When you have been active for 20 years, you have released a bunch of classic black metal albums and you have experimented with different musical approaches, what would you do, in 2018, when you’re about to release your 6th full length? That’s right, you go back to your roots, with an even stronger will and “Fuck You World” attitude.
Of course I am talking about Watain here, who on the 5th of January have released an album which took me quite some time to digest. Not because I did not like it, but because every time I wanted to write something about it, it unveiled new hidden features, which made me listen to it again and again and again.
Hailing from Norway, Goatkraft delivers a completely different style of metal of death, not choosing to be a part of the so called traditional True Norwegian Black Metal cliché. Rather than walking the already wandered paths, they chose to honor Satan by taking even farther the primitive torch of barbaric and hateful black metal, just like other bands did 20+ years ago.
First of all, let it be made clear that the “Angel Slaughter” EP I’m writing about here is not for anyone: not for those who walk through the forests of melancholy in search of the perfect spot to practice another cheesy occult ritual under the blood red full moon and definitely not for those who want melody and catchy tunes. No, the debut EP from this brand new Norwegian band (they were formed in 2017) is a fucking fist in the face of those “true occultists and black magicians” which have infected the whole scene in the recent years.
If the alchemical process of turning metal into gold could be applied in music, then Svoid would be the perfect example for this occult experiment.
After releasing 2 full lengths and 2 EPs while deeply rooted in black metal in particular and extreme metal in general, the hungry wolves from Svoid decided some months ago to change the settings completely and distance themselves from the “extreme” scene which they have been part of for quite some time.
This change resulted in a series of events which occurred in their hometown of Budapest, shows which revealed the other side, still dark though, of their craft.
6 years ago, the Hungarian entity called Svoid appeared from the mists of Null for the first time. Its sharp toothed mouth gnawed slowly on the pillars of knowledge and death, releasing from the hungry void 5 darkened hymns.
Ars Kha was unleashed as an independent release hence its limited availability on the market. Those of you who are reading this and wonder where you can buy the physical copy from, I’m afraid I have to disappoint you by telling you this material has been sold out for quite a long time now. The only possible place to buy this black masterpiece is the band’s official Bandcamp page, where you can purchase the digital copy for less than 3 Euros. Hopefully that someday in the near future this debut record will see again the light of night in another form, because it really deserves a true re-release.
Several months ago, before the release of Sektarism‘s latest album “La Mort de L’Infidèle” I sent Eklezjas’tik BerZerK an invitation for an interview. Fortunately, he agreed to answer my questions so what you have here is final result: a very interesting discussion about his bands, his projects, Les Apôtres de L’Ignominie, religion, faith etc. A truly complex character with a strong and interesting point of view. Enjoy the reading and listen to the music.
1. “La Mort de L’Infidèle”, the second Sektarism album has just been released. You have taken some time to write and compose this material. How do you see it, compared to the other Sektarism works, what have been the reactions so far? Can this album take the band one step further on its evolution scale, has it crossed any boundaries?
“La Mort de l’Infidèle” is for us a satisfying opus in many ways: lyrically, musically, visually, everything about this release gives us a feeling of self-accomplishment. The process of live recording was more successfully mastered than before. It’s a logical evolution, a step in the direction we intended. We have achieved our goals and our views and now aim to do even better with the net album to come, “Fils de Dieu”. Maybe quite differently, you will see…
2. As usual, on the new album there are only 3 tracks, which last for almost an hour. This has become some sort of a trademark for Sektarism and I really like that. Instead of a regular album with multiple songs, you chose right from the start to have very few, but long tracks. Why is that? Do you fell that less is good and can create and maintain a certain atmosphere on the record?
Absolutely, or at least it’s the way that fits our own sensibility and expression. To each his own but we feel at ease with long pieces of music. This song format has many advantages, the first being giving room for the text to live and resonate. It can spread itself across the whole song and take its time to wield its effects. Same for the music: long songs are of course better to generate a trance. Sektarism’s music is a demanding one even if it something sounds simple and repetitive: it needs attention; you definitively have to focus entirely on it.
