ULVER’s Vargnatt

and Nattens Madrigal. It is at many times a hard

listen; at low volume incomprehensible, at high

volume unbearable (especially if you’re a cat, it

seems), always confusing – I still don’t get many

parts of it, despite a dozen sit-throughs. Is this

negative? For some, probably. Furze means many

obstacles. But obstacles mean rewards for the

persevering.

UTD envelops several facets of black metal art (yes

it is art). Spite and hateful, melancholy and solitude,

fierce and in grief, tearing parts from the

Reaper’s soul and showing us, as someone put it.

But still something you have NEVER heard before

(yes, never heard before). Woe J. Reaper longs for

the days when black metal was “alive” (1986-96),

but takes black metal to strange places it has

never seen before. Maniacal dancing of ghouls

eating mushrooms and nasty witches with bad

teeth boiling frogs and herbs into strange concoctions.

The scary visions of a deranged mind drinking

tea (the TEA is of UTMOST importance) and

listening to BLACK SABBATH and HELLHAMMER,

calming down after pounding Feeble Christian Cretins

with a hammer from hell at a black Sabbath.

Woe’s vocals are… unsettling. Hysterical screams,

retarded murmurs, ghastly whispers, the nasty

drool of something wanting you really unwell – not

satanic but folkloric and very old. Like a pissed-off

little demon trapped in a rusty cage, or a ghost

from the deepest pit of your soul (or from beyond)

beckoning to you in a feverish jimsonweed-induced

dream… What is also interesting and unusual: he

actually PLAYS the bass, against all black metal

traditions – and in a peculiar fashion too, moving

about with a mind of its own (as does every instrument

the Reaper molest). Furze is not selfconsciousness,

not artsy pretensions, just the

chaos of unhinged creativity and obsession with a

non-intellectual dark side – raw black energy vibrating

through the whole of the Reaper not because

he WANTS to but because he HAS to. And

it’s quite mesmerizing too, the whole of the Entity

of the Reaper – the Truth and the Blade. The Completeness

of the Creations. Need. To. Be.

Heard. …and Seen and Smelt And Felt and Tasted.

To Torture Them Beyond Death Is The Heaven

They Deserve

Shadowstench, Deathpace; we’re on course!

On the behalf of Eternal Pride; I shadowcast the

Very Map of it

[Note: The cover shown belongs to “Beneath…”.

The cover for “The Wealth” – appearantly painted

by Woe’s father in 1975 – is not for me to find

online. And the Name of the Blade probably refers

to the Plant, rather than the Gas, you Germans.]

aVoid

HELLA – There’s No 666 In Outer

Space

(Ipecac Recordings, 2007 – USA)

Avantgenre: Post Thrash In Opposition

From Sacramento, California, comes the everchanging

art of a very daring band, I’m indeed

speaking of Hella. Mind you, There’s no 666 in

Outer Space, released on Patton’s Ipecac Recordings,

was my first real exposure to their musical

craft and already within the first listening session,

I became utterly fascinated by the way these

guys turn the most confrontational multi-tracks

riffing ever into some of the catchiest art-metal

tunes I’ve heard in a great while. Having two

prominent guitarists and one loud-fingering bassist

fighting against and with each others, if you carefully

pick out all of the riffing elements one by one

and in itself, everything is overly technical, deconstructed,

meltingly abstract and therefore always

on the borders of being just too much. You’ve

probably heard, at least once, from one of these

masturbatory jerky-proggy bands whose main

concern is always to show off more, and more, and

more, forgetting all about the rules of headbanging

insanity. Well, that’s really not the case

with Hella, please do not worry.

Instead, the music here is warm in textures, deep

in sound, and even within its last-minute changing

patterns and structures, long build-ups of atmospheric

climaxes can always surprise you. There’s

also a certain feeling of blood-boiling urgency

throughout the entire album’s duration: this is

dangerous stuff, folks, no kidding. You’re holding a

bomb in your head at each passing second. Call it

post-thrash-jazz, I say whatever – this is a fucking

intense ride!

Every pretentious (or not) extreme jazzy metal

drummer definitely has to hear Zach Hill behind his

machine-gun bashing kit. This is what artful

rhythm constructivism is all about. Even tighter

than a blasting Czral on speed, this man is exploring

a frenzied drumming style I had never heard

prior to experiencing Hella’s unique approach. No

typical blast beats nor double-bass attacks are to

be found here; it’s just so much more extreme

than that. Without such a solid backbone, I would

even go as far as to say that Hella’s music couldn’t

be that metal-oriented. Hill certainly is aggressive

and groovy like none other.

Nasal-filtered acid vocals are graciously layered all

over the music, and let me tell you that singer

Aaron Ross has an amazing palette of squealing

throatings to spit forth. It really sounds as if

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Megadeth’s very own Dave Mustaine came back to

his old-school sessions of excessive cocaine snorting,

while Voïvod’s Snake embarked upon an occult

bathing into unknown liquefied planets, only to

give the great sarcastic guru Jello Biafra an opportunity

to make his critical madness shine through.

And I’m serious here.

Upon feeling concrete traces of an immense enthusiasm,

I immediately started tracking down reviews

on the web, but soon enough got turned off: most

of them mentioned how crappy this new album is.

Keep in mind that this is Hella’s first record as a full

band, reconstructing from scratch, maybe without

even knowing it, the whole metal genre. If 666

represents, as a symbol, the sterile and limiting

rules of a down-to-earth take on metal, and if

outer space is the infinity of experimental possibilities,

then I’ve got to admit that there’s no 666 at

all in Hella’s quest for outer space. Bravo!

Olivier Côté

JESU – Conqueror

(Hydra Head, 2007 – UK)

Avantgenre: Love Inducing Drone Doom

Who would have thought that one day a founding

member of Napalm Death would create something

so pleasant?

Despite its tough metal title, “Conqueror” is actually

comparatively subdued next to the bone crushing

weight of the debut album and the wide open

production of the “Silver” EP. Its lightness has less

to do with any significant compositional choices

and more to do with its softer production, though

the songs are a little sparser and often catchier,

leaning closer to the warmth of shoegaze and

dream pop than the cold plodding heaviness of

industrial doom.

