Since 2010, Hordes of the Black Cross has pledged to destroy, kept the black flame ignited within. From their first self-titled EP to their full length, the horde has been tearing the base apart with absolute chaos and turmoil. Preachers of good music, songwriting, strong assertive live assaults and having a headbanging night out, they can be coined out as a noteworthy black thrash act in Australia’s metal scene with a comparatively darker tone from the second wave; this band can bring a great alteration in any boredom infested metal culture. They have already shared stage with the mighty Inquisition, and some heavy Aussie guns like Destruktor, Abominator and Denouncement Pyre. And in coming November, they will be sharing stage with one of the most influential bands of the Aussie extreme metal scene Destroyer 666. We did an interview with Halla (Vocalist) and Thormentor (Drummer), that outlines the band all in all.
Hails from the kernel of chaos! How is the horde doing?
Halla: Hails! We are quite busy at the moment preparing for live gigs coming up in July, August and September. Some of the bands we’ll be supporting are Spacebong, Inquisition (USA), Destruktor, Denouncement
Pyre, Eskhaton and Destroyer 666. We are also currently writing new materials and besides that living as lowlifes in Hellbourne.
Thormentor: Separate from shows, we are constantly writing new material. Our efforts are always centered around crafting music that is simultaneously chaotic, spirited and relentless. It’s not a trivial balance to achieve admittedly, but this forms the core of our vision regardless. Upcoming we have the prospect of either a split, medium length release or an album. We haven’t gravitated to anything specifically yet, but we will always endeavor to formulate a release that holds its own initiation, ritual and conclusion. Ideally, each offering should be able to exist isolated in the void.
Hordes of the Black Cross, Genre: Black Thrash! I feel the urge of parting a personal understanding of mine in this regard as the first time I heard your name, a dark wave thrashed me from the inside – a clear illustration how well a band’s name and the genre can go hand in hand. Mind throwing some lights on how you came up with such an astounding name tag?
T: The gift of post-rationalization is well received in this instance. I can’t say in earnest that it was one thing or another that convinced us to embellish our attempt to exist by this rote assertion of nomenclature. We needed a name at the time and this was it. Thanks to the accumulation of time and dust, I can tenuously claim that the name represents an agglomeration of sentiments borne under the tenebrous antipodean crux.
Korpse Horde (bass) and Thormentor (drummer) being a couple and Hate Blaze (guitars) and Halla (vocals) being Asians – does this lively divergence has any impact in the music you produce? How did ‘Hordes of the Black Cross were expelled from the Womb of Death’ back in 2010?
H: I was in a period of time in my life where no other music was vibrating more deeply and dangerously except black metal. The flame was ignited a long time ago when I used to live in Singapore and a friend gave me Impiety’s classic ‘Skullfucking Armageddon’ lp to listen. It intoxicated and possessed me and was soon forgotten. It got reignited again after a few years of living in Australia. Through my own journeys, the portal finally revealed itself. To quote Rumi ‘What you seek is seeking you’.
I first met KH and T in 2010 when they were playing in their other band Scul Hazzards which is more of a noise angular rock band. They were really tight and I noticed that KH had more of a possessed black metal stance and vibe when she hammers the bass. My other band Malam; a dirty doom outfit, played a gig and I asked her if she’s interested to do a black metal band. She mentioned she had the same thought as well, said yes and we begun writing materials and rehearsing as a 3 piece in October 2010. It took some months before we got hold of HB as he was working in Norway. He is a long comrade of T and they both played in a band before. In addition, KH and HB are comrades from way back. Hence the missing pieces fit into place and we’ve been holding daggers since. Our first live punishment was in April 2011.
T: As Halla has expounded, we will always play music together. We will revel in the joy and frustration of creation until absorbed once again into the quiet earth.