3. Until now, in 10 years of activity, Sektarism has released a handful of splits and EPs, but only 2 full lengths. Why did you choose this slow approach, was it intentional?
More or less. Bear in mind that we also have other involvements in Malhkebre and other projects (Malekhamoves, Obscurantist and now Faction Senestre) and our labels, Necrocosm Productions/Battleskr’s Records to run. So we cannot always give all the time needed for Sektarism or another project, and some years are more dedicated specifically to one or another. We may have two Sektarism albums available (plus another to come soon), but only one Malhkebre LP released yet! Anyway it’s better to be patient and let things come in time needed.
4. For the Sektarism releases and live appearances you use many Christian elements: Latin expressions, symbols, even outfits. Why is Christianity such a big influence on you?
Simply because we were born and live in a country with 2000 years of Christian beliefs and culture. We may reject it but it forms the background we come from anyway. We were raised with it to the point it melted with our perception of things. For young European it’s logical to figure the face of the Nazarene when questioning ourselves about the Divine. Nothing more logical then to turn all the Christian regalia upside-down in a great reversion of things, and pervert it in the name of the Devil and Ignominy.
5. Speaking of live shows – from what I’ve seen on YouTube, a Sektarism performance is much more than a simple concert. It’s a religious ceremony, a live, ritualistic manifestation of faith, in which the band actually practice what they preach. Many bands of today claim they do the same thing, but very few can actually match this intensity you achieve on stage. How can your ritual be so real, after all? How do you prepare for such a powerful representation?
You nailed it: we do prepare ourselves before, and it makes a huge difference. I can’t speak for all the other bands and how do they cope with the act of playing live, but I’ve witnessed some of them who came onstage as if they were just going to play thrash metal. They had no kind of specific preparation whatsoever excepted for the make-up. No meditation, no group nor personal conditioning, nothing. Honestly, I’ve seen some mainstream rock bands taking it more seriously than some “religious” or “occult” bands who had no idea whatsoever of what they were about to do, except lightning candles and playing boring riffs. And that’s the point: when you’re honest with yourself, when you have enough of insight about who you are and what you do, you naturally do what you’re supposed to, fully, honestly.
6. I know that at some point you had a small tour outside France with Malhkebre, while with Sektarism you played only once abroad, at Speyer Grey Mass in Germany (correct please if I’m wrong). Why is that, is it because you only sing in French and this can prevent other audiences to receive the true message of your music?
I don’t believe so. We have the expectation that -even if lyrics are of a primordial importance- our music speaks for itself and anybody could get it regardless of his/her ability to understand French. We talk about trance here, of a wordless communication, something that is addressed directly to the lower part of the subconscious… it really has nothing to do with a human language. Somehow we could yield the same effects by chanting in English or Latin: of course every language has its own rhythm, sonorities and scansion, but we seek something more atavistic here. The Devil speaks in every tongues.
7. Together with other bands – Darvulia, Malhkebre and Sektarism- you founded “Les Apôtres de L’Ignominie” (The Apostles of Ignominy), which is some sort of a congregation. What is the purpose of this small group? I have read the statements on the websites affiliated to it (http://obscurantist.org and http://www.theapostlesofignominy.org) , but I want to hear it from you. What do you want to achieve with this?
Spreading our philosophy and views using different mediums, congregating people of interest, joining forces to express ourselves more easily, exchange ideas and concepts… it’s interesting to act as a kind of “inner circle”, Black Arts should not be limited to a solitary experience. After all the shit world of the 21st century is based upon individualism and the tearing down of all forms of solidarities, that’s the way the liberal dictatorship imposes its laws and erases the desire of resistance in us. Union around common values and ideals is a source of strength. Victory will be reached with armies, not isolated fighters.
8. Besides Sektarism, you also play in two other bands, which have a different musical approach but share the same ideology. Malhkebre plays nihilistic black metal while Malekhamoves deals with death metal. Which one of these bands is closer to your heart and how do you manage to split between them? Is Sektarism the one who requires the most attention, so to speak?