There are more vocals and songs contain actual

choruses, though they’re still winding epic affairs,

perhaps more psychedelic and drug friendly than in

the past. Consider the inspired “Mother Earth.” The

core of the song is recognizably doom metal, but

the watery synths and waves of reverb and feedback,

not to mention the dreamy lyrics, are pure

acid dropping granola hippy ecstasy, but in a good

way! It’s the heaviest head music outside of Japan.

“Mother Earth” is the best example, but every song

on the album virtually pours over the listener,

forming a warm, inviting cocoon of distortion and

love. Justin Broadrick might take exception, but

this is very agreeable, very agreeable indeed.

James Slone

KAYO DOT – Dowsing Anemone

With Copper Tongue

(Robotic Empire, 2006 – USA)

Avantgenre: Violinistic Naked/laced Disney

Pop

Have you ever listened to Laibach all day long and

then tried to write an album review? Well I have,

and this is what I heard thereafter. The album has

got five windows that are between 7:44 and 18:00

minutes:seconds long and use a lot of curtains

(curtains in music are i.e. keyboards that stick to

one or more tones for a very long time) that they

successfully interrupted with raw guitars or violins,

sometimes drums and a presumably male singer.

Sometimes one of the musicians is a bit more angry

than the other and then he or she gets his or

her moment to express him or herself. I sometimes

wish there was only one sex on the planet or single-

sex-bands only because writing about bands

would be way easier. On the other hand (I will trick

you because I will not tell you what is in my

unmentioned other hand) if there would be only

one sex/genre in the world or single-sex-bands

only, one would never have been able to enjoy

those castrated opera singers or the fabulous

Transvision Vamp (W-W-W-endy!).

If I were asked if I preferred to eat, to drink or to

listen to music for the rest of my life I would not

only wonder who asked such a dumb question, but

I would also respond that I would prefer to

“LIEANK”, ‘a pen’, which is, as you probably knew

right from that moment which I marked with ‘a

pen’, a mixture of the three verbs. If I were hungry

or thirsty I would listen to this album all day long.

If I were deaf I would put the album on my record

player, cut off my nose in hope some waves would

enter my head via those holes.

Jonny Lignano

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KEKAL – The Habit Of Fire

(Whirlwind Records, 2007 – Indonesia)

Avantgenre: Urban Avant-Garde Metal

This is vibrant interesting metal of a decidedly

experimental nature. From the first track “The

Gathering of Ants” it has you hooked. Ripping melodious

but heavy guitar work compliments a variety

of rhythmic and vocal approaches all coated in

an atmospheric sheen (benefit of background

synths/samples as well as a great production). The

sheer tonal arsenal at this band’s disposal is an

aural pleasure, especially coupled with song-writing

(a concern often un-addressed by a lot of AGM).

The second track features vocoder parts, adding to

the decidedly unearthly ambience. Coupled with

the growls and the progressive musicianship, there

are shades of Cynic as well as later Septic Flesh

here, without copying the sound of any one act.

And what chops they have!! The axe-work is some

of the tastiest I have heard in a while.

Over the course of the album, the band’s trademark

becomes more clear: trippy guitar parts coupled

with strange clean vocals, and very occasional

industrial growls. “Manipulator Generals (Part I of

Dictatorship), shows how far the band has progressed

from their more traditional metal roots,

with the haunting melodies and alternately eerie

arpeggios and dissonant guitars moving forward on

the backbone of samplers and drum machines as

well as live percussion, going into totally bizarre illbient

midway, and ending with a truly strange

sludge-funk freak-out outro.

Strangely the album gets spacier as it progresses.

The lyrical and thematical content deals with the

political and personal (as far as I could make-out).

The eerie vocals couple with the heartfelt motifs to

tell the tale. It is original (showing clearly a unique

vision from a unique culture, closest reference

being some of the more experimental Japanese

metal outfits) and emotional (as exemplified by

“Our Urban Industry Runs Monotonously”), making

for a truly satisfying listen. The heavier more extreme

metal elements are few and fluidly interspersed

in a sea of musical vitality, the chord

changes showing a jazzy flavour as indebted to

70’s fusion outfits as to 90’s metal (check out “Part

II of the Dictatorship”). In places it’s like a prog

metal band that has matured enough to let go of

the hair/shred metal retentiveness and reaching for

the outer limits. The last 2 tracks round off the

album with a serenity (the almost BM trip-hop of “A

Real Life to Fear About”) that can only be born of

burning in discontent. In fact the closing epic (almost

15 minutes) may molecularly re-arrange the

awareness of the listener into an avant garde metal

revolutionary, what with its thematic gist and bizarre

twists and turns.

All in all, this is genius (a word used too easily, but

here completely justified) and is on my personal

top-ten list for 2007. And yeah, a big thanks to

Chrystof for sending this one my way. Also, don’t

forget tot checkout the interview on this very site.

Suleiman

LE GRAND GUIGNOL – The Great

Maddening

(Maddening Media, 2007 – Luxembourg)

Avantgenre: Fin-De-Siècle Metal Grotesquery

This fancy promo, carrying misplaced Kris Vervimpcover

artwork, was sent to me a coupe of weeks

ago, and it immediatly clinged to my mind. Apparently

this Luxembourgian band was up until last

year known as Vindsval, and it was under that

name this album’s 1999 predecessor “Imperium

Grotesque” was released. Now in 2007, they

unleash “The Great Maddening”, after reaching a

new spiritual level of conceptual insight and thus

changing the orchestra’s name. The info sheet

(extra-fancy!) claims that the band shares their

name with a French genre-theatre about a hundred

years ago. Being aware of the climate of entertainment

during that period and in that region

(think Moulin Rouge – yes, the movie – but darker,

without Nicole Kidman), you can probably guess at

the esthetic approach of L.G.G. (The official website

translate the name as “the Big Buffoon”)

