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.
Formorket features for the very first (and also the last) time in the Scrolls Of Darmoth pages. S, the band’s mastermind will guide us on a small journey through time, revealing some of the band’s secrets ( and not only). Here we go:
1. First of all, tell me please what has been going on in the Formorket camp recently, because in the past years you have been quite silent. What can you tell us about the newly released second album?
S: It is just a while ago when things started to built up again from their pieces. We were never an active band and we never acted like that. Formorket was always a particular representation of things we were inspired by in Black Metal. Its presence is also quite unexpected at this time of flight. We experienced a lot during these cursed years but there was no real reason to step out of the motionless shape. This band was settled in the shadows. Our semi-nonexistence was overwhelming for me but we felt things must be declared crystal clear. Once we decided that we will kill our past we also sorted out that it will be done as a self definition of a lifeless form. As a final wish we wanted to focus our blackened spirits and return back to the roots.
This was the one and only inspiration for the last album of Formorket as we were so devoted by starting our own fires. It was spontaneous and raw at each level of degrees. Following our inside phantoms there was everything settled as well as our hungry passion to the early days of Black Metal. We’ve written all music and lyrics in July 2017 and immediately after this intense songwriting timeframe we were already in the studio to record the album on its entire. There was no time to linger. On-demand and inspired decisions lead by the inner flames did their sinister job during the minimalistic postprocessing period as well. Everything heard and seen are formed by our hands. And as there are no words left, we are eagerly wait our final hours…
2. On the 18th of August, you will participate at the 9th edition of the now famous Inner Awakening Festival, which will be held in Budapest. As far as I know, you haven’t played live in ages. What does this performance mean to you and how do you approach it?
S: Our last appearance on stage and in all forms will be at the ninth Inner Awakening Festival. The circle will be broken that night when we poison the waters live as a final wish. It is going to be the third gig during the fourteen years. In 2016 when our end was already carved into stones we returned back and with an ex temporal lineup we marched the night with Age of Agony.
The most important for us is to destroy our surface to the public and do the opposite in our inverse shape. This show will be the crown of our Death, and our words will be the prayer at the dying flesh of the band. On stage for that hour we will dance with the shadows at the most complete cast and this will lead us through the dreadful hour. It means everything and nothing at the same time.
3. Formorket is not the typical metal band which rehearses, signs a contract with a label, releases an album or a single, goes on a tour and then repeats the cycle over and over again.
Instead you took the other approach: the minimalistic “hiding in the shadows” of your own peace (piece) of mind. Has this way of doing things your way been a fruitful one? Are you happy with how the band evolved in these 14 of activity?
S:Formorket shall be considered as a regressive band so to say. It has its own inevitable walk back in the time for its reason. Therefore it couldn’t be that type of bands since its very early days. We moved when we wanted to and we all kept our past in the mist as you said. Looking back to Black Metal as a primary influence was always the same thing that it was then and now for me in heart. It was always a regression, our monument to a movement of something magical, unseen and untold. Being initiated into the black metal was the entry point of this band. There is no joy or will to success but the unfolding darkest threads are. I can’t imagine this to happen otherwise.
Our fourteen years on the scene was more like a constant inactivity. We appeared when it was time and returned almost immediately. Waves emerged at the most suitable momentum, and these were ours. Now our returning to this while is more intense than ever and we celebrate Death with this until it takes. Our world under the banner of falling will collapse so soon.
4. Many may wonder why, after such a long pause (10 years after your 1st full length and 7 from the Ep), you have decided to release one more album and then call it quits in a grandiose way, on stage at Inner Awakening. What was the main reason behind this decision and how hard was it for you to take it? After all, you have invested a lot of blood and sweat into this band and the disbanding announcement came out quite unexpectedly.
S: The sequence of milestones we march through are heavily bundled together. When we confirmed our last rite we also felt that it shouldn’t be a nostalgic and calm return but condign to what we did and so actual. It was yet untold and we had no space to really underline we want to express with our devotion. How else could it happen? We are deliberately destroying ourselves on stage as well as channeling a nameless power from an unknown source which consumes us. The only difference finally is that it is going to be unhealed.
I’ve never counted the effort I spent on anything. When a certain decision is made, I hardly look back, I am too headstrong to appeal. Instead of seeing me personally falling ill I poison myself!!! It is not a point how much did it cost, it is unimportant how many hours did it take because Death does not count these either! Nonexistence always engaged us so well and finally we are complete to step far beyond the thresholds…
5. Besides Formorket, you and Ga’eheln are active in another great band, Svoid, which even if has its roots in black metal, has a quite different approach than Formorket. How did you cope with this duality, this difference between the 2 bands and the 2 genres they play? But is it about genres and styles, or about the inner fire which is strong enough to burn with multiple flames?
S: Even they have strong similarities we always had a completely different space in our heart to approach them individually. Both have an extrinsic platform, certain levels of freedom and core, the essence itself. When Svoid was expanded from the roots of Formorket, the main reason to differentiate them was the known boundaries of its progression. And this is how they oppose. The limitless, timeless floating is exactly the negated I always wanted to express with Formorket.