None of them benefits of any favor or preference, all are considered equally, yet we spent less time working on Malekhamoves (for now… beware!), and lately Sektarism was given more focus. But it will change, as some plans are about to spawn both regarding Malhkebre and Malekhamoves.
9. In Sektarism you are not using lyrics, like most of the bands do. Instead you use prayers, litanies and other psalms to declare your never ending love for the Lord. The musical instruments are just the tools which help you create and reach this fantastic sense of religious ecstasy. How do you, as a band, manage to write these hymns? How much is spontaneity/improvisation and how much is programmed during a recording?
Improvisation is a key element, it’s the pillar of our method. Last and soon-to-come albums were recorded live, based on improvisations around pre-worked themes. We always take the final result as a surprise, as we can’t predict how it will sound. It’s a whole process engaging creativity and personal involvement, obviously you don’t put yourself in the same mood when you’re about to record improvised music that riffs and structures written and worked previously over and over again. We aim to work with a living matter, something not entirely under our control that can either blow us away or bring our hopes down. Difficulty and challenge, putting ourselves out of a comfort zone is stimulating, and here insight and humility are required.
10. Necrocosm Productions and Battlesk’rs Productions are two other entities which you deal with. The first one is an online distro while the other is a well-known underground label, which has released over the years jewels from famous French bands like Antaeus, Darvulia, Aosoth, Temple of Baal, Malhkebre, Osculum Infame etc. How hard is to run a label/distro these days, when more and more people have stopped buying music. Do you feel like this is still worth it?
It still is, but it is certainly as difficult and demanding as before, maybe even more. People still buy music, at least in the niche of extreme metal where the material format is still appreciated and seek. But consuming trends have changed, and we note that people can become more and more exacting. Some online selling sites have a specialty of hard-to-please customers who are more into collecting objects that praising music. Putting aside second-hand (and even sometimes first-hand) prices that get to a delirious level, people there will promptly argue of any hour of delay, invisible scratch or whatever fantasy their mania drives them to. It’s often both surreal and painful to deal with such wannabee specialists, but alas it’s a population we cannot avoid.
11. What are religion and true devotion for you? How would you explain this desire to believe blindly, without a physical proof, rejecting all the scientifically theories which prove that God did not create this world and, even more, that God cannot be real?
True devotion is two-faced, both a strength or a weakness whether you ultimately believe in your own possibilities of expect another entity to do the work for you. We placed our lives and ideals under the mark of the Devil, this does not necessarily mean we renounce all forms of will. Spirituality is foremost an open door to questions, doubts and experience, not an abandon of intellect. About the concept of blind desire, it holds another paradox: as said above it is not a defeat of the will and intellect, but it generally proceed from a personal experience that can be wordless. Something things we live cannot be analyzed, rationalized and theorized, you have to accept them as they are.
But of course the common denominator of a large part of humanity is herd mentality and fear of experience, so it’s easy for some to dwell in the comfort a secured worldview based on bigotry and superstition. Better to leave it aside, as it is a loss of time. More interesting for me is the assurance some will get in hiding themselves behind scientific concepts they don’t understand better than a regular Jew understands the mysteries of the Kabbalah, accept them to structure their worldview giving blind confidence to more educated people who know for them, think that everything can be reduced to particles and numbers with no insight whatsoever concerning what atoms are made of and how many paradoxes it holds, but eventually proclaim they are rational spirits. You may reject the idea of God as the impossibility of something of unknown nature that you can’t see, can’t touch, can’t measure or weight but which can shape and structure the universe and interact with it… but what about cold dark matter then? As you pinned it out, we only have scientific theories. And none of them radically dismiss the possibility of “something else”. Ostracizing this very idea for the sake of science without any material proof nor will to discuss and confront views is the mark of blind faith and intolerance, not science. A reasonable spirit is open to every possibility without admitting definitely one or another.
12. Human beings had always sought refuge in religion. They have believed in a higher power out of fear, guilt or credulity since the birth of man. As I can accept someone’s need to believe in something, I do not understand the religious fervor or the bigotry. Why do you think a person can suddenly transform from a normal being into a religious fanatic? What can trigger such a radical change in someone’s life? When is the line between belief and fanaticism crossed?
