Interview: Ars Veneficium

Interviewed: S.

A band from Belgium that’s on the rise after having proving themselves to always deliver high quality black metal since their formation in 2013 is Ars Veneficium. With a new album recently out titled Usurpation of the Seven it was time to talk about the bands history, future, black metal in Belgium and the Corona situation.

Tell me how did Ars Veneficium come to life?

The band basically grew forth from my former band Eratomania back in 2013 when 2 members made the decision to leave due to other priorities and interests. It was then that Ronarg (who’ve recently joined Eratomania a week before) and myself decided to continue. From there on, I asked my old Drummer (Sorath) to join us again and after a few rehearsals, which led to a whole new sound, we decided it was for the best to start all over under a new name which eventually became Ars Veneficium.

You’ve been with Immortal Frost Productions since the debut EP The Abyss, how did you two get in touch?

Well, fun fact is that I’m the owner of Immortal Frost Productions. So it made sense for me to release my own band as I have full control over the promotion, distribution, release formats etc. I could push everything the way I want.

How is the Belgian scene for black metal? The little I hear from bands from the country delivers, such as yourself, but there seems to be so few black metal bands. Is it a PR thing (as in there are many bands, just not known to the masses) or is there simply not a lot of people wanting to play black metal in Belgium?

Lately we actually have a very good scene if I have to be honest. The past 5 years or something bands are really stepping up their “game” again and delivering in full force. Our scene might be small, but we have a great number of black metal bands in this country. PR could be blamed I guess, perhaps since our country is so small we don’t get the attention we should, but if one would dig in properly, you will find at least 15 black metal bands worth checking out.

To name just a handful: Possession, Slaughter Messiah, Heinous, Dikasterion, Saqra’s Cult, Sabathan,…

Your lyrics revolve a lot about Satanism, what’s the members religious belief?

My lyrics present several topics such as Satanism, Demonology, Luciferianism, my obsession with death and what comes after life. I wouldn’t confirm it as a religious belief, but more as a free way of thinking, exploring and absorbing wisdom in one’s interests. After all, I have an utter disgust for monotheism.

What fuels the darkness in creation for Ars Veneficium? How goes the process when creating a new album?

The fuel behind my music has always been my hatred, disgust and personal life experience. Everything I see in our daily life, how people interact with one another, how religion still manipulates the weak minded, the brutality towards the beauty of nature. This all reflects my view upon the world and humanity which I eventually translated into my lyrics.

The process of writing a new album happens between myself & Ronarg. He delivers the song writing of all the instruments which I give a final adjustment regarding structure and details right before I write the lyrics to these songs and we call it “complete”.

With your new album Usurpation of the Seven having been out for almost a month when I write this has it had the reception you hoped for?

Our new album has been received very well I noticed. Reviews have all been very positive, however for some strange reason we’ve noticed that everything’s kind of put on hold half way into March. Reviews haven’t been delivered, sales have stopped drastically, distribution is on hold..

Has it something to do with the Corona Virus? I seriously can’t say. Perhaps our album isn’t that good after all? Maybe the reviewers weren’t interested? Perhaps, it wasn’t the right time? (hahaha) Anyway, I find it a very strange situation to be honest.

Sadly your album release tour got cancelled due to the Corona virus, it sucks hard and many bands are suffering right now. How are you holding up, how has it affected you and how can fans help you guys out?

Correct, under normal circumstances we would have toured China in May for 2 weeks to present our new album to a whole new scene (where we’ve of course never been before). Unfortunately has our tour been cancelled due to Corona Virus as well as our album release show at Dark Easter Metal Meeting festival. And we’ve heard that our other planned festivals for this summer will most likely be cancelled or postponed as well. Which is unfortunate, but understandable regarding the whole situation.

How can fans help us? By checking out our new album online and show their support by purchasing it through our record label; http://smarturl.it/usurpationoftheseven

Speaking of tours and lets just dream for a bit. What would be a dream tour for Ars Veneficium, who would you tour with and why?

Honestly I personally have no dream tour. I guess any tour with like-minded people, good vibes etc could be nice.

What’s next for Ars Veneficium?

