Varathron, needs no introduction to black metal enthusiasts. The band has been the front runner of the Greek black metal scene along with the ‘Unholy Trinity’ accompanied by Rotting Christ and Necromantia. Throughout their existence since the formation in 1988, Varathron has influenced a hell lot of bands to play black metal, worship the deities of the supreme darkness. Varathron was also one of the early black metal bands to emerge and perhaps, among the first ones to incorporate occultism into their music rather than pursuing orthodox Satanism and anti religious beliefs. Yet, Varathron has still been one of the most evil and pure black metal bands that exist out there. I had a chance to continue a session with their iconic frontman Stefan Necroabyssious! I was lucky enough to talk with him regarding his views on Varathron, his philosophy and perception on the current black metal scene.
Salutations Necroabyssious! How have the things been recently?
Stefan Necroabyssious: Hail my abysmal friend! Things are going pretty good for the Varathron horde! We just released a new EP with 3 new tracks and 4 classic live performed tracks (40 minutes total time!). Infernal hymns! Also, we’re working already on the next full length album. It will be glorious!
So, Varathron has just released ‘Untrodden Corridors of Hate’ on November, 2014. How is the response you are getting from around?
~ The responses are very good. Great reviews are coming but we really care more about our loyal fans and supporters. Their opinion is always crucial for us. They are brothers in the same war, we meet them in our live rituals around the world and the feeling is always very strong. Talking with them face to face and telling us that they like a new album or track is very important to us.
I am not going into the detailed biography of Varathron. But as far as I know, you named Varathron after a demon who was the dark lord from the city ‘Beled-L-Gin’. Were you personally much interested in demonology? Or did you choose the name to be different from what all the bands doing then?
~ I was always fascinated by Demonology and in general every dark or bizzare chapter of religions or ancient stories. Of course I wanted something different for a name and not same as everybody else but it also sound Greek as “varathro – ΒΑΡΑΘΡΟ” in greek means a really deep gorge – Abyss – Erebus – Chaos! The absolute darkness! HAIL!
When Varathron started out back in 1989 (A long time before, Gosh) the bands around that time (both black and death metal) were much into Satanism and Anti-Religious ideologies. But Varathron apparently took mythologies as their theme. What were the reasons for that?
~ Varathron started back in 1988 when the most bands talked about satanism and anti-religion because they wanted an “icon” against the status of society. They wanted to be outcasts! We brought occultism into our lyrics and music.
I where and still are fascinated by the true power and spiritualism of darkness. My lyrics and our music is a message from my dark soul! Abysmal hymns to the utter LORD through the aeons!!
The actual Hellenistic religions that were practiced since BC periods, those were somewhat changed since the appearance of new religions and new goddesses from Egyptian religions and gods from Syrian religions. That was pretty interesting event in terms of ancient Hellenic mythologies. What’s your personal view on this event? And are you/Varathron members are practitioners of Hellenic religions?
~ Of course the Hellenic religion was on the great ancient religions the history of humanity as the ancient Egyptian, Syrian, Indian and in general everywhere there was great ancient civilization. What is beautiful about the Greek ancient religion are the symbolism, the rules and the relations between gods and humans. It’s an immortal religion very powerful and and with depth. Love reading about these mythologies and religions. I respect all of them but especially our own because I feel I am a part of it. Here is my hometown still exist many monuments and a great temple of Zeus, in Dodoni, the first temple in Greece ever, amazing!
How would you explain Varathron’s sound in both “His Majesty at the Swamp’ days and “Stygian Forces of Scorn” days? I meant, you have incorporated elements from other styles, but which style you have always preferred to fuse with black metal?
~ Varathron have an original personality through the years. The style remains the same, walking always the same path and just coloring “darkness” with other layers too. For example technology has progressed thus the productions too, but this is not something that really has to do with the “message”. I don’t know how to explain these differences between “His Majesty…” or “Stygian..”. A lot of things change when talking about productions, musicians and the music we fused through the years but the real message, the substance is the same. We continue the journey in the corridors of Hades with proud, collecting new stories and experiences, faithful servants of the utter dark LORD!
Greece has been one of the frontrunners in black metal scene with the evil trio Rotting Christ, Necromantia and Varathron. There are also many notable acts to be emerged from the Greek land such as orthodox acts like Naer Mataron, Zemial, Kawir and modern era acts like Acherontas, Devathorn who are much into occult ideologies. How’d you like to describe the changes in scene you have experienced since the early days?
~ I think the unholy trinity of the early years was pure and faithful to the black arts! Our influences and our beliefs where the basic reason for our creation! The bands who followed us have more influences from the Scandinavian scene so this “pure” sound evolved into more aggressive, cold and chaotic patterns. We had a more evil, rotten and magical atmosphere into our sound back in the early days. A sound that could travel you beyond dimensions – very different from what Scandinavians did. In the old, romantic, glorious days are gone but the spirit is still alive in my heart. This immortal spirit is giving me power for unstoppable creation. A never-ending manifestation of pure darkness.