I strongly disagree with the systematic assimilation of belief to “fear, guilt or credulity”. If these concepts are indeed the marks of bigotry and fanaticism, they do not match with the general depiction of spirituality. Moreover, they reek too much of judeo-abrahamic devotion to fit with more ancient or foreign forms of beliefs. Ancient pagan cults are generally devoid of any form of guilt from men towards the Gods as it is a monotheistic invention. Same for credulity which results more of a modern, preposterous, Christian point of view upon these cults than a spiritual and historical fact. Reducing the concept of God(s) to an omnipotent super-entity, be it to worship or to contradict it, is having a childish and limited conception of divinity and subsequently what spirituality is about.
As for the rise of fanaticism we face nowadays, it’s pretty hard to set general explanations as each spiritual path is a personal one and each individual will have different reasons to throw himself in the waters of extremism. But observing the slow process of rottenness our civilization is facing, the way everything sacred is despised and ridiculed, how the human potential is each and every day teared down to an unprecedented alienating low makes me wonder how can the individuals don’t revolt more than that. We have integrated the motto “don’t bite the hand that feeds” to the point of guilt that we willingly accept every form of poison this hand gives us. So it’s quite surprising there are not more terrorists and extremists, maybe things will change…
13. There exists on YouTube a silent documentary, “Into Great Silence”, about the everyday life of some French monks. It’s very interesting and it has such a “primitive” message. At some point in the movie this line comes up: “Tu m’as séduit, O, Seigneur et moi, je me suis laissé séduit”, which really gave me goose bumps. What do you think of this phrase, can this be a true manifest of the Apostles of Ignominy? Is this the quintessence of belief?
It indeed looks like the quintessence of holy revelation, an intimate meeting with the Lord that breaks into one’s soul. I believe one is seduced because it already had in him the seed, even without knowing it. It’s a mystery how can revelation happen, as it works in different ways for each one to be touched. Every member of the Apostles has its own path, his own history, and came to belief in a personal way. You have to be confident, let go your past certitudes, and walk forth.
14. Would you consider spending some time in a monastery, just to immerse yourself in the way of life of the “holy”, to better absorb the ways of the “enemy”? Somebody once said that in order “to know your enemy, you must become your enemy”. Do you agree with this?
Solitude is a fundamental help for any kind of meditation and inner inquest (even if it’s not mandatory as group meditation are of common use in certain traditions like Zen or Lamaism). But yes, taking a time of reclusion is something a practitioner is supposed to do from time to time, both as a challenge (to set yourself apart of all mundane comfort and temptations for a while) and a tool for meditation and insight. Living such an experience in a monastery could be of great interest in term of practice, like being forced to observe rules of discipline silence etc. but I don’t see the point of doing it in the larger field of a war against Christianity: we are not fighting against a bunch of solitary monks in their abbey but against a whole society and its morals. We wage our war in the cities, thus I’m not sure we would have relevant things to learn from this kind of enemy.
15. In my country (which is also a very religious country by the way), during the big religious ceremonies, men and women, both young and old, are trampling each other and fighting (to death) to be the first to kiss the holy relics of a so-called saint. What is inside these people’s minds, by doing this they’ll be granted a place in heaven? Or is it because people still like to be led like cattle and this imaginary, spiritual “freedom” is actually what they look for?
What is beside their mind is up to each individual. As for the rest such crowd frenzy is common in sacred and mundane fields, you have the same with hooliganism for example. Why do people kill each other during a fucking football match? Isn’t that even more meaningless than killing for God? At least religious fanaticism is based on a larger and more promising world-view than what the UEFA has to offer. From an opponent’s perspective, I’m mostly intrigued and fascinated by the power resulting from such an egregore you describe in your question. This is the most important thing to experience.
16. Also, in some regions (not necessarily remote or rural) we can still encounter cases like the one described in the “Over the Hills” book and movie. (An epileptic young girl was tied to a cross for 3 days with no food and water while other nuns and the local priest performed several exorcisms on her because they thought she was possessed. This brutal treatment led to her death and they were eventually accused and convicted for murder). How can that be possible in the 21st century?
