Category Archives: Uncategorized

Excerpts from Graveland Interview about The Temple of the Fullmoon era

A lot of talks now about Graveland former member Capricornus, that he left the stage a couple of years ago. Can you give any comments? What do you think about his activity after leaving the Graveland, especially in project Thor’s Hammer, Capricornus?

Capricornus was always radical in his views. He also had an uncommon taste in music. He was never interested in popular, commercial bands. He was into underground. He was searching for that pure darkness essence. He was finding it in the bands that were very weak musically but they had that evil spirit he was looking for. When I first met him he was already deep into Black Metal underground of the 90’s. He was exchanging letters with Samoth from Emperor and Count Grishnakh of Burzum. He recieved they first demo recordings directly from them. He brought that darkness from the depths of underground among us. I felt strenght in it, I was sure that it will change our reality. That were the golden years. Music, as well as the ideology of Black Metal, united us and mobilized to create something new. Back then Capricornus was editing his own zine called „Into the Pentagram”. He was also writing lyrics for Graveland and translating them into English. We were having really radical ideas at that time. We were focused on what we were doing, that goal was supposed to bring us immortality. Upcoming years were not that good. We were participating in what was happening on the scene (The Temple of Fullmoon) , that is why we started to become victims of police investigation. That was that moment when everything started to fall into pieces. Capricornus was disappointed that many banda had joined mainstream, he started to bacome mare and more radical. Strong right-wing views started to emerge for the first time but to be honest it was like that already as the similar attitude was close to guys from Emperor, Darkthrone or Burzum. But on that time their importance grew stronger. I was never against it as it was not good to question something that was treated as evil. Any form of evil was accepted by Black Metal. Now, when this genre become commercialized a lot of people do not understand that. Black Metal is now treated like fun, nothing is left from that true essence of it. Musicians are trying to be evil within the limits of political correctness. That’s the sign of the final doom of the genre. Copricornus did not accept that and couldn’t find himself in such reality. He wanted to leave Graveland when I started to follow the pagan way. At that time he created his two solo projects Thor’s Hammer and Capricornus. He has put all his anger and disappointment into them. That was very characteristic stuff, fullfilled with that rebel spirit. His lyrics and ideals were very hard to accept. Sentenced to loneliness he got into addictions. He was not able to live in a world where everything is ruled by commerce, where everything is common and trivial. He is still not interested in the music scene. I haven’t seen him for many years and no one knows what he is doing right now.

After a couple of years, what’s your opinion about your other former “colleague” Karcharot and his suicide about 8 years ago? What do you think about other, non-original Infernum, or you don’t think about such kind of things?

I used to hate Karchroth for what he had done to us. It was hard to ignore that but a lot of it was motivated by his psychical disorder. Once I was forced to fight him on the street near my house. He attacked me with a chain but I managed to protect myself with a hand. He was not holding it properly so I quickly pulled it out from his hands and struck him back. Some people were trying to put an end to our fight. He started running away but I didn’t follow him as someome might have called the police. That was one an only brawl, considering Karcharoth, that I took part in. In other situations I didn’t have an opportunity to punch him again. Once, together with the guys from Fullmoon, we set up a recon. We prepared some sort of a trap and were waiting for Karcharoth. We caught him on the street. He was persuaded by one of the Fullmoon guys that he trusted to go out. We surrounded the bus stop when Karcharoth was supposed to wait for the bus. The guy leading him there was no one else but Xanquoreth from Fullmoon. When Karcharoth was standing at that bus stop we attacked. One of the guys hit him with a baseball bat. Karcharoth fell to the ground, they guy who hit him didn’t act instantly and as an effect Karcharoth started running away in panic. When I reached that place he already managed to run several hundred meters and enter the local animal shelter shouting that we were about to kill him. People that were there closed the door quickly and when we reached there we decided to retreat and hide somwhere as the police was probably already called. On that day police arrested several members of Fullmoon. I don’t know why they didn’t leave the city. Karcharoth turned them in to the police. Luckily police investigation has shown that Karacharoth made up the story about us. Also his mental disease was discovered. I didn’t have problems due to what happened. Some time passed and Karcharoth calmed down, he was even spreading rumors about his return to Graveland but after what he had done there was no place for him in the band. There is a lot to talk about in this matter, maybe I will do it in the book about Graveland. Left alone, Karcharoth found a place for him among the musicians that were not successful in what they was doing. He joined them with a hope of playing and returning to the scene. It didn’t turned out good and I’m not surprised. His friends has taken the control over Infernum and are trying to continue with the band but this will not be that Infernum that I, Capricornus and Karacharoth had created.


Returning to the days of the Graveland beginning and times of The Temple Of Fullmoon till know, can you give the some retrospective of the all that has been done for the readers? Maybe some nostalgic remembrances? Can you name some worth names from those times that survived in some forms till now or can you name some worthy acts of the modern scene that you enjoy to listen or glade to collaborate with?

Behemoth have managed to survive they were once a part of The Temple of Infernal Fire, even Nergal himself was among the people who created it. The bonds made back then have survived despite the hate between us caused by different views on Black Metal. A lot of people and bands that were once a part of TTF have disappeared for good or passed away. The others remained as musicians or politicians like Mateusz Piskorski who is now in favor of Russia and a public enemy in his own country. He was the first one from us that entered the parliament as an MP. I always liked him and despite the fact that his views have changed I was always glad that he was doing well. Some of the guys from that years passed away due to car accidents or suicide like Leinad from Mysteries and Greywolf from Iuvenes. Currently I’m in a very good contact with Blasphemous from Veles. He is a WW II enthusiast and takes part in re-creations, lately he is also into old viking culture and beliefs. This year we are planning to create some folk stuff for Lord Wind together. We have planned some meetings in one burgh where we found a suitable atmosphere for creating music and where pagan beliefs are respected. I’m also in contact with Aro from Perunwit. We see each other quite often on concerts or viking festivals. I believe that what happened in the past, even if it’s full of darkness, it is something that is part of ourselves today. I don’t negate it and I’m not going to criticize it. It’s all water under the bridge, we can’t do anything about it. All that is left are the memories full of emotions and adventure, all failures and misfortunes are not able to stop the longing for those years.

How effectively in your opinion the Christianity could resist to anything earlier  and as far as it is actual now? In general tell about your views of a today’s political situation around the world.

Your opinion about any monotheistic religion, as the something alien for the Europe. How do you see the future confrontation of folks, religions and races?

It seems that christianity has reached its twilight but the current world political situation may force something opposite. It’s almost certain the the Europeans will return to christianity to oppose islam. They will search for a unity in it to defend against the invasion of modern barbarians and chaos that they will bring. I frequently hear that in the UK more and more people turn to christianity for a certain period of time or just to achieve their personal goals like moving their children from public schools to avoid them from getting in touch with kids from pathological families of african roots. They are moving to catholic schools were the majority of kids are white. Such schools demand being christian, for ex. catholic and so on. This proccess will continue on spreading into other areas of life. People see what is going on in Africa and are trying to cut off the contact with foreigners. Of course they are all politically correct so their actions are not that visible at first. A mulit-cultural vision of Europe is slowly falling into pieces and all that political correctness and the propaganda spread by the media will not stop it. When islam will be strong enough to start a revolution in Europe, christianity will be its enemy. That is why the political situation will enforce the return to christianity.

Tell about most amazing and well-remembered/mystic events during your travels to sacred holy heathen places or spending the night in the woods.

I love such places, I always enjoy visiting them. Sometimes I was sleeping among those stone circles or just beside them if there was such opportunity, for example at Odry (Poland). The closest place I know is a holy pagan mountain Ślęża which is 40km from the place I live. You can find the sanctuaries of ancient pagan tribes, even Celts there. We perform our rituals there. We have our own hidden place where we rest after doing so. It is a place where some people experience some sort of visions. From time to time I spent a night there. Where you are alone in the forest at night your imagination works much stronger. You need to keep a distance to what is happening around you. I’ve experienced a lot of such situations, they had a deep spiritual meaning, even supernatural. Up to this time I still don’t know what has really happened, can’t find the meaning behind it. Of course, it does not happen very often but it’s enought to change you and make you live in harmony with everything that surrounds and fulfills us. Some of those experiences have a very personal meaning that is why I will not talk about them

Did you meet the wild animals and do you like to hunt? Your relation to vegans and to Green Peace. Where the line between care of animals and full madness lies?

Yes, especially at night. I was woken up by does or boars that were moving around. Once, I’ve fallen asleep in a first suitable place that I was able to find. I didn’t realize that is was on the animal path. Later at night a herd of does just passed over me. I felt that something was going on and woke up ready to fight but the does just ran away in panic. More serious meeting with a wild animal happened to me on Ślęża. It was three of us then, I, Capricornus and Karcharoth. We were making some photos for the Celtic Winter album, we also had a fire there that we had to take care of as Ślęża is a part of a national park so any action like that is forbidden. We were afraid that someone will see us and call the police. After taking some photos we lay down around the fire creating stories about boar riding nuns that might have attacked us that night. Suddenly we heard a noise telling us that something is moving through the forest. We kept on listening to recognize if it was an animal or something else to safely fall asleep but the sound was getting closer, something was moving towards us. We started to think that we might have been seen by a forest ranger as there is a TV tower with observation points on the top of Ślęża. We thought that our fire was visible and someone was sent to us. I remember that we were seriously scared, the fire was still burning so we might have been seen. We were getting ready to run away. We had a heavy axe, a sword and a club with nails. We had to prepare them as it was a shame to leave it all in the forest. Something was getting closer and then I heard the most terrible sound I’ve ever heard in my life. A low growling of an unidentified beast from hell. Such a sound that my heart nearly stopped. We stood up paralyzed by fear. We suddenly grabbed something to fight and started shouting to scare that thing off. The beast started running away giving sound of nothing else than a lonely boar that all in all was able to attack us. Maybe he smelled something to eat that is why he was moving towards us. That event is still in my memory and will stay for good.


You noted in Cazus Belli interview, that you may write a book about the days of TTF and yearly Graveland days, so… is it real? Can we expect something in the nearest future?

That is a plan connected with a work on history of Graveland were a lot will be written about TTF and the Polish Black Metal underground. A lot of things happened here, even more extreme than in Norway. Not many people know about it as people here knew how to keep it in secret, not talking about it in zines like the the guys from Norway, for example about church burnings. Here the bands knew how to remian silent and how to deal with police. Of course, there were some screw-ups like the one with Karcharoth or a murder case that the members of Thunderbolt were involved it. Much more people were involved in Black Metal movement here in Poland. Some of them were psychopaths that even I was afraid of but it was only Black Metal what mattered, the victims were not important, there was no future only present and only things that prooved our dedication were important. TTF was brought to the end by the police and a lot of us were in trouble back then. We were monitored long after that. Even several years later police was interested in what I was doing, they didn’t try to hide that. There were a few funny situations connencted with that but you will read it all in the book about Graveland.

Coming back to past times, tell about your army service in armies and how this period of life it helped you to be created as the personality both what useful skills and knowledge you took out from there?

I entered the army quite fast as I was taking part in anti-communist strikes. I was arrested once and spent a night in prison. I was a witness of a battery of a guy who was a son of someone important from Solidarność. When we were released I have visited the hospital to take care of possible wounds after getting beaten by the police. It turned out that I was not the only one who had seen that battery in prison and later I became a witness at the court in a case against those policeman. Before all that happened I was taken to serve in the navy, 600km from my city. I have spent 2 years there as a radio-technician. Serving in army at that time was very stressful. Everything I experienced there is a subject for a separate book. It was hard but I managed to went through it. I was dreaming about freedom and it had come to me at last. I was good at shooting as my father taught me how to fire an air-gun. I had no problems with AK-47, once I achived 47 points out of 50 in shooting, that was my best attempt. I was immediately upgraded to able seaman, I still have the document that prooves that. Generally I think that every man should go through a standard army training. I was in the navy but I was not serving at the sea that much, mostly on land, in old post-german bunkers (Peenemunde- Wolin), 12 hours a day. When I was serving during a day I was not able to see the sun for even two weeks. 12 hours in a bunker each day answering telegrams, always longing for a sleep. I will describe it all in a biography.

Also, instead of army photos, I’ve seen on Facebook a lot of interesting photos of early record session. It’s a question, interesting for me from a point of sound engineering. Please tell about a process of recording albums of early days of Graveland, from the Necromanteion era. It all has very specific and amazing sound.

At that time we didn’t have an access to a good music equipment, and if it happen that is was a possibility I just couldn’t afford it. I used the stuff I was able to get. My first electric guitar was the one of my father. I plug it to a small amplifier in a radio or tape recorder. I really liked that a little bit distorted sounds. The first electric guitar that I bought was a Czech Jolan on which I recorded „Necromanteion” and „Drunemeton”. For „In the Galre…” a have a different one, used, taken from a friend that everybody called Telesfor. Keyboards and drums for „Necromanteion” and „Drunemeton” were made on Amiga 500. It can be seen in the photos from „In the Glare…” session. I have been using it for keyboard sounds up til „Immortal Pride”. Later, I gave it away to someone younger from my family. It was a cousin of mine, he used it only for computer games. That computer could have been a relict today! That sort of stuff was bought from me by Ash from Nargaroth, for exmaple a microphone that was used for recording vocals for „In the Glare…”. The same one was used in Veles, Infernum and Mysteries.


You noted that your past creativities were inspired by Moon and your modern works are filled by fire of Sun. But, as I know, in pagan traditions Moon and Sun, like night and day are equivalent and counterbalance each other. Your thoughts about that and your own concept about Good and Evil. 

I’m trying to create balance between those powers, to move directly between them. When I was playing Black Metal moon was a symbol of dark mysticism, a fiendly soul in the darkness. Its coldness was fulfilling me and making me feel like a creature of the night. Such fascinations were not good for me weakening my vital strenght. I was turning into Gollum of some sort. I was getting pale, thin and full of hatred. That was not a source of strenght for a warrior that I wanted to be. I began to understand it as I was discovering the slavonic heathendom. I have realised that I need the sun, a natural source of vital strenght and a symbol of life! From that time the symbol of the sun is always with me, both in my music and image. A lot of fans still have problems with that as they associate the sun with trivial things. They just have a wrong picture of it. All that movies about vampires, ghosts, demons have made the moon a symbol of dark forces. A lot of that art is avalible, but almost nothing connected with the sun but if someone wants it can be found. Recently I have been watching a movie about Genghis-Khan entitled „By the will of Genghis-Khan”, it is probably a Russian movie. I really like the way the sun is presented in this movie. It is fullfilled with paganism that was performed by the tribes of a great steppe. That is what I like! Slava to the Sun!

Advertisements

Interview with Averse Sefira(1998-2008) for deathmetal.org

Among the bands who originate from areas outside of Northern Europe, there are few as controversial and yet artistically rewarding as Austin, TX’s Averse Sefira. Having their genesis in the era before credulous emulators gagged the black metal community with sound-alike hardcore music dressed up as black metal, Averse Sefira create black metal art in the older style, inspired by Norse and Brazilian black metal from the late 1980s and early 1990s, which puts them at odds with most of their contemporaries who like to make the more generic, less musically-complex “black metal” that has become popular in the years since 1999. Undaunted, the warriors of Averse Sefira have forged ahead on a path of creating mystical, sublime, and unrepentantly vicious metal music which is closer to its influences than competitors.

What drew you to black metal and not jazz or punk or ambient or baroque, or more properly stated, what drew you to black metal more than these other forms (thus forced a decision)?

SANGUINE: I have always felt called to Metal and I have always had a sound in my head that I have pursued since I was able that became clearer to me, held meaning and expression the closer I came to Black Metal. It was a journey through the initial fallout of the Genrefication, a journey through Thrash Metal and Speed Metal, Death Metal and Grindcore until one day I was played Black Metal. Then it became clear, an epiphany if you will. I understood the Sound. As I immersed myself in the Sound I began to read and understand the meaning contained within the Sound. That meaning was what I had within me my whole life. Nothing else in music that I have explored has ever merged the Within and the Sound in such union. Classical, ambient and industrial for me are close runner-ups in achieving the union, but there are mindsets within those forms that I find alien and incomprehensible, just as devotees from those camps often never understand the Hessian completely.

Averse Sefira is one of a half-handful of north american bands who create something other than three-chord punk disguised as black metal. What drives you to take a mental vision and project it through music, instead of creating a variant on known musical patterns? How did you collaborate on this vision, and what was the course of its evolution?

WRATH: In regards to initial architecture very little was based on anything else besides instinct. Sanguine and I were ardent followers of metal in general and accordingly we endeavored in what seemed correct and effective at the time. Very often people ask about our affinity for Voivod, which I find interesting considering they were not an influence at all. Most listeners hear an odd timing structure or a false stop in metal and they immediately reference the more technical bands when in truth our chief influence was Immolation in regards to structures. Even with that in mind I do not feel we share a sound in common. Sanguine learned to play traditional folk guitar long before he played extreme music, and both of us had an affinity for classical music as well. I think our decision to draw upon a wide palette of influences rather than aspire to be a variant of one specific band our style gave us a foundation that allowed for continuing innovation and exploration. I don’t quite understand the desire to be a band that is a blatant reiteration of another established act whose work will always remain superior. Why not just be a cover band? It involves less initial planning and more immediate gratification (such as it is). I savour the idea that we are rarely dismissed as sounding like any one band. If you read our reviews, we are compared to Immortal, Voivod, Marduk, Immolation, and everything in between. To address the “three-chord punk” aspect, this seems to be a symptom of minimalism being mistaken for an elementary approach. The two are anything but synonymous yet it opens the door for uninspired amateurism, most of which is thankfully and quickly ignored and abandoned.

How was the energy that inspired you to become formative in Averse Sefira different from other energies you had felt?

SANGUINE: Black Metal is like lightning striking you, the resultant chemical and electrical disruptions alter perceptions and break down barriers between the Terrestrial, the Celestial and the Void. Averse Sefira being an eruptive living presence is a magnification of these disruptions. It becomes a symbiotic relationship sometimes guiding, sometimes being guided.

When did you first get into music, and what are your memories of what attracted you to it? Also, when did you first hear metal and what did you like about it? What was the progress of your moving from outside to inside the genre, as first a fan and then a musician?

WRATH: My first interest in music was classical, from when I was about three years of age. Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bare Mountain” was a genius work that first sparked my appetite for “evil” music. Beethoven and Mozart were also standards, along with Alice Cooper. By about 1986, however, I was anxious to find something more—by this point I was an angry, hyperactive, hormone-addled youth who still wasn’t even old enough to drive. This was the point when Metallica, DRI, Anthrax, Celtic Frost, Slayer, Sodom, Bathory, and Iron Maiden began to match much of “the noise inside my head” (to paraphrase our ever-trenchant guitarist). Here was music that had spirit, conviction, aggression, and, oddly enough, hope. Thus I discovered a paradigm that became a soundtrack for the years ahead, years which continue forward even now. I was a mere fan until I was fifteen, and then I took the plunge and began to learn guitar. Our first band formed before any of us were truly proficient but there was much in the way of raw talent.

What music besides black metal inspires you most profoundly?

SANGUINE: Primitive chants from earlier times and Classical music. At extremes, these two forms are radical expressions of the Void. Music is a sensual and encompassing experience. The most meaningful displays of it envelop the listener causing a bubble of separate reality to form. This subset of reality wires into every fibre of being and folds the dimensions of existence until the intersection of the mundane intrudes at the end.

What attracts you to a band first – is it instrumental aspects, textural aspects (vocals, tone) or structural?

WRATH: It really depends. Often it is a combination of the elements, though I am quite a seeker of unique and convincing vocal styles. This is how I got into Antaeus, Old Wainds, Funeral Mist (the vocals on their latest are unreal), and even Immortal actually. I like bands that right upon first listen come across as a sum of their parts. This is in the end how ensemble music is intended.

What do you believe is the root of artistic conception? (examples: some say it is simply recontextualizing two forms not normally superimposed upon one another, and that this is the root of all creativity; others say it is simply a sound; some argue the mechanism is understood first; all may be explaining their own phenomenon without getting close to an objective theory)

SANGUINE: For me the root of artistic conception is the expression of the DDIIVVIINNEE. For those who cannot get around such a word being used, insert “the Void.” The artist is called or taps into the Void and finds continual ways to channel and express it. This expression can come in the form of straight religious contextualization or it can be channeled through ideology; although there is much evidence to support a feedback loop between the two (ideology vectoring religion, religion vectoring ideology.)

Music is formed of sound, art of visual impulse, warfare of the physical and words of the abstract; what realization impelled you to join all four disciplines in your artistic concept?

WRATH: From the band’s inception it seemed that total committal and immersion in the art was the only option. We have always prided ourselves in our conceptual completeness. Different facets of this paradigm are expressed in different venues as the visual design and auditory aspects predominate the albums themselves, while the physical component only writhes and poisons in a live setting. This is a form of psychic alchemy; we combine the needed elements to devise something precious and otherwise unattainable.

In music, does the recognition of signal define form, or does form define signal? Could this be a matter of approach, or is it hardwired into human consciousness?