Anyhow! Consider for a minute or six these following

madmen’s general output and esthetics during

the end of the last century: Rhapsody, Devil Doll,

Covenant (the Norwegians, with Sverd & Astennu)

and Bal-Sagoth. Add to that a sprinkle of Arcturus

heading of to a masquerade, Anna-Varney of Sopor

Aeternus feeling kinda cheery reading Poe when

recording the Sarabande albums plus Dimmu Borgir

and Cradle of Filth going to see “The Return of

the King” at the movies, holding hands and kissing

with Blind Guardian as an apron. Seriously pompous

marches, circusesque (new word!) buffonery,

overly theatrical vocals (shouting screaming crying

howling et c)… Solemn brass sections, female

quasi-opera vocals, spaced-out synths, folky and

neoclassical guitar riffs and leads, symphonic keyboard

string sections… Nothing new per se, besides

the fact that this kind of music isn’t made

anymore. It’s too dark and growly to be

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power/fantasy/whatever metal, and way too cheery

and pompous to be black/death/et c metal. So

devoid of distance, so exuberant and silly, I just

can’t help but loving it. They combine all the bands

I loved when I was like 15-16 years old (OK, not all

of them, and I wasn’t that fond of Rhapsody and

Blind Guardian, but you get the point), all bands

people couldn’t help but laugh at. The performance

here is terribly solid and skillful, actually loosing

the imperfections that made the abovementioned

bands so impeccable. This is more of a mirror without

that much personality – very beautiful and

florid, but equally easy to forget about. And it is

slightly too long, even though at least three of

these eleven tracks are instrumentals. Cake upon

cake, as we would say in Sweden.

But, if you’re into any of the mentioned bands (as I

know you are!), you should check this out. If I had

heard this 6 years ago, I probably would have

ejaculated all over the soundsystem. And some

additional kudos for the following…

-Silly Frenchy pronunciation is always good entertainment

(perfect English is nice but not fun).

-Great and suggestive song titles, it’s just a shame

I didn’t get the lyrics as they seem to be quite

important for the Great Maddening Experience.

-Marvellous orchestrations (who needs an orchestra

when you have midi? It’s as cheesy as it comes,

and bloody fantastic).

-And finally, powerful vocal performance – he actually

carries all the strengths of the bands above

(except that German goth-transvestite…).

Fancy!

aVoid

SMOHALLA – Nova Persei

(God is Myth, 2007 – France)

Avantgenre: Ambient Symphonic Dream

Metal (weird)

French Smohalla is a pretty singular three-piece.

There are times when I can’t make myself listen to

them, there just isn’t anything there for me to

enjoy. Then it turns, and I can’t keep myself from

listening to their otherworldly harmonious chaos.

There is something in their strange sound (which I

described in my review of their masterful debut

demo Smolensk Combustion some months ago,

read that one after this, the foundations are still

the same). I can’t put my finger to it, but it’s as

captivating as it is oppressive. Which is pretty

amazing seeing how this is only their second release

since their formation early 2006!

Nova Persei is the latest instalment of record label

God Is Myth’s H.P. Lovecraft series, a series of 3″

cds inspired by and dedicated to the horror writer

of all times, the gentleman of Providence. Haven’t

read? Do so, then come back feeling a little embarrassed.

On this EP Smohalla has reached into the

strange story of Joe Slaader as told in “Beyond The

Wall Of Sleep”, a primitive hillbilly peasant going

crazy because of unwholesome dreams of stellar

battle – he has, in fact, within him the residing

spirit of Nova Persei, a nova exploding (for real) in

1901 only to fade again some weeks later. Rather

than focusing on the horror aspects, Smohalla

brings out the grandeur of the cosmic chaotic battle

between Nova Persei and the demon star Algol

(track 4 and 5), the beauty of Slaader’s otherworldly

dreams (track 3), and his inevitable fall

(track 2 and 6) – that is, no Cthulhu here. Being an

avid Lovecraft enthusiast, I was very pleased with

the prospect of musicians focusing on other facets

of this master of the weird and stellar horrors,

rather than the pretty used up monster worship

one is usually facing when dealing with Lovecraftinspired

metal. Does Smohalla succeed? Yes, they

do.

Jazzy beats, proggy mellotrons and otherworldly

choirs, explosions of avant-black savage dissonance

as chaotic as luring… and something very

hard to pinpoint. It is indeed very dramatic and

cinematic, with horn sections at times turning my

mind to Bal-Sagoth’s Battle Magic, and an omnipresent

cold feeling of space, being lost and quite

alone in space, not at all dissimilar to what the

better parts of Marilyn Manson’s Mechanical Animals

did to my teenage self back in the days –

especially the chord sequence of the epic ‘Extinction’

touches the soul same way ‘The Last Day On

Earth’ did. That kind of cold, but in a completely

different way – but then again, not at all. Surges of

post metal/rock/whatever, framed and ornamented

by very black tremolo lines, the most icy of synths,

and Slo’s ever-changing vocals – ghastly distant

howls, clean singing (in both French and English –

bilingualism rules) which the mob would deem as

“operatic”. This is… wonderous. The future, at

least parts of it, is Smohalla’s. And note that, while

writing this, I’m listening to Nova Persei for the

first time in about a month, not even wanting to

listen to it the past weeks. Smohalla does that to

you, or at least to me, in a way I’ve actually never

experienced before. Strange. Really. And by the

way, it was sold out on November 11, so chances

are probably pretty slim of getting hold of a copy.

Unfortunately.

(…and an additional THANK YOU for NOT programming

the drums…)

aVoid

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HIDDEN TREASURES 2007

ABERRANT VASCULAR – Pelopia

(self-released, 2007 – Finland)

Avantgenre: Electro Ethereal Opera Metal

This is a three-piece suite EP, the latest effort from

the Finnish band. Already at the inside cover, the

band stages itself as “operatic avantgarde metal”,

and this claim has a lot to do with both, subjective

and objective truth: start from Vladimir Lumi’s

vocals, which are pure opera and finish with the

epic feeling hanging from the ethereal synths,

giving a final result, a curtain of a mighty strangeness.

