Metalized Mag (Denmark)
We have to first of all talk about the split you released at the end of last year in collaboration with Beastcraft. Personally I think it is a great record, but could you for starters try to introduce “Winds ov Decay/Occult Ceremonial Rites” to the readers of Metalized? What’s in store for the listener?
Split with Beastcraft was originally meant to be released for the 20th anniversary of Black Alar, but due to different circumstances it appeared on the 22nd anniversary of the band's activity. The idea to create a music video for the Tophet song, which was created in 5 countries, delayed the release date. Each of the bands dedicated 5 songs. This is the last Beascraft material in its history.
“Winds Ov Decay” is meant to be an anniversary record for you as a band – why has it been important for you to highlight this milestone in your career?
I've been planning a split with Beastcraft for a couple of years, and it just happened that the Black Altar's anniversary was near, so I thought it would be good to celebrate it that way. It not often happens that the band celebrates its 20th anniversary.
Looking back at your career in Black Altar, how would you say that you have changed as a band and as a musician over the years?
Good question. I think I did not change too much and the band did not change as well during all these years. The same ideals are still with me and I have the same passion and fire in me as when I formed the band. It is known that for all these years I have grown up as a man, looking at things with greater distance. Black Altar music has also become a little more technical and mature, but in general the foundations are the same as 22 years ago.
A number of different musicians have been involved in Black Altar over the years – how have this changing composition affected the band?
Contrary to appearances, there were not many changes. Apart from the beginnings, since the debut Wrath of the Gods EP from 2000, I worked with 3 musicians. Even when I reduced them to session musicians 14 years ago, we still collaborated together. Only now I have a completely new line-up, so as you can see it was not much.
According to the press-material back in the days a number of new members had to leave the band because they could not meet your “high musical and ideological requirements” – What exactly does ideological requirements mean to you? And why is it important when putting together a band?
I am quite picky about choosing musicians. They have to have appropriate musical skills, in case of possible concerts they must properly look on the stage and have the same views. I would not like to play with a typical musician who is just a very good instrumentalist, but he does not understand black metal, the same with ideals that goes with it.
You obviously still play black metal and I still sounds very much like Black Altar – but how would you say it differs from for instance your previous release and maybe even some of your older material?
The debut demo "Na Uroczysku" was a great experiment, I practically barely knew how to play back then and I only shaped my style. Then the EP "Wrath ov the Gods" was already a more pure black metal in the Norwegian style. You can talk about the development of the Black Altar style from the debut album, where the new, very good musicians joined me and composed some stuff. Music has become much more technical and advanced. Since then, the Black Altar style has only slightly evolved. A big change will be possible only now, where after 14 years of being a solo project I have a new line-up and new songs will be mostly in a different style. I am curious what will come out of it, so far we have one new song and a few fragments.
Is it important for you to stick to a more or less particular sound?
The core of the style should be preserved, it can not be completely different music, but I like to introduce new elements. Many riffs composed by the new line-up were rejected by me, because they did not match the style of Black Altar or I did not like them, but as I mentioned, new songs will still be a big step into different areas.
Satanism is of course a recurrent theme for you, but maybe you could tell us a bit more about the lyrical approach for “Winds Ov Decay”?
There are only 2 new songs and the Beastcraft cover on the split. Tophet's composition tells about the worship of the god Moloch, offering him sacrifices of the firstborn children, who were sent alive to a never-ending fire. The song "Winds ov Decay" tells about the closing end of the world known to us, where demonic forces complete the work of destruction on the physical and spiritual fields turning the world into nothingness.
From where do you get your lyrical inspiration?
I draw inspiration from everything that surrounds me, mainly from occult books, films, sometimes from dreams, my own thoughts, and generally from the reality that surrounds me.
The artwork is awesome – what are the thoughts behind it?
The author of the painting is Nestor Avalos. Before I asked him for cooperation, I saw this image put up for sale and I thought it would fit in very well with the concept of the album. I asked him only to add a few details and a few changes. The picture symbolizes the destruction and decompositions that consumes the world.
You have collaborated with some very interesting musicians from for instance Vader, Beastcraft, Acherontas and Ondskapt on the newest record – could you tell a bit about these collaborations?
There is a peculiar story connected with it. Namely, I had a major health problem, everything indicated that I had the worst disease of the nervous system which is ALS. I knew that I could die as a vegetable during 3 years. So I decided to add Tophet to the split which I was originally planning to place on the next release. I knew it would be the last song in the history of Black Altar so I wanted to make it unique. I invited some musicians, whom I respect and have known for years. That is why the musicians of Vader, Acherontas, Ondskapt and Beascraft performed in one song. Fortunately, after a year of observation and research at the Oxford Clinic with a professor who looked after Steven Hawking, the disease was ruled out, and I feel quite good and ready for further challenges.
It is quite long for a split release – how come you have not chosen to release it as an EP or maybe even wait until you had enough material for a full-length record?
Splits do not have to be short, for me it was an honor to have it with Beastcraft, I wanted to release this material as a split with them. Originally, it was supposed to be shorter, but as I said, I decided to add Tophet to it, later there was also the idea of making the industrial / electro version of this song by PreEmptive Strike 0.1. That is how 2 new songs appeared.
You have become known for participating on a number of very high quality split releases over the years – how come this format suits you so well?
I agree that I like splits quite a lot. I can put there songs that can be more experimental and do not really fit into a full album. In addition, I do splits with bands, which is also a way of showing them respect. I plan a 7 "split with Norwegian Kirkebrann and maybe a one with with some known Swedish band, but it's too early to speak about it.
You haven’t released a full-length record in almost 10 years – could we expect to see you return to that format in the future?
Definitely yes. As I mentioned, new musicians joined, new drummer and guitarist from Ondskapt. We are working together on a new mini album called "Nekromantic Revelations", which will be slower and more haunted than the earlier Black Altar materials. We want to polish our style on it, I want to give time to new musicians to catch up with Black Altar's style, so this mini album will be an experiment of some sort. Later, the mentioned split with Kirkebrann will be released and then we will compose a full-length third album. I always subconsciously postponed this idea because for me, the third album is something like a breakthrough, a kind of opus magnum in the band's discography, and I probably have not been mentally ready for it before.
Thank you very much for taking the time! Do you have anything to add to the Danish readers?
Thank you for interesting questions. Let’s sacrifice the hearts of your enemies upon the Black Altar!