Legions Ov Darkness
1 For those who are unfamiliar with Black Altar, can you start with telling us about the band and how it all started?
Hail! Black Altar was created in 1996 as my one-man project. After the first demo it turned into a full band for a few years, and later I removed the rest of the musicians and again I was alone in the band for many years. Over the years, however, I had the honor to work with musicians of such bands as Behemoth, Vader, Marduk, Funeral Mist, Dimmu Borgir, Ondskapt, Acherontas, Beastcraft. Since last year, Black Altar is again a full band and we are preparing for the next attacks.
2 Can you tell us about the lyrical themes and subjects that you focus on within Black Altar?
Black Altar's lyrics are not about anything nice or positive, they are generally about dark rituals, occultism, sabbaths, war and apocalypse.
3 Black Altar has a number of releases, with the first demo dating back to 1998 and you latest releases being back in 2019.Does each release differ much for one another, or has your style change over the years?
Although Black Altar has been around for 24 years, it does not have a rich discography. I recorded one demo, an EP, 2 full-lengths, a mini album and a few splits with Vesania, Varathron, Thornspawn and Beastcraft. I recorded my debut demo with the help of the now dead drummer of Vader - Doc, who was my producer and also recorded the drums for me. At that time, I didn't have much idea about composing, I was just polishing my style, so the demo is different from later releases. On the next material which was the EP "Wrath ov the Gods" I began to shape my style. It was released on a split with my friends from Vesania, who later made a career in such bands as Behemoth, Dimmu Borgir and Decapitated. It was both theirs and my first major material, and I released it on a CD limited to 666 copies and numbered by corpse blood.
Then I was joined by solid, very good musicians, totally devoted to Black Metal and together we prepared the debut album "Black Altar". Thanks to them the songs became much more technically advanced and the Black Altar style was developed, which with minor changes continues to this day.
4 Any plans for a third album release any time soon?
The last album was released in 2008, but the new album will not be released soon. I have only 2 songs. The next Black Altar releases will be split first with the Norwegian Kirkebrann. I have already recorded songs with Lars Brodesson from Funeral Mist, ex Marduk and Mauser ex Vader, who also joined me on the second guitar. Another material will be split with the Norwegian Vulture Lord. Only after that we will work harder on the new record. So I think it will be another 2 years.
5 I believe you will be taking Black Altar live this year? Will this be a first time for you and Black Altar?
That's right. I've never played any concert in my life. There were various obstacles in my way. First, the other members of the band did not want to hear about playing live, then when I removed them I could not find the right ones, then came family responsibilities, lack of time, etc. I also thought that I abandoned this topic forever. However, after moving from Poland to London and increasing pressure from the environment, I realized that this is the perfect place and time to do it. Either now or never. In fact, this is all I miss, all the more so because the proposals get all the time through South America, Japan, from various European festivals, that I should refuse. I skip the fact that London is a concert paradise. So we're starting preparations for the concerts. The organizer of Darkness Guides Us from Glasgow persuaded me to play with him and I agreed, because there is still a lot of time until November. Earlier I would like to play one or two small concerts to gain confidence and some experience. So it looks like this great moment has come and Black Altar will finally play the first concerts.
6 How long has Black Altar now been based here in the United Kingdom since moving from Poland?
It will be about 5 and a half years. Earlier, since 2007, I lived in the UK for over a year.
7 What do you think about the current state of U.K Black Metal? Are there any bands you like?
In England there are a lot of bands that represent a high level, but to be honest most of them play quite melodic and not very extreme stuff. Even if there is a good part, it begins with a 2-minute acoustic splatter which I can't stand. I miss some truly extreme bands like Polish Infernal War, Deus Mortem or Arkona.
Bands that I like include Deitus, Thy Dying Light, Abduction, Infernal Sea, Ethereal, Necronautical, Vehement, Morktar, Nahemia, Master’s Call, Trivax, Necromaniac and Skullthrone.
8 With originally coming from Poland are you still involved with the Polish Black Metal scene?
I keep in touch with old bands, in the meantime I also meet some new people. Generally I know what is happening in Polish black metal, and a lot is happening. Unfortunately, the trend of post black metal intensified and inventing more and more stupid Polish lyrics and titles, which I am not a fan of. As usual, there are also conflicts on the scene. That's why I'm glad to see it all from the side.
9 Are There any Polish Black Metal bands that you would like to share with our readers?
Certainly old bands like Infernal War, Arkona, Besatt, or Deus Mortem, who is the heir of the undefined Thunderbolt.
10 Since the beginning of Black Altar you have self released all your music through your own label Odium Records. Is there a reason to why you choose to self-release all your own music?
The debut album was released by the German Christhunt Prod, and the mini album "Suicidal Salvation" by Darker than Black, but otherwise all the material was released in Odium Rec, possibly vinyl versions in other labels and a lot of different licenses in different countries. To be honest I prefer to have everything under control by myself, have unlimited access to promotional copies when needed than buy my CDs later. I am able to secure myself or other bands that I release and do better promotion than much bigger labels like Osmose, whose promotion is limited to sending out a newsletter and placing some collective advertisements. I buy full-page ads in major magazines, rent various promotional agencies, I have good distribution and a lot of contacts. I can generally do what I want and whenever I want, it's a very comfortable situation.
11 You've also released the likes of Beastcraft, Thornspawn, Graveland and many more though Odium Records.Do you have anything lined up for this year which you can share with us?
I would add Varathron or Swedish Mephorash to these names, which is an absolute hit of sales and I have just commissioned the next edition. I am happy with my publishing output, because I focus on quality, not quantity like many other labels that litter the scene with little worthy bands, which are the hundredth copy of some other known band.
After the release of Mephorash, I decided to stop releasing other bands and finally focus only on Black Altar. However, sometimes I make exceptions like for Graveland or the Norwegian Vulture Lord, who returns after 17 years with an album composed by Nefas. The new line-up includes members of Urgehal, Carpathian Forest, Beastcraft, Endezzma and Thornspawn. The more I am happy that they chose me because they had proposals from big labels and they chose my modest offer because they have known me for years and the knowledge that I live what I do and will that everything will stay in the family.
Yesterday I also got a proposal to release a new album by Hell Born from Poland, which also returns after over 10 years. This is a band of 2 former Behemoth members, one of whom is co-founder of the band with Nergal. I am seriously considering this proposal, but I generally reject the 99.9 offers I receive.
12 Now that the interview is coming to an end, is there anything you would like to share with our readers?
Greetings to all readers in the UK and not only. I encourage you to check out the works of Black Altar as well as Odium Records releases. Let’s sacrifice the hearts of our enemies upon the Black Altar!