Speaking of the genre itself, it’s quite obvious that Aussie Black thrash bands are mostly re channeled significantly away from the 80s’ speed influenced thrashing Black sound, bringing an ‘Aussie’ flavor to the dish. Apparently, the horde successfully hybridized it by conglomerating the darker tone of the Scandinavian second wave taking the diversification to another level. What are the canon and codes and impacts as well as influences in generating such kind of compositions?
T: There are elements of Black and Black Thrash that ring true for us and other elements that stink of placation en masse or a passion for the physicality of metal rather than the true kernel of its existence. We revere, imitate and illustrate the heart of the Old Gods as much as any modern band would. Any inherent obfuscation would be the result of channeling our own neurotic and fractured vision of “how things are meant to be”.
Hordes of the Black Cross speaks about the wisdom and knowledge that are the utmost veracity. What kind of wisdom do you want to preach and deliver through your music?
H: On my part when it comes to lyrics, I do not preach anything except a strong determination of being true to yourself in the face of adversary. The rest I leave it to the audience and listener to interpret the lyrics themselves. When we do our live flesh ritual, I took it upon myself to deliver a strong vocal performance while the music is being churned out. The music and sounds are a powerful testament and witness to our style of songwriting. In regards to the music…
T: The message of Halla is of utmost importance to our craft. The music must act as a well suited vehicle to the ideas and visions offered forth. It must also survive as a skeleton that lives and breathes as well outside of the flesh of concept as it does within the mire of heat, death and potential acridity of higher thought.
Unlike traditional bands, you don’t tend to depend on any record label. Is it because you don’t want to give away the right of your music? Do you think it’s worth the burden?
H: We are currently functioning like the other million and one bands out there as independent artists. All of our past and current releases are released by us. Hence I also know labels are selective in who they have on their roster. It is a lot of work on every level when it comes to releasing your own music. I do enjoy the independence we have but at the same time, we are open to the idea if a label is mutually interested to release our music. The time will come. We would be interested for international distros to pick up our titles as we want our black arts to be heard everywhere – from the southern to the northern hemisphere. So to go back to your question, no it’s not a burden and we will not give our rights away. It will be a mutual exchange between us and the label.
T: We would happily join a “label”, but have also never asked the question. It is intuitive for us to function in the normal way. We write songs, record them and then pay money for a business to manufacture copies of the associated release. It’s how it has always been done. If another entity would like to put their finger into the metaphorical pie, all the better for it.
Analog recording always tends to give a more natural, warmer sound with more texture over digital recordings with an absurd low end frequency and therefore some people claim that binaries can never replace decimals. Being a band of the digital era, what position do you hold in this regard?
T: We have always recorded digitally. Although I too am entranced by the allure of true analog recording, I also happen to own a computer. Pragmatism triumphs as idealism and mislaid longing takes its last breath. In a time when the infrastructure for a responsible analog recording existed, it was a no brainer. Descending now into the malaise of prosumer electronics and myriad enthusiasts, it’s more than appropriate to acquiesce and join the milieu.
Your self-titled EP was released in cassette formats, followed by your split ‘Fire for Fire’ with Terra Australis which was distributed in 7″ formats. It visibly directs to the band’s affixations with the analog recording. But in 2015, the anticipated debut full length was released in a Digital format and traditional CDs. Why is that?
T: We also released the album on 12” vinyl. All of the releases you have mentioned were recorded digitally. The tape was manufactured at a plant very nearby our home in Melbourne. Likewise, the 7” was manufactured at a pressing plant also located in our fair city. The primary impetus behind producing a CD in the case of the album was to satisfy demand. A good number of the people interested in owning a physical copy of our music seemed to want it in this format. What else could we do but capitulate?
Your logo quite resembles a brutal death metal vibe. Once a writer of our zine attended a gig wearing your tee where he was asked since when he started becoming an avid fan of brutal death metal… BTW, he is not a brutal DM lover at all (laughs). You want to talk about the logo designing issue?
T: It was very important for us to have a simple and unassuming logo. It is fine for bands to represent their efforts with a twisted and affected front-line pastiche, but it did not suit us. The logo was designed by one rather accommodating D. Defiler – a stalwart of Melbourne metal. He constructed the idea for our logo, and we didn’t resist.
