PLAGE is a traditional black metal band founded by Exord and Blizzard in 2011. In 2012 they got completed by Vrede and Zorn. A first demo-cd was released in 2013 – limited to 100 copies and
immediately sold-out. They are located in Lübeck (Northern Germany) and Copenhagen (Denmark).
The new album ‚”Den Kristne Stank’ (Means Christian Stench in English) will be released on April 10th 2015 by Alusia Productions and it offers eight tracks of archaic black metal.
The album has already been available for streaming at the official bandcamp page of the band
The German black metal outfit, Ascension is not a stranger to the listeners who prefer the enchanting, mystic and diabolical power of occult leaning black metal. Latest prodigious album, “The Dead of the World” has been received with open arms by the listeners. Considering the both sonority and concept, the album is just marvelous, and the band has been crafting such kind of marvelous music since the inception, when they released the demo,“With Burning Tongues” Ascension is currently touring with Bölzer, Dysangelium and Vassafor at “Under Four Wings of Death” tour. We have conducted the following interview with the band, focusing on the recent full length, tour, ideology, some occult and spiritual aspects, and many more.
Salutation! Ascension is coming up with some unholy offerings that include the new full length, The Dead of the World (after the Deathless Light EP) and Under Four Wings of Death tour. So, it can be expected that the band is hard at work on these ventures.
Ascension: Hails! The making of The Dead of the World was a truly soul draining experience for all of us. Right now we are preparing for the upcoming tour, to channel that what is Ascension into a club show. We never considered it to be enough to only play our songs; we want to create an intoxicating experience for us and the audience.
Is the new release also a conceptual album like the debut full length? Can you briefly inform us about the overall lyrical theme of the album? I assume that the lyrical theme has probably a close tie with the death or ending part of human life.
—The new album is by intent not conceptual. It deals with death, yes, but not only physical death. There are many different layers and meanings. The record is an invocation of the gods of death, of gods slain by men and gods that left the world to die. A song to those, who live in the dark corners, and who are literally dead to this world and a lullaby to the perished.
The opening track of the album is named “The Silence of Abel”. Is it related to the incident of the death of Abel? So, do you consider Abel as the first human being to taste the tranquility of death and Cain as the first assassin?
—I do not consider that because this would imply that I believe that the story of Cain and Abel is true in its literal sense. The Silence of Abel deals with this subject although it´s more focused on the murder than the murderer, as well as its universal, spiritual impact. It´s about where we come from and what we are. It is about our predisposition to commit sin and its necessity. The chalice is broken and we won´t achieve completion by putting the pieces back together.
Tell us about the artwork of the album that has been designed by David Glomba (Teitan Arts). How does it transmit the music?
—David´s art on this album is incredible. We provided him not too much guidance so it´s actually his interpretation of our music. His paintings definitely speak to us and we find the essence of our music within it. He added another dimension to that what is The Dead of the World in our eyes.
Ascension is using a new logo. Who is the artist of the logo? Is there any specific reason to change the logo? The sigil that has been inserted in the logo obviously has a definite meaning.
—The sigil is done by one of the few people that stand very close to Ascension. It´s not meant to replace our actual logo. Its purpose is to amplify the spiritual aspect of the band. We consider Ascension to be an entity that has huge impact on our personal lives. In return, every band member’s path influences Ascension. This sigil is something for us to carry in our hearts. Therefore it would be inappropriate to reveal its meaning.
You are an acolyte of Lucifer! Some consider Lucifer as Devil, some as Antichrist, some as the Bringer of Light, or just as other kind of symbol. The word Lucifer is coined differently in several sources. So what do you perceive by “Lucifer”?
—Rock Music is the music of the devil. So only by going down this path we carry him in our hearts. There are many shapes and faces people paint of Lucifer. And none of them are true, simply because the principle of the devil is not about the truth, or more precisely, about one truth, it´s about something far beyond that.
Do you regard your music as “Orthodox Black Metal”? How would you coin the term Orthodox Black Metal and how is it dissimilar to other offshoots of black metal?
—To be honest I do not like that term too much, the word “orthodox” implies to me something that is “streamlined” or “righteous”, and I hope that Ascension can embody pretty much the opposite of that. But I get it; the metal scene needs categories, definitions and sub-genres. If orthodox black metal is supposed to refer to bands, that are serious about carrying spiritual or religious impact in their music, then it fits Ascension´s intentions.
Do all of the members of Ascension coven believe and walk in the same path when it comes to spiritual ideology? Is it essential for all the members of a band to engage themselves body and soul in the same path of spirituality that is being conveyed through the music?
