Zero Tolerance Magazine (UK)
When I interviewed you at the end of 2013 you mentioned the split EP with Beastcraft was to be released shortly, is this the same EP that is being released now? Were there problems with the release or did the recording take much longer than originally expected?
Yes, that's the same material. But the thing is I decided to expand it. Everything has changed when I started to have some serious health problems. There was a suspicion that I had ALS, the worst diseases on this earth, and that I was about to die in 2 years or so being a vegetable simply speaking. I such situation your way of thinking changes. I had one more great composition called Tophet. It was supposed to be included on the next material but knowing this was the end, I decided to put it on the split with Beastcraft. Recordings as well as the process of improving the sound took a lot of time. Later I decided to make a simple video clip for it which started to take more serious form as the time passed. I took 8 months to complete it. So finally, summing it all up, everything needed 3 years to be completed.
The limited edition version of the EP is a very special release and the music feels special too, especially with the guest artists and video for Tophet, it feels like Black Altar is back and at the height of its powers, did you feel the pressure to compete with your best material after several years of silence?
Just as I said, I thought that Tophet will be the last composition in my life so I wanted to make everything as much perfect as it was possible. The day before I recording the vocals I made I did medical research that almost proved that I had ALS. You can imagine how I felt in the studio. I decided to invite some close friends to participate in the recordings: James from Vader, Acerbus from Ondskapt, V. Priest from Acherontas, Sorath Northgrove from Beastcraft and Maryla and Paul Waggener from Operation Werewolf. There was also a video clip with all these guest taking part in it. It was filmed in different locations including USA, Sweden, Norway, Poland and two times in a place where I live, in London. Later, luckily, after a years of observation at the Oxford clinic, it turned out that I'm almost healthy. Split is released as a 8 panel digipak with a 16 page booklet, gatefold vinyl with a A2 poster and a special wooden box (limited to 50 units only) including LP, cd, 2 t-shirt's, pin, badge, posters, signed photos and a lot of rarities from the Black Altar's past and present.
In our previous interview you also mentioned that the next Black Altar full-length album would be released within two years, is that still forthcoming? What can you tell us about it at this point?
For now I can't share any details as none of the compositions is ready. We have only fragments of them, so I think it will take like 3 years or so. During that time there will probably be a small release of some sort.
It’s more than twenty years now since the first Black Altar demo, how do you relate to the band as it was then? Would you say you have achieved the aims you had when you set out?
Generally speaking I have the same idealistic attitude towards playing Black Metal but maybe I'm not so naive like I was 20 years ago. I've seen many things and I've learned a lot during that time. I did not realise that the band will exist for so long. I thing that I've achieved a least a minimum when it comes to my goals, but I'm still not totally fulfilled. The thing I miss for sure are the concerts which I've never played before. I want to change that, but it will not be easy. Apart from that, I still want to record a few more good releases. I think there is still, at least, 5 years of Black Altar's activity before me.
A very similar question in a way; when you look back over your work, do you see a series of goals achieved, or is it more like a continuous evolution?
It's hard to say. I set concrete goals for myself and I consequently complete them. During that time I experience a natural evolution but without any serious changes.
What is next for Black Altar?
During upcoming months I plan to re-release "Suicidal Salvation" on vinyl and cd digipak. It will include some bonus tracks from the split with Varathron and Thornspawn. Later the time will come for the debut album to be reissued. It will come with a new artwork and mastering. Than it will be all about new stuff. I'm planning a split with a some well-known Swedish band, maybe a 7'' EP and of course a 3rd full-length album. What's is interesting we are going to organise, together with Ondskapt, a release party of their new album. The event will take place in London. Guys are going to play Tophet live with me on vocals. That will be my debut live performance. I will also think about the line-up and concerts, as there are a lot of offers on that. Ondskapt guitarist has already joined Black Altar, so the future looks quite promising.