SANGUINE: The answer lies somewhere in between. Developing children across the world will exhibit “music making” or “songwriting” occurrences in an informal manner. They explore rhythm making and melody often without initiation by the parent or group or exposure to more formal musical induction. At some point, all that is naturally occurring within our primal systems, gets written over when someone sits us down and says “this is what music is.” The conditionings leafed over what exists within us takes over and for the most part we become dependant on approach.

In chaos theory we speak of dimensionality as levels of abstraction of repetition of detail; it works in a similar way to computer compression algorithms, which note repeated patterns and assign them a token which takes up less space than the original pattern. Usually the patterns being compressed or abstracted are organized around divisions into two, as for every recognizable thing it can fragment into two halves or recombine a self and an other. How do you think this applies to methods in black metal songwriting for getting closer to a dominant theme or melody without repeating it?

SANGUINE: Humans individually exist within an internal matrix of approaches, thoughts, attitudes, and emotions, all converging and swirling at different points, creating strange relationships and associations along the way. (Not to mention how the act in groups or modify their behaviour based on who they are in contact with at any given moment.) They seem to gravitate towards twos and fours. This might explain the confusing numbers of meat attracted to the binary morality of desert religions. There is something internally pleasing about these even numbers. Conventional 2/4, 4/4 time signatures dominate most song structures and are easily grasped by the Passives and is easily wielded by those seeking conveyance on as broad a band (even if selective) as possible. Perhaps it forms a silent mnemonic system that reinforces the themes?

Music writing seems to be tied inextricably to Newton, in that if something goes up, it must come down (or vice versa.) There is also a high instance of “riff A goes three times and on the fourth time put in riff B.” The only beings that have come near to writing music interwoven with Quantum Physics are Acerbus. I am amazed that people are even able to write music at all, and I have no idea how they do it. I operate with modular components that I call “sets.” A set is usually two or more riffs that compliment each other in somewhat of a logical fashion, there is a great deal of the process based on that great unquantifable: “feeling.” Being modular, these components can be dropped in anywhere in a song and form the basic themes for the composition. They can repeat any number of times with variation imposed as required, say when the song is approaching summation, set A returns, but is played backwards, lower, whathaveyou.

I also think of the songs relative to the shapes that the themes form around. Things like StiGr.39s or the distorted bones of a skinned xtain, celestials on fire, these images are evocative in translation to musical form. One thing I am experimenting with is structuring sets akin to DNA constructions: riff sets on the guitar forming one helical half combining with riff sets on the bass forming the other helical half and the drums acting as sugars linking it all together. Perhaps the construction of an automaton or golem is also an appropriate metaphor: part is bone, part is muscle, part is flesh and part is the electricity powering it. Something that the occult bands often aspire to, or should, is to try and capture in music the essence of what they are summoning/conjuring/opening, not just play Rock and say that it is the embodiment of ritual. Although again, that would explain the obsession with twos and fours… Black Metal is after all, Black Magic but music.

Do you think that the pre-1996 (Nordic) blackmetal bands held this view? If so, was it their primary view – a summation of their beliefs – or one of the symbols they used to communicate their beliefs?

WRATH: In the time of their greatness, I believe the seminal acts of the region followed these ideals indeed. Regardless, it was their promotion of such things that spoke to us and inspired us to make our own bid as a band. I agree that much of the message was symbolic. The traditional idea of music in general is using art to convey meaning. At their best, the “black circle” bands were very effective in marrying these elements. It is the model under which we have laboured since our inception- symbols standing for greater motives.

How does nature respond to change, in your broad and esoteric experience?

SANGUINE: Nature adapts and ultimately overcomes and destroys, albeit very slowly. Witness the grass growing up from underneath sidewalks, or the tree that has grown over the gravestone. Nature has a much longer longevity than humanity and thus can act at its leisure. Humanity is doomed to scurry around trying to kill immortality in pursuit of its own immortality.

Why are there suddenly so many black metal bands? (this question dates from 1998)

WRATH: The simplest answer seems to be that it has become a trend, though I think a more accurate answer is that more than ever people justify themselves by the attention they get from others. We live in a society full of reality TV shows and we watch complete morons blunder into pseudo-celebrity. A large problem with the current underground (and again I refer mostly to the internet scene) is that everyone claims to be a society-loathing misanthrope who has no interest in the world at large, but then an alarming majority of these people demonstrate just how much the culture they deride has gotten to them. I am constantly amazed at how often I encounter christianized mentalities and the thin rationalizations used to justify them. Getting back to the main point, nobody in metal is interested in making music for oneself anymore. It becomes a process of picking a recombinant band name, writing some recombinant songs, then imploring people to buy a copy of your brand new CD-R. As a side note, I would really be impressed to see a new Black Metal band who went to the trouble to print cassettes and include an inlay card if anything because it would prove that they cared about making an effort.

Although Mayhem’s “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas” is arguably more musically conventional than Darkthrone’s “Transylvanian Hunger,” both possess a spirit that is difficult to quantify in the typing that allows us to divide genre and lineage in popular music. What is this essential quality and why is it that some bands have it and others do not, to varying degrees?

SANGUINE: The Void calls to some and the others simply see what the chosen do and mimic it thinking that they bear truth as well. Both albums represent the moment of death for Black Metal in triumphant explosion, an attempt to shut off Black Metal from those who would soil what it offers. The gate was never fully sealed and Black Metal and the Void continue to call and pull a select few to it. There are those that hear the call more clearly, it remains one of those “unquantifiables.”

The bottom line is that bands with severity of conviction are closer to the Void than bands that want conviction or claim to have it because someone else says they do. The “I don’t know what art is but I know what I like” argument raises its head, although in this case it becomes something along the lines of “explaining why one band channels the Void and another one does not is difficult to quantify, the surety lies in the listen, how the space between the solar plexus feels when the album begins to turn.” Once again, “feeling” is important. Feeling and conviction. To borrow from MkM, what is projected in your art must come from every fibre of you being, it has to be your essence, you have to vomit it out for all to see.

The philosopher F.W. Nietzsche posited that western society is collapsing under a wave of liberalization that began with the adoption of Christianity by the Roman empire, a wave that has continued into the secular sector. Where do you think the original black metal impetus in Norway stood in regards to this issue, and where does black metal now stand regarding it? What is your personal view of Nietzsche’s summation?

WRATH: So few people are savvy enough to recognize that christianity is a way of thinking, now more than ever. One can still be christianized and never say a prayer, set foot in a church, or even believe in Jehova. It is christian to demand that everyone be treated with the same regard and merit even when it is unwarranted. It is christian to rationalize behavior that stands in flagrant opposition with professed beliefs, the most common example in the underground being anti-christian yet having a christian significant other (most guys take what they can get without question). It is christian to compromise even when it is clear that the ends will not justify the means. Whether or not the Norse bands were truly adherent in their ideals, their music and words stood firmly against this. Too few really read Euronymous’ mission statement and understood its intent. The Norwegian movement was meant to put a stop to the open door policy of the current scene and implement a new variation that was not intended for everyone. Here again we return to the idea of elitism and why it is so necessary. As previously addressed, the traditional underground still holds these values closely for good or ill, as it is often rigorous to do so when glad-handing scensters continue to get in the way. I agree with Nietzsche’s outlook in this regard; it is particularly true in the US where christian sentiments have long subverted more sensible and functional means and values. Things here no longer run smoothly, as “being fair” or worrying about “people’s feelings” undermines common sense when it comes to getting anything accomplished. Conversely, the whole model is illusory in that so few who enforce these conventions truly believe in them. They assume the person next to them does, however, and thus they adopt a position that will ensure the least amount of judgment or sanctions. This, in its most rudimentary sense, is Christianity- servility for the promise of a nebulous reward.

You were one of the first people in America to embrace black metal, at a time when most metalheads still referred to black metal as “faggot music.” What vision did you grasp that others could not see?

WRATH: More correctly, I like to think I was part of a handful of people in the US to first tout Black Metal in a public forum, mine being a radio show. I did indeed hear many “faggot music” comments (and still do, interestingly enough). As we have since established in this discourse, what enthralled me was a combination of the projected ethos, the aesthetic, and the overall atmosphere that permeated the classic recordings. I saw it as a new renaissance, a step forward, and our best hope for revitalizing a stagnant underground (which, for what it’s worth, happened to a point) . Then again, I always preferred Deicide and Morbid Angel to Suffocation or Cannibal Corpse so it is fair to say that conviction and innovation always got my attention.

I know you’re aware of occult, philosophical and musical leanings of many cultures. In your cross-cultural studies, what common threads have you found that are most applicable to the formation of human ideals?

SANGUINE: There are universal occurrences of a pantheon of gods tied to the cycles of Nature and the machinations of the Universe. There are many universal occurrences of guidelines for living, set up along the lines of balancing “virtues” and “taboos;” these idealy would ensure the survival of the society if adhered to. Societies themselves almost universally had classes for priests, classes for warriors, classes for merchants and artisans, farmers and so on. Everyone had a place and was essential to maintaining continuance. If you were not part of the society, you were the sacrifice that kept the sun rising and the next cycle beginning. These days, society is not going to collapse if you eat pork, or foods that are specially prepared. These days, there is not always a place for people. These days the divisions between tribes are being purposely blurred so that everyone thinks that everyone is the same, everyone can be anything they want. These days everyone seems content to be useless.

What do you think is the major difference between first-wave Norwegian black metal and the current crop of worldwide “BM”?

WRATH: When the Norwegian scene was unearthed they were not a part of a worldwide movement or an internet community. It was a question of standing on merit, talent, and vision. Very few of the bands forming now have this spirit, but then again they no longer need it. Black Metal, particularly in the states, has become a very tolerant and coddling entity. Ten years ago, legitimacy was not about how long one had been visiting a metal message board. At this point it is simpler for someone to simply announce that he has a band and wait for the accolades to roll in, rather than working towards something that stands as an accomplishment unto itself. The Emperor wears no clothes, and has not for some time now. Many would be surprised at my involvement with other projects, bands, and entities in the underground. My name is always present but there is no need to call additional attention to myself. I am proud of what I contribute and this is more than enough, and if there are praises to receive then I want to know I have rightly earned them rather than assume I deserved them before the fact.

Backing up a bit, in the mid-1980s Bathory and Celtic Frost stunned the world with a form of metal that was both the simplest yet created, in terms of its basic and grinding power chord riffs, and most complex, in that it staged itself like an opera, unifying a visual presentation with a concept with a musical form. This is similar to the use of music in ancient Greece, where it was believed that music by itself, without an accompanying storyline and theatrical presentation, was only partially complete. What do you think brought this view back into the intellectual currency of the West?

WRATH: It seems that those individuals grew up with a healthy fascination for their origins and heritage and quickly realized that this existence was no longer within reach as it had been long-erased industry and judeo-christian mores. What better way to resurrect mythos and wonder than by projecting it through infectious yet markedly aggressive music? For our brand of art to carry any real value it must convey meaning. In our case, the personas and music we have devised are much larger than ourselves; Averse Sefira is an entity in its own right. Immersion is what makes the music live, what makes a spindly guy in a bullet belt into a fire-breathing demon called Quorthon or a tow-headed nice guy longhair into a guitar-shredding grunt machine called Tom G. Warrior. Art is meaning, anything else is just entertainment. The earliest purveyors of this genre understood this and they insisted on creating something that transcended the workaday existence and the conventions of the world they were forced into despite their desires for more and better ways of being. This is why Averse Sefira will always appear in paint and spikes, we will always strive for involved design and presentation, we will always be all-inclusive in our presentation. Music is the foundation but in Black Metal aesthetic will always be important, no matter how minimalist it may be. Those who claim to play Black Metal but still don’t understand this paradigm should form AC/DC tribute bands and play onstage in street clothes.

I understand that unlike many black metallers, you embrace both higher education and a personal sense of honor. How does this jive with the post-1996 attitude of many fans and third-string musicians that black metal should be about “total darkness and hate, and total suicidal agony”?

WRATH: Black Metal should be about total darkness and hate, etc, etc, but perhaps not in such absolute terms. It is fine to tout such ideas assuming one understands why it matters. The problem is that most of the individuals who are quick to assert these concepts do so in lieu of anything productive or artistic. Any coward and/or moron can regurgitate “widely accepted” platitudes as an excuse to not bring anything useful to the table. Fatalism is easy because it negates accountability, and in the interim ideals like honor, fortitude, imagination, conviction, and solidarity fall by the wayside. The result is that those who speak loud and offer little have begun to overrun the movement. They have plenty of empty rhetoric, and somehow this saves them from being singled out and isolated from the beginning. It is a symptom of the 21st century that the lowest common denominator defines the trajectory of things, and it seems that Black Metal is not immune. For our part, the aforementioned “strength and honor” aspects of this music are what make it worthwhile. Those we know and respect in this movement also believe and practice within this paradigm, and accordingly they are the ones we call allies. All others should be honest with themselves and return to listening to hardcore.

What was the best part of college?

SANGUINE: I think the best part of college is the appreciation one gains ex post facto for how much was truly useless and how they would do things differently. It is kind of bittersweet, the experience. I enjoyed it but in hindsight it was not unlike a rodeo with textbooks. There is a great destruction involved on many levels.

It seems to me that death metal started with grand ambitions (Altars Of Madness, Legion) and then lapsed into the same mindless three-chord bashing that has always characterized bad metal bands; black metal was a breath of fresh air, but now so many of these bands have adopted the cloak of “Transilvanian Hunger” and are doing the same thing. What engenders this cycle? Should it be “stopped”?

WRATH: It seems so many people have looked at a band like Darkthrone and believed that the key to the music was to keep it one-dimensional. They never realized that in minimalism it is often implication that completes intent. Why is “Transylvanian Hunger” brilliant while some other three-chord album is not? This is when the esoteric takes hold and makes what would have otherwise been a repetitive and poorly produced album into a seminal work. However, when other bands ape this approach the results are transparent and poorly produced albums, period. You will not encounter many individuals who are willing to invest the time in finding their own voices and sharpening their crafts. We live in a twenty-four hour society where everything must be fast-tracked and brought to market while the commodities are hot, hot, hot! Thus we witness and endless parade of idiots who think that they need to commit their Black Metal band to CD-R tomorrow, and Darkthrone isn’t hard to mimic, so why not do that? Our drummer actually summed it up best when he observed that while most everything on the first Deicide album is easy to play, he never could have thought up any of it. It’s no surprise that Emperor turned around and alienated all the aspiring imitators with “Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk”. They wanted to be sure to shut the door on that kind of thing. So, for a short answer yes it should be stopped. I also think Darkthrone should stop grandstanding and find something else to do.

What do you think is the lineage of black metal, and what are its major influences outside of the genre (or even outside music)?

SANGUINE: Do you remember the time, before the Great Generefication, when it was ALL METAL? At some point, someone said, “THAT’s Speed Metal, THAT’s Death Metal, THAT’s Thrash Metal, this new stuff’s called Grindcore,” and in the murky depths of fanzinedom, some one said, “Sodom, Venom, Bathory, Sarcofago, Pentagram, Beherit, Blasphemy, Mystifier, Master’s Hammer, These guys are BLACK METAL! (Well, these are the guys that were doing Black Metal originally; Immortal, Darkthrone, Bvrzvm, Emporer, Mayhem, THESE guys are {True!} BLACK METAL!”

“Why is this Black Metal? What makes it so?” the Incredulous asked.

“Because it’s SATANIC!” the Generifier said.

“So that makes Decide, Morbid Angel, Incantation, ad nauseum, Black Metal bands.”

“Oh no! They are Death Metal bands! They have a more chromatic chord base, double bass blasts and low, growling vocals.”

“Ah! So what make these new bands (that are Satanic/coming out of Scandinavia) Black Metal?”

“The guitars are more melodic, they blast with a single kick, and the vocals are pitched higher. And they have paint and spikes and burn churches some of them. The Death Metal guys wear jeans and sneakers, ‘jogging suits’ and look like everybody at shows”

“I see, so it is an aesthetics and form delineation that makes something Black Metal and not Death Metal.”

“No, it is also their ideology, these guys are warring against Christianity, they are searching for their lost Viking roots, blah, blah, blah.”

“So how can you play Black Metal then Don Diego?”

“Because I and my band are hailing Satan and writing songs about Satan’s triumph over the Earth and killing christians.”

And so on. I agree with that theory: that what everyone initially agreed quantified and qualified a band as Black Metal was a Satanic theme, concept or aesthetic. When the whole Norway/Sweden/Finland “scenes” erupted, that same Satanic element was very strong. At some point this split and fractured; varicose offshoots running amok touting National Socialism, Medieval Satanism, Paganism, Vampirism, Genocide, Nihilism, Forests, Misty Fog, etc; one could graph the ebbs and flows. Some of these arteries have hardened and with every form, conventions solidify and one can now safely describe bands by “they sound like.”

And at this point it all really matters not at all. The lineage of Black Metal is well known as legend with even the wettest behind the ears able quote from “Lords of Chaos:”

“Once upon a time, there was Euronymous, Dead and Count Grishnack. Dead begat the germ that is Black Metal. Euronymous became jealous and killed Dead for this germ [er, ah he committed suicide.] Count Grishnack killed Euronymous for, well perhaps just to get the next phase going.”

IF that is so and Grishnack burned the chruches to wake up Norwegians, perhaps Euronymous’ death was to awaken Hessians, get them thinking about what this is really about.

The great majority of them, the ones that “made the Metal community at large aware of Black Metal,” I still want to feel that they believed in something, that they adhered to an ideology. I want to think that they weren’t just doing it as a joke and now they can go back to their Nine Inch Nails. Many have abandoned what they initially raised high banners in the name of, and many still raise high banners so long as they look right and play music that sounds ‘just like _____!’ It seems like so many have lost their faith, for Metal has its religious qualities, that one can wonder sometimes if there has ever been any meaning to this music, this form. The fact that there are some adherents, some faithful still out there, that to me will point to a common truth wherefrom this movement sprang from. The lineage of Black Metal is now legend, and I feel that it is served better in this manner. Where it is going, what is done with it to keep it vital, thriving and mutating, is of the utmost importance.

Movements pushing ideologies have crept in through Metal, the fanbase appearing as an untapped resource that many would like to exploit, be it financial, material, physical, political, religious. Movements within Metal have arisen and now seek to creep outward, to effect and depose the JCI society that seeks to ruin and despoil what is being accomplished. There is a great war of hearts and minds being waged by those who want to keep Metal regarded as “frivolous.”

There are important leaps in meta-philosophy and meta-culture being made by enclaves of Hessian think tanks. I say it “meta-” because unfortunately such efforts will never be recognized as “legitimate” by the current JCI society. Hessians, as a meta-culture, truly global and post-moral, operate in a closed system making plans for what should promise to be a better future; unfortunately, this knowledge will always be suppressed and disregarded, “the rants and ravings of fringe elements and radicals.” Such accusations are made still, mostly by an unwashed mass with the mean age of 20. The potential within these nay-sayers is still there but still suffer from the conditioned thought of the society around us. Ten plus years ago, I think that Hessians were not as accomplished thinkers as they are today. Ten plus years ago, the message put forth was “Party! Let’s get out our aggression {until we cave to society’s demands!} Oh shit, there might be nuclear war! That’s bad!” Today, the message has changed: “Society is broken and must be set on fire. From the ashes we can rebuild and move forward in a more productive manner, but doing so requires the fetters and fears that bind us be cast aside so that we can act beyond the constraints of morality, act unhindered.”

American society has never fully accepted evolution as a theory, where Europe seems more scientific in outlook. Does this affect cultural and personal views of metal music, art and how to make it?

WRATH: American society has never fully evolved either, so how would we begin to grasp such theories? Of course our remedial culture stunts creation of art just as European culture propagates it. If you look around you, the American underground has all but succeeded in turning US Black Metal right back into Death Metal. What does that tell you? This is why the European bands and their mentality appeal to us. We have further cultivated a sense of this in our travels and travails in that region, and sometimes I cannot believe we are still on the same planet. Some have asserted that we wish we were a European band and all I can say is that they have been paying attention.

Do you watch television and/or movies?

SANGUINE: No TV. I would like to still watch movies, but I feel great pressure from within to make better use of my time and life’s energy, so I generally abstain.

People have accused you of being an elitist. How do you answer that? Also, what is your feeling on the similarities and differences between “musical elitism,” or really elitist meritocracy based on personal artistic output, and an enlightened sense of anti-social Darwinism?

WRATH: Those who feel I am an elitist are usually standards-bereft bottom feeders who are beneath me. Is this not for what Black Metal was intended? The modern iteration of this genre was a reaction to Death Metal’s increasing lack of ethos and liberalized sensibilities. Decrying elitism is yet another facet of our tailspin into the lowest common denominator. Musically and socially, elitism is more necessary than ever yet there are so few genuine adherents to this mindset. Most people would prefer to be hypocrites or apologists rather than invest in the rigors of aspiring to something better. It is not a question of perfection, it is a question of consistency. It is no coincidence that as a band our appeal is selective, as this is what elitism requires. Pleasing everyone is for the MP3 bands of the world.

What technological development of the last 30 years do you fear the most?