Unfortunately, this strangeness, a world

waiting to be deeply explored, ends within 15 minutes

long. But I’m reaching the end too soon.

As stated before, three tracks are presented within

good, but not superb, production. The first song

called “Shto oni zasluzivat” (Russian anyone?)

opens with a gentle stroke of synths, falling into

somehow-weak guitar burst, which reminded me of

the start of “Kinetic”, the opener of “The Sham

Mirrors”. As I wondered about the source of this

comparison (and the conclusion pointed to something

regarding the distortion depth), Lumi’s voice

comes forth, all might and glory, sounds so assure

and decisive and blend uniquely with the electronic

beats. Indeed, Lumi is a professional opera singer,

an impressive tenor who provides the cachet for

the band’s self definition. His vocals are lucid and

strong, sometimes aching and whispering (there’s

even some sort of blackish scream, style the late

Michael Haas vocals) but mainly traveling easily

and skillfully through scales and phrases. Tracing

the vocals only is fascinating, for this is singing. He

gives the EP almost the solemn touch of the elusive

avantgarde seal. But yet again, there’s the music.

The constructions are the eternal duel between

guitars with average distortion and also the general

place in the whole production and highly interesting

and changing synths work, which claimed to be the

musical highlight of this EP. The synths combine

clear electronic influences (as they’ve heard best in

the guitar-given sheath), classical piano flickering

(another statement of the operatic attitude) and

tiny electro samples, coming directly from the

industrial world. They slide gently into one’s ear

upgrading the songs a few levels. Therefore, another

listening should be done carefully, giving

those little “friends” the rightful attention.

Aside from few interesting riffs, the guitar work

isn’t stirring. It absorb from some major genres,

such as Doom, Black and even Heavy metal. And

yet does not succeed to stand at it’s own as contra

to the prominent synths and of course, as steady

foundation to Lumi’s vocals, which swallows it all as

a storm. The drumming also deserves attention

and slides along with both electronic beats and

human touch.

The best song in this EP is the second one, “Dorei”,

which leaves the listener mesmerized, due to the

combination between the synths and the vocals.

They take the listener’s ears to somehow familiar

journey, thanks to the heavy influences of Arcturus

and The Kovenant. One might say that this EP is a

mirror of the sham… However, after some listening,

is becomes obvious that the band has much talent

to withdraw those roots to places of their own. The

last song, “Paradigme / quintessence”, sung in

French and clearly in the veins of its ancestors –

leading synths and guitar scratches under the dependable

vocals conducting.

As said earlier, the trouble with this effort is that

it’s over too soon. Once the listener had a glimpse

inside this odd Finnish world, he’d like some more

of digging in. When one regards that as another

demo, it stands as a great ticket for the band,

although I recommend strengthening the guitar

department. In an overall look, Aberrant Vascular

created an EP, that surely leaves taste for more,

and this time, for a full album by this talented band.

Jobst

ABSTRUSE – Transgression

(self-released, 2007 – Greece)

Avantgenre: Cerebral Death Experiments

Transgression is the first release from this ambitious

Greek duo, formed back in 2002. Veiled and

Substant, sharing the vocal, visual and musical

duties, states a pretty bold mission objective – to

fuse extreme metal’s eerie darkness, the strange

tonal systems of modern art music (serialism,

atonal and tone scales et c) and psychedelic visual

art, in order to walk down a new musical path.

Indeed, pretty ambitious for a band’s first release,

and before listening it mostly seemed pretentious

and rather silly. But… I was very, very wrong.

The music of Abstruse (a synonym of “obscure”, it

seems) is extremely experimental, though it rarely

leaves a metallic context. Their claiming of using

the disharmonic scales of 20th century avantgardist

composers is definitely no ostentatious bullshit,

among the dark metal riffs (a fair reference should

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be early progressive death metal) I can hear not

only traces of Schönberg’s Twelve-tone technique,

but a distinct use of it; programmed melodies intertwine

with guitar sweeps, melodies are turned

inside out, played in reverse, everything those

Germans did back in the angst ridden 1920’s. The

dreamy whole tone scales of Debussy add a misty

surreal veil to the chaotic dodecaphony… But still,

they never leave the metallic course. Bloody awesome?

Indeed! The opener hints both to the crazy

electrojazz of Last-Minute Lies-era Fleurety and to

the playfulness of the Atrox guitarists. The slightly

slower “Ceremonial Torches” brings to mind a dark

mix of Karl Sanders mythological solo works and

The Residents (!!!). The guitar lines at points resemble

the works of Carl-August Tidemann before

joining Winds (i.e. Arcturus)… but enough references.

Is it strange? Yes. Great? YES. Few can

achieve music as technically stunning as this, without

simultaneously losing my interest. Very cerebral.

I like that.

The vocals are pretty strange, deep half-roared

whispers most of the time. The programmed drums

might annoy some, but they merge naturally with

the overall technological sound; only the blastbeats

sounds plastic. What I also like is the visuals accompanying

some of the songs on a DVD. Psychedelic

as hell, blurry shots of nature flowing into

each other in many pretty colours (a lot of colour

inversion and that kind of stuff). I‘m an ignorant

when it comes to video art, but I know what I

enjoy. This, for example.

If you are in any way interested in experimental,

groundbreaking or just highly technical music, you

want to hear this. This will definitely not be the last

you’ll hear from Abstruse.

aVoid

AVERSE – Scolopendrian Perception

Haze

(Independent, 2007 – France)

Avantgenre: Progressive Black Metal

I must say that it is quite an honour for me to be

writing for this site, getting in contact with all these

interesting and creative unsigned bands. This time

I have gotten the first release from the handsome

French quintet Averse, the concept EP Scolopendrian

Perception Haze.

Led by Tim (keys, voice, guitars and words), they

claim the genre “progressive black metal” as their

own, which I cannot deny them. Opening with the

dark ambient experiment “Eveil, Grondement”,

they swiftly move on to a twelve minute opus,

taking the appropriate amount of turns a band of

these ambitions should during that amount of time.