Referencing from previous question, Greece certainly has got a strong black metal scene with lots of good black metal bands. But comparing to Norwegian, Swedish or German scenes, the Greek black metal has remained a bit underrated or hasn’t got the exposure among international acts that it deserves. Can you explain your view on this?
~ Greece is considered to be the center of civilization, culture and science, but in music industry things are totally different. In the early 90’s most bands from Scandinavian countries were signed with major labels. In my opinion this was simply marketing and nothing more. That does not mean the bands weren’t good enough. Lots of these bands were great but not all of them. At least a significant percentage. If you put Greek economy side by side with Scandinavia and Germany, the statistics are surely incomparable. I think we deserved more attention but we received only few. The God of “money” rules this game too. This is the way of how marketing works my friend!
Back to ‘Untrodden Corridors of Hate’! The sound in this album seems to have a bit Middle Eastern flavours, which is more evident on this record than ‘Stygian Forces of Scorn’. I really like this tone because of my personal taste. What has made you to inscribe Middle Eastern elements in your music? Will you continue in this fashion on future releases from Varathron?
~ Yes, UCOH has a different vibe towards our previous full length release. It is a dark album which has some new elements combined with the ones derive from the great past. We would like to continue exploring this path and for more and more releases. Varathron will always create unholy psalms that worship the dark Lord eternally! We are here stronger than ever!!
‘Untrodden Corridors of Hades’ has been released on Agonia Records. This is also the first time Varathron has released something on a bit bigger underground label. Previously all the releases were coming out from the small underground record labels, so how do you find working with an acclaimed label like Agonia? Are you satisfied with the label’s promotional and distributive capability? And will you be considering Agonia for any future release?
~Varathron was so unlucky with most of the labels involved in the past. Filip is a great friend of mine. He was interested in Varathron and UCOH from the exact moment he listened the first samples of the album.
Listen to Untrodden Corridors of Hades
‘Agonia’ have a great distribution worldwide and they do amazing work for us. We signed for two albums. The newest mini-LP is an additional deal on top of that.
Last year, Varathron released a split with Norwegian act Den Saakaldte. As far as I am concerned, the band doesn’t share ideas and sound similar to Varathron. In fact, all of the Varathron’s splits were with bands with similar sounds/ideologies. What was the fact that prompted you to go on a split with Den Saakaldte? Are you in good touch with them or the record label issues?
~ My brother Michael-Sykelig proposed this idea to me. He wanted to make a split-EP with Varathron. George from ‘Floga’ records organised most of things for this release. I like the “Old Demons Rise” split-7”, the tracks are so awesome!!
Varathron is not that much frequent in live shows (Correct me if I am wrong). Is there any specific reason for that? Varathron will have a UK tour this May along with Horna and Grave Miasma. Are there other confirmed shows this year?
~ We are a band that loves to play shows. Since the beginning we have started to perform on shows, but as told before things were somehow unlucky for us. The obligatory army service and personal problems of the past members were striking like thunder. Lots of times Varathron was “one man band” seeking for new members. That now belongs to the past. After all, the band now is so strong, so we have already started to schedule more and more gigs around the globe. That is a tribute to the all these letters and mails asking the beast to return on stage!!! After the UK’s show we had a mini-tour with Rotting Christ in Poland, and then we crossed the Atlantic for one and only unspeakable show in Sao Paulo, Brazil, my second homeland! On that show i received great respect from my true brothers. This experience would surely be one of the greatest moment in my life! I salute all of them amazing people! Then we had some exclusive shows in Germany, Finland and Greece. Beware there are plenty more to come!
You have contributed in Fetid Zombie’s latest effort, along with Magus and EI. Obviously it’s great to see the old lords together. How did you three end up on the Mark Riddick’s musical project?
~ First Mark and then Mike. Both are good brother of mine, since the old glorious days! Mark has made the cover artwork for UCOH and on top of that we had a friendship going on all these years. He had the idea to interconnect all the old-school voices on his new new album. Lots of great brothers were gathered to form this release. All tracks are amazing!
Coming to the end of this interview. Thanks for your precious time. Any last words or messages?
~ Thank you very much for your support to us! Embrace our dark occult music and follow us through the Corridors of Hades!!! I salute all the black metal hearts there! We ll see you all soon!! The horde of Varathron is coming!! Look, the red sky, the abyssic kingdom come!!!
Interview conducted by: Somber
NB:The actual interview questionnaire was sent to the band immediately after the release of the last full length, “‘Untrodden Corridors of Hate’”. Some of the mentioned dates and contents may be looked as inappropriate due to the time involved in publishing interviews. We apologize for the inconvenience.