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?
The second half of 2015 AD is going to see some of the black metal veterans coming out from their slough with new releases. Finnish black metal legends Horna, French black/death metallers Temple of Baal, French black metal act VI are some of the bands to release their new materials on the coming months. Kaeck, a black metal act from Netherlands is also on the roster with a unique and crushing sounded debut album.
Serpent Noir started off pretty high with their chaotic black metal sound on their debut full-length ‘Seeing through the Shadow Consciousness (Open up the Shells)’ which was released back in 2012. Their debut album represented an orthodox sound with lyrical concepts based on occultism; which a lot of bands are doing nowadays. What makes Serpent Noir special is their sense of transforming music into an art, their recently released second full-length ‘Erotomysticism’ is off no difference to this statement. Continue reading Review+Streaming: Serpent Noir – Erotomysticism→
The Elysian Fields (Formerly Desulphurize) was one of the experimental black/death metal bands that formed in the early 90’s in Greece. Despite releasing two fantastic albums We… the Enlightened and 12 Ablaze, they mostly stayed under the shadows of more popular bands. After a hiatus since 2010, The Elysian Fields formed again in the last year and currently working on their 5th full length album. Continue reading Nuclear War Now! to re-release Elysian Field’s Debut Full-length→
Acherontas, the mighty Greek Black Metal cult have recently come up with their 5th Full Length album ‘Ma-IoN (Formulas of Reptilian Unification)’. Forming in 2007, previously Acherontas have released 4 full length albums and a few number of splits, compilation and a live album as well. ‘Ma-IoN (Formulas of Reptilian Unification)’ has got out on February 27th, 2015 from World Terror Committee in CD format. This 11 tracks record plays more than an hour and I believe I would not be exaggerating if I say this one of the finest Black Metal records that I have been through in recent time!
Devathorn, a black metal act from Athens, Greece which was formed back in 2003, has been a strong associate to the scene since the announcement of their second full-length album Vritra. Black metal in recent times has taken a more thematic and artistic approach in terms of both music and ideological sense. Vritra can be claimed as the recent addition to this art which has been released through World Terror Committee on 27th of February, 2015. Prior to this release, We had the honor to speak with Saevus Helcath, the Guitarist of Devathorn. Saevus H. made different aspects behind creating the art of Devathorn clear and spoke out about the recent changes in black metal as well as other genres too.
Greetings from Venustas Diabolicus! How things have been with you Saevus?
Saevus: Greetings. Things are going very well, as we are now on the final countdown for the new full length opus “VRITRA” to be unleashed. I am really glad with the tremendous feedback that the new album is already gaining and cannot wait to see the Opus unveiled.
Devathorn’s second full length Vritra is coming later this month. It’s a pretty awaited album for the fans since the last full length Diadema was released 7 years ago. What listeners can expect from this album?
Saevus: Indeed, the album release date is on 27th of February. The past years have been a maelstrom of creation and evolution for the circle of Devathorn, granting us experience in many levels, musically and spiritually. All this process has been carved on the result of “VRITRA”. The second full length opus of Devathorn contains the evolved and evolving aspects of the band, the raging elements that led to the manifestation of the Opus.
Devathorn’s previous full length, Diadema was sounded straightforward and the lyrics were also in line with traditional black metal. But ‘Vritra’ has seemed much more conceptual to me, both lyrically and musically. The lyrics being much deeper and firmly rooted to occult aspects of different mythologies. How would you like to describe this transformation?
Saevus: Vritra has signed a great transformation for the Circle, as we have seen all of our experience and inner vibrations shaping unto the creation of the album. For us, the creation of Vritra was a tremendous experience itself, in every level. It is the alchemical process of dedicating all of yourself to the manifestation of Art that transforms you. We charged VRITRA with our Inner Self and Flame, and the outcome was the result of the album. Our task was create with no boundaries, to progress as musicians and evolve spiritually. It was natural to see the material drenched into our views and perspectives, charged with the motives and forces beneath the creation of the album.
‘Vritra’ and ‘Set’ two mythological demonic characters have gained their place in the album. Both character signify the adversity and has been symbolized for ‘drought’ or ‘desert’. Do both of these characters have been considered to represent the same context on this album?