SANGUINE: Microwaves, anything that disrupts the body’s electrical systems.

How does religion and/or popular social views affect the composition of music?

WRATH: It seems to drive quite a few bands to trivial output. Again, as mentioned previously the biggest problem with the metal underground right now is the social aspect. Bands want attention and validation more than they want to set artistic goals these days. This is definitely putting the cart before the horse, but that is to be expected in the post-MTV generation. Simply having a band is never enough. When we began Averse Sefira, we never had the slightest inkling that it would become something about which anyone beside ourselves would care. Witness the fact that we ultimately released our first album on our own after rejecting a few thin label offers. For us it was never about acceptance or popularity, and even now we are often surprised and even skeptical of the response we get from listeners. Purely artistic goals are increasingly uncommon in metal, and in part I would agree that society is to blame. In terms of religion’s effect, please refer to my earlier comments on chrisitianized people in metal.

Do you think digital computers provide any models, fragmentary or mimetic, of human consciousness?

SANGUINE: Yes, in that they both have to be programmed and once programmed, there is a great chance for corruption, viruses and crashing.

Some have said the Christian vision of the “soul” is nothing more than the ego yearning to assert itself despite mortality. Do you think this is true? The ego is also paradoxical, in that it is both useful and, if too much of it occurs, destructive. Is there a general principle that can be derived from this?

WRATH: I think the soul is the navigator of the physical body, but as such when the physical meets the end the navigator is extinguished as well. Were this not true then we would not grieve so when those close to us die. What difference does it make if there is an afterlife or not- we are here now. All I know is that dualists forever debunk their own assertions in their failure to deal with death in ways that do not involve fear or grief. What is there to mourn if another life directly awaits on the other side?

The soul seems to be the sum of its parts, both tangible and intangible. One part cannot exist without the other. In terms of ego, you are correct that it is both an asset and a liability. I myself have ego to spare and I find it can lead to garnering great friends as well as bitter (if completely ineffective) enemies. In the more traditional sense, too much responding to drives, desires, and needs leads to both excess and even chaos. Chaos is sometimes good and necessary, but it is well advised to be aware of your own role in its midst.

As humanity poisons Earth, it may be necessary to engage in space travel where individuals will not only be cut off from the world for journeys taking most of their natural lives, but also will be cut off from any kind of parent culture as it disintegrates while they are in space. If these space travelers wrote philosophy or music, what ideas do you think would be emphasized?

SANGUINE: Unfortunately I think they would try to keep the ideal of “goD” going as long as they could. There would also be a biological push to replicate in as many and different combinations as possible so as to ensure genetic existence. To this, all conventions of matriarchy/patriarchy would have to dissolve and notions of conventional pair bonds would have to be cast aside. Everyone would have to breed with everyone else, the idea being that “the best and brightest” have been evaluated and chosen as such “the species” (or amalgamation thereof) would survive and promulgate. Given the limited supplies and space restrictions of a space going vessel, birth cycles would have to be regulated. A new culture would rise and the aspects of it, philosophy, music, etc, would have to revolve on the axis of breeding, “what are we going to do when we land?” and Christmas…

In many ways, Americans are shown by media archetypes how to grow up very quickly on the outside, leaving the structure behind emotions and logic relatively unformed. What do you think are the benefits of this form of extended youth?

SANGUINE: On one hand, delayed development benefits those that will have a greater purpose the close Geburah comes. These will be prepared to pilot the new society towards the halls of tomorrow. Extended youth on the other hand hinders those that embrace the nailed son of monkeys and pigs, for these, there is constant forward pressure into the meatgrinder of JCI society. Things of status are sought and warred over, devotion becomes measured by the material. They squander their youth early in a mad rush for adulthood and when they arrive, they have transfusions of bitterness, guilt, and hate to replace all that once was within them.

Nietzsche also spoke of “eternal return,” or the concept that our lives are lived once and a representation of eternity in the human consciousness would be a perpetual cycling of the memories of that life — this vision was offered in direct contrast to the christian vision of a single life followed by an eternal life of stasis in pleasure. In this writing, the battlelines were drawn between those who believed in another world – the dualists – and those who believed the present was all that existed and thus real-world achievements were more important than symbolic or religious assertions. Do you think this is accurate and on which side of the equation do you fall?

SANGUINE: If we reoccur eternally along the same path, with everything up to the revelation being eternally fixed and immutable, would it matter? The transition between cessation and genesis would necessarily cause the memories and experiences of the same former existence to be wiped away; there would be no acknowledgement of what is already known. The burden of such retention would begin to wear upon the bearer to the point that and endless suicide loop could very well mutate. Nature after all abhors not only vacuums, but closed systems. Until it breaks however, it would be fantastic.

WRATH: I would agree this is fairly accurate, discounting the idiots who say, “well I dunno” when confronted with questions about the meaning of life. I fall very strictly into the latter category, in that I believe the only guarantee we have in the course of existence is that we are living on this plane and we have a certain limited amount of time to make the most of it. This is a shared idea within the band, which is why we do things like abandon gainful employment in the name of touring, etc. I believe one simply cannot put a price on life experience.

Do you believe in the soul?

SANGUINE: After a fashion, yes. I also believe in a spirit. I think these are component parts that make humanity somewhat different from other meat. Not better, but different.

Do any higher powers exist for you?

SANGUINE: Sometimes.

There are a great many matrices and states (altered or not, conscious and unconscious) that interconnect and overlap within and without a single human at any given time. At least there are for myself. Think about how often there are three songs playing in your head while you are driving almost from rote while mentally composing an essay or letter and carrying out a conversation, all on three hours of sleep. And you still marvel at sunlight drifting through clouds. There are multiple attitudes and thoughts you have towards a group of people or a single person, friend, enemy that you have when alone. These same orbits change when interacting with that person or when you are part of your own circle. They change again when you are forced into a job and a group of people that you have nothing in common with, save civility. All this to say that there are many levels of existence, the stark material cannot be the sole.

Egalitarianism and the soul are argued by some to be necessarily codependent concepts. can you explain your views on this subject?

SANGUINE: They want all things to be equal because they want everyone’s soul to be equal, important, and matter just as much as everyone else’s. The glorious truth is that not everyone makes an equal contribution, not even those who contribute a great deal, thinking that it is quality not quantity that matters, makes them a “better” person (but only to themselves, not in the sense that they are above anyone else!). The glorious truth is that not everyone matters. The glorious truth is that 5.9 billion souls are in need of immediate harvesting and those that are left will just have to figure out how it really works.

Many have for years stereotyped metalheads to me as angry, socially abusive people obsessed with negativity and rejection, usually from reasons of low self-esteem. Another variant of this behavior is that at a party, often the loudest people are the ones with the greatest need to make their presence known. I never believed this, although I noted many people who fit this description in the metal community; however, it seemed that post-1998 this percentage exploded and most of the smart people attracted by the promise of early modern black metal (1990-1996 Scandinavia) left the genre. Is this consistent with your experience? Why do you think this trend has come about?

WRATH: I wouldn’t say the smart people are all gone, they just have better things to do than argue about Sabbat with tech-school dropouts. I think one of the most damaging aspects to the genre was the way nearly all of the Norwegian front-runner bands managed about two worthwhile albums apiece and then launched into tangential bids for commercial success. Credibility was compromised, populism took hold, and kids who wanted something more radical than mallcore crept in. At this point it seems that we have too many people who were supposed to have been listening to Iron Maiden and playing Dungeons & Dragons coming in and acting as self-appointed authorities on all things black and evil. Most of them are wounded, stupid, aimless, talentless, or all of the aforementioned. Refer to my comments about not qualifying oneself before demanding patronage. This doesn’t apply to the European scene as much — their dead weight is harder to readily identify and a few among them have proven to be ingenious frauds. At least they try harder.

What Texas bands do you enjoy?

SANGUINE: Acerbus and Absu. I also enjoy former greats such as deadhorse, Rigor Mortis and Pain Teens.

Our entire historical cycle comes many years after the fragmentation of the Greco-Roman empires, but if looked at in the whole, is a progression from simple melodic lines to a sense of absolute melodic freedom; if looked at from a meta-level, it is a progression from music being symbolic of an artistic process (e.g. applied in theatre as did the Greeks) to music being symbolic of itself, at which point it communicates nothing other than what is inherent in the notes themselves. Clearly to the Greeks this would have been degenerate; the question is whether the cycle comes around to what they discovered, in which musical devices are fully known and thus the only question is how to use music as a language – which of course, requires the language _describe something_. How do you think black metal fits into this?

WRATH: It seems that much of Black Metal, indeed in the way our band crafts songs, falls into the “dissonant, smaller pieces” category. In our work, the music is definitely treated as language, though I don’t agree that all bands have a handle on this aspect of the creative process and as such we have the degenerate examples of music that is symbolic of itself. It is no coincidence that we are forever asked, “What are your lyrics about? What is the concept about?” Our goal from day one was to commute ideas through musical structures otherwise what is the point? It is not unlike the difference between talking simply to do so or talking to communicate an idea. In Black Metal the wheat is easily separated from the chaff when a band is asked in an interview to discuss their message or intent. When the answer is the standard vulgar, all-capitals diatribe against christians, society, and any band with musical value then it is clear they are not about communicating actual ideas. This is serviceable for the purposes of novelty but it will not endure, nor will it garner the type of audience worth having. I think that at its best Black Metal communicates volumes of ideas, both universal and esoteric. Consider a song like “I am the Black Wizards” and its portent; this genre offers so much opportunity for transcendent ideas and ways to express them. The palette is incredibly broad and thus ideas of alienation, misanthropy, aspiration, passion, hatred, and wonder have been aired in ways unheard of in any other musical form. The important commonality is that all the best bands set out to communicate. Think about Emperor at the end of their career- what is it that they were trying to say then, other than they wanted to cease? The Greeks definitely knew what made art significant, to be sure.

If you could fight in any war, which would it be?

SANGUINE: I am torn between WWII and Vietnam. WWII was the last great war of the old ways; the heroic ideal as I identify it today was at its peak in so far as its iteration in that age. Vietnam is the first modern war and there is still much to be learned from it. Vietnam was the war that reminded Amerika of its guerilla warfare heritage still struggling to implement lessons learned in a recent past. WWII hearkens back to better times; Vietnam can teach lessons for our current paths.

Do you believe the universe created itself, emerged from a precursor state or was synthesized by a mechanism not describable in causal states of any kind thus far known?

SANGUINE: The recent detection of polarized echoes from the Big Bang seem to indicate that the Universe was born out of an indescribable mechanism, however there had to be some sort of existence of the raw potentials for such genesis. Endless feedback and circular scenarios.

What do you think is next for black metal: will it continue on essentially a linear developmental curve, or will it mutate into another genre? Will it ever reclaim its original intensity?

WRATH: That is a truly difficult question. The issue at hand is that there are two undergrounds- the traditional and genuine, and then the loud and posturing popularity contest that has risen to the surface like a bloated corpse. With this disparity in mind, it becomes hard to predict much of anything. Many bands are still holding the banner of the “old ways” high, and these are the bands with whom we align ourselves. Perhaps the illegitimate side will mutate, considering their brand of “black metal” is effectively old death metal and NWOBHM. The simplest way to describe it all is that the underground went back underground, and as such the intensity and passion was never truly lost. It has become more incumbent upon us all to keep the best our genre has to offer away from those who would malign and misappropriate it. These days I hesitate to discuss bands I enjoy in public forums as I fear it further spoon-feeds the novelty-seekers and arrivists.

For some, there are two kinds of art: one that describes or laments the current world, and another that brings forth a heroic spirit of change and/or rearrangement of mental processing through which the user then sees the world. Which of these is your preferred mode of artistic cognition?

SANGUINE: That which inspires transformations within and without. There is too much “art” that is just “there;” purposeless, useless but for the mercy of the meat that embraces it as “valuable.” To them, everything is equal.

 

Black metal has become redundant both ideologically and musically in recent years. Many would say that ideology, or perhaps the pretentious portrayal of a facade, has become more important to black metal musicians than injecting the true spirit of their unique perceptions into the raw force of music that they craft. Do you believe that this is true, and if so, to what do you attribute this decline?

WRATH: I would say this is as true as not. That is a slippery idea because it is subjective. Some bands present with concepts and music that demonstrate their lack of understanding, but at the same time they believe in it so would that count as a facade? My standing complaint is that only a small portion of bands bother to fully understand the nature of the art before forming their own bands and then propagating their mistaken interpretations. Sanguine and I were metalheads since the mid-80s and still we took our time in forming Averse Sefira because we wanted to do it right and not have an early career that was riddled with missteps. So in regards to this decline you mention it seems that the urgency of getting on the bandwagon is probably the biggest culprit.

The song structure of your music often bears similarities to the thematic writing of classical composers. Do you enjoy classical and romanticist composers, and how do they influence your work?

We enjoy it very much. Classical music was some of the first music to which I ever actively listened, starting at about age three. Sanguine is actually an even more avid fan than I, and he attends concerts regularly (which is something I need to get back to doing myself). He also listens to a lot of film soundtracks that have orchestral arrangements. Beethoven, Wagner, Mussorgsky, Prokofiev, and Mozart are all part of our musical landscape. Much of our arrangements, particularly on the last two albums, have been written with this paradigm in mind. It seems that black metal draws upon classical much more than other forms of extreme music.

I have read in past interviews that your albums “Homecoming’s March” and “Battle’s Clarion” form a complex narration of mysticism inspired by material found in Kabbalic mythology. The albums seemed to interpret the exile of certain sefira from the realm of god, who rebelled against their creator in the ultimate act of attaining freedom (correct me if I am dead wrong on this). To be honest, I have yet to discover how “Tetragrammatical Astygmata “and “Advent Parallax” fit into this plot line. Do these albums continue the conceptual leanings of your early releases?

Interesting question, I’ve been wondering the same thing myself. For one interpretation of the first two albums, I don’t think you’re wrong. Initially, all the albums were to fall under an umbrella of themes, with multiple trails of thought weaving together (linked together songs, placement of songs, embedded shallow numerology) to allow every song to have a place in a “correct order.” As evolution has occurred, progression taken place and gateways passed through, old forms have been shed in favor of a refinement of original purpose.

Conceptually, the key themes from the first two albums are the same as the key themes of the latter two albums, just dressed differently. Creation springs from destruction in an endless cycle until the cycle is broken. The celestial becomes the terrestrial as the flesh melts away and becomes spirit. The “I” at whatever level of consciousness(es), must come to grips with the process of change and the consequences of transformation. Shaatialn.

Whereas “Tetragrammatical Astygmata” found beauty in the roar of the infernal; the dissonance seems to have been restrained upon “Advent Parallax”. However, the anthemic melodies paint broader strokes, and are much more pronounced. Was this a calculated progression, or did the change occur naturally?

The vibrations of “Tetragrammatical Astygmata” reflected the flesh while describing the spirit. “Advent Parallax” vibrates the spirit while reflecting the flesh. There was hidden purpose in the intertwining of these frequencies, a purpose not yet revealed. There was a natural calculation that produced progression. It’s all part of chasing the dragon. The dragon is either caught and the last seal of understanding is broken and there is nothing left to accomplish or the pursuer is broken in the pursuit, devoured by the dragon and there is nothing left to accomplish. In the end, there is only the void. Only death is real. Thyapihlon.

What particular forces introduced you to the metal genre, and what were your initial reactions to it?

I was driven by “the noise inside my head” as Sanguine has always called it. I started at post-infancy with a fixation on bombastic classical music and Alice Cooper (more for his aesthetic than anything else) and then moved on to progressively louder and scarier things. Actually, I was still very young when Motley Crue broke out with “Shout at the Devil”, and I flatly rejected it because they looked like ugly girls and it struck me as gross and stupid. Thrash and proto-death/black reached me more immediately, however, and so I quickly became an adherent to all the well-known acts like Sodom, Celtic Frost, Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, Voivod, etc. Right about this time I realized that this music was all I really ever wanted out of life. It was not just music but a way of being. I have a lot more to show for myself than just metal, but without it my reality would be a much blander and unexciting one.

Several people seem to recognize that the filth of the human race is clogging the pores of our land, and in effect devouring the environment at an agonizing pace. How do you feel about environmental concerns, and those who advocate major change in order to stabilize the planet? Also, do you feel a deeper bond with nature than most around you?

Eliminating two-thirds of humankind from the globe would be a good start. I myself refuse to breed and I wish more people felt the same. I have an appreciation for nature, yes, though I would be lying if I said I had a deeper bond. I spend most of my time in cities as this is where most of my necessary doings occur.

A splurge question, if I may. Reality is said to be the perception of your surroundings through your senses. However, the same stimulus can be interpreted in a vastly different manner by the individual than that of their peers. Do you believe that what the senses experience is subjective, that these experiences define reality, and if so, how do you believe one must measure the validity of their actions?

I suppose due to our exploration of metaphysics Averse Sefira invites many existential questions. I believe in the idea of a consensus reality where everyone can agree on certain perceptions that are known to be true- the sky is blue, the sun is hot, we need air to breathe, etc. Of course past this consensus there are many vastly different realities in which people live, some to their own delusion and detriment. But I would not agree that reality is wholly subjective any more than its governing factors of time and space.


Interview with Darken 1997 for Ichorzine

Hail Darken! How are the things going with Graveland right now?

Heil! In the name of rebirth of pagan Aryan empire! Thank you for the interview. With Graveland everything is ok. Gods take care of us. During autumn 1996 I and Capricornus have recorded our new LP “Following The Voice Of Blood”. This stuff was ready a lot of time ago, but we had some problems with recording it. We walked at the edges… Situation was dangerous because Capricornus was to be prisoned. So we started work and now we are very pleased with it. This third LP Graveland “Following The Voice Of Blood”will be released in spring ’97 by No Colours rec. Now Capricornus starts work on his solo project Thor’s Hammer and I prepare stuff for second LP of my solo folk project Lord Wind.

When I made this interview Graveland’s last release was “Thousand Swords” CD, so I asked Darken’s opinion about this CD… Does he think that it’s the best Graveland release so far?

I liked this album very much, but I was not entirely pleased with the final result. There were some things I wanted to do, but unfortunately I failed, but this LP is penneated by specific atmosphere of barbarian paganism and war. When I created this LP only war and hatred inspired me, retribution and revenge. I created music that extolled heroic acts of our ancestors, music about war and battles, about belief and honour of pagan warrior. This music is very alive and dynamic because I did not record it on computer as many Norwegian bands do it now and so the music is artificial and dead. “Thousand Swords” breathe intensity and spirit of our desires.

Then we talked with Darken about other Graveland releases: “The Celtic Winter”-MCD and “Carpathian Wolves”-CD…

I hate music from “The Celtic Winter”, this stuff is our big defeat. Some months ago No Colours rec. releases CD version of “The Celtic Winter”, they did it very well. I like the cover very much, but I still do not like this music. Stuff prepared for “Carpathian Wolves” was very good, but we recorded it in a bad studio with bad people so I am not pleased with this LP. In fact I like only intro from “Carpathian Wolves”. I want to record this stuff once more, but I do not have time for it.

And last, but definitely not least we talked about Graveland’s cult demo “In The Glare Of Burning Churches” which is also released now on CD from No Colours records…

I have always liked this demo. This music shows the spirit of our convictions and desires of that time. Darkness and hatred covered our hearts. It is very good that this demo is released on CD. Cover includes excellent photos. I dedicated this CD to all peoples who are still faithful to ideas of true black metal.

“Thousand Swords” came first from the Lethal rec., but something happened. I asked Darken to tell about this thing a bit more and also to tell his opinion about other rip-offers…

Our co-operation with Lethalfuck rec. was our big mistake. We knew that fucking Michael Piesch was a thief and liar, but we signed a contract and you know what happened later. But this matter is still open. Vienna is not so far away from Wroclaw. This fucking scoundrel will know our hatred soon. In underground there are many shitty rip-offs, poseurs and scums of society. They do not know what honour, dignity and fatherland are. Fuck them all!

Darken told us some time ago that they had some problems with their bassist Karcharoth, so I asked him to tell more…

Karcharoth is a fucking coward. He was afraid of consequences of spreading black metal ideas in Poland. He decided to go away and leave black metal. His schizophrenia helped him with it. He was terrified, his behavior was anomalous. Because of it some people started to be interested in Graveland. When we decided to take control over him and his acts, he escaped to Sweden, but the Swedish police got rid of him. Then he accused Xanpioreth from Fullmoon of trial of murder on his person. Because of it we had some problems, he accused some people from underground of burning churches. Karcharoth thought that this way he would eliminate us. Swedish police getting rid of Karcharoth from Sweden said that Polish Satanists went to Norway and burnt churches. It is very funnyKarcharoth admitted that he wanted to go to Norway to kill Fenriz (because some time ago Fenriz stole him a CD) and Grishnackh (because he spread N.S. ideas). Today Karcharoth works for the police as an informer. Besides he is member of a communist party.

A bit more about Graveland’s line-up. I wondered why Capricornus was only session member on “Thousand Swords”?