— It is not important that every band member walks the same spiritual path but it is important that everyone in the band walks some spiritual path. Like I mentioned above, it´s some sort of interaction. Every band member´s path influences what is Ascension and Ascension influences our path´s simultaneously.
Concerning the members of the band, all of them are anonymous.There was a time when Ascension did not use to participate in the live gigs and even if they did it was on occasional basis. But now the band has announced a tour and also do partake in other gigs including some prominent festivals. Do you think that partaking in a lot of live gigs may reveal the identity of the members? And if you think so, then do you consider it as negative or threatening?
—It is not for me to tell if that would be negative, yet it´s for sure not threatening. It would be not too hard to find out our identities these days. I believe the reason why it did not happen so far is, that people yearn for something obscure in this completely demystified world. You can easily stalk every artist online; you can know him within a few clicks better than you know your own neighbor. So I think anything mysterious is a precious good these days. One of the main reasons why we decided to bear no names in Ascension is that all band members are supposed to represent the entity that is Ascension. We wanna humbly step back behind the artwork and let it speak through us.
Regarding the Under Four Wings of Death tour featuring Ascension, Bölzer, Dysangelium and Vassafor – the lineup looks really lethal. So what has made you come to a decision to finally go for a tour? Is it because you really enjoy the music of these bands or because of having ideological similarity with these/any of these bands?
— We never excluded the possibility that we´d go on tour one day. We just waited for the moment one which it felt right. Just as we never excluded to play live from the beginning, but started with it not until “Consolamentum” was released. As we got the offer, the time was clearly right. I consider especially Bölzer´s music as extremely unique.
The Magus (Necromantia, Thou Art Lord, Principality of Hell) and Mors Dalos Ra (Necros Christos) were both guest vocals on this album. Is there any probability of featuring them in Under Four Wings of Death tour or in any of the upcoming gigs/tours?
—There are vague plans and clear wishes.
Garden of Stone, undoubtedly a marvelous number that is included in the Deathless Light EP. Can you enlighten us about the concept of this track? Does it have any relation with the concept of The Dead of the World?
— It´s for many reasons a very special track for me and it´s strongly connected to the rest of the album. It deals with doom and isolation, abandonment and rage. In more than one way, through the eyes of a spiritual patroness that dwells within us.
The monumental debut full length, “Consolamentum” conveys the five parts of the transformation of a human soul – learning to breath, learning to lie, learning to live, learning to kill, and learning to die. So, does every human being stride across the fourth part – the process of learning to kill? Will you please elaborate about these steps of transformation?
— Every human being bears the potential to kill. And the majority is using that potential sooner or later and in one way or the other. There is a reason why kids start at some point to kill insects or small animals. There is an ecstasy to it. As we grow older most of us express our joy to kill in subtle, socially more appropriate ways. It is all ritualistic in the recollection of primordial intoxication. The only thing that stops us from slitting each other’s throats is social guidelines, which force us to kill in more non-physical ways. If you read the lyrics of the track “Amok” you´ll precisely know what I´m talking about.
I don´t want to elaborate the concept too much. It would take away the readers’ possibility reflect within our lyrics and to let them speak. The concept is not about a particular thing, it is the actual thing.
We have come to the edge of our conversation. Thank you for answering the questions. Any ending message you would like to give to the audiences of Ascension?
— Thanks for your time. The Dead walk among us with hatred. Hail Luzifer!
N.B.: The actual interview questionnaire was sent to the band even before the release of the latest full length. 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.
Ascension, perhaps need no introduction to the fans of occult black metal. As a band, these Germans have created a mist of aura about themselves- primarily with their stunning music accompanied by excellent lyrics and a magical hymn procreated on western esoteric metaphysics. The band willingly chose to disguise their identity as a mean to their firm withstanding to the mainstream trends and also to differentiate their level of maturity over the tons of band labeling themselves as black metal. Their seven years journey through the clandestine passages of superior wisdom has seen its destination in two full lengths so far – Consolamentum and The Dead of the World which is scheduled to be released on 24th of December, 2014. All of their releases so far has been distributed by the German label, World Terror Committee.