They cite (among others) Enslaved, Opeth and

Solefald as influences, and well, you hear that. The

song starts of with a proggy acoustic intro, soon

exploding into a grinding fury akin to Solefald first

four albums. The growled vocals sound professional,

but the clean ones have a few steps to go before

competing with… well, the abovementioned

sweetsingers. Prog-wise, Averse have chosen the

right path; that of the British 1970’s. All that is

lacking is a mellotron, but I would rather hear

some more eerily Crimsonesque dissonants in the

guitars for the releases to come.

Did I mention the violinist? Yeah, they got one of

those, he’s classically trained and really adds another

dimension to Averse, giving both an air of

folk music as well as chamber music. Unmetallic

instruments are sovereign, and should always be

promoted. The instrumental third track consists

mostly of a forlorn acoustic guitar, well played but

quite faceless – some more structure and perhaps a

violin of two would definitely get me off. The second

of the “real” songs (I guess you can see this as

a five-track EP or a massive single with pre-, interand

postlude) is also twelve minutes long, sung in

French this time. It is slightly more traditional black

metal in a Norwegian sense. Still a fine track,

though lacking some of the experimentalism that

made “Thus Grant Matter” a hit – most notably the

passage at about 4:30 where the violin ostinato

gives this debut its apex.

Keep it up. Integrate the electronic sounds, acoustic

experiments and the violin even more into your

metal, move a bit further away from your influences,

and you’ll be eating many signed bands for

breakfast within no time. And keep singing in

French! English is terribly overrated as a growled

language.

aVoid

BLACK ALBATROSS – The Green

Walls

(self-released, 2007 – Pakistan / USA)

Avantgenre: Post-Drone Narcotic Space

Rock

The first album proper (self released that is) from a

meeting of young yet prodigously talented minds,

this is indeed as avant garde as they come. Starting

with a backward guitar melody that morphs ito

the opener “In a Garden”, here is some seriously

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eerie and trippy music. It is essentially Saqib

Malik’s soundscapes and strange textures married

to Howard Eichenblatt’s stream of consiousness

poetry. From the opener onwards, the agenda

gradually unfolds to demonstrate reverb laden

guitars and drums, creepy drones, disturbing samples

all topped by vocals recalling a teenage Morrison

on crack. Reference points touched upon include

modern drone masters (Sunno, Boris et al) to

indie (old Sonic Youth, Velvet Underground) to

experimental black metal (Blut Aus Nord), but

without resembling any one band or genre. The

production is intentionally lo-fi, keeping clarity of

instruments and vocals without sounding immediate

at all.

Infact, the mixing of the distant reverb laden sound

with the odd lyrical and vocal gist makes this the

very epitome of narcotic post rock/metal. Thankfully

this completely avoids the Grateful Dead-with-

Distortion structuring or the chugga-chugga generic

chunks of many post-metal luminaries. Instead

it delves into the underside of rock (and no I

don’t mean the sleazy redneck kind either), and

comes up all aces. Very occasional touches of a

more extreme metallic element (witness “At Dusk

We Returned” and “Dark Language”) show metalheads

swimming somewhere in the murk.

This is cosmic music but its the very anti-thesis of

what “cosmic” usually means when applied to

metal. Instead of rage and pomp this is the moan

of a feeble, drugged out and decaying cosmos.

Honestly speaking, after the first 6 tracks I lost

conventional conciousness and was floating away

blissfully on a narcotic cloud. And I have not used

any mind-altering substances in a long time.

This is to post rock and metal what Radiohead’s Kid

A was to modern indie pop rock. I am scared of

thinking what these guys would do with a bigger

budget and a slicker studio.

Suleiman

BUG – Split With 27

(Inter Stellar Records, 2007 – Austria)

Avantgenre: Dark Chaoscore Rock

The cd goes for the throat with opener “Grubenhund”.

A thorough slice of chaoscore (for want of a

better description ), this is loud ugly music with

that extra something. And that is the intensity of

the clean parts. In place of the typical emo schlock

we are introduced to some near gothic (or dark

hardcore) sounding vocals and haunting licks.

There is a clear preference for distortion (including

the screeched vox) and a rather doomy feel to the

proceedings. It touches all the right bases : edgy

hardcore and extreme metal along with sludge

(where the distortion seems apt) and rock. Its one

of the few releases from the hardcore camp I have

had the pleasure of reviewing for AGM.com and as

such just maybe I’m cutting it a little slack because

god knows there are a million bands doing something

similar since the days that Botch and Cave-in

broke-out. Its just that an average chaoscore band

is still around 50 times as intense as an average

metal one, and this shows in the band’s violently

funky jerking grooves, haunting riffing, spite-filled

vocal attack (mixed up with that ‘insane gothic

man’ voice) and feedback. The musicianship is topnotch

on this thing.

The mixing of elements is used to great effect on

the riveting “Something Wrong with The World

Today” as well as the discordant yet emotional

pounding of “Lainzer Tiergarten”. The album rests

briefly for the first half of “Excitement is a Girl” and

the clean sections share their secret in detail: the

unique calmer segments owe as much to the geographical

location of the band as to apt composition.

Namely, there is a Teutonic element prevalent in

the proceedings, and what would have been

cringe-worthy in american hands is here strangely

enjoyable. Thank heavens its miles away from the

sickness knows as screamo/emo.

This is one of those bands that can eventually

progress beyond their chosen genre onto something

much more transcendental given enough

time. At present they are a name to impress with,

showing you are hip to the cutting edge of new

hardcore. It is avant-garde only if you think of

Biohazard and Sick of It All as all that hardcore

offers. And a word of advice to the lads : easy with

the distortion pedal !

Suleiman

BURZUKH – Orion

(self-released, 2007 – Pakistan)

Avantgenre: Astral Retro Groove Psychotic

Machine

Sometimes you never know what will hit you before

you listen to a new acquired peace of music.

