Good evening Shadow and many thanks for taking the time to answer my questions! Let’s get right to it: “Suicidal Salvation” was originally intended to be released as one side of a split-release with the Swedish guys from Shining. This did not happen because Niklas left Osmose during this time and signed with Spinefarm which caused some legal issues, so you decided to self-release it as a mini-album. Did you ever think of doing another split with Shining? Or of perhaps also including a song you craft together with Niklas/Shining for the re-releases of “Suicidal Salvation”? Are you still in good contact with Niklas?
Yes, "Sucidal Salvation" was originally composed for a split with Shining, but as you mentioned, it did not work out for legal reasons, so I decided to release it as a standalone mini album. Originally, Osmose was about to release this split. I did not think about doing a split with Shining, I lost contact with Niklas for a couple of years. We have seen each other lately on Inferno Fest
“Suicidal Salvation” was then released by the very controversial Darker Than Black label in Germany. How did you get into contact with them? And did you have any problems of getting the rights to do the re-release on your own label? Or are they maybe even supporting the re-release?
Yes, I heard that Darker than Black and a few other labels are controversial in Germany. Generally Black Metal is controversial. I do not remember how I made contact with Hendrik, we probably exchanged records. At that time I remember that I had quite a busy publishing schedule, that's why I did not release this album myself, I was looking for a foreign one, preferably a German one, to be more visible on that market. I sent proposals to a couple and respond with Darker than Black was the most specific, that's why I decided. I knew that they did not pay much attention to the promotion, but I set my conditions and Hendrik bought advertising in a few large magazines. I have rights to all Black Altar recordings, so there is no problem with re-editing. I lost contact with Hendrik a few years ago and I do not think he knew I released reissues.
On the promo-flyer of the re-release you state that one can here find nine hymns dedicated to “self-sacrifice”. So rather obviously, self-sacrifice is a very specific form of suicide since there usually is a specific (often cultural) meaning behind a form of self-sacrifice. Could you specify for us the lyrical content of the MCD/EP? In what way is self-sacrifice the dominant topic of your songs?
Ritual suicide is the theme of this mini-album, especially the title song "Suicidal Salvation". Ritual suicide is an act of supreme sacrifice, conscious of crossing the border of life and death, to undergo transformation and to be reborn in a more perfect form on the other side.
Apart from the topic of suicide: space and time as well as, of course, Satanism seem to play an important role in the songs on “Suicidal Salvation”. Could you elaborate further? Is death the beginning of some kind of journey into space in the form on energy? Or how do you view the afterlife? What comes after we leave this corporeal form?
I firmly believe that our life does not end with the moment of death, only that it is the beginning of a much more perfect life in the astral world. We go into a different dimension, where our Energy / Soul / Consciousness gets rid of all bodily limitations and we experience unification with the Absolute.
‘Journey To The Astral Realm’ is an ambient-track without any metal-parts at all which reminds one of Darkspace and also the Swiss band Vinterriket (perhaps with some Nortt-flair in it). Was that song specifically crafted for this MCD/EP? Or did you have it in the back of your hand and simply found it fitting as a middle-part of the MCD/EP?
This track was composed by Nihil from Furia according to my guidelines and I think it is a very interesting interlude between metal stuff.
Even though suicide plays an important role on “Suicidal Salvation”, musically you are standing strong in the tradition of classic black metal. You neither take away the speed and energy of BLACK ALTAR nor is there anything cheesy to be found on the five songs. This makes me wonder what you personally think of the so-called Depressive or Suicidal Black Metal genre which Kvarforth seem to have founded. Are there some bands you like listening to? And were they an inspiration for the music of BLACK ALTAR?
Black Altar sticks to black metal all the time, but we have a distinctive style and are not afraid of unconventional solutions. Now a guitarist who is a virtuoso guitar came to the composition, so I think that the new songs will be more technically advanced. Personally, I really like Shining, but generally I do not like this depressive trend, where the vocalists moan that they want to die. I would gladly fulfill their wish.
If I am correct than Horizon played guitars on “Suicidal Salvation” – how did the collaboration with him work for this release? Did you two meet up and write songs together? Or was he mainly just recording the guitars after you yourself crafted the songs?
The cooperation was very smooth, especially in the studio. About half of the compositions were mine and half his, he also recorded it very well in the studio. As a curiosity, I will add that we recorded in the same session also for a split with Varathron / Thornspawn, so they have a very similar sound and as well all the tracks could appear as a full-length album.
As far as I know Antichrist recorded the drums for the songs found on the split with Varathron and Thornspawn. Is he also responsible for the drums on “Suicidal Salvation”? Or did you use a drum-computer for this specific release?
To be honest, a drum machine is used on both materials. The program was written and drums in it arranged, for both materials, by Antichrist and in general it sounds quite natural today.
Speaking of the split with Thornspawn and Varathron: you have added those four songs as a bonus on the re-release of “Suicidal Salvation”. I guess these songs stem from the same period of time since they have been released only one year earlier than the “Suicidal Salvation”-MCD/EP. But do these four songs also thematically deal with the same topics to be found on “Suicidal Salvation”? Or why did you decide to use specifically those four songs as a bonus?
As I mentioned earlier, the compositions for both releases were recorded during the same session and have a very similar sound. Those from split are a bit stricter. Honestly, I wanted to put the best ones on the mini album "Suicidal Salvation" and those that are similar thematically. However, reality has shown that people enjoy the split music even more. The texts written for them are not related to each other.
When bands release their art on vinyl, it’s of course always interesting which colour they choose. You are going with red and with blood red splatter. Why did you specifically choose these two colours? And why is there no simple black version as in the good old times?
I'm also a fan of black vinyls, but this time the red color suited me, especially since the cover has red brown elements. As for the second color version, I wanted to order it for a limited to 50 pieces wooden box and I was offered a blood red splatter that suits me perfectly.
Speaking of vinyl: was it particularly important for you to see your music also released on vinyl? Do you like this medium more than CDs? Or is it more a bit about the nostalgic effect?
Yes, I am a huge fan and collector of vinyls, that's why I try to make every release appear in this format and I try to do my best.
When you now look back on the music of “Suicidal Salvation” and on the songs on the split with Varathron and Thornspawn, what feelings does that evoke? How was your mood during the time when these songs were crafted? And how does it feel to listen to them now? Are you still proud of your achievements from an artistic point of view?
Hmm, I'm still happy with this stuff and I would not change anything in it. They were composed for a long period of time, so I probably have been in many different moods. They are a record of that time and emotions. There are some of the best compositions in the Black Altar discography.
What will the future bring for BLACK ALTAR? Are you already working on new songs and new material for a forthcoming release?
We have just finished writing the stuff for a split with Norwegian Kirkebranni, we are now focusing on their practicing. We also have some material for the "Nekromantic Revelations" mini album. I want to release this split together with the reissue of the debut album "Black Altar" with new mastering.
Last questions: which books are currently lying on your nightstand?
I have recently read the occult books of Michel W. Ford and I study guides on investing in real estate.
Many thanks again for your time and your effort! I wish you personally and for BLACK ALTAR only the very best!