For the moment we’ll wait out this “storm” and see if our shows will be rescheduled or not and focus towards what comes after this current situation and hopefully our album will get noticed a bit more during this quarantine.

With that I guess we both go back to the quarantine life. Got any last words?

Thank you for this short interview and interest towards Ars Veneficium.

Ars Veneficium: https://facebook.com/arsveneficiumofficial

Immortal Frost Productions: https://immortalfrostproductions.com https://shop.immortalfrostproductions.com
https://digital.immortalfrostproductions.com
https://youtube.com/user/ImmortalFrostProd
https://facebook.com/immortalfrostproductions https://instagram.com/immortalfrostproductions https://soundcloud.com/immortalfrostproductions

Wardaemonic – Acts of Repentance (Black Metal)

From the ashes of Avantgard Wardaemonic was formed in 2005 by Regnator. Regnator left the band in 2012 and with that they added a new guitarist in Lord Bane while the drummer Maelstrom got double duties as he is both on vocals and doing drums these days. Vocals has been something of a hard time for Wardaemonic as this is the third singer (three times a charm right?) they try while having released five albums. Seeing Maelstrom has been in the band since the start I hope this time around they can become stable as I feel that’s been holding them back some. With that said, going into this review my main question was how would the drummer do on vocals?

As a matter of fact amazingly well it would turn out! I dare say Acts of Repentance is one of their better albums in that regard. Add the fact the band continue to try and perfect the sound they went for in Obsequium, which already was a way darker sound than their first albums (and much better too if I say so myself). You can hear some Icelandic type of riffing here, think the big three Sinmara, Svartidauði and Misþyrming, which is extra noticeable on the album closer “Act V – Repentance” and is hauntingly beautiful. The closest I find Wardaemonic being in terms of overall sound is Pestilential Shadows and Erebus Enthroned though, which isn’t a bad thing at all.

Wardaemonic might not be a band I think of first time around when someone asks me of great black metal bands but they are on the right track and fact is Acts of Repentance is their best album to date, by quite a mile as their old albums weren’t anything I thought was good enough to get back to. It’s a very good album but I find it lacking bits and pieces here and there for it to really stand out and being memorable. That’s down to preferences in how black metal is meant to be played though as this isn’t as aggressive, satanic and fast as I like my black metal. Wardaemonic is on the path to establish their own style of trying to mix catchy riffs, brutality and slow sections well now on their fourth full-length album. Next time around I might get completely caught in their vortex of darkness and hatred. Right now I’m mainly looking into that vortex however but it does look tempting to jump in…

If you’re into black metal, especially this style of black metal, then you should definitely check this one out though as it’s worth a few spins at the very least!

Artist: Wardaemonic
Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
For fans of: Pestilential Shadows & Erebus Enthroned
Release date: March 20th, 2020
Favorite song: Act V – Repentance
Score: 3.5/5 Very good

Interview: Mörk Gryning

Interviewed: Goth Gorgon

Today it’s an honor to present the interview with one of Sweden’s most influential black metal bands, Mörk Gryning. Their debut album from 1995 “Tusen år har gått…” is a pinnacle of black metal music where many newer bands have come to list as one of their favorite albums and influences. After leaving the scene due to lack of interest in extreme metal back in 2005 the band eventually got resurrected in 2016. Now finally we can eagerly await a new album release from the band and what better time to interview one of the founders, Goth Gorgon, to talk about black metal in the past and present, what made the band reunite and of course discuss the new album.

What made you resurrect the band again?

It was about time. Me and Kimera had talked about it some years before but it didn’t happen then. In the end I guess we felt we weren’t done with it yet and I always had songs/ideas haunting me and finally it was time to put them to tape.

Was it easy to get the old team of Draakh Kimera, Goth Gorgon and Avathar back together again?

No, Avathar met former live drummer Baron Samedi at some gig and started talking about it. Kimera was keen and I came along as well. That show (at Party San) was fun enough so we said yes to one more and after that there was no going back.

How do you feel the response from the fanbase has been since you got back? Did it overwhelm you or did you expect it to be as it was?

It’s been incredible, we’re stoked about it. It’s cool that people remember us after all these years and also that younger fans are coming along.