We’re all quite familiar with the music coming from

Europe or America, but what about Asia?! Pakistan,

particularly, has a small but quite a strong scene

which started blooming in the mid nineties after

Dusk was formed. One of the most interesting

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animals from this scene is actually Burzukh, a one

man band active since 2001, led by Suleiman Ali.

“Orion” is Burzukh’s fifth full-length effort, released

only through internet (for now). It’s not a long

output, but people say that poison is kept in small

bottles. From the first listening I knew the whole

thing’s going to be pretty weird. The album starts

out with a crazy electronic beat, something mr.

Zweizz himself would do. Later it’s covered by a

quite gloomy guitar sound and vocals which could

not be described as screams but rather as some

kind of grim high pitched moaning and grunts, very

interesting any way. The greatest surprise is the

variety of stiles found on this album: it ranges from

some weird black metal outputs to very dreamlike,

cleanly sung miniatures. One can feel old prog rock

influences, especially in the simple, yet mooving

psyhadelic atmosphere of some songs, most notably

“Goth Machi”. This combination of influences

gives the album an interesting variable structure

one could compare with a chess board: constant

shifting of two main influences forming a visually

(in this case audibly) dynamic and recognizable

pattern. The overall atmosphere is somehow

dreamlike, moody and in some points quite disturbing.

The track “Lying” is a mindgame for itself:

filled with electronics and dominated by screams

and those long clean moans it pushes you into a

room full of hyperactive thoughts jumping around

the whole place, bouncing of the walls and hitting

your ears……

The instrumentation is very good: simple but expressive.

The use of keyboards is very insane on

some parts because of the weird, almost irritating

sounds that were chosen. It all blends with the

sometimes quite dissonant (great!) riffing and the

very dim bass sound. Tremolo pickings like found

on “Awaken Orion” combined with all the crazy

sounds is…well one cannot describe that feeling

they produce without using the sintagma astralindustrial,

it works for me at least. The only thing I

regret is the lack of a drummer…why? Well the

fact is that the drums are great, just that they

can’t cope with the loose, psychedelic atmosphere

of the whole album, or maybe they lack some expression,

I am not sure, but the fact is that it’s not

easy to programme drums and do all the things by

yourself, so it seems Suleiman did a good job here.

When it comes to efforts like “Orion” one should

remember that you never know what is going to hit

you next: whether it is going to be a boot in the

face or a pleasant surprise depends on your attitude

and the will to consume great music made

with a different view on the world. Just keep in

mind that “Orion” was recorded in a home studio.

Don’t expect a Dream theater production with mr.

Portnoy holding your hand while listening…..this is

real fresh and raw sound. It’s not my problem if

you miss things like this….one can always give it a

chance! Soon, it seems, we will have another notable

name hailing from Pakistan. Until then enjoy

the soundscape of the astral underground!

Give it a try…no drugs and sugar added: ORION!!!

(I would like to dedicate a few nice words to the

victims of the terrorist attack in Karachi….but alas

none can describe those people’s pain…silence

becomes gold)

Ulv

ETERNAL DEFORMITY – Frozen

Circus

(self-released, 2007 – Poland)

Avantgenre: Cristalized Submental Dream

Manipulation

Before I start writing how this is a great album, I

would just like to state how much I hate circuses…

not that it has much to do with this great

band and album, but the word circus immediately

reminds me of those poor tortured animals which

are forced to do tricks to amuse people- that is

sadism. Those animals should be free, they should

be loved, and not transported in those small charts

like some deadmeat.

As I said, this above does not reflect my love to the

band. On the contrary from the first minutes this

album was spinning in my CD player I was wondering

how such a great band like this could have

remained unknown to me (and a number of people).

Why is it so that nobody (no label) cares

about great polish bands as Frozen Deformity or

better known Lux Occulta. My new audible friends

are no worse than other rather more known ones. I

interested myself for some earlier releases and

found out that the band’s sound today evolved

from some earlier great and atmospheric doom

releases.

“Frozen Circus” starts off with a short but sick

piece of “circus music”, it just gives me the chills:

the annoying circus melody becomes very hypnotic,

very weird. The rest of the album is very clearly

produced, the sound is firm and clear, of course

the keyboards stand out quite a lot- that gives a

great balance between the solid riffing and the

weird atmosphere that was achieved. As for the

vocals they range from good clean lines to a magnificent

black a la Vintersorg voice (just an association),

maybe a bit more dim. One of the freakiest

moments of the album is when the track “Crime” is

suddenly interrupted by a circus announcer speaking

the German words: “Meine Damen und Herren,

Herzlich wilkommen in unserem Zirkus, Eternal

Deformity…”, the announcer is backed by that

annoying circus organ….I don’t know if it’s just me

but I feel like screws being driven into my head

when I hear that sound, a great idea it was to

introduce such a sound. I really don’t know which

song I could mark as the best on this album, but

the last track, “Lovelorn” is certainly one of the

greatest moments of this album. It seems that with

the chorused guitars and cello, this track unveils

the band’s doom background in the best possible

way. I don’t want to be misunderstood, the track

itself isn’t doom at all but at some moments you

122

can catch a glimpse of it, just as in the rest of the

album.

Everybody who has ever tried to write a review

must know how difficult it is sometimes to describe

with words that which you can only experience by

your ears. Maybe the best thing is to give a listen

to the album and try to create your own atmosphere

of a frozen circus. This album is just a snapshot

of a circus which is brought back to life for

just a few seconds, but the sounds are so multiple

and intense it seems much longer. just as suddenly

as it has been brought back to life it became frozen

again, and there remained only silence….so one

can imagine that this album actually lasts forever.

“Red finger tips

Red water

Spinning down and deep

To unknown

To cold dark sleep “

Ulv

GIRE – Gire

(self-released, 2007 – Hungary)

Avantgenre: Deep Journey Into Fall And

Death

What I’m holding in my hands right now after a

long wait and six demos is Gire’s first, self-titled

album which is definitely deserves some spotlight.

Although being “sunk” in the metal-for-masses

metal scene of Hungary Gire succeeds to reach the

ones with sophisticated taste for the original and

the creative.

