From Sweden comes a new band, called Malakhim, Satan’s messenger. In 2017 they released Demo I, a fantastic demo tape containing 3 songs of wicked black metal (review can be found here), so I was curious to find out more about what’s behind this band. E (vocals) was kind enough to answer my questions. Enjoy!
I. Originally, in the Hebrew Bible, a Mal’akh was an angel, a messenger of God. Whose messengers are you and what is your aim? What do you want to express with your music and lyrics, now when so much has been already said and done?
Correct, and in our case the interpretation should be a bit more ambiguous. Whom do we speak of? Satan. Simply put. Malakhim is an expression of urges and ideas that somehow isn’t always easy to explain. Suffice to say that its our creative outlet, and we pour whatever impulses and ideas we get in the creative process into the vessel that makes up the band.
You’re right, a lot has already been said and done, and we’re not going out there with some fresh new mission or pretending to bring something unique. We’ve decided to create our art because we wanted to create our art.
II. When you released Demo I, did you imagine that it would have such an impact on the current underground scene? After all, this demo created quite a stir without too much effort, which is really amazing considering the number of bands (old and new) present on the firmament. What was its secret?
I think we managed to express what we wanted to express in the three tracks that we had for the demo. I’m not too sure of the impact of the scene seeing how it’s only been out for a few months, so it remains to see if there’s any lasting impact. There’s not really any secret behind it though, we set out to craft a demo containing material we’d listen to and buy ourselves – there wasn’t really any planning behind it more than that, it just happened.
III. For a new band, the fact that your demo tapes were sold out within several hours must have been quite a surprise. Did you expect such a positive reaction towards your material?
We were naturally very pleased with the demo once we’d recorded it and started to see the total result outside of rehearsal recordings and rough edits. But we didn’t expect that kind of reaction, no.
IV. Your music bears several hints from some really respected Swedish bands, both old and let’s say new. How difficult is to keep your music safe from outside influences? Do you think that sometimes small influences can be a good thing?
I think your influences as a writer will always shine through in one way or another and trying to deny that isn’t meaningful. I guess the challenge is that sometimes people will project a perceived influence on a band when there’s nobody in the band that listens to that music. That seems to happen with reviews for example when people try to compare with other bands. I think influences is a good thing, if it doesn’t turn into blatant plagiarism.
V. I already said that together with Ultra Silvam’s S/T demo, this little devil of yours is one of the best demo tapes I have listened to in 2017. How hard was the writing process and what fueled your inspiration during its creation?
The demo took quite some time to finalize. The three tracks are of different age and maturity, with the opening track being the very first one we wrote together as a band when we formed, so that track has been around for a few years already in our rehearsal. I think finding our footing and learning to write and create together took longest. When the band formed, we’d all known each other for years, but we’d never written music together, so that was a new layer to our relationship.
VI. Malakhim is one of those bands whose members have decided not to reveal their identities, and I really respect that, because good music doesn’t rely solely on some names. But do you think that by concealing your true names and background you’ll make the audience focus more on your music?
I don’t really know, and frankly I don’t really care that much. We decided it wasn’t important to speak about who we were too much, but we’ve not really made it a massive secret either. It’s not a cloak and dagger operation and its not too hard to figure out who we are, but I just don’t really see the point in it.
VII. In the tape’s booklet it’s written that Demo I was recorded in honor of the Dark Lord. How has the Dark Lord rewarded you after dedicating this material to Him?
I guess that’s still to be revealed.
VIII. Reading the lyrics while playing an album always adds a “visual” experience to the music. Fortunately, in Malakhim’s case, the words contained in that folded paper are not some average “satanic” lyrics, written to fill an empty space just for the sake of it. I am really curious to know what mood the writer needs to be in before doing his “job”, because I know that writing good stuff is sometimes very hard when the state of mind is not the proper one.
I agree. I take quite some time to finalize a lyric, and the creative process isn’t something I can just kickstart and go. It really varies from time to time and that can feel rather frustrating, but every now and then I get inspiration, be it in the shape of just a word or a sentence or even an almost finished concept and idea, and if I’ve remembered to bring a notebook I’ll scribble that down, and if not, I’ll try to find another way to record it. Most of the time, long walks help, either with music or without.
IX. Since its inception, black metal has used religion as its primary source of power, but after so many years do you think that religion can still fuel this engine of evil? How long can it last until this topic becomes obsolete and repetitive? Maybe it has already begun? At some point everything used in excess will lose its meaning…
I don’t think its mere fuel, it’s the foundation. Black metal holds a spiritual nature, and it’s been expressed over the years in adequate and sometimes less adequate ways, but to its core black metal holds that flame of spiritual rebellion. If that flame should die, then so should black metal.
X. Why do you think metal (not only black metal) has been infested with this so-called resurrection of the occult in the past years? I mean almost everything (from music to literature and even press) is about who has the most cool and unique sigil, whose Latin album or song name is more pompous and who can insert the most nonsensical sentences in an interview. Not to mention who has the most bloody and scary live “ritual”. What’s happening with the music in the end, I may ask?
I guess the accessibility of it all makes it easier to do? As a genre we’ve always had a pompous attitude, and the fascination for the occult has always been present within both Black and Death metal as it should be. It seems to sell, so I guess that’s why some bands use it. I doubt all bands using these things are insincere, but I doubt all bands are sincere too. The presence of a lot of occult “writers” online may also be a factor. People are looking for a path and there’s been a bit of an explosion of online mages over the past few years, wouldn’t you say?
As for what’s happening to the music, I don’t know. I think in time it’ll correct itself, when people without genuine interest move on or realize that they’ve stepped into a room that they really don’t want to be in.
XI. What do you think is the difference between the black metal played in the early 90’s and the black metal played today? Which one is more appealing to you?
The early 90’s was more exciting because it was new. I still see a lot of influences from the early stuff in today, and I’m not really interested in drawing a huge line there. Sadly, a lot of the 90’s bands are mere shadows of their own selves now. Revisiting some of the stuff I liked before is a bit painful, not all of the bands that were great back then stand the test of time.
XII. You haven’t given too many interviews since until now, which is somewhat strange, considering the amount of popularity you have gained following the release of your demo tape. Is Malakhim a secluded entity which chooses to wait in darkness for the right moment instead of looking for the spot lights?
We’ve not had a lot of requests to be frank, but we’re not interested in speaking with everyone and everything. We’ll look at who’s asking the questions and see if it can be a worthwhile conversation. I’ve a thing for printed zines over the online ones, but there’s a fine balance of course. It wouldn’t serve the band in any way shape of form to remain completely silent.
XIII. How difficult is to make the band your first priority nowadays, assuming that each of its five members has to deal with both a personal and professional life? Do you have to make compromises?
I don’t think we’ve made any compromises so far at least. I guess that answers the question.
XIV. What will happen next with Malakhim? Have you ever thought of playing live, or this will come later anyway, once more songs have been written?
Next up is finalizing the new EP which will be released by Iron Bonehead. I can’t really say exactly when, but the tracks are completed, and we’ve started doing some test recordings to make the final arrangements. Once that’s done we’ll have enough material for a live set, so there is certainly an ambition to make a live appearance or two when the time comes.
Thank you so much for accepting my invitation. As a big supporter of this band, I am very happy you agreed to be featured on Scrolls of Darmoth . The last words are yours, if you have something else to add.
Thanks for the support. The future is ours!