Capricornus is a session drummer because it suits him. Playing in Gravelandis dangerous now because of all things that take place in Poland. Because of neo-pagan movement and N.S. ideas, many secret services are interested in underground. State Security Bureau got money from German services and now they make an investigations against all aspects of N.S. etc. So Capricornus is a session drummer because his own will.

More about Capricornus. Sometime ago I read that he had killed his own child…

I don’t know who spread such stories about me and Capricornus. In Poland we have many enemies who wants to destroy us. Ingeniousness of these stories is to its colossal, but we do not care about it. But there are some peoples who know us and know what we can do. If Capricornus had a child he would not kill him, but bring him properly so many people would be afraid this child…

Well, what kind of persons Darken and Capricornus really are and what kind of people could fit to Graveland?

You know us a bit, you know our music and acts. It can tell you who we are and what we like.

So no answer to the second part of that question, but of course I also have to ask about Darken’s personal beliefs… Does he think that someone could play black metal without being a satanist…

I am a heathen and my private belief is connected with Celtic beliefs. All the time I try to develop my pagan identity by the knowledge about druids and Celtic customs and traditions, developing my spiritual power, celebrating Celtic feast as e.g. Samhain or Betlaim. I live according to Celtic calendar, quarters of lunar period. Black metal was created by people who said that they were Satanists and I think that black metal belongs to them. Unfortunately Satanistic movement is in a crisis situation, symbols and Satanistic values are commercialized. Satanism lost its true face. Today Satanism does not wake so many controversies as some time ago. Its mysticism and mysteriousness are destroyed by fashion created by many children who do not understand it and occupy it for joy.

Then what Darken thinks about following subjects: Witchcraft, Occultism and Viking mythology? Does he think that black metal and these subjects has something to do with each other?

Today black metal does not have big connections with these things. Sometime ago B.M. was a carrier of these valus. Unfortunately today money is god and many B.M. band have respect only for it. I respect magic and pagan beliefs. I try to have as big knowledge about it as possible.

Then what Darken thinks about satanic organizations and is he member of any? What about nazi organizations?

I am not interested in Satanic movements, but in my country paganism becomes more and more popular among N.S. organizations. We support these people because we support the same ideas (to some degree).

Let’s go back to Graveland… From where Darken finds his inspiration for doing music and in which mood he is when he is doing music?

I realize my destiny, I am the forerunner of the era of rebirth of paganism,rebirth of pagan Aryan empire, stronger because of two thousand years of experiences. Thousand years of Christianity in our pagan Europe failed the trial of the time. Now Christianity, strange to our lands and culture, is collapsing. It did not destroy true beliefs and traditions of our ancestor, our pagan spirit and identify is in our blood, our gods did not leave us, the time of their return is coming, along with them we will take part in a battle, many of us will die, but who will be care about it. It is honour to die in such a battle, the rest is not important. When dark clouds covers the sky, dark clouds of black crows, the time of final battle will come. Every man takes his sword and shield and go lead by horns sound and nobody will stint his blood.

OK, that’s all about Graveland’s music! But what about lyrics? How much Darken cares about lyrics and I also asked him to tell a bit about story what we can read on “Thousand Swords”…

Lyrics from “Thousand Swords” were inspired by old stories about great acts and battles, about heroes. I have always liked stories and poems about brave deed. I’ve liked their atmosphere permeated by great spiritual power. War is a good theme to write about. In every man this spirit of war is present because gods created man to fight. In me this spirit is very strong. I made an armour and weapon for me. I can imagine people from these poems and feel their feelings. I try to show it in my lyrics and music.

After that I asked about Graveland’s new music… How does it differs from the old material?

After “Following The Voice Of Blood” I am going to record fourth LP Graveland that will be more original and balladic. I buy new instruments that I will use on second LP Lord Wind, but I do not want to write about it now. Wait, you will see soon. Tauron from Fullmoon will help me to prepare stuff for fourth LP Graveland. We will record it in winter ’97-’98.

Well, Graveland’s next release “Following The Voice Of Blood” will be released by No Colours rec. Is Darken totally satisfied with the deal?

I am very pleased with the co-operation with No Colours rec. We started at the same time. I created band and they created No Colours rec. They understand us and do not force anything upon us. Kay ans Steffen visit us in Wroclaw so we know them personally. No Colours rec. is not a commercial label. Big commercial labels stink of Jewish shit. We want to have nothing to common with it. We do not want, because of big money, change our ideas and image, we do not want colour covers…

Darken has also his own label Isengard productions, I asked him to tell a bit more about it… Graveland has also worked with Eternal Devils rec., how things went with them? I also asked what was the reason to release Graveland’s music from Darken’s own label?

I changed the name Isengard for Eastclan. New name is a new face of my label, new destiny. Soon I will release on CD true black metal and pagan metal hordes. I choose bands that spread neo-paganism. I want to support all bands that hate Christianity, but not only superficially as many today’s Norwegian bands. Through Eastclan I would like to show the world Polish neo-paganism. I want to release bands from Germany and France and other countries where true spirit of uncompromising black metal is still alive. I have good relations with Eternal Devils. We still support each other.

More about labels… Graveland was planned to release something from Shivadarshana records & also there was some talking between Graveland and Finnish label Demonosound, but something went wrong…

Shivadarshana wanted to release LP with my old stuff “Drunemeton”, but I did not want it to be released as LP because of low quality of recording and realization. Demonosound was to release “The Celtic Winter”, but problems with finances forced them to resign it.

It seems to me that Polish black metal scene is really strong, most of the bands are in very good touch with each other and I also read something about their organization called “Temple Of The Fullmoon”, so I asked from Darken which bands are his favourites from Poland and so on…

Polish black metal scene is not big, but it is united by spreading paganism and N.S. ideas. GromoweadnyNorthVelesKohortGostynia KryJuvenes and particularly I recommend: FullmoonThunderbolt and Wineta. In opposition there are bands that sold themselves for commercial aims: BehemothMastiphal. They spread propaganda against us in shitty commercial magazines, but in fact they are afraid of us. Nergal and Flauros are trouble about their fucking asses because they were kicked several times. “The Temple Of Fullmoon” does not exist because of the problems with the police. Now many people from T.O.T.F. are members of legal neopagan organization as “Social National Union” or “Union Of Native Faith”. So now we have more freedom, but we have to be careful, because secret police are still interested in us, especially in N.S. organizations.

Even if Polish black metal scene seems to be strong, of course there are some problems and fights between some bands and those bands are Graveland and Behemoth. It is quite strange for me, because Behemoth is ine if the biggest black metal bands from Poland. Darken tells more…

I do not have any problems with Behemoth. It is a pity you unite such things about Behemoth, but you just do not know these peoples. If you knew them you would agree with Randal from Absurd who named Behemoth “sunny boys”. It is really strange that you do not see it in their music. They just only copy Norwegian bands as MayhemHadesEnslavedEmperorSatyricon. In Behemoth’s music one can only hear work of other people. Besides their music is weak, deprived of darkness and evil, they play for their women I think. But maybe you like such music??  Behemoth is popular among pacifistic antifascist organizations and submen from underground who wants to destroy us. I despise them and I remind you that Behemoth does not represent Polish black metal scene and Nergal, this fucking scoundrel, goes to Norway to look for friend, because in Poland he does not have any. Nergal is not worth of representing Polish black metal scene because he despise it.

It is very strange that Darken is now in some kind of war against Behemoth because sometime ago he played session synths for them. I also asked about his other session achievements in Veles, Fullmoon and Infernum and again I got an interesting answer…

I helped Behemoth and made intros for them when I did not know Nergal well. That time Nergal was keep on all ideas spread on Norway. He created with Blasphemous from Veles an organization “The Temple Of Infernal Fire”. But Nergal resigned it when he met two peoples from Polish black metal underground, two very extreme peoples . Samoth and Leinad from Mysteries Horde to strengthen co-operation against Christianity. Nergal understood that was not a joy, he was frightened and started breaking all ties with underground. So the war between us began. Fullmoon and Veles are faithful to B.M. underground. They are very strong, impulsive and psychopathic. But when they had problems with the police they were very hard. But unfortunately their style does not let them record music…

I have also heard some very stupid anti-Graveland and anti-Poland opinions like: You can’t play black metal in Poland, because Poland is not a northern country etc. Let’s see what Darken has to say…

It is a rubbish spread by envious and arrogant peoples from Norway. In Poland there are some good bands and some bad ones. But in my country system does not help us as in Norway. In Norway after primary school teenagers have well educated musical skills and then mothers and fathers buy for their sweet children very expensive music equipments and now a very good boy can play and create music. Norway is a very rich country. In Poland situation is different. We have to work for everything. In Polish social economical conditions many Norwegians would just perish.

But how would Darken compare Polish B.M. scene to Finnish one? I also knew that he is not a biggest fan of Impaled Nazarene…

You must be kidding! Impaled Nazarene has fans! Maybe only perverse shit eaters! Unfortunately I do not know today’s scene from Finland. I know only Darkwoods My Betrothed, but I do not like their music.

I read from Fullmoon’s demo that they hate American people and U.S.A., why is that?

Fullmoon wanted to demonstrate their bias against American system, not to inhabitans who are just slaves on this system. In my country more and more people din’t like United States ‘cos of Americanization of our native culture and other points of life. Rich Jews from U.S.A. come to Poland and demand the return of their properties. And besides they hate Polish people because Poles during second world war co-operated with Germany in extermination of Jewish race. The effect: On night from 24-25th of February someone set fir on their synagogue in Hanar. I despise American pseudo culture and its values.

Back to Graveland… Graveland is also using pseudonyms like millions of other black metal bands too. Are these names really important?

These names were important for us some time ago, but now the situation has changed. I named myself Darken because I thought this name suited me, showed my true identity and I think that it is true because a lot of darkness is in my soul and heart.

What about Graveland photos… Some time ago there was warpaints etc., but now the style has changed? Are photos important to Graveland and Darken?

I like these photos very much because I would like to look like in an everyday as on these pictures. To live somewhere, far away from the people, hunt and fight against my enemies. To live according to old pagan traditions. Now I do not use warpaints on my face because I do not need it. Hatred and darkness left mark on my face. I do not have to paint my face to add hatred and severity. I changed the style of my photos to show that I am not a Satanist, but pagan because today black metal is associated with Satanism. Although Capricornus is a Satanist, Graveland should not be connected with this movement.

So far Graveland haven’t done any gigs and I also read that they don’t want to do gigs, but now the situation has changed…

I think that soon we will start to play alive. Tauron and Diathyron from Fullmoon will help us in it, We want to play and meet with peoples and manifest our ideas. We want to talk these peoples and teach them how to be strong, how to fight. We want to spread paganism and meet peoples who support us.

In the past Darken was the only member of Graveland. I asked him to tell more about those days and why he decided to took more members? I also wanted to know all releases from those days…

I needed true drums to develop my music so Capricornus joined me, drums from computer were too artificial. Fucking scoundrel Karcharoth joined us because I thought that his mental disease would make Graveland cult band. Unfortunately we lost control over him and he had to leave us. It somehow reminds me problems of Euronymous and Grishnackh. Graveland created some stuff: Demo I – Necromanteion, Promo June ’92, Promo November – Drunemeton, Demo 2’93 – In The Glare Of Burning Churches,, Demo 3’93 and mini-CD The Celtic Winter, Debut CD/LP – Carpathian Wolves, Second LP – Thousand Swords and now third LP/CD – Following The Voice Of Blood.

I almost forgot to ask about Darken’s second band, Lord Wind. All necessary comes now…

Lord Wind and Graveland represents two different, but somehow united sides of my individuality. Graveland is about pagan war, retribution and hatred. Lord Wind is full of longevity for all things that went away, full of respect for pagan beliefs and traditions of our ancestors, there are hope and faith in this music. Music of Lord Wind is inspired by old compositions created by bands and troubadours. I name this music pagan folk. Lord Wind is to teach people how to find their pagan identity because pagan spirit sleeps in every of us, strange religion did not destroy it during these two thousand years. Lord Wind is to wake up white peoples and show them the true way…

It’s almost time to stop this interview, but before it I asked very usual question… What black metal means to Darken? Is it his lifestyle or just music what he likes to listen and play?

Music is for me style of living, black metal is a part of this style. It helped me to develop and realize my aims. Now I look for values and spiritual power. I can find it in old music. Black metal cannot help me here. These values can be found in my music, in Graveland and Lord Wind. So my music is very original and some people cannot understand it. But hatred to this spiritless world is the main inspiration to my music. Graveland is my weapon to fight against enemies of my faith, freedom and life.

To the very end Darken tells us future plans of Graveland and why “Following The Voice Of Blood” will be the best Graveland release and also three good reasons why everyone should buy it.

I am not sure if everyone will like “Following The Voice Of Blood” because this LP differs from any other today’s music. On this LP I wanted to create sound similar to Venom from “At War With Satan”. Do I pass or fail? You will hear… Three reason for which you have to listen this LP: very dynamic sound, original melodies, specific atmosphere.

So, the last words are all Darken’s…

I would like to thank you for this interview and support. Hard days for Graveland have come. We are only two: I and Capricornus. Although slanders of left wimp opposition and betrayal of man who was with us, we will never give up, we still are faithful to our ideas. The police make an absurdal investigation against us so we have to be very careful and we are grateful for every support. Gods take care of us because we win for Pagan Aryan Empire! We have common ideas and common problems. So unite and help one another. Be careful and fight! Soon we will meet on the final battle… Win for Pagan Aryan Empire!


Interview with Abigor 1997 for Mourning the Ancient

‘…my heart belongs to the past… my mind to the ancient times. I wander through the fields where blood was spilt… why am I born into this world… Soon I will leave. Into the sleep of death~ never to return. My life is just a silent darkened barricade… between all I ever wanted to be. I will enter the other side, to fly on the wings of death. To ride with the wind to the ancient times. To fade away in a blackened spiral- to see eternity. To be a wintershadow out of time. ‘-A Frozen Soul in a Wintershadow from Nachthymnen (From the Twilight Kingdom)

 

 

The following interview is done with Peter K…

Although Abigor needs no introduction, give us a history and bio of the band for those souls who have yet to hear your music. 
ABIGOR was formed in summer 1993, by Thomans and myself. Immediately after that Tharen joined ABIGOR as vocalist. We recorded the first demo, entitled Ash Nazgh… in Autumn 93, the second demo Lux Devicta Est in December 93, then the Promo-Tape II/94, and in March we released the last official demo, Moonrise. After we released Moonrise we replaced Tharen with Silenius. The main reason for this was because the lack of dedication and passivity from Tharen`s side, so it was the only suitable solution for ABIGOR. In May we recorded a kind of advance tape, entitled In Hate & Sin, just to check out Silenius´ vocal performance. We signed a deal with NAPALM after the Moonrise demo, and we recorded the debut album Verwustung / Invoke The Dark Age in June 94, but because of several problems – because of press ban in Austria and Swiss – it has been released in autumn 94. In November 94 we recorded the concept MCD Orkblut – The Retaliation. On one day in spring 95 we recorded the overworked demo song Shadowlord for the NAPALM compilation With Us Or Against Us Vol.I, and in may 95 Nachthymnen (From The Twilight Kingdom) In November 95 the first chapter of Opus IV – Horns Lurk From Beyond The Stars. In may 96 we recorded the second part of Opus IV, Blut Aus Aeonen, and finally Opus IV has been released in August 96. In January 97 we recorded the MCD Apokalypse within a few hours, and in November 1997 we started the recording session for Supreme Immortal Art. The album was finally been released at the end of February 1998. Within the next month NAPALM will release a 7″ that includes 2 exclusive studio out-takes of the first two recording days of Supreme Immortal Art in 1997, the included songs are The Spirit Of Venus, and Magic Glass Monument, and at the 12th October a strictly limited CD (500), with a few selected demo songs will be released through NAPALM. Well, I guess that’s ABIGOR`s history so far.
Tell us about your newest release, ‘Supreme Immortal Art,’ and how it differs from the five previous releases. 
The main difference is that we used keyboard throughout the album, furthermore the album is very technical and complex. It’s for sure the most matured release so far, even I am not that satisfied with the production, anyway, I think we’ve managed to create a kind of restless harmony between the keyboards and the guitars, without any loss of the aggressive guitar sound.
I understand you plan to release some select demo songs on cd soon. Tell us about this material and the motivation behind its release. 
We decided to release that CD, because the inquire on ABIGOR demo’s still enormous. So we thought that would be the best way, and with the strict limitation of 500 CD’s we prevent a sell-out, so the demos and as well the demo CD will always be rare items.
Why did you choose to use a female backing vocalist in some of your songs?

Some people say that ‘true’ black metal is straight forward aggression. No keyboards, no female vocals or ‘clean’ vocals(although we don’t believe this true.)

What do you think about this matter? 
Personally I think that it depends on the spread message, and the philosophy of the involved individuals, and not how one performs the music. And who says that Black-Metal with clean, or even female vocals can’t be straight and aggressive too?! I think that’s an idiotic matter. Also I see Black-Metal still as my way of self realization, and I create art that I like, and I give a shit if others can accept it.

The other members of Abigor and yourself are involved in a handful of side-projects. Could you tell us about these? Does Abigor come first? 
Yes, ABIGOR grant our full priority, and I think that these side-projects have no negative affect for ABIGOR at all. Silenius is also involved in SUMMONING, and MIRKWOOD. But he has never written any note for an ABIGOR song, nor any lyrics – he is `just´ the vocalist. HEIDENREICH, the second band I am involved in will grow into more experimental fields of Metal, even the upcoming release Trance Of An Unholy Union will be still Black-Metal, but with more un-typical, and strange influences. And Thomas is only involved in ABIGOR.
What are some of the things Abigor stands for?
ABIGOR represents the everlasting spirit of grow and decay, it’s a restless demon, the demon of war. Sixty of the infernal legions are at his command, ABIGOR holds the banner of Satan high, and we are the mouth of Satan.
Surely your music draws inspiration from such things as aggression, hate, etc., what other, less noticeable things inspire you, musically and otherwise? 
Personally I haven’t any conscious influences anymore. I think everything influences me more or less, but maybe one can speak about a kind of hatred towards the (standard) human species, with their moral, and way of living, so maybe one can see this as a kind of inspiration.
Abigor has expressed a deep hatred for Christianity in past interviews… do you see it as the culture-destroying, destructive, alien force that so many others have seen it to be? 
Christianity is responsible for the loss of wisdom that our ancestors have used for hundreds of years. The heathens have been conquered with sword and fire, and nowadays it’s one of the world religions, and no-one doubts the truth and honesty of Christianity. That’s in my opinion just weak minded, and I consider Christianity as a religion that instructs to beg for heaven – so if one sums it up it’s a religion for sub-species that are unable to develop a kind of individual thinking, like 90% of today’s population are.
How deep does your knowledge of Judeo-christianity go? Have you ever read the bible or been to one of their churches? 
Yes, I read the bible, and as I was young I also was in a church. I think one must know the enemy before one can fight, or judge it. It’s easy to spread shit without any knowledge, but in my opinion not the way it should be.
When did you first realize the lies of this religion? 
Puh, I can’t remember, but I can remember that my parents always joked about the church and the pope, and that they always told me how false the Christian dogma is. Anyway, I decided to read the bible to have an individual opinion, but after that I agreed, Christianity isn’t worth any attention, just a joke.
In contrast, what are your thoughts on Satanism, in general? 
Personally I proclaim myself as a Satanist. I worship Satan, practise rituals, and honour the gods of our ancestors. My Satanism is very personal, because it combines philosophies of very different kinds of heathen and occult believes, even I see Satan as the `master´, I am above all these.
What about the death of Anton LaVey? What did you think when you first heard the news of his death? 
La Vey is dead?! Well, I really didn’t know it. But it doesn’t bother me at all.
What sort of books interest you? 
I read everything I find interesting, not focused to any domain. But I like scientific books about the quantum theory, and the space-time proportion, and sometimes I read fantasy books, but these books got mostly boring.
If you could step back into time for one day, what age and place would you go and what would you do for that day? And for what reason?
Maybe the battle of Stalingrad in the 2nd World War would be nice, mainly because I think it would be very impressive to see the dismembered, and frozen corpses of the fallen soldiers.
Is there someone of the past that inspires you? 
Not really.
What Gods/Goddesses were worshipped in Austria before the coming of Christianity? 
In Austria we’ve had `polytheismus´, and the religions of Celts, and Germans, but mainly the early Austrians worshipped the gods of nature.
What are your feelings of paganism? Would you say there is a resurgence of ‘heathen’ beliefs these days? If so, what do you think is the cause of this? 
Yes, it is a resurgence, definitely. Even in Austria it’s more a kind of trend to be interested in it. I think at the moment we’ve an enormous boom of Esoteric here in Austria. But personally I am very addicted to paganism, even I think that depends on the education caused by my parents.
As living creatures, we are forced to contemplate our mortality. Death ever looms over the horizon of life. What are your thoughts and feelings of death? Do you believe in any sort of an afterlife? 
I believe in an existence after death, I don’t know who, and where, but I can imagine a kind of parallel dimension. Also our lives existence is energy, and energy can’t be annihilated, only transformed into other form of energy, the only problem is, whether we can see the soul as a source or force of energy. Hmm, I don’t know how it should look there, I’ll see it sooner or later.
What are some of your greatest goals in life? 
I’ve no real goal in life. At the moment I live in a kind of inner harmony, I try to realize all my ideas with ABIGOR and HEIDENREICH, also I’d like to get more wisdom and knowledge, and as long as I can fulfill these `goals´, and I feel inner harmony, I am more or less satisfied with this existence called life.
If you knew the world was going to end tomorrow, and only you knew, what would you do until then? What would the last words on your lips be? 
I often thought about that, but I still haven’t found any suitable solution. But one thing I’d like to do before the world ends is, I’d like to kill someone. I must see the fear, and the death in the eyes of my victim. I think my last words would be – finally it happens…
A question we ask the bands we interview is if they see a decline in the world and a fleeting hope for its future. Almost always do they express to us a hopeless attitude, believing that the last days are upon mankind. What do you think? And why? Will things only get worse? 
If one takes a look on today’s world situation it seems to be hopeless, but it doesn’t bother me too much. I would feel deep satisfaction, if the world ends soon, because I think the planet must be healed of its disease called mankind.
Ok, back to the music, has Abigor done any touring? (if so, with who and where/when?) Are there plans for touring in the future? 
No, we haven’t toured yet, nor have we ever performed any live-gig yet. Maybe we will play an exclusive gig at the Hellraiser Club in Leipzig (Germany) but it isn’t sure yet.
What can we expect for the next full length Abigor release? Any material recorded already? Can you give us a name or some of the song titles? How will it differ from the last?
The new material will be more various, with more fast tempo changes, but also very technical and aggressive, also we will not use keyboards anymore, but we will try to work with 3-4 guitar-lines throughout the album. If everything works well, we will record the new album in December. Compared to Supreme Immortal Art the new material is much faster, and aggressive, but its still typical ABIGOR, await it.