Saevus: It is a pleasure to see parts of the album’s concept and thematology being perceived. The archetypal Draconian
references and symbolization that Vritra and Sutekh represent, are being channeled into the album. We sought and found the powerful aspects of the Dragon in numerous entities, philosophical concepts, religion doctrines and mythological figures, striving to reveal his marks. It is not a plain mythological reference of the Hinduistic tradition that is shown, but a powerful spiritual symbolism of Knowledge, Chaos and Liberation. The Serpent of The Desert, as the Asura Dragon Vritra is pictured, embodies the fury of Leviathan, the liberating spirit of Prometheus, and the majesty of Set-Sutekh the King. He is the dreaming Dragon Tiamat, Typhon the Destroyer, and Lucifer, the great Adversary. The powerful rebellious force that revokes the dogmas of divine order to reveal the path of spiritual ascension. I wouldn’t extend more than that, since the listener should search him/herself for the inner vibrations and meanings through the listening experience of “VRITRA”.
Greece’s recent black metal scene has been highly distinctive due to the most esoteric approach on the music and also in live appearances. Many enthusiasts have termed ‘Occult Black Metal’ to distinguish the bands of the scene. What’s your prospect on this? Do you also like to consider Devathorn as an occult black metal band?
Saevus: The art of the Devathorn is multidimensional. It is Draconian, with all the Qliphothic, spiritual, occult and relevant aspects this term bears. It is easy to characterize a band as Occult Black Metal, but the circle of Devathorn would never be dragged to the awful trend that this term came to describe the last years. The genre is flooded with ignorant bands and individuals that abuse terms and symbols just to gain some attention, totally ignoring their true meaning other than a surface view, without any experience. Although, there will always be several bands, in Greece and globally, that have our respect for their honest and dedicated work, releasing powerful material that exceeds all this ignorant pile I referred to.
Vritra has seemed to incorporate some eastern music influences, particularly on ‘Sapphires of Vritra’ and ‘Temple of Set’. How much fascinated are you by traditional eastern music?
Saevus: Eastern music has always been fascinating me. Since a very young age, I was searching for musical references of those Phrygian scales and other characteristic sounds of the East. It should be noted also, that traditional Greek music is based a lot in those musical
styles, from the early Byzantine years and the cultural influences of the Eastern civilizations. Later, when I delved deeper into the ritualistic traditions of the Eastern culture I became obsessed with the eerie vibrations that they bear, which have been carved deep into the unconscious. Since then, I have come across numerous old and recent material of similar musical context, always being thirsty to discover new fields.
Devathorn has passed the mark of almost 13 years of their existence. Can you briefly describe any major incident in the bands career during this time?
Saevus: Those years have really been a great journey on which we always set new destinations, a venture on our Path. This period has been signified with many events, good and bad, granting us experience. I cannot distinct, since I regard all of them important. Surely though, the creation of VRITRA and the cooperation with the mighty World Terror Committee have really been of utmost importance and significance, great steps to the materialization of our Vision.
Do you compose all the music for Devathorn? Since 2012, you have also been a key member of Acherontas. Have you contributed in composing their album as well?
Saevus: Τhe music of Devathorn may began by me, but the circle works on the material and every member enriches the result with his perspective and views. Thus, the final outcome contains the mark of all the Devathorn aspects. Also, in VRITRA, we had the honor to host some very special participants: Acherontas V.Priest of Acherontas on serpental chants and Sumerian astral mantras, Amduscias of Temple of Baal on lead guitar evocations, Chiva of Serpent Noir and Monk Adramelekh on Draconian invocating chants, Temple of Algolagnia on vibrating ambient tracks, Denwar of Chthonian Alchemy on Promethean choir and K.K. of Mother of Millions on lucid acoustic pulses. As for Acherontas, I am proud of being composing for the releases of the coven since 2012 when we began working on ´Amenti´, “Pylons…” and the latest opus “Ma-Ion”, which is also being released on the same day with VRITRA, 27th of February, via World Terror Committee.
‘World Terror Committee’ has been a major drive for the modern black metal scene as it signs and releases the materials by the bands having intrinsic sound and concepts. How do you find working with the label?
Saevus: The releases of World Terror Committee were always trademarks for the genre, since the very beginning of the label. Their work is totally professional and dedicated, as they always deliver quality via unique releases. It is an honor for Devathorn to be among the ranks of such a label, being major and powerful, while still having a fanatic dedication to the real underground spirit of Black Metal. We were sure that they will treat VRITRA royally, granting a powerful release.
Do Devathorn has plan for any upcoming tour/live gigs? Since you also play for Acherontas, did you ever have any problems in managing the schedule?