All factors and concepts of the spirit and how we interpret these all meet at a point, but how particularly we experience them and transform into something we’ve built are really different things. Therefore the separation itself is not an issue at all. I have only one inner fire that will set me as a person free from everything surrounding me. Both bands are perfect examples at a point. At the very end they are inevitable sources of searching which is aimless without finding.
6. The Formorket sophomore album has an aura of the glorious past around it. A past which is terribly missed by some, mimicked by others, but nevertheless invoked quite seldom when it comes to black metal. Your decision to disband Formorket and the feeling of old this new album has go hand in hand? Is this your tribute to some great times which will never happen again?
S:Formorket was always in respect of a dark past which changed this world. I feel very strongly about what was it all about. Overall it was a short time frame and also a delicate substance which reached its Death fast. There is no need to achieve this. Increasing its depth is no longer possible. With Formorket we raised a cenotaph for the early age of Black Metal. This is a howl to the great and primordial times. As you already pointed out, we lit the torches of Formorket so rarely. It was almost eons ago when “Cult of Generis” was released and a return into the haze followed its path. How others phrase Black Metal has nothing to do with my motivation, but upholding this level of isolation must be considered as declaration as well. Outfit-only approach, patterns, entertainment and fashion estranges me so well and instead of taking part of it I set back. It’s a pathway towards liberation at so many levels and there is no need to be affected by anyone else from the outside world which is false.
7. Listening to the 7 tracks, I couldn’t help to notice the raw, but good sound which emanates all along the 30 minutes. How were you able to invoke so many ghosts from the past on such a short notice?
S: I felt so close to this album and its songwriting phase from the very beginning. It was spontaneous and just in time. When I started to play some riffs it was already a result and the essence of all of my meditations and certain foundations I am into for so many years in mind and spirit. First it was a walk into something invisible as we never did anything similar before in terms of creative process. It was expanding firmly and the only thing we did is to follow its extent. The songs and their structure outlined based on our inspirations during these rehearsals so we were able to draw the context and its boundary for every single track well and detailed. It was a creative flow but it doesn’t mean that it is the same every time we set up like this. Sometimes I feel empty but at its purity it is so heartening to experience.
8. I was blown by the production this album has. While still “primitive and pagan”, you somehow managed to capture your very soul into this record, making the songs very organic and very much alive. How on earth could that happen and what special tricks did you use, if any? Was it magic?
S: From the first second we knew already how it should sound like. We used our instruments, infrastructure and knowledge for everything we did on this record. We also went back so much in time during the recording process. For me using tools only which are available is literally overwhelming. There was no trick at all when we shaped the sound, it was relied more on what we did and knew already about it by heart. The production, mixing and mastering was also something we were responsible for, which simplified our assignment so much. We kept everything closest to the core intentionally. We are both creative elements and working together is built on a clear understanding of each other for a long time.
9. Once the festival is over, Formorket will cease to be. Is it hard to think at it that way, or you’re satisfied with what happened during this period of 14 years?
S: It is a declaration already. The last chapter we are out with reflects that and it is marvelous to capture in mind. I am not sure whether I can describe it that much as I feel like. What we did so far are manifested through us as artists and our various interpretation is going to lead us far beyond. For this we are ready and what we have already behind the surface shall and will be kept apart from Formorket. It is singularity.
10. In the late 90’s and the early 2000’s, the black metal scene was saturated with new bands which tried to copy the ones before them. Many of the old bands were trying to reinvent themselves, some succeeded, some didn’t. Then came the “religious black metal” phase, which reignited the old flame and from there on, to this day, the scene has been invaded by a myriad of occult bands and musicians, one more “evil and satanic” than the other. Don’t get me wrong, among this huge number of copycat bands, there are still some, both old and new, who really make a difference. But as a musician who has been a part of this scene for quite a long time, how do you see what’s going on these days, do you feel you can still identify yourself with this movement, or the magic has been dead for quite some time now?
S: I relate myself so much to the aspiration I feel about the magic of Black Metal. It is a major influence, an attitude if you like. But the relentlessness I am using as a key motivator is not something which is unique in this genre. Each time and age had and still have their own venom and potential to stay and keep outside. Marching by my lurking will is more important than the templates that the scene means today. It suits more to destroy everything at its top. I am not in charge, I have nothing to match with. I have more to tell through this link we established than through under the weight of other pressures from the outer space. It is very simple and straightforward which has nothing to do with me in the scene. Instead of probing I break down the chains and secure the point of entry and no return on all degrees. This is how it becomes no holds barred.
We have reached the end of the journey, both with this interview and with Formorket. I want to thank you for your time and for the willingness to share your thoughts with me. I really hope that the last chapter of Formorket will be memorable. As always, as a guest, you have the last words:
S: Oppose to go on wild as this world turns out of itself.
“Hunter of silence
Wary thine eye
In the dark”.