You’ve always switched between English and Swedish lyrics, have you ever thought of doing a whole album in Swedish?

It’s funny, this is nothing we plan. The language just comes, which one feels more natural. Usually when I write riffs I get some words in my head that I build the lyric around. Theoretically maybe if we’d plan a whole album in Swedish then it would work cause then you’d have the mindset already. I don’t know, time will tell.

Tusen År Har Gått… is a black metal masterpiece and the title-track is probably your most known song. What’s your personal favorite track you’ve done so far though and why?

Thanks a lot. “Tusen år har gått” is probably my favorite as well. It’s just a very strong song, in your face, brutal and atmospheric at the same time. I also like the lyric a lot. It was the first song I wrote for the album, except for “Journey” and “Min sista färd” which already were on our demo. I don’t remember if we had already had the idea to make it a concept album but it fit in pretty well in any case.

Mörk Gryning has been away for quite a few years, how would you say the scene has changed during this time?

I don’t know if it’s so different from when we left it, but when we started it was something entirely different. The whole world was entirely different so it’s not so strange. Before internet, when you had to be tape trading with people from all over the world to hear new stuff. It was exciting times for sure when everything was new and at one point every new album or demo you heard opened new doors. It’s impossible to compare a scene to when it starts to how it is 30 years later. Back then everybody had to invent their own thing, today all the rules are carved in stone. I’d be happy to see more bands not following them so strictly.

You’ve started to record a new album, how far into the progress are you and when will we hear more info on the album?

Sverker (Wing Studios) has just started the mixing and we are extremely excited to hear the end result. My songs I wrote more then a year ago and they still feel fresh to me, that’s a good sign. I reckon a release date should be set in a month or two and I hope the album will be out in early autumn. But of course you never know, we have to get the cover and all ready first…

Now when you got the first live show after the comeback out of the way and a new album incoming. Will we see a Mörk Gryning tour in 2020?

We’re going to the states at the end of April for a week but apart from that we need to wrap up the album first. We’ll probably tour Europe early 2021 and there might still be some random gigs here and there this year.

You signed with Season of Mist for this coming album, how did this partnership come to happen?

Season of Mist are one of the few independent labels that still are around. We had just heard good things about them and just had good experience with them so far so we’re very content to sail under their flag. We’re still good friends with the old No Fashion people (Sound Pollution/Black Lodge these days) but we felt it was time to try something else.

What would you say is the biggest influence to Mörk Gryning?

Before we started MG we would buy demos in the local record stores or at shows. CDs and vinyl as well of course but there weren’t many bands with a record deal. So we’d buy demos or tape trade and pick the songs we liked. Some bands we did covers of were Unanimated, Desultory, Necrophobic, Afflicted, Pan-Thy-Monium, Edge of Sanity, Marduk etc etc. Personally, Tormentor “Anno domini”, Mayhem “Live in Leipzig” and Rotting Christ “Thy Mighty Contract” had a huge impact, and of course Dissection “The Somberlain”. But also their last demo and rehearsal tape were insane. Then all the Bathory albums. If you’d ask me my favourite band I think Bathory would have been the answer.

At the time of writing songs for “Tusen…” we had rediscovered classic heavy metal like Iron Maiden, Helloween, Judas Priest etc. For “Return Fire” it was the same but with Kreator and Slayer instead. We were huge fans of them. Other thrash bands we listened to were Nuclear Assault, Anthrax and Selpultura.

That’s all for me, thanks for doing this interview. You got any parting words?

Thanks a lot for the interest. Stay tuned for the album and nearby gigs. See you on the road!

Bildresultat för mörk gryning tusen år har gått cover

Ars Veneficium – Usurpation of the Seven (Black Metal)

What’s this? 3rd review in three days!? Yes that’s right I’ve been busy and it just clicked this time, don’t get used to it though haha. From black metal new blood in Kvaen to death metal veterans Wombbath I have now landed in more black metal realms as Immortal Frost Productions has been so kind to start sending me promo’s. I obviously had to dig right into it!