Since its inception from the pioneering acts, the viewpoint of Black Metal has seen many orders. Nevertheless, it always makes me inquisitive to figure a band’s standpoint of how they view the mass – only and only musically. Detesting for the people in general is evident in many acts, not necessarily expressed in the lyrics yet being one of the foremost codes of the machine. Please alleviate my curio of the horde.
H: Interesting question. Personally I do enjoy the concepts and orders of black metal bands out there. It suits their music, art and lifestyle. However to me as a band, each of us individually – we have our own interest, practice or understanding in the occult, black arts or extreme music in general. We do not impose that on the band. It’s just how we are as a band.
The most important thing for me is good music, songwriting, strong assertive live assaults and having a headbanging night out. Do not forget that we have our fans, friends and audiences that we play to. They are the ones who supported us through buying our music or attending our assaults or even telling us “That was a sick show!”. If there is a code for us, it is keeping the black flame alive that was gifted to us from the Old Gods of black metal. They had their time a lot harder than us – back in the day of promoting and selling their music through tape trading, zines and writing letters. So as a sign of respect, we keep that flame burning and igniting dangerously with new vigour, strength and deadly chaos!
T: A person or people can only disappoint you if given the chance. Cynicism is a perennial thorn in your shining armour.
Up until now, you’ve done several live assaults and blitz bringing thunder and absolute chaos to the crowd. You’ve shared the stage with the mighty Inquisition – the marvels of the genre. How was the experience? You are probably going to share the stage with them again in this year.
T: It was a joy to share the stage with such an intensely focused band. In this first instance, it was a rather stoic night. Nothing went wrong and nothing was particularly unhinged or overly “cathartic” either. For the current action, they have us stationed on a puppet box stage such that the enthused and mastibatory can watch in unison. Death to “live entertainment”.
‘Dawn of war, Nights of Chaos’ is one of my favorites – which is why I am quite desperate for this talk. The last track of it is called ‘Age of Jahiliyyah’. Does this track pronounce of any certain realm of the medieval age?
H: Yes indeed. Jahiliyyah defines a period of paganism in pre-Islamic times of the Arabian Peninsula. It was also defined as a period of irrationality and ignorance from divine guidance. It can be seen as total freedom from control and domination of religion. Or it can be seen as a form of moral decay and downfall of man It all depends on which side the individual look into of the word ‘Jahiliyyah.’ As we all are aware, history is ‘written’ by the victors.
I am highly interested in the cultures and beliefs of ancient civilizations and how their lives were before organized religion took over. To me, paganism and animistic beliefs would have been an interesting time to live. It is still being practiced up to today. The relationship between man, nature and the old ways of being. Our ancestors have left a wealth of knowledge for us to learn.
Initially I had that track titled War of the Self, War against the Self in my book of rambling thoughts and words. ‘Age of Jahiliyyah’ was just part of the lyrics. However KH reckoned Age of Jahiliyyah sounded more grim as a track title.
From the lyrical content, it calls for action and solidarity to the self and one’s own kinship. To honour yourself and to stand firm in any strife or difficult situations, even if it means standing alone, taking risk or even bloodshed. In short, sometimes you need to make sacrifices to move forward.
With the rise of the sun, our little invocation has come to a finale. Any message you want to deliver to the readers of Venustus Diabolicus? Dynamism reckoned.
H: Hails to VD for taking the time to do this interview with us. We are honoured to be a part of it. Hopefully one day we will be able to bring our live assaults and flesh corruption to Bangladesh and Asia beyond! From death to death to the Maw of Void, of battles between Fire and Ice, of chaos beyond, of the darkest matter and sinister energy. Hails and hells!!!
T: Thanks for your tremendously thoughtful questions. We will forever have VD in our blood!
Korpse Horde – Bass
Thormentor – Drums
Hate Blaze – Guitar
Halla – Vocalist