Who would have thought that in 2017 Ulf Theodor Schwadorf will bring Sun of the Sleepless back from the dark slumber in which it fell in 2004 and will return with their first full length in 18 years of bizarre existence? I was more than hyped when I saw that on the 21 st of July the band has released via Lupus Lounge “To The Elements“, a collection of 7 songs which bear the trade mark of their talented creator.
What we have here is a black metal album dedicated to nature and the creatures that inhabit it. With 2 exceptions, The Burden and the interlude Forest Crown, the rest of the songs are long, atmospheric and harsh. The overall atmosphere reminds me a lot of the lost, forgotten sad spirit of the nineties, when bands like Ulver (early period), Forgotten Woods, Burzum, Emperor and Darkthrone created their masterpieces which are so influential even to this day.
This album starts with a cover of a Lorenna McKennitt song, The Burden, which, after 3 minutes quickly gives in to Motions, revealing the true nature of the beast. To the Elements is a superbly crafted album, highly atmospheric and very gloomy. If you are expecting influences from the other bands Schwadorf plays in, well, they are there, but do not interfere with the general concept of the album at all.
The third track, The Owl, (the only one which has a video so far) starts with its acoustic slow intro and soft spoken voices, erupting minutes later into a frenzy of riffs and blast beats. As the name implies, the song is dedicated to this mystical and often cursed bird, one of the best predators which ever lived in the animal kingdom. Schwadorf‘s voice fits perfectly the atmosphere, his grave, harsh tone providing the songs a much deserved weight. He’s backed up by some majestic choirs, while all the blast beats and the icy riffs tear through the acoustic veil like a sharp blade.
The 4th track, Where in my Childhood Lived a Witch is amazing and if I didn’t like the whole album as much as I do, I would have considered it my favorite song. Perhaps the longest track of the album, with over 8 minutes, this song is the scariest for sure. It starts off in a mid paced rhythm, with great double bass drumming and shredding riffs. In the background some keyboards add a frightening echo to the story. After you think you got used to the song, it suddenly changes rhythm and goes into a cavalcade of riffs and blast beats which last till the end. A powerful song, which is a gem even when it’s played live. This continuous balance between the atmospheric and the violent parts of the songs is what makes To the Elements such an outstanding album.
To calm down the pace a bit after such an intense tempo, Forest Crown is used as a small comforting interlude, with its acoustic guitars and warm vocals. You can actually imagine the vast forest, softly speaking to you when the wind blows through its trees. A beautiful song, smartly inserted at the right time between the longer songs.
The next two tracks, In the Realm of the Bark and Phoenix Rise are the perfect choice to end this beautiful album. The melancholic choirs on Phoenix Rising are beautiful and whenever I play that song I have the impression I am flying over the vast forest.
Overall, what Schwadorf did with To the Elements was basically to create a collection of hymns in which the nature, the old legends and the mystical animals play the main role. A piece of modern art which celebrates both the past and the present and teaches us to cherish and preserve what we still have, until it’s too late.
To the Elements is definitely one of the best and most beautiful albums of this year, a jewel of black metal crafted in the depth of the woods.
This album also proves that you don’t have to be overtly satanic to release a good black metal album in 2017. All you need is the “soul” and the inspiration, the rest will come by default. To match with the music, the band came up with a brilliant album cover which links this new album with the glorious past of the 1990’s.
The version I reviewed here is the limited black LP (350 copies), which comes on a heavy 180g vinyl, with a special vinyl mastering. The gatefold is simple but efficient, leaving the music to speak for itself.Grab your own copy before it’s too late, this album is a must have for all those who appreciated the spirit of the 1990’s and the “romantic” side of black metal.
Also, if you want to witness how Sun of the Sleepless sounds live, you can watch the full concert the band played at the Prophecy Fest earlier this year. This second ever performance is really impressive and there were many songs from To the Elements which were played that night,together with some old tracks from the past.
Total score: 10 owls out of 10
Sun of the Sleepless line up:
Schwadorf – all instruments
To the Elements track list:
1. The Burden
3. The Owl
4. Where in My Childhood Lived a Witch
5. Forest Crown
6. The Realm of the Bark
7. Phoenix Rise
10 years after the release of their full length, “Into the Frozen Shadows“, the Hungarian black metal band Formorket is back from its dead silent slumber, this time with 2 huge announcements:
The release of their sophomore, self titled album and their participation to the Inner Awakening Festival which will take place on the 18th and 19th of August in Budapest. (https://www.facebook.com/events/172732716489009/)
Besides the fact that their set list will include both some of the new songs, as well as some tracks from their previous works, this appearance will also mean the death of the band as we know it, because after 14 years of walking on this cursed path, the 2 main members, S and Ga’eheln have decided to put Formorket to sleep. For good.
So no gimmicks, no changing of minds for the sake of old times, this is indeed the last time you’ll have the chance to see Formorket at work, on stage. And what a better opportunity than to be a part of this very interesting black metal festival, which has already reached its 9th edition.
The “Formorket” album will come out in 2 extremely limited versions, on tape and cd, that is. There will be no repress of this material, so be ready to grab your copy as soon as possible.