The human brain hasn’t evolved that much last centuries, and education and scientific knowledge never were of great power to prevent men to perpetrate to most horrid of atrocities, so why would such kind of things not existing in the 20th or 21st century? Your question seems a bit too optimistic concerning humanity if you allow me to say so. Please remember than the worst genocides, be it in Europe or in Rwanda, were organized and perpetrated under the monitoring of clever, educated and rational minds with the complicity of masses having access to education and knowledge. Such things will certainly become rarer with time, but never disappear. Such is human nature.
17. Humanity is a huge paradox: while these days technology and science are sky rocketing, human life regresses slowly but surely. On one hand we don’t know how to speak/write in our own language anymore, we become alienated and estranged because of all the gadgets and social media crap and on the other hand there’ s this religious virus which still poisons the minds of many half-wits (beati pauperes). What we’ll be the outcome, what we’ll eventually happen? How long will religion exist before people will finally realize how dangerous it is?
Religion will forever exist in one form or another in the human psyche. It has always been in here and forever will. It will change, take all possible shapes, but never leave our brains and heart. If it will, then we will no longer be humans. And maybe then will we stop being so dangerous, as it is us and not religion in itself that bear the seed of murder and destruction.
18. Huysmans once said in his masterpiece “Là-Bas” that “Worshiping the Devil is no more insane than worshiping god…it is precisely at the moment when positivism is at its high-water mark that mysticism stirs into life and the follies of occultism begin”. Was he right?
In some ways yes, obvious to say that you can get access to a larger frame when you break the barriers of Manicheism and duality. You can have to engage yourself in a one-sided faith and push it to its logical limits before acknowledge the existence first of these boundaries and second of their human origin. It’s a popular credo in modern black metal to bow to a theist conception of Satan – and subsequently of God. Or to claim to do so, not that much people are genuine believers. The theist representation of the Devil serves a great purpose, as it enhance the extremism of some individuals. Again, pushing yourself to a far distant and extreme limit. But it’s only the first part of the journey then you can switch to a different perception of things, see them as more subtle than they look at first, and ultimately accept the dissolution of previous spiritual landmarks for something more uncertain. It’s a personal and fully subjective point of view, not all the Apostles would agree with it maybe, but it’s also our strength to doubt and discuss. The mysteries of a real Revelation are maybe not to be discovered in this human world. We dwell in a dark maze of ignorance were spirituality is a mere feeble candle. The real flame is to be ignited in yourself.
Common knowledge implies that by definition, black metal must be anti christian, blasphemic, anti life, anti humanity etc. That’s why, starting from the very beginning with Venom and Bathory, even if not serious at all, the lyrical approach, the visuals and the music were Satanic enough to scare the shit out of the humble church goers. Since then this music has evolved a lot and in today’s black metal we have reached a new level of visual and ideological blasphemy which could have never been imagined 30 years ago. If this is 100% true or just some well orchestrated circus, that is another discussion.
If we are to judge it by the book, you cannot play black metal if you do not believe in Satan. But what about christian “black metal”, can that be true? I have not heard of many such bands, but one which instantly comes to mind is Horde. And I must add that their one and only album released so far, “Hellig Usvart“, can equal in musicianship and visuals many so called true black metal albums released until now.
But what is so special about this Australian band anyway? And why did I choose it for Scrolls of Darmoth‘s Blast From the Past? First and foremost, out of nostalgia. “Hellig Usvart“, “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas” and “The Oath of Black Blood” were the first 3 black metal albums I bought on tape in 1994. I have never heard anything similar before and for me these 3 albums changed my life.
Under no circumstances was I to know that what I just bought was called black metal, nor was I aware of the events surrounding Mayhem. Romania of the early 90’s was a place completely unaware of what was going on in the West. Since we did not have proper concerts or a music shop, the tape/zine trading was the only way to discover new things. But we also had bootleggers. Lots of them. I kinda miss that period, it was romantic in a way but I would never buy bootlegs again. (The covers were xeroxed and the sound quality was horrible most of the time).