Ascension have always put priority on composing music to reflect their ideas and messages perfectly, with dark and menacing guitar riffs, driven on melody and heavier bass guitars. To take the listeners into the deepest trench of hell, this time the band chose to slower their tempo- almost to a doom-ish scale as the first track The Silence of Abel breaks in. This is the primary deviation the band has developed since the release of Consolamentum. The guitars are slow, heavy and punishing as the running time forwards. The hint of progression in the sound becomes audible with clearer production (not cheesy at all if compared to Watain’s The Wild Hunt). The effective use of sharp guitar melodies and so-often shredding solos in contrast with dark, spine chilling ambiences. If you are looking for traditional thin sounding atmosphere, then Ascension is to be ruled out of your school. The distinctive and increased bass mixing amplifies the dimension of heaviness so to speak. If it seems overhyped then Mortui Mundi could be a perfect example. The drums, are not typical at all. No shitloads of blasts or generic double basses, but the drums are composed here with care to suit the steady, punishing background. The tortured, suffered screams are sure to lose your soul in the vast, lethal darkness of eternal sleep… yes that’s what the band vents about on this record. The elegy of souls and the eternal demise of the world- which has been sheltered and invoked throughout the dirges from this chapter.
The sound of Ascension on this record is remarkable, the direction the band chosen is a matter of debate (confronted mostly by the steadfast orthodox fans), but the modern black metal fans should consider this album as a masterpiece and recommend as a must-listen. If you are a fan of black metal digging both the 2nd wave and modern school, you should give it a listen: the dark, chaotic sound won’t disappoint you at all. My personal opinion says, The Dead of the World could be considered as one of the best releases of 2014, coming out on a Christmas Eve, to mark the insignificance of a so called holy day and worship the eternal demise glorified by the great obscurity!
The Dark Tomb Shines: The apex of this full length in my opinion. This track could actually manifest the sound of this album as well as the modern black metal. Cold and eerie guitar rhythms, audible and independent bass guitars backed up by delicate drumming define the absolute black metal atmosphere. The subtle progression of soundly finely exemplified by the latter half of the song which ends up with the beauty of guitars.
Mortui Mundi: The title track as the Latin translation refers to it. This 10 minute opus starts off with malicious and evil riffs, continues with powerful vocals. This track has vocal contributions from infamous Mors Dalos Ra of Necros Christos. The song ends up with a long dual guitar solo with triggered atmosphere, a perfect ending to such a record.
The Silence of Abel: The album sets on with this track, the most doom-ish track on this record.
Unlocking Tiamat: Another slow yet heavy track on this record. Ritualistic sound and the psalming vocals from The Magus (Necromantia) ceases all the integrity there could be.
Listen to The Dark Tomb Shines from The Dead of the World
Ius Talionis, the German Black Metal horde have recently a demo out. This four track demo is titled ‘Eleutheromania’. Being the first offering from the band, ‘Eleutheromania’ is definitely appreciable. Though all the lyrics are in German, but as the band had provided us the English meaning and explanation, so I can surely conclude that the lyrics are pretty well written. In their lyrics, the band had mostly focused on themes like death, anti-cosmic occultism, war, ambiguity of light and darkness etc. From the point of sound, Ius Talionis is more of a Melodic Black Metal band. In all the four songs there were crunchy riffs and melodic guitar solos.
The first song titled Irrlicht (transl. = Will-o’-the-wisp or ignis fatuus) starts with an atmospheric vibe but I have completely lost in when the band totally got into the song. The drumming was not satisfactory and did sound too soothing for a Black Metal song. But the guitar works and the vocal was amazing indeed. About bass there was nothing significant but the playing was tight.
The second track was title Das Antlitz des Krieges (transl. = The face of war). Here the drumming was improved. There were some aggressive blasts but again too polished sound for Black Metal which is never expected. Again mentionable guitar work. Some totally banging riffs and beautiful works with melody was absolutely mesmerizing. The vocal did give an amazing output in this song.
The third track from from the demo was titled Im Angesicht des Todes (transl. = In the face of death). Unlike the previous one, this one was a bit Amon Amarth-ish. Some Scandinavian Viking melodic stuffs came repeatedly. The guitar solo at the end was not much impressive. Ignoring a few parts, the drumming was good overall but that sound problem still remains.
The last song, the titled track Eleutheromania (transl. = A great desire or obsession forfreedom) starts with another example of weak drumming. That was not Black Metal drumming in anyway. Nothing significant was observed. Continuous kicks made the song completely monotonous. To me, it seemed that the song is unnecessarily lengthy. Guitar works seemed pretty average. But again, the vocal effort was outstanding.
Overall it was an above average release. Ius Talionis has all the potentials to do better. All they need is to be more cautious of their sound if they want to stick to the same genre.