INTERVIEW WITH BLACK ALTAR FOR BURNING MAGAZINE
1 - How are you, Shadow, okay? To start this interview, beginning with the congratulations to the Black Altar, for the 22 years of band. Did you imagine going that far when it all began?
Heilz! I’m ok, thank you. I did not think that the band could exist for so long, 22 years is a significant piece of time, and it looks like there is still a lot ahead of us. I am determined by what I am doing and Black Metal is my greatest passion, so there is still some stuff to be done.
2 - You have just released a sensational Split with Beastcraft. I heard this material and it's very good, how did the partnership between the bands? How was work on this record?
Again thank you. Split with Beascraft has been planned for many years, but as usual, everything dragged into infinity mainly because I decided to add the song Tophet and make a videoclip to it. I have been in contact with Sorath for a long time and when I asked him about the idea of doing a split together, he was really into it. For splits, I choose bands whose music I value, respect tthe views of their musicians, and mostly the ones I've known for years.
Later, the ideas for this split were changing, at the beginning it was supposed to be just a vinyl EP, later we added more songs and made a pretty long material finally released as Lp, digi pack and wooden box. Tophet track was supposed to be added to the next material, but unfortunately everything indicated that I had the most terrible disease of the nervous system in the world, which is ALS / Lue Gering disease and I knew that in about 3 years I could die as a vegetable. So I decided to add this song to the split as the last song in the history of Black Altar. Luckily, I got in touch with one of the most distinguished professors of this disease in Oxford, who also worked on Steven Hawking, and after a year of observation and research, he finally ruled out the disease, and I'm in good shape and ready for further action.
3 - Video "Tophet" is very well produced and has appearances by other bands like Vader, Ondskapt, Acherontas, Beastcraft. Why do you choose this musician to work with you on Video?
As I mentioned above, I was convinced that Tophet will be the last song in my life, the more so that the day before recording vocals, doctors in Poland practically confirmed the diagnosis. I wanted to make this song unique and I invited musicians whom I have known for years and who I respect. I also made a video for the song. At the beginning it was supposed to be a video with a few sequences, but it began to take more and more serious shapes until it finally made a full-length video with many scenes. Everyone were filming in their locations, so in total the clip was created in 5 countries, which prolonged the release of the split by almost a year.
4 - It is clear that the Black Altar has a theme very attached to Satanism / Occultism. What are your primary references related to these subjects?What can you tell us about man's deep relationship with the cosmos and the energies emanating in the world today?
Since I remember, I was fascinated by these topics. Once I intensely ravaged them, later I had a break due to the lack of time, and now I returned to it. It is an inseparable part of Black Altar. Now I look at some matters with a certain distance and with greater maturity. The occultism is a fascinating field that can be studied all life, and still 99% of its apprentices do not approach the essence of Darkness.
Everything has its energy and vibrates. There have always been negative energies and positive ones having hundreds of names over the centuries. One can not exist without the other, so that the equilibrium in the universe is preserved. You have to learn to tune into these energies and use them for your own purposes.
6 - Black Metal today is well known and widespread around the globe. Do you believe that ancient times, where only initiated ones had access, can return? Black Metal has had its glory days in the past, but nowadays it seems that it has been somewhat erased, forgotten, the greater ideology seems to be dead ... What do you have to say about it?
Those times will never come back. Then there was no internet, e-mails, social media, everything was new, fascinating and dangerous. People treated black metal fanatically and seriously. Today you know how it is. Black Metal has become another commercial music genre. Everyone cares only about the number of albums sold, likes on facebook, or views on youtube. Everything is happening in the internet. Young fans download dozens of albums on their hard discs in a few days without having an idea what black metal was about. I could write about it for a long time, because I've been into metal for 30 years and I'm part of it, but I think everyone knows what's going on. We have a new reality that you need to adapt to or end your activity. Fortunately, there are some bands that uphold old traditions and they deserve respect for that.
7 - Does Black Altar have plans to do a world tour, and play at major Extreme Metal festivals? Has there been any invitation for this year 2018?
Black Altar after 14 years break stopped being my solo project and became a legal band again. The musicians of Ondskapt joined me and a new chapter in the history of the band has began. Black Altar has never played a gig in its 22-year history, but now we are thinking about such possibility. But first we want to focus on the new mini album. I recieve offers all the time, but everyone knows that Black altar does not play concerts. If we start, then there will be much more offers coming in.
8 - You also lead the record label "Odium Record's" How is it to work with the label, the band and still have a social life? How can you manage your time?
I has been running Odium Records for over 20 years. In previous years, I invested all the money, time and energy in publishing other bands. All this took place at the expense of Black Altar and private life. After I was threatened by a deadly disease, I realized that life was short and I decided to focus only on my band and it immediately brought effects. It is hard for me to separate some spare time, because I work 12 hours a day on night shifts as the head of security on BBC television, I sleep during the day and I have hundreds of different things to do. To make matters worse, my girlfriend was diagnosed with brain cancer and I also devote a lot of energy and time to help her fight her illness.
10 - Varg Vikernes recently announced the end of the Burzum, and this has stirred up with many people worldwide. What is your opinion about Varg and about Burzum?
I respect Burzum and Varg. I still treat "Hvis Lyset Tarr Oss" as the best black metal album, but for years Varg has nothing to do with black metal, he even mocks the old times and the whole scene. In additio to this there were more and more funny or embarrassing clips on you tube, so it's rather good that he decided to resign from Burzum. The king is dead, long live the king!
11 - Many bands are having their shows canceled due to the new fashion, "Antifa" that live at the doors of shows and social networks boycotting events and bands, accusing everything and everyone of Nazis and facists. Throughout all the trajectory of the band, you or you particularly have already undergone some boycott?What do you think about this ridiculous attitude of these so-called "Antifas"?
This phenomenon really pisses me off and what annoys me even more are the bands who are discussing with them, apologizing, convincing that they have nothing to do with it, etc. instead of saying: Fuck you, if you try to disrupt the concert, we will kill you! Such are our political times, the organizers shake their asses after each letter from antifa and resign from the gig. The example from the last days is the Polish Infernal War, which played with Marduk. They were taken off from the half of the tour and even people in Infernal War shirts could not enter the club. Despite the fact that I do not play concerts, I also have different magazines and concert agencies that refuse to cooperate with me due to my side projects. Black Metal is evil, war and hatred, so what did you expect? If the band is Anti-Christian, they are all happy, but let them only have something in the lyrics about Mahomet or Islam, they immediately make them a Nazi, intollerant band. That's embarrassing.
12 - I thank you immensely of your time in answering our short interview. I ask you to leave your contacts to anyone who wants to purchase the material of the Black Altar, and their last considerations. The space is all yours:
Thank you for interesting questions. With the new line-up I just started working on the new mini album "Nekromantic Revelations". The music on it will differ from the already known Black Altar’s style, it will be slower, more mystical and haunted. The material will be recorded by the end of this year/ beginning of 2019 in Sweden and released by Odium Records. After the mini album is released a 7” split with Norwegian KIRKEBRANN will be unleashed as a heavy picture disc. Before the new mini album comes out, 2013’s mini album “Suicidal Salvation” will be re released on vinyl, digipak and limited wooden box with 3 tracks from the split with VARATHRON and THORNSPAWN as a bonus. There will also be reedition of a debut album "Black Altar" with new mastering and artwork. The War goes on..