Alas, final comments?
Thanx for your support. Satan lebt!


Excerpts from ‘A Burzum Story’ written by Varg

In 1988 or 1989, when I had played the guitar for a year or two, I formed a band called Kalashnikov with two other guys. We called the band Kalashnikov amongst other things because that was the name of my favourite assault rifle. I used to play RPGs (Role-Playing Games), and when we were playing games like “Twilight 2000”, I always equipped my character with an AK-74 (Avtomat-Kalashnikov 74). I also played fantasy RPGs, though, like AD&D (“Advanced Dungeons And Dragons”) and MERP (“Middle-Earth Role-Playing”) with GM (“Game Master”) rules, and was very much influenced by the fantastic world of Middle-Earth. One of our songs was because of that named “Uruk-Hai”, and we soon changed the name of the whole band to Uruk-Hai. I don’t remember the lyrics of that song, but I don’t think it was very deep or particularly advanced (the chorus was: “Uruk-Hai! You will die”, or something like that…). Now, “Uruk-Hai” is as most Burzum fans should know the name of the “High-Orcs” of Sauron, and it translates as “Orc-Race”, from Black Speech, the language of Mordor.

In my teenage interpretation I pretty much saw the Hobbits as children or simply boring. The dwarves reminded me too much of greedy capitalist-pigs and they too were pretty boring. Their rules were cool and Moria was a wonderful place, but I disliked their greed vehemently – and who wants to be short anyhow? The elves were fascinating, beautiful and especially their immortality and closeness to nature was cool, but they were kind of dull and they fought for the wrong side. Instead I felt a natural attraction to Sauron, who was the person who gave the world adventure, adversity and challenges in the first place. His One Eye, the One Ring and the tower of Barad-Dur are all attributes similar to those of Óðinn. The One Eye was like Óðinn’s eye, the One Ring was like Óðinn’s ring, Draupnir (“Dripper”), and Barad-Dur was like the tower or throne of Óðinn, called Hliðskjálf (“Secret Ritual-Site”). His Uruk-Hai and Olog-Hai (“Troll-Race”) were like Viking berserkers, the Warges were like Óðinnic werewolves, and so forth. I could easily identify with the fury of the “dark forces”, and enjoyed their existence very much because they were making a boring and peaceful world dangerous and exciting.

I grew up reading the traditional Scandinavian fairy tales, where the Pagan gods are presented as “evil” creatures, as “trolls” and “goblins”, and we all know how the inquisition turned Freyr (Cernunnos/Dionysus/Bacchus et cetera) into “Satan”. Tolkien was no better. He had turned Óðinn into Sauron and my Pagan forefathers into the fighting Uruk-Hai. To me the “dark forces” attacking Gondor were like the Vikings attacking Charlemagne’s Christian France, the “dark forces” attacking Rohan were like the Vikings attacking the Christian England. And I may add; the Vikings eventually lost their war as well, just like Sauron and the orcs did – and I didn’t mind supporting the loosing part. I have always believed in doing what is right, regardless of the consequences, and if I was fighting for a lost cause it didn’t matter. I would rather die fighting for what I believe in, than live for anything else.

However, he had not only used the Vikings and the Norse language to create the orcs and their language. The word “Orc” is actually the name of a tribe that in the ancient times lived in Scotland, on the Orkney Islands (also known as Orcadia). “Orc” is a Gaelic word that to my knowledge translates as “boar”. The warrior cults of the native tribes on the British Isles probably used boars the same way as the Scandinavian warrior cults of the berserkers and werewolves used bears and wolves. The “Orcs” were a part of the group of tribes we know from the Roman era to the Viking Age as the Picts (“Painted Ones”).

Now, it is no surprise that a Catholic Englishman like Tolkien used, amongst others, “mad, red-haired, claymore-wielding Scottish barbarians” and “furious, church-burning Scandinavian berserkers” as models for some of the bad guys, and because he did I felt more drawn to these bad guys than to the good guys. I had little in common with “Christian” characters like the “English” riders of Rohan or the “French” people of Gondor. I had little admiration for a “Saint” like Aragon. Even the elves were somewhat alien, as Tolkien used Finnish when he created their language – and used the Finns as a model when created them. They actually have a lot in common with the Elves too, as they live in what is basically a large forest (Finland) east of the Scandinavian mountains (“The Grey Mountains”). Earlier they lived in Northern Russia, in the vast (“Myrkwood”? [Darkwood]) forest just west of the Ural mountains. They are also a very fair (blonde) people, and like the elves they are somewhat silent, melancholic, special and distant. Mysterious, if You like. To me, the language of the elves sounded alien and incomprehensible – just like Finnish is incomprehensible – while Orcish and Black Speech obviously was based on the language of my forefathers. So Uruk-Hai as a band name was a logical choice.

The drummer and the bassist of Uruk-Hai were people I had met more or less by accident. I already knew the drummer from an earlier encounter, when we were (somewhere between) 12-15 years old, and he had placed a loaded .375 Magnum revolver in my forehead on New Year’s Eve, because he believed I had called him “fatso” (a perfectly good excuse to point a gun to somebody’s head, of course…). I had actually not called him, but his friend, a “fatso”, and told him that – and that was it. “Ohm okay”, he said, and he just left without any more trouble (ha ha). His interest in playing music was, I guess, the “normal” one – id est “sex, drugs and rock’n’roll”. The other guy in Uruk-Hai was playing the bass solely because he wanted to get laid – he was in other words a stereotypical “rock’n’roller”. Ideally he should have played the guitars, as guitarists are for some weird reason more popular with the girls, but he didn’t even really know how to play the bass, so…

Then in 1989 I met the guys in Old Funeral, who were excellent and serious musicians, and we dropped the whole Uruk-Hai project. The two other Uruk-Hai members were already fighting over a girl, and we had stopped rehearsing, so it was not hard to put Uruk-Hai to rest. I played with Old Funeral for two years, and in that time Old Funeral had turned from a really cool Techno-Thrash band to a boring Death Metal band. It was not my fault, though, as they had already changed from Techno-Thrash to Death Metal when I joined them. This was the reason I eventually left Old Funeral, as I wanted to play my own type of music, a more original and personal type of music than the music we played in Old Funeral at the time (1989-1991).

(You might have noticed the silly name: Old Funeral. In their defense I must say that I think they were originally called just Funeral. Then they found out that another band was called Funeral too, but they had used that name before the other Funeral band, so they changed it to Old Funeral. They were in other words “the old Funeral”, and not Old Funeral, so it is not as stupid as it first seems.)

Instead of starting up the Uruk-Hai project again, I changed the name and decided to do everything myself, although I used some riffs from Uruk-Hai. I did not want to play live and my motives for playing music was very different from the traditional “rock’n’roll” motivation. While playing in Old Funeral I had kept my interest for RPGs and was still heavily inspired by the magic of fantasy. I think I have said that Burzum had an occult concept, but it is more correct to say it was a magical concept, or a concept built on fantasy magic. Everything with Burzum was out-of-this-world, even the name.

Like I said, when the Christians called the gods of my forefathers “demons”, “trolls”, “goblins” and not least “evil”, I naturally felt attracted to everything that was seen as “evil” by the Christians. This is a slightly immature reaction, perhaps, but I was only a teenager, so I have no problems with that. I still had this attitude in 1991, and Uruk-Hai was an excellent name, but I felt that I was starting all over again, so I needed a new name too. As most Tolkien fans should know “burzum” is one of the words that are written in Black Speech on the One Ring of Sauron. As far as I remember the last sentence is “ash nazg durbabatuluk agh burzum ishi krimpatul”, meaning “one ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them”. The “darkness” of the Christians was of course my “light”. So all in all it was natural for me to use the name Burzum.

Most bands (except Old Funeral of course) had “cool” English names, like Immortal, Mayhem, Darkthrone, Destruction, Celtic Frost, Enslaved, Pestilence, Paradise Lost, Morbid Angel, Death, and so forth. I didn’t want that, and that was one of the reasons I chose the Uruk-Hai and later Burzum name. At the time – before the release of “The Lord Of The Rings” films by Peter Jackson, I may add – its meaning was pretty much solis sacerdotibus. Only initiates, so to speak, knew what it meant. Only people who had a special interest in Tolkien’s world would know, and that was kind of cool – or so I thought. It enabled the listeners to feel special and to feel that Burzum was made especially for them (and it was).

The idea with Burzum was not only to make original and personal music, but also to create something new – a “darkness” in a far too “light”, safe and boring world. Unlike 99% of all musicians I didn’t play music to become famous, earn money and get laid. I had no interest in neither fame nor money, and I had a very naïve and romantic view on women, an almost medieval (or rather fantsy world) view on women, so I had nothing but contempt for the brain-dead “sex, drugs and rock’n’roll” attitude of the other metal people. Instead my motivation was a wish to experiment with magic, and try to create an alternative reality by the use of “magic”. If the spiritual power of many people could be “collected” in one vessel, or transferred through one magic item or entity (in Norse we call it fylgja[“follower”, “guardian spirit”]), it could be used to create something real. This is purely magical thinking, and instead of being based on occultism it was based on fantasy magic – something that is kind of amusing to think about. Burzum was supposed to be the vessel, the magic weapon (or if You like; the magic ring), so to speak. I should stress (in case You think I had list my mind completely) that this was an experimental project that only took up some of my time, and I did other things in my life too (like prepare for partisan warfare in case of a US invasion of Norway…).

If people knew that Burzum was just the band of some teenager that would sort of ruin the magic, I figured, and for that reason I felt that I needed to be anonymous. So I used a pseudonym, Count Grishnackh, and used a photo of me that didn’t look like me at all, on the debut album, to make Burzum itself seem more out-of-this world, and to confuse people. I may add that the interview that created all the headlines in January 1993 was also done anonymously, and I never agreed to let any newspapers use my name or photos of me until later, when it was too late to stay anonymous anyhow. It was not my intention to become well-known (or “infamous”…) at all, and when they even used my realname at the time, Kristian (from Greek “Kristos”, meaning “Christ”) Vikernes, instead of the pseudonym, I was horrified – and this was the thing that actually tipped the scale and made me finally go and change my name legally. No way was I going to let the magic of Burzum be “ruined” by something like that…

When they ruined my anonymity I had to give up that idea, and I eventually stopped using a pseudonym. I wanted Burzum to be well-known, not me, but that obviously didn’t work out the way I had planned.

As people involved with magic already know, magic is all about imagination, symbolism, visualization and willpower. If You imagine a thing happening in Your head, You will make it happen – that is if Your willpower is strong enough, or if You possess enough “spiritual power”. If an object symbolizes a certain power, it becomes that power. That is why our forefathers carved runes into rocks and pieces of wood, because the runes symbolized certain powers. That is why winter and summer solstice and the equinoxes are so important, because they symbolize special events, that are described in our mythology. That is why we originally began to wear jewellery, because the different metals or stones symbolized different powers in the universe.

Burzum was supposed to be such a symbol. Burzum was an attempt to create (or “recreate” if You like) an imaginary past, a world of fantasy – that in turn was based on our Pagan past. Burzum in itself was a spell. The songs were spells and the albums were arranged in a special way, to make the spells work. Burzum was not intended for live-shows, but instead it was supposed to be listened to in the evening, when the sunbeams couldn’t vaporize the power of the magic, and when the listener was alone – preferably in his or her bed, going to sleep. The two first albums are made for the LP format, meaning each side as a spell, so they don’t work on CD unless you program the CD-player to only play the tracks of one side of the LP at the time. The later albums were created for CD, so they don’t work as well on LP. The first track was supposed to calm down or rather “prepare” the listener, and make him or her more “susceptible” to the magic, the next song or songs were supposed to exhaust the listener and put him or her in a trancelike state of mind, and last track should “calm down” the listener and carry him or her into the “world of fantasy” – when he or she fell asleep. That was the spell, the magic that would make the imaginary past, the world of fantasy, real (in the mind of the listener). If You take a look at the Burzum albums and how they are built up You will see what I mean. The last track of the “spell” (LP side or CD) is always a calm (often synthesizer) track. Whether this works or not is of course another question, but that was the idea anyhow.

The artwork of the two first records are inspired by an AD&D (1st edition) module called “The Temple Of Elemental Evil”, and the artwork on the third and fourth album is inspired by traditional Scandinavian fairy tales. I never read any books about the occult Satanism, so those who believe I was influenced by Satanism are simply and obviously wrong. I did call myself a Satanist in a short period in 1992, but I never was a Satanist. I just used the term to provoke and to underline my hostility towards Christianity – and to stress the need for “darkness” in the world (as too much “light” doesn’t illuminate our paths and warm us, it only blinds and burns us – as stated clearly on the “Hvis Lyset Tar Oss” and the “Filosofem” albums [If You wish to know more about that philosophy, I suggest You read my articles or books about Paganism]).

What inspired me to make the music itself is kind of weird too. When I was a teenager my RPG friends and I sometimes took some wooden clubs, spears and swords and went into the countryside to fight each other. We had no other purpose than to fight because it was fun, and we didn’t try to hurt each other. We never tried to hit the head of our opponents or other “vulnerable” areas (where men’s brain is located…), and we didn’t use much force. We still sometimes hurt each other by accident, and the fighting never stopped until at least one of us was bleeding, most often from the fingers or knuckles, and one of us had had enough pain for the day.

We fought each other in mainly three different places. One was in the forest, near an old and isolated burial ground for either victims of leprosy, the Spanish influenza or the Black Death, I don’t remember exactly. The forest was thick and the terrain rough, and we often fell, or rather rolled, down the sides of small hills, through the underbrush, falling on rotting tree trunks – while trying to avoid the strikes from our foes.

The other place was a forested hill with an ancient horg (a Pagan stone monument) five minutes north-east of where I grew up. It was a deciduous forest, so it was very different from the other (pine) forest we used to fight in, and it was a very atmospheric place. Of course bringing weapons to and fighting in a holy place is in theory not all okay, according to the ancient traditions, but the weapons were made of wood and weren’t made to hurt others, so it wasn’t that serious after all (they were more like the staffs of wizards than anything else).

The third “battleground” was the ruins of an old monastery three or four minutes south-west of where the guys in Immortal grew up. The monastery was burned down by Vikings in the VIIIth century, as far as I remember. It was the first monastery built in Norway, by the way – and not surprisingly its existence as a monastery was short. The (probably British) monks were cut down or thrown into a nearby bog to drown.

It was always very nice to return home for a warm shower after these fights; sweat, soaked, bruised, often bleeding and with pine needles or leaves in all the clothes (and hair for that sake). It felt like I came home from a real battlefield. Exhausted – and feeling alive.

Now, the locals naturally reacted a bit to our presence. One time I jumped our from the underbrush – after laying in wait to ambush the other guys – and surprised a family who was just taking a walk. I had long hair with bits of moss and pine needles in it, more dark grey or black clothes with grim Death Metal imagery and had a club in my hand, so they weren’t too pleased to see me. Because of the risk of encountering “normal” people out enjoying the freedom of Mother Nature, we ended up fighting when the risk of running into “normal” people was minimal. In other words, we waited for the late evenings. We sometimes brought torches or built a bonfire, to be able to see in the darkness, and of course Scandinavian summer-nights are not dark anyhow, and we kept fighting.

I had initially began this game of fighting with some of the RPG-friends, but when I met the guys in Old Funeral (and Amputation) (later Immortal) we too began to do this. This was a social event to us, and during the breaks we talked music, the others planned live shows and we generally inspired each other – before we got home in the middle of the night and made music!

(I can add, that when I was arrested for slaying Euronymous these fights were described as “nocturnal Satanic rituals” by the media, to provide You with an example of just how ridicules and false the media accusations and rumours of “Satanism” are.)

The mood of the forest, the mood of the night, the mood of the ancient holy site, the pain from bruises and minor injures, the taste of pine needles, soil and blood, and the smell of burning wood. That was our (or at least my) inspiration. On my way home, after age 17, when I exchanged my noisy moped with a car, I played music loud on the car-stereo and often took long drives through deep valleys and forests in the night, and through the town or rural areas, before I finally went home. The monotonous sound of the car engine and the music playing loud on the car-stereo was mesmerizing, and of course I was influences by endorphins too, as my body was fighting the pain of the bruises and other injuries. This was some positive “darkness” in our world of “light” – and it inspired and made me feel alive.

In this early period of Burzum – 1991 and 1992 or August 1993 – I pretty much made all the music for all the albums. The “Dauði Baldrs” and “Hliðskjálf” albums were mostly reconstructions of forgotten riffs or synthesizer versions of old Burzum guitar riffs or even old unused songs, so they too were mostly made in this period. In a sense it was the Golden Age of Burzum – that had its natural end when I was imprisoned in August 1993.

When I started Burzum I hadn’t even heard about Venom, so naturally Burzum is not – like some have claimed – influenced by Venom, in any way. When I drove home after “sword” fights, listening to music, I listened to a demo tape of Paradise Lost, released in 1989 or 1990 I think, Bathory’s “Hammerheart” and “Blood. Fire. Death”, the Old Funeral demo tape, called “Abduction Of Limbs” (…), Pestilence (a Dutch Death Metal band, as far as I remember) and some other underground Death Metal bands that I don’t recall today, I listened to underground house and techno music (although only when I was alone, because metal people don’t seem to like that kind of music) – and of course I listened to Burzum. The other guys liked Entombed and Morbid Angel, but I have never liked or listened to that. Nobody listened to Venom, by the way, but in late 1991 we began to listen to our old Celtic Frost, Destruction, early Kreator (“Pleasure To Kill” and “Endless Pain”) and (the older) Bathory records as well, that we all saw as Thrash Metal, by the way. Entombed and other trendy Death Metal crap was forgotten by then. I know the guys in Emperor listened to Merciful Fate and King Diamond instead of, or perhaps in addition to, the bands I mentioned above, stuff they had listened to in the 1980ies, so there was no theory that You had to listen to this or that band. We listened to whatever we liked. In 1992 I (and at least one of the Emperor guys) also began to listen to Dead Can Dance, “Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun” and similar music. We were all simply tired of all the boring, trendy and unoriginal hordes of Death Metal bands that produced tons of crappy albums that all sounded the same, and we went back to what we had listened to before or found other music to listen to. Of course I also kept listening to the good Death Metal releases, like the Paradise Lost demo I mentioned above, and I know the others kept listening to Morbid Angel’s “Altar Of Madness”, and Deicide (when they released their debut album, in 1992 I think).

The message of Burzum is really all summed up in the lyrics of the first track (“Feeble Screams From Forests Unknown”) on the first album. That was all I had to say really, and the rest of the Burzum lyrics are only like footnotes to this one. The last line in this lyric was “the hopeless soul keeps mating“, and on the cover it was erroneously written “the hopeless soul keeps waiting“, because of a mistake by Euronymous, who ran the record company (DSP) that first released it. Apparently my handwriting was heard to read. Also, the “Ea, Lord Of The Deeps” song is supposed to be named “Ea, Lord Of The Depths”, but obviously Euronymous thought he knew better and changed it.