When I first played Mayhem‘s album, I was in my room, with candles burning on the table. The setting was perfect, but I wasn’t prepared for what was to come. I was absolutely stunned. I did not listen to such a mystic music before, nothing I was listening to at the time compared to the evil which spewed out from the tape player. Still in shock after Mayhem, I put on Horde. When “A Church Bell Tolls Amidst the Frozen Nordic Winds” started, my imagination was already running wild. If “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas” was cold and morbid, this album was haunting. I really enjoyed every single track, mesmerized by the blast beats, the furious riffs and the black and white xeroxed cover, which I stared at for hours. Needles to say that after I put Beherit in the tape player, my universe was completely torn apart, in a good way. I was doomed for ever!
But what was so special about Horde‘s album that made me remember it and get it out of its coffin? Well, even if over the years I realized what was actually going on with the band (the whole project was basically a christian mockery of the the so called “true black metal” current), I still found the idea “interesting” and the music very much appealing.
You probably know that Horde is a one man project of the ex drummer in Mortification, a christian death metal band who was quite busy in the beginning of the 90’s releasing some interesting albums like Mortification, Scrolls of the Megilloth or Post Momentary Affliction. At some point, after discovering the wave of black metal which erupted from Scandinavia, Jayson Sherlock aka Anonymous (sounds like Euronymous, right?) decided he had to counteract the northern blasphemy with an unblack metal album, suggestively called Hellig Usvart (Holy Unblack).
Released by Nuclear Blast in 1994, the album contains 12 songs and has a duration of almost 40 minutes. Everything on it, from the band name, the cover, to the song titles and the music does not betray the true nature of “holy beast” which is contained within the disc. Songs like “Blasphemous Abomination of the Satanic Pentagram“, “Drink from the Chalice of Blood” and “An Abandoned Grave Bathes Softly in the Falling Moonlight” might successfully have been written by any Norwegian band of the time. Apart these “horrific” song titles, Anonymous has bestowed upon us the magic of the white light in which tracks like “Invert the Inverted Cross” (one of my favorites), “Silence the Blasphemous Chanting” and the funny “Crush the Bloodied Horns of the Goat” shine like (un)black metal gems.
Do not get fooled by the strong christian message on this album, Hellig Usvart is a solid piece of brutal music, played by a very skilled musician and which has all the characteristics of a real black metal album: bad production, furious blast beats, chilling riffs, raucous voice alternating with possessed shrieks. All these, combined with the fact that Horde did not release another album after this one, make Hellig Usvart a milestone in a genre that no one knew (or cared) if it ever existed and place it, at least musically and visually, on the same level with many notorious black metal albums released at the time.
Do I still enjoy Horde after 23 years? Not only that I definitely do it, but I also want other people to )re)discover this lost, atypical jewel of black metal. Because in the end, despite his efforts to fight his eternal arch enemy, Anonymous has created (maybe involuntarily) one of the most interesting albums in this troubled history of black metal which has definitely stood the test of time.
Horde – Hellig Usvart tracklist:
1. A Church Bell Tolls Amidst the Frozen Nordic Winds
2. Blasphemous Abomination of the Satanic Pentagram
3. Behold, the Rising of the Scarlet Moon
4. Thine Hour Hast Come
5. Release and Clothe the Virgin Sacrifice
6. Drink from the Chalice of Blood
7. Silence the Blasphemous Chanting
8. Invert the Inverted Cross
9. An Abandoned Grave Bathes Softly in the Falling Moonlight
10. Crush the Bloodied Horns of the Goat
11. Weak, Feeble, Dying, Antichrist
12. The Day of Total Armageddon Holocaust
France has developed over the years a strong and serious scene when it comes to black metal. I won’t mention the already famous LLN here, but bands like Antaeus, Temple of Baal, Malhkebre, Osculum Infame, Darvulia, Christicide etc have managed to spread the venom for quite some time now. VI is no newcomer to the scene, even though in 10 years of activity they have only released only one studio album, the magnificent De Preastigiis Angelorum (Agonia Records, 2015).