Saevus: Live gigs are always a part of our artistic manifestation. Although, we are very selective with the live shows that we participate into. Every live emanation of Devathorn should be a manifest of madness and nothing less. The new album will be supported with several live shows, we will soon announce more details and info. We do not have problems with the Acherontas shows, as everything is being carefully scheduled.
Many black metal bands (even the early pioneers) these days have chosen to be more perplexed and diversified in terms of their ideologies, rather not being traditional (Satanic or Devil worshiping). How do you appreciate these change against the second wave?
Saevus: It is a natural thing, but of course it is not the black metal bands that made this change. Occult science and terminology has evolved and became even more perplexed, creating numerous spiritual branches, an area that has little connections with black metal. It is narrow to think of these fields just as an extension of black metal lyrics. The black metal bands usually follow these events, and this is why the second wave appeared to be more into the traditional satanic standards, while the recent scene is following modern spiritual waves. Even in Devathorn lyrical context, there is an amalgam of traditions and views from the Qliphothic spheres to the Gnostic approach of religion under symbolic references. There is no comparison in my mind, traditional and modern spiritualism in every form are steps on the same path for me, everything has valuable sources to offer. As for their reflection in black metal, I don’t really care, those few bands with respectable views and dedication to the sinister Art will always deliver Works that are worth to listen and experience.
Greece’s modern black metal scene is stronger than ever before, along with the old Gods and new demons. As a part of the scene, which bands you would love to give credit for this emergence?
Saevus: There is a huge amount of bands lately, indeed, but quality not always equals quantity. As in the totality of the Black metal scene worldwide, there are some dedicated bands that raise the standards high and their work is already widely known, among a pile of low-quality material bands that disappear after a while.
Thanks for your time Saevus. That’s the last one from me. Any words will you like to spread?
Saevus: I would like to thank Venustas Diabolicus for this very interesting interview and the dynamic support to the Circle of Devathorn. The Portals to the otherworld of the Asura Serpent will soon emerge, as VRITRA shall manifest upon the mundane plane on 27th of February via World Terror Committee. Open Your Hearts for the Sulphur Dragon! Salve Ars Sinistra, Ars Gratia Draconis!
Devathorn is a black metal trio from Athens, Greece. The band has been active in the scene for more than 12 years, with a full-length album and two split releases. The band is now all set to release their sophomore effort ‘Vritra’ on 27th February, 2015 through World Terror Committee.
Devathorn, on this record, have chosen to adopt more diverse form of black metal, reminiscent of recent Polish and Swedish scenes whereas their debut full-length ‘Diadema’ had more orthodox elements in it. Therefore, you can expect a well-produced sound with a variety of influences on the music, from a chaotic death metal-ish vibe to eastern melodies. The song structure sometimes becomes really complex, switching between different tempos and rhythms. The eastern influences are mostly heard on songs like ‘Cathedral of Set’ and ‘Sapphires of Vritra’ while the songs like ‘Veritas Universalis’ and ‘Promethean Descent’ are merely solid black metal numbers. The guitar riffs sound a bit more thrashing in this record (Reminds me of Thy Mighty Contract) because of the production, consequently Devathorn differs from their predecessors in the Modern Greek black metal scene. The spooky black metal-ish atmosphere is absent throughout the album as the guitars and the drums are given high fidelity on the mix. The vocal styles are varied from narrating ones to guttural screams. However, Vocals often take a back seat to the instrumental backing of ringing guitar melodies backed by heavy chords, and the songs are rich sonic soundscapes that demand intense listening if you’re to get the most from them.
Apart from the music, the album has strong lyrical aesthetics to express. The concepts on this record can be explained as a multi-dimensional channel among different aspects of ancient devas found in Eastern, Mesopotamian and Greek mythologies. The glory of the serpent king has been depicted through its various forms, without losing the distinction of respective mythologies. Therefore, the lyrics as a unit, symbolizes the spiritual individuality of serpent king ‘Vritra’. The lyrics are written in both Latin and English.
Devathorn has taken quite a long time composing this album to do something different and memorable. Hence I can assure ‘Vritra’ is not an ordinary black metal release but an opus magnum from the band. The intricacy and the dexterity of the music won’t let any boredom to pop in. The album has the appeal to offer for the fans of black metal, death metal and modern death/black metal. Highly recommended.
Recommendation: Promethean Descent, Sapphires of Vritra, Verba Inermis, Veritas Universalis