The magic was necessary only because I wasn’t satisfied with the real world. There was no adventure, no fear or trolls, dragons or undead creatures. No magic. So I figured I had to create the magic myself. It was very sad to see that this magic was ruined or at least reduced in 1993, when the media started to write about it, and a lot of former country, rock and Death Metal bands in Norway suddenly dyed their hair black and started to wear corpse-paint and play Black Metal; to become famous, to make money and to get laid – and not to change the world. They didn’t seem to think about magic, that is for sure, but in their defense I must say they weren’t shown much magic either. The media twisted everything beyond recognition, like they always do. The new bands made Black Metal become a part of the modern world, rather than revolt against it, like they should have done. Maybe they felt attracted to it because the magic worked, because they felt attracted to something that was special. I don’t know. I just know that I don’t appreciate what it has turned into; just another unimaginative “sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll” subculture in and a part of the modern world. It has become part of the “bread and circus” of the oppressors – it has become a part of the problem.

My hope would be that Burzum could inspire people to wish for a new and better reality in the real world, and hopefully do something about it. Maybe revolt against the modern world, by refusing to participate in the rape of Mother Earth, by refusing to participate in the murder of our European race, by refusing to become a part of any of these artificial media-created “rock’n’roll” subcultures, and by building new and healthy communities, where the Pagan culture – and magic if You like – can be cultivated.

It has been kind of interesting to see how some people have felt a need to make up stories regarding the why I ended up killing Euronymous. It is sad to see that people make up stories just because the truth is uncomfortable to them.

In 1991 most of the metal musicians in Norway believed Euronymous was a so-called cool guy, but in mid or late 1992 most of us realized that he was not. When DSP (Deathlike Silence Productions), his label, released the Burzum debut album, in March 1992, he had to take up a loan to be able to pay for it. He couldn’t afford it himself, and he loaned the money from me. When he sold all the Burzum albums he paid his private bills rather than print more records – or pay me back the money he owned me (and I never saw any royalties either, for that sake). So when he was sold out he had no money to print more records. This is probably the reason why some people think I killed him for money, but certainly I wouldn’t have gotten my money back by killing him. Breaking his legs would probably have worked, but not killing him. I can always get more money if I want to and I never invest any more than I can afford to loose, anyhow. I have a very relaxed relationship to money, so this rumour is just silly, and it was only talk about 36.000 NOK anyhow (about 5100 USD, about and average month’s pay in Norway).

I took the consequence of his incompetence and stupidity and started up my own label, called Burznazg (in Tolkien’s Black Speech that is “Dark Ring”), that was later (in late 1992) changed to Cymophane (Greek: “Wave to appear”, the name of a gem that is shaped like an eye), and decided to do everything myself. I didn’t need him. All he did was to sit on his fat arse in his shop and drink Coca Cola and eat kebab anyway. His shop was going down the drain, and it was only a matter of time before he (and thus DSP) was bankrupt.

We hadn’t given up on him just yet though, not completely, and as a final attempt to get his shop going we agreed that I should do an interview for a newspaper to give metal-music some attention. He was out of Burzum albums, but he had other albums for sale in his shop. When I did the anonymous interview in January 1993 I exaggerated a lot and when the journalist left we – a girl and I – had a good laugh, because he didn’t seem to understand that I was pulling his leg. He took everything dead serious. Unfortunately he went to the police the next day (the 19th) and had me arrested, and (the 20th) his newspaper printed his version of what I had said while I was in a holding cell unable to tell anybody that it was just a load of crap I had said to create some interest in a music genre – to help Euronymous get some customers for a change.

The interesting thing is that when I was arrested Euronymous closed down the shop instead of taking advantage of the situation, because his parents thought the attention was too uncomfortable! So the “evil” Black Metal hero did what his mother and father told him to! Pretty pathetic, alright, but by doing so he also made all my efforts more or less pointless. I spent six weeks in custody because of that, and all he did was to close down the shop! The customers came in droves, but to a closed shop! How stupid is that?!

When I got out from prison I was pretty disillusioned by all that had happened in the media, and the police had made such a mess for me when they had their raid in my apartment that it was hard to run Cymophane like I had planned to. At the same time DSP had (possibly because of the media stunt) gotten a distribution deal with a company in Oslo, and could start printing and selling DSP records again.

Euronymous had made a complete fool of himself by closing down the shop, and most of us agreed that he was a damn wimp and an idiot. I was angry at him for not taking advantage of the situation, which was why I had done that silly interview in the first place, and I didn’t want anything more to do with him. There was no point in dealing with him. Instead I got a deal with a distribution company in Oslo for Cymophane, and continued on my own.

As far as I was concerned he didn’t exist anymore. When he phoned me to ask me if they, the guys in Mayhem, could stay at my place when they were in Grieghallen sound studios to finish the Mayhem album, I said no. Nobody else in Bergen wanted to give them a place to stay either, and they had to rent a room at a motel. Nobody had anything against Hellhammer, the only other Mayhem member at the time, but we just didn’t want anything to do with Euronymous. I have always had a good relationship to Hellhammer, and he wasn’t very impressed with Euronymous either, so to speak. In 1992, when we recorded “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas”, he even made jokes that we should kill him!

For some months this dislike for Euronymous spread in the metal scene, as more and more people understood what a moron he was, and he blamed me for all of this, and started to hate me. He believed it was my fault people lost their respect for him. In a sense he was right, as I certainly didn’t keep my opinions a secret, but I think he brought that upon himself. He was simply disclosed by the way he reacted to the heat. He had made a fool of himself. Further, when the media wrote all that crap about me it made him feel less important. Suddenly he was no longer the “main character” in the hardcore metal scene. As he saw it, that too was all my fault. This is probably the reason people claim the killing was a result of a power struggle between two leading figures in the scene, but the truth is that this was only important to him. I couldn’t care less about this. I didn’t even socialize with that many metal people, and when I went out I preferred to go to house parties and to an underground techno club in Bergen, called “Føniks” (Phoenix), while most of the metal guys went to some rock’n’roll place. In fact I went to the techno club to get away from all the new metal people, because I didn’t like the attention from them. I preferred the attention of nice girls, so to speak.

Later Mayhem got a new guitarist, Snorre W. Ruch of Thorns, from Trondheim, and when he moved to Bergen I let him sleep on a guest bed, in the living room of my apartment, until he got his own apartment. At this point Euronymous had begun to plot against my life. He wanted to kill me. In his view I was the problem, so by killing me he believed he problem would go away.

His problem was that he included a few of the metal people in his plot to kill me, and they told me. He had told them because he trusted them, but obviously they had warmer feelings for me than for him, so to speak. At one point he phoned Snorre, who lived in my apartment, and Snorre let me listen to what Euronymous had to say. He told Snorre that “Varg must disappear for good” and similar, confirming the plans others had told me about earlier.

A lot people has claimed that I overreacted, because Euronymous was such a wimp anyhow, and he didn’t have the guts to even try to kill me. Sure, he was a wimp, but this time he didn’t tell everybody about his plans, like he usually did. I took this serious because he only told a very few people he trusted, his closest friends – or those he believedwere his closest friends anyhow. Also, in August 1993 he was about to go to prison for four months, after being convicted for injuring two people with a broken bottle, because they had “looked at his girlfriend” at a bus-stop. He was not a very sympathetic guy, and when he felt that he had his back against the wall he was capable of executing his plans. If scared enough even the biggest cowards become dangerous.

The same day he told Snorre about his intentions to kill me (and thus indirectly told me, as I was listening to their conversation), I received a letter from him, where he pretended to be so very positive and where he was very friendly and wanted to meet me to discuss a contract that I had not yet signed. This was the only excuse he had to contact me, and it seemed like he was trying to set me up. According to his “friends” the plan was to meet me, knock me out with a stun-gun, tie me up and put me in the trunk of a car. He would then drive into the countryside, tie me to a tree and torture me to death while videotaping everything.

My reaction to this was naturally anger. What the Hell did he think he was? The same day I decided to drive to Oslo, hand him the signed contract and tell him to “f*** off”, basically, and by doing so take away all the excuses he had to contact me ever again. I have to admit that I didn’t rule out beating him up too, though. Just before I left Snorre told me he wanted to come along, because he had some new guitar riffs to show him. I intended to continue to Sarpsborg with a load of Burzum T-shirts (to Metallion of “Slayer” magazine as far as I remember), and just leave Snorre in Oslo with Euronymous. The odd (and disloyal) Snorre didn’t seem to have any problems being a friend of both of us, by the way, like a normal person (with a backbone) would.

We left Bergen around 21:00 and we arrived in Oslo around 03:00 – 04:00 (I no longer remember exactly; it happened more than eleven years ago). We had taken turns driving, and when we arrived I was sleeping in the back seat. Because of that I had taken my belt off, and when we stopped I handed it to him and asked him to put it a safe place. I had a knife in the belt, and driving around with a knife lying in the backseat is not very safe.

We went to the front door of the building block and I called his doorbell. He was sleeping. You might think that visiting people in the middle of the night was a bit strange, but it was perfectly normal to us. A lot of people in the metal scene were “nocturnal creatures”, so to speak. He asked who it was, and I said my name. “I am sleeping. Can’t You come back later?” he said. “I got the contract. Let me in”, I said and he buzzed me inn. His flat was on the fifth (or fourth?) floor and I began climbing the stairs. Snorre wanted to have a cigarette, and smoking was banned in Euronymous’ apartment (and in my car), so he waited downstairs to have a smoke.

Euronymous was waiting for me in entrance, looking very nervous, and I handed him the contract. I may add that of course he was nervous. The guy he planned to murder showed up at his doorstep in the middle of the night. I then asked him what the “f***” he was up to, and when I took a step forwards he panicked. He freaked out and attacked me with a kick in the chest. I simply threw him to the door, and was a bit stunned. I wasn’t stunned by his kick, but by the fact he had attacked me. I didn’t expect that. Not in his apartment and not like that. He had just started to train “kick boxing” and like all beginners thought he had become “Bruce Lee” overnight, but still.

After a few seconds he jumped from the floor and dashed for the kitchen. I knew he had a knife lying on the kitchen table, and I figured that “if he’s going to have a knife, I’m going to have a knife too”. My belt knife was in the car, because it was in the belt I had left there, but I had a pocket knife, or rather a boot knife (with an 8 cm long blade) in my pocket. I jumped out in front of him and managed to stop him before he got his hands on the kitchen knife. At this point he had showed his intentions, so when he ran for the bedroom I figured he was going for another weapon. He had some weeks earlier told some people that he would soon get the shotgun back from the police (used by “Dead” when he shot himself), so I figured that was what he was going for, or he was going for his stun-gun. (Although he actually didn’t have a stun-gun or the shotgun in his apartment, I didn’t know that.) I gave chase, stabbed him and was a bit surprised when he ran out of the apartment instead. It made no sense to flee and it made me angry to know that he had started the fight, but the moment it didn’t go his way he decided to flee instead, instead of fighting like a man. Such is always something I have disliked strongly.

(Some people have claimed I slew a helpless and unarmed man, but first of all he tried to get a knife before I did, and certainly he could have armed himself if he had chosen to stay and fight instead of running away like a coward. There was a number of other things in his apartment he could have used to defend himself with, when he failed to get hold of his kitchen knife.)

Outside we met Snorre, who had finished his cigarette. All the doors looked the same, and Snorre was a pretty absent-minded fellow, so he had ended up in the attic, one floor up, by mistake. Confused he had gone back down and used his lighter flame to light up the door sign, trying to read it and figure out if this was the right apartment. As he was trying to read the door sign Euronymous came running out in his underwear, bleeding and screaming like a madman. Snorre was so surprised and terrified he looked like a ghost, and it looked as if his eyeballs were about to fall out of his head. According to Snorre he was so surprised and shocked he had a black-out and didn’t remember anything until I later asked him if he was okay.

Euronymous ran down a flight of stairs and stopped to call the neighbour’s door bell. He quickly realized that I had come after him, so he continued to flee down the stairs, knocking on the walls, trying to call the door-bells of the neighbours as he ran past them, and screaming for help. I stabbed him (three or four times) in his left shoulder as he ran – that was the only part I could hit while we were running anyhow. He then stumbled and broke a lamp on the wall, probably with his head or arm, and fell into the glass fragments – in his underwear. I ran past him and waited. Snorre was still upstairs, and I had no idea how he would react to all of this. Perhaps it was a set-up and he was in on it? Perhaps he too would attack me? I didn’t know. When Snorre came running he looked very scared and I just let him ran straight past me. I realized he was not a part of this, so I asked him if he was okay (because he certainly didn’t look okay). By then Euronymous was back on his feet. He looked resigned and said: “It’s enough”, but then he tried to kick me again, and I finished him off by thrusting the knife through his skull, through his forehead, and he died instantaneously. The eyes turned around in his head and a moan could be heard as he emptied his lungs when he died. He fell down to a sitting position, but the knife was stuck in his head, so I held him up, as I held onto the knife. When I jerked the knife from his skull he fell forward, and rolled down a flight of stairs like a sack of potatoes – making enough noise to wake up the whole neighbourhood (it was a noisy, metal staircase).

This might sound like an odd way to kill him, but my knife was very small and it was only pointed. The blade was not sharp. It was so blunt I wouldn’t have been able to cut a tomato in two with it without crushing it instead. The only way to kill him quickly with that knife would be to pierce his heart or skull. In fact I would have been able to kill him much easier and quicker had I not had a knife at all, and instead had just beat him to death. The only reason I had pulled a knife was because he was trying to, and I figured it would be fair that I had a knife too, although the knife I had wasn’t much.

He had showed his intention to kill me, and even though he was no longer a direct threat to me, there and then, I did not feel any bad for killing him. His cowardice had made me angry and I saw no reason to let him live, not when he had showed his intent to kill me. Had I let him live I would only let him have another attempt at my life, later on.

Killing a person with a 8 cm ling blunt knife is a bloody affair, but although the blood had splashed all over the walls inside the staircase, as we ran downwards, I had no blood in my face, only on my upper body. Anyhow, Snorre had the car keys so I ran out to stop him from driving away, leaving me behind in Oslo, soaked in blood. I took the car keys from him, opened the door, gave him back the car keys and told him to drive. I jumped into my sleeping bag, that I had in the trunk of the car, before I got into the car myself, to make sure I didn’t leave any blood traces in the car. At that point I figured it was best to try and get away. What I didn’t know, was that Snorre was still in shock, so he just drove around in Oslo for 20 minutes, and eventually I had to take over. On our way to Oslo Snorre saw a police control on the highway to Bergen just outside Oslo, so we had to take another way. We drove north towards Trondheim and then took off westwards after a while. I stopped by a lake and took off all my clothes. I tied rocks into the clothes and swam out on the lake to let them sink where the water was deep. Luckily I still had the T-shirts I intended to sell in Sarpsborg (like I said, to Metallion, as far as I remember), and Jørn of Hades had forgotten a sweatshirt in the backseat of my car (ironically a Kreator shirt, with the text “Pleasure To Kill”), so I had a clean sweatshirt too (well, not “clean”, but at least it wasn’t soaked in blood). Finally, I had a very, very dirty pair of trousers that had been lying in the floor in the back of the car for ages, so I had an almost complete set of clothes. Driving “commando” and without socks was no problem.

(Snorre later showed the police where I had gotten rid of the clothes, but all they could find was a T-shirt, with the picture of a Viking and the text: “Norway: The Land Of The Vikings”, that had no traces of blood. Everything else was gone, and even scuba divers couldn’t find anything. They had no proof whatsoever that the T-shirt had belonged to me [and who on Earth would ever expect me to wear a T-shirt with such a motive?]. The other clothes had probably sunken into the deep mud at the bottom of the lake, as intended.)

A friend of ours was still in my apartment. When I decided to go to Oslo we had been watching videos and eating pizza, and when we left he was allowed to stay there to finish the films and eat up. At this point I wanted him to leave the apartment, in case the police already knew what had happened. We stopped in Hønefoss in a phone booth, just to tell the guy in my apartment to go home. The first booth we saw was surrounded by teenagers, and we didn’t want anybody to see us in Eastern Norway at the time, so we kept going until we found another phone booth. I was driving so Snorre went out to make the call, and then a police car came driving down the road. Apparently the teenagers had smashed the phone booth, before they moved on to smash the next one, and somebody had called the police. When the policeman arrived and saw us he believed we were the people he was looking for. (Is that a good example of “Murphy’s Law” or what?). The phone was broken, and Snorre returned to the car. I drove off, with the police car about a hundred yards behind us, and I figured that if he stopped us and even just wrote down our names, it would be impossible to get an alibi. So I drove faster and faster, with the police car following in the same speed, and when I came to the train station in Hønefoss I turned right and drove like a complete maniac (with howling tires, spinning wheels, slipping rear wheels in the turns and everything else you might expect from a B-movie “get-away”). I was driving a VW Golf, and we were driving so fast that before we knew it we were on the “high way” to Bergen again – and we had lost the police. He had probably not even bothered to give chase (or, less likely, he had failed to keep up with us), as later inquiries (by the police) showed that he had not even reported this incident to his superiors.

At this point I figured they might already be looking for us, and in case they were, I suggested to Snorre that I dropped him off by a train station, in a place called Gol, on the way to Bergen. If the police stopped me I would be alone, and he would not get in trouble. He declined the offer, and we drove back to Bergen without any incidents. The first thing I did was to visit a printing shop to get an alibi, and then I drove to the guy that had stayed in my apartment, to tell him that we needed to talk and make up an alibi. Snorre had already told him that “something happened” in Oslo in the phone, when we stopped by a phone booth outside Voss, some time after Hønefoss. We came up with a story and everything was fine.

By then I could finally go home to get some sleep. After about 20 minutes of sleep the door-bell rang and a journalist wanted to talk to me about the death of Euronymous, that was known by then (around 11:00), and I told him that I was too tired to talk to him about it. I had after all not slept for quite some time (although I didn’t tell him that…). The next day we could read on the front page that “The Count is in sorrow! He was so sad by the news of the death of his best friend that he didn’t even manage to talk to us about it.” Rather amusing, don’t You think? It just shows how untrustworthy the stories in the media are!

Some have for some weird reason claimed that I killed Euronymous because of a girl, and I can therefore add that my girlfriend at the time (and from April 1993 to sometime in 1998) didn’t even know who he was. She had never even heard of him until I killed him (and I may add that she wasn’t even a metalhead, but an “ordinary” girl who listened to pop music). So obviously she had nothing to do with any of this and I surely did not kill him because of a girl. To my knowledge Euronymous didn’t have a girlfriend, so it cannot be his girlfriend the people spreading this silly rumour were talking about either.

Even the people who criticize me for killing a fellow Norwegian are wrong. Euronymous was actually Lappish, as can be clearly seen from the pictures of him. His Lappish (Mongolian) facial features are very visible, his hair was typical Lappish (thin and straight) and his stature was revealing too (like most Laps he was very short).

The problem was that Snorre was still in shock. I have to admit that none of this effected me in any way. It was no big deal anyhow; a convinced criminal with plans to kill me was dead. So what? I do not see any reason to pity a person who plans to torture me to death while videotaping it for his own entertainment.

The police wanted to talk to me – as they understood from day one that I had done it – and asked me to come to Oslo for an interview. I agreed and talked to them, presented the alibi that we had created after the killing, and they let me go. They then moved the investigation to my home town, for obvious reasons, and began interviewing everybody else too. They had no evidence against me whatsoever, so they had to make somebody talk to get me. They quickly understood that Snorre was the weak link in the chain, so to speak. He was a nervous wreck, and they gave him a hard time. They phoned him in the night when I wasn’t there, asking questions, the same questions over and over again, and eventually, after nine days, he broke down. According to the police report he was so emotionally broken down that they had to wait several hours before they were able to get some sort of statement from him. Apparently it had been quite a traumatic experience to him. He told them I had killed Euronymous and where I was. At the time I was at a night club, and when I got out (around 02:00 – 03:00 I think, on Friday 19th on August 1993) they arrested me.

They asked for my name and I refused to even tell them that. They undressed me, threw me in a holding cell, kept the light on 24/7 and didn’t even hand me a blanket or a madras to lie on. I had expected that, so it was no big deal and I could just smile at their pathetic attempts to break me down mentally, but the “alibi” in my apartment got the same treatment, was told he was charged with murder and – being completely unprepared for this – he was so freaked out he confessed to everything immediately. Something had happened in Oslo, he told them, and I had ended up killing Euronymous. He told them the same as Snorre had told them.

They still had no hard evidence against me, though. The only really usable thing they had was the confession from Snorre, but even he hadn’t seen me stabbing Euronymous. His testimony proved that he had been in Oslo, but the only thing that linked me to the crime was his testimony. They even had him on video tape, from a gas station surveillance camera in Hønefoss that night, when he was refueling the car on the way to Oslo. I on the other hand was nowhere to be seen. He was alone in the car. If they hadn’t done something about this, they would have been forced to convict himfor the murder, and I would go free. He was going down!