In order to find out more about this band which I really appreciate, I asked the main composer INRVI some questions. Here are his replies:
1. How did the idea of the three way split released by Agonia Records earlier this March come to mind? The result is really impressive as each band comes with a new and very powerful track. Whose idea was to put Temple of Baal, The Order of Apollyon and VI on the same record?
Because The Order of Apollyon just signed a deal with Agonia. BST wanted to officially celebrate this the best way possible.
2. VI’s first EP (De Praestigiis Daemonum) was re-released by Agonia Records in 2017 with a different cover and a different sound. Why this need to re-release so quickly such an already impressive debut? Were you not happy at all with the way the Art of Propaganda LP release turned out?
I was really happy with the Art of Propaganda release, but he released only 500 copies. Due to the fast selling of the “Angelorum” album, I thought it would be a good idea to re release it for its 10 years, to make sure the new fans would find one for their collection.
3. Are the names of your 2 LP’s “De Praestigiis Daemonum” and “De Praestigiis Angelorum” a hint to Johannes Wier’s workings? They sound very much like the name of some Middle Ages grimoires, bound in human flesh and written in blood. Are the 2 releases somehow connected, like some sort of concept albums?
Those two albums are indeed connected. But they have absolutely nothing related to Wier’s book ( which I didn’t read by the way ).
4. The lyrics on “Par le jugement causé par ses poisons” really struck a chord in me. Do you think that all men who have started to rebel against the cosmic order and liberate themselves from the chains which have encircled them have deceived their maker/creator? Will these beings go to hell, instead of reaching the heavens? Will the Lord eventually punish them for their acts?
I think you misunderstood the lyric.Even if I know you have a perfect french comprehension, I have to admit those are tricky.
We are a deception since day one. Our nature isn’t suitable to his will. He got it pretty fast and never stopped challenging us, fails after fails. All these threats didn’t put an end to our disobedience. Then, liberate yourself as none of us was supposed to reach heavens.
5. What has inspired you to write those texts? They cannot be called “lyrics” but rather deep, philosophical, religious statements. Where did you get your inspiration from? Also, one of VI’s characteristics is the length of the song names. They rather look like psalms from a holy book than regular song titles, why did you choose them to be like this? Or “somebody” else made that choice for you?
I guess, taking religious class too seriously during all my childhood fucked up my mind. I’ve developed a real fear of Death and what’s beyond. Writing that kind of lyric helps me to convince myself to reduce that fear.
Most of the people don’t read lyrics but they can read a song title. Mine are a kind of a résumé of the lyrics.
It’s just a hint to understand the whole ambiance and get deeper into the music.
6. Don’t you fear that singing in French reduces the impact of the lyrics since not many listeners are able to understand the essence of your message? I mean VI’s words and song titles are some of the most interesting in this whole black metal scene where so many bands are either singing about oriental/eastern magick, traditions and deities or about “Hollywood” devil worship. Isn’t it a pity that their message doesn’t reach all those who listen?
French definitely reduces the impact of the lyrics. But I’ve never felt the need to expose my point of view to the whole world. Those lyrics are a personal psychological treatment. I could have hidden them from the booklet but, fearing of loosing my mind, it is necessary to be able to put my eyes on them whenever I need to.
7. The French extreme scene has turned out to be quite a “smart” one, as many bands with strong individuals with very interesting (religious) points of view are still lurking in this hazy underground. Not to mention that many of those bands also share their members, creating some sort of “incestuous” relationship. Where does VI stand in this scene, do you feel like “you belong”?
As an individual, many people know me for being a part of Aosoth, so I guess I belong to the scene I mean, Aosoth isn’t the biggest black metal band but we did a quite few things. Considering VI, I have no idea. I don’t speak or ask about this project. I can’t tell.
8. Besides VI you also play(ed) in other well-known bands, like Aosoth and Antaeus. I assume VI is your main project, but how difficult is it to keep these bands away from each other, so to speak? It took 8 years to release your first full length, was it because the lack of time or you just wanted the whole process to come naturally?