When thinking of black metal from Belgium there is really only three names that comes to my mind, Ancient Rites, Wiegedood and Enthroned (Oathbreaker in a way but I personally don’t consider them black metal). What I’m saying is Belgium isn’t really known to have a vast black metal scene so it’s fun to get a promo from a band hailing from that country I haven’t heard of before. Enter Ars Veneficium, a band that was formed back in 2013 so in all honesty they got a few years together by now. Prior Usurpation of the Seven the band have released an EP titled The Abyss in 2014 and a full-length in 2016 which was called The Reign of the Infernal King. I obviously had to give those two a listen before digging into their new release and I was pleasantly surprised. This was hard hitting aggressive black metal with blasting drums and riffs with lyrical themes of darkness, death and Satanism. Just the way I like my black metal!

While the first two records were good black metal I didn’t find them that memorable (do check out “As Flames Spread Into Chaos” and “Bringer of Light” however), were a bit inconsistent and could use a touch up on the production. Here I find the new album Usurpation of the Seven taking a big step in the right direction on all three points. The onslaught of sweet riffs and thundering drums remains but it’s more evil, wicked and simply just a showing of a band that’s had more time together, honing their craft. “Wrath of Life” is only the first track on the album but it’s already clear this song is better than anything the band has released previously. “Devour of Light” cements my thoughts as it’s just as good, by now I am certain that Ars Veneficium doesn’t play around and has made the best of their time between the albums to unleash a much better output this time around. What start as what I originally thought was a weaker song eventually becomes the relentless fury that ends “In the Fires of Eternity”, ending it on a high note and after a few listens becomes one of my favorite tracks. Funny how that works sometimes and says a lot on why you shouldn’t judge a song too quickly. The closing tracks “Under the Wings of Beautiful Darkness” and “The Flame of Endless Yearning” are great outputs as well, with the tempo-changes made to look easy in “The Flame of Endless Yearning” especially catches my attention.

In the end Usurpation of the Seven is a prime example of fast riff driven black metal done right. It’s nothing I haven’t heard before truth be told but Ars Veneficium does it very well and has risen to new heights since their last album. Fans of black metal in the veins of Sargeist and Human Serpent don’t miss out on this one!

Artist: Ars Veneficium
Label: Immortal Frost Productions
For fans of: Sargeist & Human Serpent
Release date: February 28th, 2020
Favorite song: The Flame of Endless Yearning
Score: 3.5/5 Very good

Kvaen – The Funeral Pyre (Black Metal)

Being a solo project by Jakob Björnfot (The Duskfall and Autumn Death) Kvaen was born in the fires of black metal. That’s not all though, the band explores the 80’s infernal speed metal reign while also having a touch of pagan/viking metal to add some spice to it. The Funeral Pyre being the debut it already features a lot of class session musicians such as Sebastian Ramstedt (Necrophobic, ex-Nifelheim), Perra Karlsson (Dreadful Fate, In Aeternum, ex-Deströyer 666) and Danni Jelsgaard (ex-Svartsot), and boy are we in for a wild ride!

Already on the first track “Revenge by Fire” you’re blessed with wicked riffs and just a relentless mix of black and speed metal in the veins of Nifelheim, Deströyer 666 and Desaster. This is the stuff that gets you going and if you don’t headbang to this your dead inside (well maybe you are but headbang anyways). The album then simply doesn’t let you breathe as you’re now caught in the funeral pyre, just embrace it. To follow up the sweet first track there is “Yee Naaldlooshii” which was a previously released single that I’d already heard countless of times, it is still a wicked banger and I can’t seem to grow tired of it. In the end, be it the slower, leaning more towards the black metal world, “The Wolves Throne” or previously mentioned “Revenge by Fire” Kvaen delivers some of the best music I’ve heard. Kvaen does a splendid job delivering that old school feeling but with a modern touch (great production etc).

To say this is the best album I’ve heard two months into 2020 is not an understatement. While I loved the albums by, for example, Svarttjern and Lorna Shore this is slightly better and hits all the right spots. Black Lion Records have released a lot of good metal but this is their best release since the amazing Hyperion album Seraphical Euphony. A must listen.