So what do You think happened? They suddenly claimed – two months after the killing and two months after I had been suspected of killing him (and they already had my fingerprints, from the January 1993 arrest) – they had found my fingerprints in blood on the crime scene. I was wearing gloves when I killed him, so I knew that was a load of crap, but nobody else knew, and Snorre erroneously believed that I had told him that I didn’t wear gloves when I killed him. Then suddenly Snorre and the other guy changed their story, and they claimed we had planned the whole thing in advance. The guy in the apartment was told that I had done it, but if he didn’t cooperate with them Snorre would be convicted instead. “Do You want Snorre to go to jail for something Varg has done?” Everything was done just to get me, and to get Snorre off the hook, but in this process they came up with a story that was far worse than the truth. They claimed Snorre had planned his alibi by giving his ATM card (credit card) to the other guy, who would use it in the middle of the night in Bergen, and thus leave electronic evidence suggesting he was in Bergen and not in Oslo at the time. The only problem was that he never gave him any ATM card, so the other guy obviously never left any electronic fingerprints in Bergen, so what was the point in even claiming this? They claimed we had rented video films we had seen before, so that if anybody asked us about them we could still tell what they were about. They also claimed that the guy in my apartment had stayed there to make noises and make the neighbours believe I was home. He had further even left the apartment wearing my jacket, to make people he met in the street believe he was me, and to use Snorre’s bankcard to leave electronic evidence. He never had Snorre’s ATM card, though, and nobody ever said they had seen him posing as me, so… Snorre had accompanied me to trick Euronymous to let us into the apartment, they claimed, although I was the one who called the doorbell and talked to him. Finally, they claimed I had handed Snorre a knife in the car, so that he was armed too, in cases I needed his help. That of course was the knife and belt I had told him to put in the gloves department, because I didn’t want a knife lying about in the back of the car. Naturally I didn’t put on the belt because walking around in Oslo with a large knife in the belt is not legal and would get me arrested had I been seen by the police. They twisted everything into the unrecognizable and made it look as if I had planned to kill him.

I don’t know if this is embarrassing or just stupid, but the guy in the apartment actually used to claim he was me, when he was out. He actually used “Hi, I’m the Count” as a pick-up line when hitting on girls (?!). I know this because some girls came up to me and told me about it. So if he indeed wore my jacket and walked around in Bergen trying to make people think he was me, it doesn’t necessarily mean he tried to give me an alibi. It is rather a testimony to how incredibly pathetic he was – and just how low some human beings can sink to get laid. I may add that I don’t think this pick-up line was particularly effective, not least considering that it was very easy for the girls to know that he wasn’t“the Count”. Bergen is a very small town of only 130.000 (or 250.000 if you include the whole municipality) people and pretty much everybody there and at that time knew how I looked, so what on Earth was he thinking about?! He wasn’t even from Bergen (but from Lillehammer in Eastern Norway), and everybody could hear that the moment he opened his mouth.

I am actually a bit embarrassed by the fact that I socialized with these people, with both this guy and Snorre – and for some time with Euronymous too. There is a saying: “Show me Your friends, and I can tell You who You are.” If that is the case I most certainly and obviously was a complete idiot…  But in my defense, I must stress that I had other and good friends too. (Phew!)

They never managed to explain why on Earth Snorre would want Euronymous dead though. He just joined Mayhem as a guitarist, the dream of many heavy metal guitarists, I am sure, and was a childhood friend of Euronymous, so it doesn’t make sense at all. Further, they claimed I had planned to “cut his throat” (probably because that made me sound very cruel), but if that was the case, why on Earth would I bring a blunt knife that was only pointy? I could just as well have tried to cut his throat with a spoon. That doesn’t make any sense either – and we further know perfectly well that I didn’t cut his throat.

They and the police were so eager in making up things to get me convicted that in the end Snorre too was convicted, for assisting me in planning a murder and for aiding me psychologically. (Yeah, “sure”.) The other guy though, who claimed he actively participated in planning the “murder” and getting me an alibi, spent a total of one single night in a holding cell. He was never charged, something that is kind of odd. If the police had seriously believed in this mad theory he presented he would surely have been convicted too, but they knew it was a load of crap made up to get me, so they let him go. And I may add that we don’t have a reward-system for informers in Norway, like they have in the USA and possibly in other countries too. There is no way you can bargain a way out of prison if you have committed a crime in Norway. The fact is that they simply didn’t want to convict him for something he had not done. He was lying, and they knew it. They had told him to come up with these lies!

Snorre’s own (Freemason) defense lawyer even witnessing against his own client, in his eagerness to “get” me, and when Snorre was convicted even the jury looked sad (“I am sorry, but we have to convict You too“), and I don’t think anybody had expected that. It was an unexpected turn of events of all of us.

In court I told them that Snorre had nothing to do with any of this and that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but the next day Snorre was witnessing and claimed that I was wrong. I had planned everything, and he knew it because he was a part of it. His whole defense plan was to make sure I couldn’t blame him, but I actually had never even thought about that (and it took me quite some time to even understand that this was his worry). Had he told the truth he would have been released from prison, but instead he stuck to his lie – because his defense lawyer bullied him into sticking to it – and he got 8 years for doing absolutely nothing.

The media claimed the killing was a result of a “power-struggle” in a “Satanic movement”, and that I had killed him to take his place as a leader (?). Now, that doesn’t make sense. I mean, is that how it works? You kill somebody to take their place? If You want to be appointed director of a firm You don’t achieve that by killing the current director. What kind of world do these journalists live in? Are they living in animal pack or what? It just doesn’t make sense at all. Yet, that was their theory, their only theory. The “Alpha male” journalist (Michael Grundt Spang) writing for Norway’s biggest newspaper, even spent time writing about my hair and generally how I looked. According to him I “threw” my “mouse-brown pigtails” around “like a girl”, and I didn’t have an “evil glow” surrounding me at all, as could be expected from an “evil Satanist” like me, and so forth. He was obviously very disappointed by the fact that I didn’t look “evil”. It never seemed to occur to him that I might not look like an “evil Satanist”, simply because I wasn’t an “evil Satanist”… Snorre was described as just “a smaller, thinner and paler version of the Count”. The journalist surely didn’t intend for it to be funny, but it certainly was, because it was just so incredibly foolish.

The other guys in the scene were naturally furious at me, as they eventually began to believe in the newspaper-theory about a power-struggle, so they too – with a few exceptions (like Fenris and the guys in Mayhem) – did everything to nail me, and in the process they snitched on each other too, and finally, because of them, the police solved almost all the crimes committed by black metallers in Norway from 1991 to 1993. I have spoken to some of them later on, and they told me that if they had known the truth they would never have attacked me (and in the process each other) like they did. They were manipulated by the media, and of course by the police. They were lied to just like everybody else, and unfortunately they weren’t able to see through the lies.

When I was convicted I got 21 years, the maximum penalty in Norway, and the judge claimed I had “an incomprehensible motive” for killing him. It is really that hard to understand that I killed him when I knew he had plans to torture me to death and then attacked me in the apartment? What part of this is it the judge didn’t understand? Initially it was self-defense, but when he started to flee I was no longer in a life-threatening situation, so at that point it was no longer self-defense, but voluntary manslaughter, and as I saw it a pre-emptive strike, to prevent him from getting a second chance to kill me. That should have given me only 8-10 years! Instead I got 21 years, and Snorre got 8 years for doing absolutely nothing!

They also tried to present the killing as so very brutal, and claimed he had died because both his lungs had been punctured. They further claimed I had stabbed him 23 times. First of all I knew very well that he had died when I stabbed him in the head. Secondly he had fallen into a pile of glass fragments in his underwear. Naturally this gave him a lot of cuts – even under one of this heels as he got back up in his feet after falling. They knew this too, but instead claimed I had stabbed him 23 times, just to make people think I was so very cruel, bestial and brutal. In court they showed pictures from the autopsy to a terrified jury. The pictures showed Euronymous naked in a table, with all his hair shaved off and his eyes still open, and all the cuts numbered with a pen in his skin. I know it was humiliating for him to get killed, but when they showed pictures from the autopsy in court that was surely much worse. Killing scumbags is one thing, but I would never humiliate anybody like that.

Oh, and of course the judge included in the sentence that: “Varg Vikernes believes in Satan”, although I had repeatedly told in court that I didn’t believe in neither “Satan” not “God”. They ignored the truth, and made up their own reality, for political reasons.

Mentioning the jury, I had the “privilege” of having the only Christian “healer” in Norway in my jury. He apparently had even been on TV, claiming to “pull the evil from the body with the help of Jesus”, and thus “heal” people. Now, is that a coincidence? Is it a coincidence that the only Christian “healer” in Norway (at the time, anyhow) ends up in my jury? He was listed as a “secretary”, and I only got to know that he was a Christian “healer” much later, in 1995, when a journalist told me about it – and he also told that at least two other jurors were Freemasons. The rest of them were all pensioners, with the exception of one or two women. My “peers” all of them, no doubt… Snorre’s defense attorney too was a Freemason, as I have already mentioned, one of the court psychiatrists was a Freemason and a Jewish Auschwitz “survivor” (one of a total of three in Norway, at the time) and the other psychiatrist a left-wing extremist, my defense lawyer was 100% incapable of paid employment (because of a heart condition) and according to the journalist I talked to at least one of the three judges were Freemasons too.

The church burnings were hardly mentioned in the court. They presented one witness in each case who claimed I had burned this or that church, and that was it. “Guilty”. Just like that. This process was repeated four times, and I was found guilty of kindling four churches, three of them having burned to the ground. There was not a single piece of physical evidence in any of these cases. I was convicted solely because of the testimony of one single person in each case. All of these witnesses were friends of Euronymous!

Even my incompetent lawyer didn’t bother talking about the church fires, as it was “not important” he claimed. “You don’t get much for that anyhow”, he figured. Interestingly no fingerprints or any other technical evidence were presented in court either. When I was arrested I had some 3.000 rounds of ammo (mostly .22LR, 38 Special, 7,52N, 7.92 mm and 12Gauge) in my apartment, but most of it wasn’t even included in the list of confiscated objects. The policemen simply took what they wanted. To them it was “free ammo”. They even stole my SS steel helmet, although I can only guess why.

Finally I was convicted of stealing and storing some 150 kg of explosives (mostly dynamite and some glynite) and three bags of electronic detonators, and for breaking into some cabins in the mountains – where I had, according to them, stolen a Norwegian flag (?!) and a book, while looking for guns. I was never convicted for grave desecration, as many seems to believe, or for kindling the Fantoft Stave Church. They had no dumb metal head who could lie and tell them that he had joined me in burning that church, like in the other cases, so they had absolutely no evidence against me in that context whatsoever, and I even had an alibi, as a girl from Oslo had spent the night with me. (Yet my “defense” lawyer didn’t even bother to ask her to testify in my defense!) The charge was all based in hearsay. Still, when the jury didn’t find me guilty of burning down the Fantoft Stave Church the main judge was so angry she claimed that it was “obvious” that I had done that too, but it wouldn’t really matter, as I would get maximum penalty anyway – and amazingly she said that before the three judges and jury members had even begun discussing the penalty, so obviously they had decided on forehand that I should get 21 years no matter what. They wanted to use me as an example, to show the youth in Norway that you don’t mess with “the Mother-Pig”.

The killing of Euronymous was a blessing to them. Finally they had an excuse to get rid of me (or so they believed anyhow: people tend to think of even a year in prison as “the end” of everything). I don’t think it would have happened if the media had not written so many lies about me, because that was what made Euronymous want to get rid of me in the first place: I got so much attention that he became envious. Then the justice system gave me 21 years because the media had given me so much attention that I had become more important and influential than I was originally, and because they were just so incredibly provoked by the church burnings that they lost their minds completely.

In short I was attacked by a convicted criminal, I defended myself and got 21 years for that. As if that isn’t enough, they changed the rules after I was convicted, meaning I officially have to serve 2 more years than I was initially sentenced to. 21 years meant that I would be released after 12 years, but a few years ago (in 2000 or 2001) they changed the rules, so according to them I have to serve 14 years instead now, because the new law is made retroactive! It is illegal to make laws retroactive like that, according to the Norwegian constitution and international law, but who cares? In 1945, when the war was over, we didn’t even have death penalty in war-time in Norway, so the same justice system we have today made a new law, made it retroactive, and executed dozens of people anyhow (in peace-time!). I am neither a “poor” Afro-Asian immigrant nor a left-wing extremist, or a Christian weakling begging for mercy, so there is no way the media will ever give me any support. I am simply too much a persona non grata in Norway, a country many Western Europeans know as “the last Soviet state”. I can still apply for a release after only 12 years, but given my experience with the justice system in Norway, I am not very optimistic about it. There is a difference between Þórr and Loki, as we say in Scandinavia.

I am angry because all of this, but I know that I will come out on top in the end, and I guess that is what really matters. I don’t even hate them, I just pity them. Above all I am just thankful that I am not like them. I’ll regain my freedom one day, but they will probably never become any better. It’s like the fat versus the ugly: the fat can always lose weight, but the ugly will always be ugly.

There are many ways we can follow through life, but a vast majority chooses to follow the herd on the wide and easily passable tarmac road that only leads to spiritual mediocrity and stagnation. At the end of the road they leave no trace of their existence behind and simply pass into oblivion. Like cattle they follow the individual in front of them, with little thought to what they are doing, and they walk straight into the nothingness. They choose this path because it offers them the least resistance and the most comfortable life.

There are other ways, though, other paths that man can follow through life. Naturally the paths our forefathers followed are overgrown today. Nobody has walked on these paths for a very long time, and the wild nature has reclaimed most of them. We have to search carefully to even find out they exist. However, these paths are not easy ways. Those who follow the overgrown paths will, on their way, stumble over mossy rocks and roots in dark forests, they will frequently slip and fall in the mud, get stuck in bogs and have to swim through dangerous currents. Apart from the occasional wanderer one might encounter out there, in the wilderness, it is also a very lonely path to follow. You mostly walk alone.

When the overgrown paths cross the tarmac road of the herd, the lone traveler – filthy, often messy and dressed in rags – will be met by a hail of abusive language; mockery, scorn, fear and even hatred. The cattle are used to obediently follow the individual in front of them with no intrusions. An individual traveling in another direction, or crossing the road, will always cause confusion and uncertainty in their featherbrained ranks.

The herd finds no mysterious secrets, no spiritual enlightenment or ancient lore on the tarmac road. The runes and golden pieces of the gods can only be found in the green grass or under the moss, on the overgrown paths. The enlightenment will only be achieved by the individual who leaves the footsteps of the person in front of him or her and looks up towards the sky, for a change. The ancient lore will only be learned by those who walk where the ancients once walked, and do like our forefathers did.

It is not easy to find the exit roads leading to the overgrown paths from the highway. Most people just rush by them, not even knowing they are there. You have to look for them, often in the most unlikely places, and even you might fail to find them. Others are more lucky, in the sense that they are given the directions by others. Destiny is perhaps all that matters, and those who are predetermined to find the overgrown paths will in any case eventually find them. Whether they like or not.

I am walking on such an overgrown path, and perhaps that is the why it sometimes is hard for people to comprehend what I am saying, doing and thinking about, and why many react with disgust or fear no matter what I do or say. But so what? I know what really matters in life and I only really care about the “spiritual heroes and heroines”, the Einherjers and Valkyries I occasionally meet out there in the wilderness, who have found their own exit from the tarmac road. I only really care about the strong individuals who are out looking for the runes, the gold of the gods, in the green grass. I only really respect the others who do like me and walk on overgrown paths. The mediocre masses matter no whit. Valhalla is not for the sheep.


Interview with T.T. of Abigor for Second Heart mag

Abigor is according to pre Judeo-Christian theology known as a demon of the superior order, conjured for his power to foretell the future and provide military aid and advice. He is shown either in the form of a handsome knight holding a lance or a ghostly spectre riding a winged horse. And what better name to crown this Austrian act? Their founding member TT has ascended the spheres with militant fanaticism since the bands initial inception. He is known for his rigorous dedication to the black arts, and his will to sacrifice for his master’s blessings. This uncompromising attitude has culminated in a string of manifestations channelling energies tangible to those absorbed in darker pursuits. A fact this very interview is a reflection of.   

SH: People tend to get nostalgic with age, but you don’t seem to be one of them. You’re always looking for a new sound and direction for the band. I do wonder though, how do you remember the early days of the second wave and what role do they play in your life today?

TT: I hate the term ´second wave´, because there was no distinct real first wave. We had the first 3 Bathory albums, Hellhammer/Celtic Frost and some Thrash bands that came up with lyrics and aesthetics on their early releases that we´d call Black Metal in retrospect, you know, the classics. Particularly fascinating for me was At War With Satan in 1983, the long title track, more than anything else that Venom did. The gatefold inside was nailed on my childhood bedroom wall in 1983, and I wonder if this also inspired Grishnackh to set his fires. As I started to collect Metal records in 1982 as a young child, I can tell you, I have never experienced a dedicated ´first wave of Black Metal´, so there is no second one. Mayhem, Rotting Christ, Von, Dissection, Master´s Hammer, Monumentum and others immediately followed the forefathers, they were all active in the late 80s, and this seamlessly merged into the early 90s ´wave´. There was fluent development ever since then, culminating in the first real Black Metal MOVEMENT, with definitive criteria, its own fanzines and tape trader circles. With total seriousness, honest contributions and everything else that belongs to such a movement. This uncompromising dedication and the repetitive mantra of darkness opened the channel to the spheres of Satan. The energy was flowing and whoever entered the movement was blessed, which was solely and ultimately responsible for the fact that even hollow dickheads could come up with something utterly worthwhile. You just had to reach out and capture what was around you. Black Metal was a Satanic artform exclusively, DIABOLICAL Fullmoon Mysticism (Immortal), “Dominus Sathanas” (Burzum), you name it. One witnessed though, as soon as Darkthrone, Burzum, Immortal and the likes changed lyrical subject, ´image´ and mindset, the gift was taken from them. I remember thousands of things and could fill books about those exciting times. Every half a year things changed to another level, no one was standing still, no album sounded like another, and these were the only rules.

What role? It shaped us, it is the mist out of which we arose, and it´s part of Abigor 2013. Leytmotif Luzifer is a direct heir to these, our, early days of Black Metal. The scene during the very early 90s was characterized by an incredible extremism that set the air ablaze, by the radical, often violent, mindset of everyone involved, even the zines and tapetraders. Do not believe what certain figures, which were gifted back then, tell today, even regarding their own work. They´re driven by revisionism, often incomprehension too, as they can´t grasp, can´t conceive what had happened.
Musically there often is a nostalgic feeling in me obviously, and I don´t know if someone who entered later feels the same punch in the stomach and heavy mood when listening to A Blaze In The Northern SkyDet Som Engang Var, the Thorns tapes or the monolithic masterpiece of Black Metal, De Mysteriis Dom. Sathanas. Or personal old faves like the Azhubham Haani demo, early Abruptum, of course early Marduk, obscurer releases like Mystifier´s Goetia LP, Unholy’s demo 11.90, the fantastic 3 Fulgor tapes and such. People forget that the Scandinavian veterans were inspired by such diverse early pieces too.  Even Grishnackh hailed early Black Metal all around the world in his old interviews, while youngsters who try to be ´traditional´ or ´oldschool´ rip off Transylvanian Hunger and Hvis Lyset Tar Oss exclusively, but doing so is pretty modern and monodimensional.

SH: You obviously weren’t the only young man in Austria who felt the impact of these seminal releases that you just mentioned. There were also a few other individuals and bands that you would end up working with, like the obscure Amestigon. Could you share a bit about that, and what the Vienna Metal scene was like at the time?

TT: Heavy Records was our Helvete from 1986 or 87 and on. The guys who were employed there had a band called Carnage, which later became Pungent Stench, and surely important for Black Metal in Austria was Michael Piesch, the controversial figure who later started Lethal Records. Some years before he had a small but great tape distribution, importing stuff like Impaled Nazarene (all later things aside, Taog Eht Fo Htao Eht was a killer demo for the time), Unholy (demo 11.90 is still one of the blackest pieces of Metal), and Scandinavian Death Metal. We´ve reached the 90s by now, the super commercial Virgin Megastore of Richard Branson had a certain guy named Silenius working there in the Metal department, and I linked him to Napalm Records, who in turn distributed the most extreme things available at the time, hence you could buy everything from Absurd to Zyklon B at this multi-corporate temple of consumerism in the mid 90s, which was pretty weird. For a very short period in winter 1993 to 1994, a handful of people met under the name ´ABMS´ to inspire each other, when Summoning still had satanic lyrics (their first two demos are brilliant and have nothing to do with later things). Pazuzu provided room for those gatherings, and, just like us, was into magic literature and maintained contact to certain orders, groups and organizations of our interest. As for other bands in Vienna, well, a bit later in the mid 90s I brought a few people together, resulting in mostly short lived projects like Nefarius and December Fog, both involving Count Daemon Van Zazas on vocals. Amestigon first was a project by two former Abigor vocalists, while the band today is a quite different one, I would say ´post Black Metal´, musically closer to Enslaved maybe, and lyrically the upcoming album certainly is moving away from fantasy topics of the old demos to more serious metaphysical and magic texts, I have just read something interesting from that coming record. Truly important for the evolution of the early Black Metal scene were the Austrian tapetraders, Mr. Kern, Cle and a few others, who were linking musicians and magazines, labels and individuals. Believe me, how the scene worked back then was very, very different. The right people set the agenda, not some glossy magazine superstars.