Yes, VI is my main project. It took so long because I wanted this to be exactly as I expected it to be. The lack of time and motivation are also responsible for the late.
I Just played live few years with Antaeus. One or two rehearsals before a gig and we were good to go. Aosoth, I only compose the bass lines, which is not so complicated. I usually compose the day of the recording. And same, one or two rehearsals before a gig. To be clear, those two bands weren’t time consuming.
9. When did you realize that you were different than many other people and that your views were completely in opposition with what the majority was thinking and doing? What exactly triggered this change, this rebellion? When did you start to fully walk on this (left) path?
I’m not different to other people, or we all are.
10. What does a (catholic or orthodox) church mean to you? Do you see it as a place of absolution/seclusion/ or just as a place of idolatry and fake worship? Is it still the “house” of God, or that expression has lost its true meaning? I’m asking you this because that chorus at the end of “Il n’y a pas de repos ni le jour ni la nuit…” is absolutely splendid and if you hear it in a small church, you would definitely be mesmerized.
I use to go quite often visiting churches, cathedrals and other religious monuments all over the world. It appeases me. I feel comfortable in there. Religious chants, inseparable from the church, has been one of the biggest influence of my music.
11. The name of the band is taken after the sixth trumpet of revelation. What does this particular trumpet signify to you and why is it so important, compared to the other trumpets described in the Book of Revelation? How strong an influence can the Bible and Christianity be when it comes to black metal? I really think that without religion black metal will no longer exist, since they are so strongly connected.
The 6th one, is the last one to date. We’re are still waiting for the 7th as the real final crime of God against humanity. Between those to melodies, we are supposed to live in a “fear&love” relationship with him. I won’t play that sick game. It just reminds me how threats are useless and rare are the ones who get back after you. It’s one more aggressive attitude against you.The kind you shouldn’t ignore but the kind you shouldn’t let govern your life. I won’t let anything or anyone trying to stop me following my quests.
Religion has / had its influences on black metal. But times have changed. So many things today have the power to piss you off that I’m not sure black metal needs religion to survive.
The hate and the violence have no boundaries. You have plenty of ways or reason to express it, music is one of mine.
12. You said in an interview that VI will never play live, and I totally respect that choice. Unlike other groups, I really don’t think VI’s music would have been suitable for a live setting, especially when the audience is made of idiotic morons. On the other hand, you played live with Antaeus and even toured with Aosoth. Were those concerts/tours an enjoyable experience or you prefer the solitude of the recording studio? Does someone become a true musician only after playing live?
I really enjoyed all the things we’ve done with those two bands as a live musician. Touring, playing all of the world, being surrounded by people you deeply respect. Living what a lot would have dreamed of. Yeah, I’ll do it again if I could. Considering VI, when it’s recorded I need to pass over it and go on and, on the opposite, I feel absolutely no need to present myself on stage under that banner. But yeah, I love recording stuff in studio.
13. Speaking of concerts, Aosoth was supposed to play at the Rites of the Black Mass in October but something happened along the way and that show was cancelled. Can you tell me exactly what triggered the band’s withdrawal from the festival’s line-up?
No, I can’t really tell.
14. In the already mentioned bands you play bass guitar but in VI you play guitars and also do the vocals (and you do it really well, if you ask me). Some musicians have difficulties when playing a different instrument than the one they’re used to regularly so how does it feel when you are the main composer/writer/player and everything is coming out according to your own visions and wishes?
I’m a guitar player since a long time, I had to play bass when we couldn’t afford a bass player for our first european tour in 2010. Bass is known to be very simple in our kind of music, it doesn’t take too long for a guitar player to handle it. And, yes, being in control of almost everything during the composition and recording is a great sensation when all is finished.
15. We have arrived at the end of this interview. First of all, INRVI, I want to thank you for accepting this encounter, it’s been a pleasure. Second of all, as my guest, you have the last words to close this. A bientôt !
A bientôt l’ami, j’essaierai de venir te voir dans ton pays, si j’arrive à trouver le temps.