The brain of the Gire-system is Tamás Kátai, one of

the most respected people of the Hungarian (underground)

Avantgarde scene. He writes the lyrics,

they are Kátai’s poems in fact, he loves the Fall, so

the lyrics are (in Hungarian of course) mostly

about anything which can be connected to Fall in

an impressionist, an expressionist, a symbolic and

of course a decadent way, so it’s not just writing

about the yellow and red falling leaves. Frankly, it’s

hard to understand the real meaning behind his

lyrics even for a Hungarian. (Kátai also has a

poem-collection printed and sold out.) Every song

has its own story and there are some about culture

and the mankind too. Almost every song provides a

more than five minutes long journey into a gray

and green, rainy day of Fall and in some cases into

shiny, warm but the last days of summer. A couple

of translations of tracks to illustrate it: Green

Shower (Zöld zivatar), Golden Dawn (Aranyhajnal),

Seven Birds (Hét madár), Run of the Deer (Az özek

futása). By the way, there is a covered song on the

album called Trans Express originally played by a

forgotten Hungarian band, Necropsia. For “further

feeling” check the video clip of Az özek futása on

youtube.com. By now we know a bit of what it’s

about.

The music of Gire characterized by the heavy,

death/thrash metal like guitar playing and the

various ambient sound effects, folkish instruments,

like Jew’s harp, violin, tilinkó and kaval (these two

are Central-European wind instruments) and

mainly by the programmed drum machine’s sound

which is now the brand mark of Gire, the band is

almost unimaginable without it. On the album one

can find growled, shouted vocals and clean, narrative

like vocals as well.

The album is available only in digipack edition with

the most beautiful cover and artwork I’ve seen in

my whole life. The booklet is just so amazing (most

of its pictures are taken by Kátai himself) and they

really mirror the feeling of the songs and the whole

album.

In my opinion it’s the best album of 2007 till now.

It’s really had to be felt, not listened.

revon

SMOHALLA – Smolensk Combustion

(self-released, 2006 – France)

Avantgenre: Ambient Dreamstorming Black

Metal

If bands were only the sum of their influences and

references (not necessarily intentional), then Smohalla

would be among the greatest bands on Earth.

I can easily trace elements from BM/AGM luminaries

as Arcturus (melodies), Emperor (riffs), Ved

Buens Ende (melodies), Ulver (electronics), DHG

(riffs), Maudlin of the Well (emotions), et al, in

Smohallas music, and I could easily leave it at that.

But that would be unfair, wouldn’t it? Because,

even if Smohalla turns my mind to mentioned

bands at different points during Smolensk Combustion,

they never ever sound like copycats. I definitely

shouldn’t have judged them in reference to

those bands, for Smohalla is above mere reference.

They do what few bands succeed at – they sound

unique. Not just mashing together their ecclectic

influences, as many bands do today trying to get

away as “avant-garde”, but creating a sound of

their own. Smohalla sounds like Smohalla, nothing

else. Quite an achievement for a band that didn’t

exist before 2006!

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Smohalla, led by multi-instrumentalist visionaire

Slo (guitar/vox/drums, aided by bassist Camille

and A.L. responsible for electronics), twists and

turns in some kind of surrealistic dreamland. Highpaced

storming grind with intricate technic riffing

falls into triphoppy ambiences with distant operatic

female vocals and eerie samples, beautiful string

and glockenspeil melodies with epic clean vocals…

There are too many elements to write them all

down, you should hear them yourself. It all sounds

like played behind a curtain of sleepy mists, the

sound is low and at great distance, giving an ambience

similar to Leviathan (US), but cyan and deep

blue and violet instead of pitch black. It takes some

listens to penetrate these veils, but for those percistent

enough awaits sapphires and emeralds of

the most beautiful extreme music released for

quite a while. Smohalla carries a legacy of ephemeral

sweetness in metal that few dare these days.

For the escapist who long for something else.

(Note: the 2nd Smohalla release, 3″ cd Nova Persei,

based on the H.P. Lovecraft tale “Beyond The Wall

Of Sleep”, will be released this summer through

Vendlus/God Is Myth.)

aVoid

SYMPTOMS – Symptoms That You

Are Alive

(self Released, 2007 – Italy)

Avantgenre: Death-Industrial Dream Metal

It begins beautifully with a strange wisp of a synth

that explodes in a full-bloodied metal harmony,

and then the groove locks in. The vocals and riffing

place this firmly in the extreme metal camp, but it

is the drum machine (which may have benefitted

from a better kit sound), strange feedback noises

and those bizarre synths that truly propel this

beyond into something else. This is way ahead of

the Obituary meets Ministry via Killing Joke stylings

of the debut. It has a strange atmosphere: obviously

apocalyptic yet somehow enchanting, kind of

like post-black death metal without resorting to

any of the cliches of that much flogged dead horse.

Do not get me wrong – the sound is too wholesome

to be black metal. Just the mood is wistful, anthemic

and magical in places. And when it’s coupled

with the more typical disjointed death metal

riffing and vocals it just gets unstoppable. Instead

of going for the everything-but-the-kitchen-sinktrick

of most modern bands of this ilk, Symptoms

stay true to a strong songwriting tradition, while

utilizing the avant garde tendencies as hooks to

great effect.

The interludes are plain bizarre, going much further

than the standard few samples and beeps, to actually

be complete entities in themselves, with totally

involving atmospherics and intricate rhythyms at

play. There is even a strange gap in the opener

“Dead for 30 Seconds” that I’m still not sure is

intentional.

But the way the dreamy soundscapes are ripped

apart by brutal death metal guitars is strange juxtapositon

and may even be too much for some.

When it all comes together (the afore menitoned

‘hooks’ of the songs) there’s just plain jawdropping:

the choir-synth-guitar /double bass culmination

in “City Lights” or the way the outro of

said song leads right into the harmonic intro of the

manic, driving “Mental Disorder”. You really will

drift of to strange places as the album progresses.

There is this truly unique sounding lead (synth or

guitar?) that is overalid over the more traditional

aggro-riffing in a lot of songs that puts the entire

thing into a new perspective.