SH: Abigor was always a band a few steps ahead of your peers when it came to composition and virtuosity (only Emperor seemed to be on a similar path at the time). Was this the Austrian love for classical music and high culture seeping through the fabric or a simple matter of personal preference?

 

TT: You know what, I always thought that we, well, how should I put this, not that we´d totally fail, but I´ve never been satisfied with our old releases. I hold Apokalypse and lux devicta est high as our best work of the 90s, and some aspects of VerwüstungNachthymnen and Opus IV surely are worthy contributions to Satanic Black Metal. But I always felt Abigor could not compete with the perfection of great records, be it sophisticated works of Emperor, Ved Buens Ende, or be it earlier, and more primitive masterpieces, which shine in purest form like many early 90s demos. I was haunted by the belief that our things weren´t good, or radical, enough. Stylistically, you´re right, elements on some of our albums had the same majestic atmosphere, were executed with more advanced arrangements, just like Emperor did it. Certain content demands a distinct musical form, so this ´happened´ without our influence, usually it is not a conscious, decisive process. Yet your statement above that we are ´always looking for a new direction and sound´ is correct too, as we stem from a Black Metal tradition that doesn´t walk on trodden paths. A Blaze In The Northern Sky didn´t sound like PanzerfaustDet Som Engang Var was different to FilosofemNatten´s Madrigal and Marriage Of Heaven And Hell are both equally essential, and so on. Anyway, in the 90s we were sloppy and impulsive. We improvised the drums in the studio and in general, for most albums we finished drums and guitars within the first 2 recording days. As we returned in 2005, 2006, and I heard all these fantastic albums, from Deathspell Omega to S.v.e.s.t., from Katharsis to Drastus, I was stunned. Through End All Life I got to know that we actually influenced members of those groups, or at least that they valued what we did in the 90s. Be it Abigor´s history, or, how one of them put it, the way we used guitars, even several topics we wrote about. This was amazing and unexpected, and the first time I really felt our own contributions in the 90s were worth something on a larger scale. One creates art to practice one´s belief, because it has to be done. It is an urge, a burden very often. Dealing with such forces, if done without compromise, can be painful and cause harm to yourself. Hence, no other ´reward´ comes close to the words of respect that I heard from those artists that I value myself, that´s about the only thing I am proud of and also reassures me that releasing albums makes at least a bit of sense. I am more satisfied now though, with TimeQuintessence and Leytmotif Luzifer. But I usually hate my own work and find things by other people better, or at least more distinct. I am my own worst critic. How could it ever be enough, standing naked on a vast plane of tones and words, trying to decipher His ungraspable presence, facing His power and will through Abigor?

SH: Have you and PK ever received any classical training or are you both self-taught?

TT: I was a trained classical guitarist before forming Abigor, yes, but that´s worth nothing as an isolated quality. More important is the uncompromising intention to create the most extreme art, and to work hard when recording an album until tendonitis pierces your arm and blood runs down the fingertips from attacking the strings in trancelike state repeatedly. We were developing certain playing techniques, and on Leytmotif Luzifer you will hear such sonics, stemming from guitars and the way we handle them exclusively, untouched by any effects. Only this intent is important, as it gives you the very tone and sound, not how long you’ve studied your instrument. And I do not take praises for myself; I am an empty vessel channelling art from other sources and spheres, which is just flowing through myself.

SH: I know that you probably don’t think much of it today, but a lot of people still hold Nachthymnen as their favourite Abigor album. Do you view the baroque inspired style that characterises it as a misstep, or something that just needs to be perfected? 

TT: Nachthymnen and its execution very much belonged to the scene, our history, and was the logical step at that time and place, but it was just as important to move on. Back then we, and I mean all people within Black Metal, didn´t care too much about a subgenre or a direction, there was no pseudo-traditional trend, it was Black Metal, period. Some people chose ugliness as vesture for their message and tones, while Nachthymnen was executed with more pomp, but in general, back then this didn´t matter. The scene was different. We were on Napalm Records, Nåstrond were, and Ildjarn around that time, too (although on a more exclusive deal basis). It wasn´t about secondary things like the sound vehicle you chose, but more if you could stand up or not. Emperor was symphonic, while Abruptum was unbelievably ugly, and it didn´t matter as long as it was Satanicand Individual. Today, it´s more about what you say you are doing, than what you actually do. This is fake to the bone. Every shitty keyboard bit on Nachthymnen, every female moan, is more real than some of those ´super-underground rough primitive´ bands. And although Apokalypse and lux devicta est are our masterpieces in the 90s, Nachthymnen surely has importance and quality, I´m more satisfied with it than some time ago when, you are right, I hated the continuous mentions of that album.

SH: JFN wrote the lyrics for your classic track “The Dark Kiss” on Nachthymnen. Was there a close-knit community in the German speaking countries back then?

TT: No. Basically, the whole scene in a grander scheme of things was tighter, yes, much tighter, incomparable to today. Depending on what ideological movement or distinct group on the left hand path one belonged to. And Black Metal as a whole was tighter mostly due to consciously keeping the big media and labels out. But this was no local phenomenon. There were groups in Vienna we hated, and there were others in far away countries we were close to. Local scenes meant nothing to us, they still don´t. You just gave me an idea, if I´d mention JFN I could renew my status as persona non grata in certain communities, hahaha.

SH: I’ve always wondered if the dark object beneath the window on the Nachthymnen cover is a sarcophagus? What’s the story behind this painting?

TT: It´s a still that was chosen not at least because of its references to “The Dark Kiss”, but in general it just fits the music and concept of the album perfectly. Compared to Leytmotif LuziferNachthymnen´s visual part just accompanied the music and lyrics, but we didn´t choose the images because of a deeper meaning. A more interesting story is the magic circle on the cover of Verwüstung, this stems from PK´s ancestors who were accused to witchcraft. He copied it from a linen cloth, locked away in one of the family´s safe.

SH: The voice of Silenius was a vital part of the early Abigor sound. Are you still in contact with him?

TT: His performance on Apokalypse and Verwüstung is exceptional, also Opus IV shines with his diversity. Recently he recorded the Supreme And Immortal 7” with us that marks our 20th year of releasing Black Metal. I meet him very often, he lives 10 minutes walk away from me. Musically and lyrically, Summoning have nothing to do with Black Metal at all, but I meet Protector and Silenius regularly. And I still think the first two demos are masterpieces of Satanic Black Metal, incomparable to later tapes and albums. Ok, as you mentioned Silenius, I will describe a certain situation again, something that I just wrote about in an interview for Metal Obscur, but it reflects the atmosphere of the early 90s a bit. Doing the second photo session with Silenius, we were driven into the dusky forest, backseat of the car, Silenius in the middle, PK to the left and myself to his right. There was no joking, no friendly atmosphere of friendship. According to early conceptions of Black Metal one had to be violent, dangerous, dark-minded, friendship was not appropriate. The atmosphere became even more frozen to put ourselves in the right mood for the photo session. Silenius had a knife in his bag and the deeper we got into the woods, the harder he grabbed it. He slowly had the feeling PK and I wanted to kill him and got ready to defend himself.  I smile a bit visualizing this situation in 2013, but that´s the mind-set we all had in those days. There was a lot of talk about extreme things, and not just talk.

 

 

 

 

 

SH: I think it’s safe to say that the release of Jon Nödtveidt and the following rebirth of Dissection turned out to be a seminal moment in the history of Black Metal. This was, to my knowledge, the first time a Metal band had represented a fully formulated Satanic tradition complete with it’s own cosmology, symbols and advanced magical system. What was your view on this as both a musician and a Satanist?

TT: As musician, and due to my personal admiration back then, I have to praise Dissection´s 7” and the first two albums, masterpieces for the era of Black Metal or to be correct, Death Metal, as Jon wanted these to be called. These have stood the test of time. Although I totally disagreed with their signing to Nuclear Blast back then, a label that was fighting against Black Metal and everything it stood for. And I have my problems with some of the reduced, stomping and rhythm-driven music on Reinkaos, as I demand more chaos in music, but deeply respect the achievement, nevertheless, obviously, the texts make up for personal musical taste. So much for Dissection, an utterly important band, yes.
More generally, I think the sole fact that one represents a ´fully formulated tradition´, which in itself captures and joins various gnostic traditions, while others are based on the satanic exegesis of another, basically says nothing about the quality of the first or the latter.
I have very little knowledge about the MLO (Misanthropic Luciferian Order), and I always thought that there are fundamental differences to my own belief and search, let me explain these: I am set ablaze by the achievement of spirited men, the history of art fuels my own existence, be it religious renaissance and baroque visual art, or contemporary composers of the 20th century, all different kinds. This is important when honestly considering the term ´misanthropy´ and the valuation of man in a wider scheme of things. I see life as a quest, as well as an ordeal by fire, not as sole distortion. It is a trial that has to be mastered by all means, and the skills for this were provided by Lucifer, being the incarnation of the devil who coated man on earth with the fire of knowledge, perception and intuition.  Man´s task is to acknowledge and realize, before his existence is burnt to ashes. Hence dying is the sacrilege of man divine. Furthermore, I do not oppose the concept of the cosmos, as it holds one of the mysteries of human existence. MLO suppose time is linear and constant, but it is not. The sheer ungraspable infinity of the universe, or the absence of time in black holes, all are fundamental mysteries of Him that we have to decipher. The ecstasy of chaos is not the opposite of order to my understanding, it is to be found in the fulfilled cycle of order. MLO did practice Gnosticism rigorously, like it has to be done, like natural physics. But then the sources become even more important, a fortiori when so many are used, otherwise it´s like language philosophy. And I would not allow myself to practice it without examining all sources to separate the legends from the myths. There´s always the danger of an esoteric tower of babel, in both senses, regarding the pride as well as the punishment, chaos (although, this is an interesting thought considering the MLO´s reference to chaos). I can´t adopt the conceptual arrogance that I perceived reading texts of the order, because I am an empty vessel of Him, which totally opposes the thought of supremacy. What they seemed to achieve was a huge magical practice and, as you said above, a fantastic form.
You will understand that with the above-mentioned thoughts, I could not fully embrace the principals of the order myself. I think it is hardly possible to be both, full-fledged artist and growing, practicing magician, as each demands a lot of time and focus on a long run.

SH: You have always described yourself as theistic Satanist (correct me if I’m wrong). What’s your view on the so-called “armchair occultists” who favour an academic study of religion as opposed to actual spiritual practice?

TT: Every approach leads to something if done with absolute devotion. And I would be careful judging the work of serious religious studies of any kind, much of the MLO´s sources seemed to be of proper theological (or what people understood of that term in ancient times) origin, not just ´oral history´, so someone´s got to do the footwork. Myth (or testimony, revelation), exegesis, theology, liturgy and permeation are all needed. Raising valid questions or transforming truths to art, all aspects are important, not just collecting knowledge and myths merging with symbolism and practicing the self-nurturing, or destructing, form of magic. If done right, anything on the left hand path could touch the spheres where Satan is tangible. Ritual practice means control, pointing forces to a certain aim. Yet uncontrolled channelling is the way to go when ´creating´ art, and this dedication often has, contrary to magical practice, unpredictable consequences. Recording Time was an uncompromising act of the highest order, where the limitless channelling resulted in huge mischief afterwards, I had lost everything, relationship, surroundings, you name it. Serious bands tell of similar experiences. A certain band ´murdered all hope´ (as he put it) with an album, and the whole group went through utterly miserable weeks after recording it. I have heard this a few times. So, what you need is uncompromisingness, dedication, and a clear vision to get in touch with powers that gnostic luciferian orders evoke in their magical practice, too. Just that magicians do this for themselves, while true satanic artists do it because they have to, their practice is doxology and there´s no way around it to create the soil on which the tongues of fire are received. So, due to what I have experienced ever since my childhood, be it the earliest memories that I have dealing with the dark side, the repeated dreams I had noctambulating, the figure I have seen in the mirror as child. All this at kindergarten age and still razor-sharp and clear before my eye. The deeper occult quest and early magical practice approaching the twenties, the first deciphering of the mysteries, or the experience of uncompromising satanic art, due to all this I do not accept the excluding thought of the gnostic path that says ´you(r achievements) are inferior because you are not initiated´. Even if someone managed to get a step further in his quests, these achievements could vanish to dust for another man. As an artist of Satanic Black Metal, you need to be wide, wide open, empty yourself and be fully dedicated and uncompromising, as well as humble. I have seen many fall that weren´t (no matter how high the status they may have gained in their field).

SH: There has been a recent surge of interest in the Afro-Brazilian and Afro-Cuban traditions such as Quimbanda in a broad spectrum of European Left Hand Path circles. Any traditions in particular that currently holds your interest?

TT: I do not feel the need to delve into the abyss of other culture´s myths and practices, my task is of other nature. Magicians could, but have to be careful not to exchange the ultimate aims for vanities. Let me put it in the known sentence, ´si monvmentvm reqvires, circvmspice´. There is no need to seek out the same mysteries (or spiritual monuments) hidden in all kind of traditions, because you end up being buried in the same questions and same answers. The other threehundredsixtyeightXXX traditions do not contain shattered parts of the one great enlightenment, but they are cultural encodings of the same, each having the same profound relevance for the seeker. One should be aware of other forms, can be interested in those, and magical practice of other cultures are utterly fascinating, but you will find the most fundamental in your own tradition. Which alone is formed out of the widest, oldest, as well as far eastern religious practices, testimonies, codices, and local pagan myths.  It holds enough wisdom and truth to lead man to a higher level. One has to execute certain things differently, but the instructions are there. Even on Nachthymnen we stated that “Unleashed Axe-Age” exemplifies the same dark forces of evil that are encoded in northern mythology, just as they are in ancient monotheistic demonology. I am interested in traditions that acknowledge 1. Duality 2. Deity 3. Divinity (in man´s existence). I happened to be born in middle Europe, in the second part of the 20th century, and I´m an artist, so I use the history of art and religion of middle Europe as main foundation and inspiration. If you were born in China a thousand years ago, you could come to the very same conclusions on your spiritual quest. The mysteries are hidden everywhere. I know that a catholic monk of the 15th century, who would have chosen the left hand path, could have deciphered Luciferian truth just as any gnostic today. By the way, yesterday I saw a fantastic abbot´s crozier dated 1250, formed as black snake, a very unequivocal depiction, or on my travels through Italy I saw things in churches or Florence´s Bibliotheca Laurenziana that have kept me engaged for years. This is my tradition, His wisdom is hidden in this cultural environment, and when we merge this with the art of Abigor, we are as close as one can get.

 

SH: Black Metal has, aside from a few black diamonds, been stagnating since the late 00s. I’d like you to end this ride with your own personal notion of where the genre will have to be taken in order to regain momentum? 

TT: Every form of art can only be strong, and I mean truly revolutionary, if it´s a movement. I do not underestimate the importance and the impact of strong individuals, yet the isolation of bands in the past years lead to the dissolution of a more defined underground as a whole. Whatever state Black Metal is in at the moment, so far it has managed to rise twice, in the early 90s and in the mid 00s. I think we could witness a natural, cyclic process. The situation is still a bit ridiculous with bands that are completely hollow and only capture clichés, you know, those who have absolutely nothing to say except ´true underground´, ´Black Metal war blah blah´ ´darkness true warrior´ shit and sing about the weather (frost, winds) or nature (mountains, forests) and such, the phrases and terms we used in the early 90s to capture and describe an atmosphere. While today´s Black Metal shouldn´t content with atmospheric poems rooted in romanticism of the 19th century, but have to do with thoroughly fundamental, at best religious, existential matters, rooted in the respective cultural history. These fake, empty bands still lead a certain underground and eat up resources of all kinds, be it human ones, energetic, financial or spiritual ones. They are like these major label, major magazine parasites that do not contribute but suck the soil dry, while there are others who deliver killer albums with real content, who contribute and bleed, and are totally overlooked. This has to change, and it will change. I have bought many great records recently that strengthens my belief in the Black Metal underground, and if we close the ranks, realize who our enemies are, and deliver satanic art of the highest order, then it´s enough momentum, for ´the next thousand years are OURS´, as Fenriz put it in his short period of brightness.


Harrowing tale penned by an unknown black metaller

Once upon a time (actually in 2003) in the Norwegian mountains, when I was on the run from prison, I had taken refuge in a cabin in the mountains and saw from a map that it was possible to park the car on a road leading up to the same mountain from the north side, only 500 meters or so from the cabin, accessible via a road from the south side of the mountain. So I left the cabin and drove the 1,5 hours around the mountain to park there instead. I figured it would be wise to do so, in case I had to split real fast. If the police got to know where I was they would be likely to come from the south side.

 

Using military tactics, not at all learned from the Norwegian army, of course, I walked in a big U formation to get to the cabin – to make sure that I would see anyone following me, if there were any. Because of this I approached the cabin from the south, and some 200 meters south of the exit leading to the cabin a huge SUV was parked in a way that obviously intended to block the road. There were no other occupied cabins in the area (I checked those who were there), and the road was a dead end, so I got down, picked up my binoculars and tried to get a clear picture of what was happening. I then heard dogs barking by the cabin, and shortly after I saw men wearing black or at least very dark parkas and ski masks, helmets and automatic weapons. One of them had a German shepherd and a revolver or pistol in his other hand and they followed a trail I had walked on some hours earlier. I was located some 100 meters south of the parked car, so they were about 300 meters away, walking right into my field of vision, not knowing I was there. Cool. Now, if only I had a rifle…

 

I was possibly armed with a pistol, a Walther PPK, and a hand grenade (M67), although I would say otherwise if the police asked me about this, but whether this is true or not, I came to the conclusion that I was lucky to see them first, unlucky not to have a rifle (all three of my contacts had failed to deliver what they promised) and I was not James Bond. So I chose to live to fight another day, and retreated slowly. When out of sight I dashed for the car, I zig-zagged whilst running across a bog, because I did not know whether or not there were more of them or if they had spotted me by then. In the car – a car with an old diesel engine – I started «glowing» the car and then hurridly threw a bullet resistant vest over the driver’s seat back, in case they could see me and started shooting and when finished «glowing» could start the car and drove off… without any of my equipment, food or money – all of it being left in the cabin. I was alone, had nobody to help me, nobody to support me, and I had not really broken too many laws, so giving myself up to the police in Oslo was the best option I could find. Well, possibly after getting rid of a few items of course… I chose Oslo because I figured it would be safer for me to surrender to professional policemen in front of witnesses rather than to some hillbilly sheriff in the countryside where nobody saw what happened. I believed by then that the men I saw were policemen, SWAT.

 

When questioned by the police they refused to have ever been by the cabin. The policeman I talked to was himself (a hillbilly sheriff…) responsible for the SWAT operations in the area, and he had not given any orders whatsoever in this context. Nor did they use such SUVs, he argued.

 

So who was that? Who were the men by the cabin? Thankfully the judge wrote that I had seen hunters (with ski masks, German shepherds and automatic weapons…) or even ghosts (the judge wrote that!), and that there had been no policemen in the area whatsoever, and that was the end of that story. In a penal situation that was a story I could well live with, so I did nothing to question it or try to bring the facts on the table. I got away real easy.

 

By chance I know a few Norwegians who serve or have served in FSK, a company of Norwegian special forces with police authority, and they have told me that there is a special unit in FSK with soldiers trained for action against Norwegian citizens in Norway, available for «special use», including taking care of troublesome individuals in Norway, but they only act if ordered to do so by the minister of justice in Norway himself. My Spec Op friends could also tell me that the car I described to them was identical to the car used by this unit of military assassins. Ah… well, so I guess I was more lucky than I first thought, when I saw them before they saw me… *phew*

 

But who do I think I am?! Do I really think I am or at least was so important that they would risk a political crisis just to get rid of me? Well, at the time we had a Jewish minister of justice, with the Norwegian sounding name Odd Einar Dørum. (Google translate his Norwegian Wikipedia entry, instead of reading his very short English entry, to find info on his Jewish origin.) I was alone in the middle of the mountains, there were no witnesses there, they had demonized me for a decade already, so even if someone got to know of this they were unlikely to care. At the time I was their most hated dissident in Norway, and of course I was no less anti-Jewish than I am today, so… why not? It is not like Jews have never resorted to such tactics before.

 

 

The subject of who they were was as mentioned discussed in court, but not a single journalist present brought this story to the public. It was bygone in complete silence.

 

What are we to believe? I have never heard about such military assassins in Norway before, and even I, a dissident, didn’t think Norway was that extreme. It sounds a bit like something from a novel, but the police claimed and apparently proved to the judge that they had not been there, and yet I saw these men – and unless foreign powers operate on Norwegian soil, who else could it have been?

 

All I know is that hunters don’t use ski masks, helmets, German sheperds or automatic weapons, and they don’t park their cars like that either. I must have seen «ghosts»…

 

Today I am a family man, and they have guys like Breivik to worry about, but I still think it might be wise of me not to spend too much time in Norway as long as it is run by Jewish Marxist extremists. I could run into «ghosts» again, and perhaps I would not be as lucky the next time.