Artist: Kvaen
Label: Black Lion Records
For fans of: Deströyer 666 & Desaster
Release date: February 28th, 2020
Favorite song: Revenge by Fire
Score: 4.5/5 Incredible

Aethyrick – Gnosis (Black Metal)

Finland and black metal goes hand in hand that much is certain. Their love for the occult and satanism has been known far and wide with bands such as Beherit, Horna and Baptism leading the way for many years. Enter the new blood, a band who will carry the torch, Aethyrick. Formed by Gall and Exile on the winter solstice of 2016 the band has been quite productive in spreading their ways of the occult to the masses with two demo albums and a full-length released prior to their latest offering Gnosis.

With great songwriting and incredible guitar play Gnosis gets me hook, line and sinker already on the first track “Will Embodied”. It’s mesmerizing and hauntingly beautiful. It’s basically a lovesong where Finnish black metal meets the Icelandic counterpart and the end result is wonderful. The follow-up “Oneiric Portals” keeps the same quality and mysticism flair to it just as well. Then the third song “Stellar Flash” changes it up with more synths and change of vocal sounds, being even more of the shrieking kind a la Ghost Bath. I personally wasn’t a big fan of this and the vocals put me off quite a bit, as did the synths where I thought they overused here. It quickly put itself back up though when “Your Mysteries” comes on where once again the melodic guitar tone shines brightly pushing the album forward. “Blood Acre” then crushes everything where the introduction of a killer guitar solo sets the pace and never let you go. The atmosphere, energy and emotions here is exactly what I hope Aethyrick brings on each song. The closing songs “Anointed Bones” and “Golden Suffering” are great additions that follows it up well as the album ends on a high note. In fact I would say the last three songs on the album stands out from the rest and if you’re in a rush I would say pick one of those three songs to see if Aethyrick is for you.

While I thought Praxis was a solid debut Aethyrick takes it to a whole new level with Gnosis. Not only with the songwriting but the guitar tone is a massive improvement to me, the use of keyboards is better utilized too, as is the production. Hell I might just say everything has turned to the better (except me not liking “Stellar Flash”), it’s simply a matter of a band that’s taken these two years to jell together as a duo and work hard to reach their goals and it shows. There are still things to work on but they’ve used the time wisely and if Aethyrick keeps this up the more seasoned bands from Finland will have to watch out because there is a new sinister flame coming in hot.

Artist: Aethyrick
Label: The Sinister Flame
For fans of: Cult of Fire & Svartidauði
Release date: January 24th, 2020
Favorite song: Blood Acre
Score: 4/5 Excellent

Waldhexen – Ego Canus Lunam Cano (Black/Death Metal)

It’s funny what a band with members scattered all around the metal sub-genres can do when coming together. You got members currently active in Blurring (goregrind), Abdicate (brutal death metal), The Crimson Edge (melodic black/death metal) while having a past from bands such as Goemagot (slam), Infernal Thorn (black/thrash) and Kalibas (black/death/grindcore). That’s a lot of experience, within a wide range of genres and it’s definitely heard in the new band Waldhexen.

It’s rather low-fi production brings the thoughts back to old school black metal and it works in Waldhexen’s favor and their black/death sound. It’s a flurry of riffs and where the drumming stands out to me with it’s fast, aggressive playstyle that sets the tone nicely. The vocals are also something that stands out as the different styles used aren’t something I usually hear in a, mainly, black death metal album. You can hear a variation of vocal sounds often heard within the scenes of punk, black, death and slam/brutal, all in one short three songs EP. Quite awesome really and at first I thought it might be a bit all over the place, lacking focus and maybe not knowing exactly where they want to go with this album. But those thought quickly diminished as when I write this haven’t been able to let the album go and am well into my 6th playthrough.

This might not be a record for everyone, but it is create thinking coming to life which is not something you hear too often and for that I applaud Waldhexen. Personally I had an sweet time with Ego Canus Lunam Cano and can’t wait to hear what the band comes up with next time around. Because this is simply a taste of what’s to come I’m sure.

Written by J.B.

Artist: Waldhexen
Label: Independent
For fans of: The Crimson Edge & Cursus Bellum
Release date: January 12th, 2020
Favorite song: The Oblation of One for Many
Score: 3.5/5 Very good