All in all, this is a welcome additon to a growing

army of new cyber-avant bands that are pushing

the boundaries of metal into inner and outer space.

Do yourself a favour and get it now directly from

the band.

Suleiman

TECHNY-CAL X – Start The Process

(self-released, 2007 – France)

Avantgenre: Dark Dance Metal

Cruising out of France on the wings of technology

and a cold rage, this is a solid effort from the beginning

to the end. By the second song the style of

the band is immediately recognizable. It is a dark,

aggressive and danceable sound, full of atmosphere

and groove. The quality of the material holds

up to repeated listens. The songs have a definite

club friendly feel without catering to the base denominator.

That means it reminds you less of goth

club scene in a Hollywood flick and more of an

actual dance floor full of antagonistic cyborgs.

Thankfully the riff stylings and synth sequences

place them firmly in the Euro scene as opposed to

the post-NIN abominations of America. And the

vocals do that dark, slighlty distorted almost-growl,

filled out with a gothic baritone. Imagine a mix of

darkwave and Exodus era Samael with a hint of

Red Harvest. Electro Metal fans should definitely

give this a try.

It is too short even for an EP, and you just wish

there were more songs here. There are very occa124

sional traces of the cheesiness of Deathstars and

Pain. But they are so sparse that it adds to the vibe.

The EP achieves the (desired) effect in that the

listener wants more. What wonders will the full

length bring? Surely it cannot be an entire CD full

of mid-paced dark dance metal. But if there is

someone capable of pulling it off, it is these guys.

And that is about all I can write based on 3 songs

(and 1 intro).

Suleiman

TRISTWOOD – The Delphic Doctrine

(Sound Riot Records, 2006 – Austria)

Avantgenre: Industrial Death Black Metal

Aaaaah !! Finally!! After reviewing all manners of

insane sound forms that are often at the very edge

of metal, here is one assigned to me that is as

metal as beer, sacrificed virgins and spiked studs.

This here is some seriously brutal atmospheric

death metal. And atmospheric I don’t mean doomy

or slow; I mean reeking of evil darkness. I don’t

have a lyric sheet or a CD sleeve even but somehow

I wouldn’t be surprised if the themes were

cosmic, satanic, hermetic or plain murderous (even

a combination of some/all of the above).

It starts with a very short intro and then its blasts

all the way, with a few more similarly short synthy

intros scattered through out.. The riffing and songwriting

is straight forward and lightning fast. The

growls are done in the classic demonic death metal

vein (think Massacre, Septic Flesh and mid-period

Behemoth)with an occasional dashing of a more

mid-ranged rasp (no ultra high pitched shrieking,

than you very much). There is a dark almost cyber

sheen to the material, courtesy of the background

but ever present synths (which occasionally come

forth as per requirement), and the too precise

drumming (is it or is it not a drum machine?), as

well the perfect production.

I know it sounds like a million other bands, but

there is something about the songs that just stick.

The riffing knows where to stand out, without going

into wankery, and the stuff is catchy. There wasn’t

a single part where I thought ‘I wish they hadn’t

done that’ and that means its damn near perfect as

a slice of metal brutality. For those into the heavier

end of the spectrum check this shit out. Hail !!!

Suleiman

UNHEALTHY DREAMS – Doloris

Corpus

(self-released, 2007 – France)

Avantgenre: Synthetic Industrial Mayhem

Wow!…..no, not “World of warcraft”, but a real

“wow!”. Before I write anything about the “Body of

pain” (Latin. doloris corpus) one has to be aware

that France started giving us quite a lot of great

and weird bands (the invisible giants- Deathspell

Omega, Smohalla, the growing audible chaos, and

some that yet have to be discovered like Dreams of

the Drowned). Unhealthy Dreams is one of the

most brutal deities of the fast rising scene. The

band creates the pain of modern humanity through

their chaotic music. When you take a look at the

cover of “Doloris Corpus” you can expect somekind

of a chaotic industrial mania, but when you put it

into the stereo, it will just hit you in the face, you

won’t see it coming! Why?!

The production is very clear, but nevertheless the

audible mayhem is colossal, ranging from the bass

lines up to every electronic squeak. The tracks tend

to be very fast, but they are often broken apart by

some pure electronical passages, the second track

even features a charming flute. The contrast is

interesting as the electronical parts are sometimes

quite calming, while the rest of the music is very

fast and nervous, one could compare this with a

behavior of a person suddenly struck with waves of

dementia. Just like the instrumental parts the vocals

vary very much, from an ofu-khanish style in

the beginning to a more high pitched black screaming

style. I am not sure if this is my impression but

somehow the album tends to get more and more

electronical as it is closer to it’s end. The vicious

and nervous guitars become more steady, but not

softer, don’t worry. Electronica and the samples

used on “Wolves torment” is purely great, the track

being filled with distorted beats and raw industrial

samples.

The atmosphere of the whole album is very cold,

razor-sharp and solid. This is an example of a great

industrial production (or destruction) and mastering,

not being too loud so one can absorb all of the

elements, and not being to noisy as Red Harvest

sometimes manages to be. Nevertheless this is one

of the best surprises in the industrialized sphere of

our weird music this year. I hope Unhealthy

Dreams shall get all the attention a promising band

like that disserves. Now I recommend that you get

lost in this swirl of pain you can hear on “Corpus

Doloris”…..get lost…….

Ulv

125

1st Print Edition of

Avantgarde Metal Magazine

23rd December 2007

Imprint:

Chief editor:

Chrystof Niederwieser

PDF design and layout:

Katja Honeywine van de Barrel

Webmaster:

Bernd Grünwald

Articles written by:

aVoid, Olivier Côté, Jegger, Jobst,

Jonny Lignano, James Slone, Polygon,

Tentakel P., revon, Suleiman Ali,

Trident, Ulv, MvH,

Katja and Chrystof

Contact:

Visit the “about” section of

WWW.AVANTGARDE-METAL.COM

to get in contact with the crew members!

 

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