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.
Blaze of Perdition has always stayed top in my personal preferences for their melodic yet dark, filthy black metal approach. The unfortunate accident which caused a heavy toll for the band, also struck me pretty bad. When the band announced their third full-length ‘Near Death Revolutions’, it quickly went on my most wanted listings and the awaited album was finally out on June 26th, 2015. The Poland based record label Agonia Records took the responsibility of releasing and distributing the album worldwide.
Blaze of Perdition front man Sonneillon explained the theme of this album would be focusing on the experiences he had during his near death situation after the accident and the band’s perceptions on death. So ‘Near Death Revelations’ is more of a conceptual album divided in 7 musical chapters. The album starts with a short ambient intro of ‘Królestwo niczyje’. The track soon turns into filthy black metal and also, for the rest of the album. The overall sound on this record is different from other Blaze of Perdition releases. The music is melodic as it was before but the production is heavily filthy and constructs a raw, melancholic feeling throughout. The riffs are faster and more complicated compared to their earlier releases. Guitar rhythms are given a priority in most of the songs (When Mirrors Shatter, Of No Light, Królestwo niczyje). The rhythmic sections are heavily inspired from slow, darkened melodies from atmospheric black metal. The sound of all the instruments are thickened in the mix to suit the atmosphere. The drums are complex structured and written in a way to complement the music. The vocal incorporates the use of howls, chants- switching frequently between these two styles. Overall, the music on this release is too varied to create any boredom even for the noob listeners.
In a nutshell, ‘Near Death Revelations‘ is a solid release leaning more towards melancholic black metal tendencies. Although there is nothing groundbreaking on it, but the album is highly recommended for its concept and sorrowful atmosphere. To me, ‘Near Death Revelations’ is the best Blaze of Perdition release to date. If you are unaware of this band and you have fondness towards the bands like Watain, Dissection and Deathspell Omega, then you must check this album out.
Watain has been one of the bands pioneering ‘Modern Black Metal’ sound with their sophomore classic effort Casus Luciferi which was released back in 2003. Watain was the supporting act for their peer Dissection, for the band’s The Rebirth of Dissection tour. During the European dates, Watain performed across 18 countries, which also helped the band to promote their opus magnum to a wider audiences.
One of the performances from the tour, which took place in Déjà vu Club, Barcelona, Spain was filmed by some local fan and recorded as a bootleg DVD; titled as Dissection and Watain: Live in Barcelona. The full set list by Watain during that gig can be streamed through the following link:
Walls Of Life Ruptured
I Am The Earth
My Fists Are Him
On Horns Impaled
You can also stream the full set by Dissection at the same gig on following link:
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
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.