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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Malevolence interview

Malevolence have been a part of the Auckland and New Zealand underground Metal scene for over 20 years now. Playing a style which incorporates Death Metal, Grindcore and crusty punk, they have remained a strong and consistent throughout their existence. This interview is with Daryl Tapsell, the man who has been around since the beginning.

This interview has also been published at: 

1) Apart from yourself, what things have remained consistent in Malevolence since it's formation in 1992? What has changed since then that you didn't expect or intend for it to?

I think it has all changed since then. I started writing for Malevolence straight after Blackmass imploded (becoming Spine), and after 3 years of death metal, I wanted to do something with clean vox - kind of the heavy riffing and "tremming" of grind/death but with lyrics you could understand. Initially, (being young :)

I had this concept of extremely challenging and offensive lyrics that people would hear, rather than read on a lyric sheet. Unfortunately (being young :) I drifted off into other areas of lyrical content (naive metal style story-ish lyrics) so that concept never really saw the light of day. The band kind of fell apart in early 94 after a few gigs as the lead guitarist started getting into jazz and the bass player wanted to be more like Sepultura (as was the fashion at the time).

Julian joined in 1994 (answering a misprint ad in the Trade & Exchange for "Ass Player wanted") and brought the crusty punk side in to our sound, and I started reverting to my roots vocally - death growls and screams. It was an odd time in the Auckland scene (1994-98) as there were few (if any) active death metal bands - just a lot of Sepultura/Pantera style death/thrash. I joined a crust/grind band - Diswomble - which Julian was forming with some others guys, at the same time as he joined Malevolence, and the most active extreme scene was the punk scene at the time, so we ended up playing heaps of punk shows. There was a lot of cross over as heaps of the crust punks got were into grind (called "hardcore" back then before basketball shirt wearing straight edge breakdown fools took over the term :) and early death/black`metal (in fact the people I knew with the best collections of metal vinyl were punks!) This was the "Fuck The Lord" era for us - many ciders ago now :)

Members came and went, but I think everyone added to the evolution of the band. The core of Julian and myself is the constant throughout. When a guitarist left we became a 3 piece until a guitarist came along that we thought would add something, and when a drummer left we usually had a replacement within weeks, so the constant for me has been Malevolence in my life instead of the other way around. We have seldom had any downtime in the last 18 years :)

The lineup at the moment is the strongest by far with Ben joining in mid-late 2005. His approach to drumming is very complementary to the songs - relentless - and it drives us forward. I mentioned evolution earlier and I think that really typifies Malevolence. It has been a process of evolution - some mutations and evolutionary dead ends, but natural selection has pared it down to what it is now and we are stronger for it. We're about to release a new album and I think it captures that perfectly. 

Daryl - guitar and vocals

2) Which conveniently leads to the next question: Tell us about this new Album. What should people expect? What will it be called? How will people be able to get hold of it? Could you please name and describe a few of it's key tracks?

Well the new album has been in production since late 2010. It would have been out earlier but we recorded the first 8 tracks and it turned out to be 15 minutes long (first world grind problems). We had released 2 EPs prior to this so I wanted to do something that broke the 30 minute barrier. That meant writing new material and, due to our process, road-testing new material. I think its important to get the songs thoroughly "broken in" before recording - we are predominantly a live band after all, and to capture that sound we need to have played and developed those songs on stage. So it was all recorded in 3 sessions over late 2010 - Early 2012 and has ended up being 15 tracks and hitting the 30 min target. Mixing took more time to gel the 3 different sessions together sound-wise - it was recorded live to analogue tape so the basic rhythm tracks were slightly different for each session, depending on what mics I wanted to use on the day, but it has been completed for a while now and (at time of writing) we're just waiting on Grindhead in Sydney to release it. I've been a bit picky about the sound as I don't want a plastic "modern" sound to it, and I want dynamics in the recording (remember those albums that you could play on 10 and it didn't sound flat and crushed)

People should expect a recorded experience that captures our live sound - relentless, crushing and bleak. As one punter put it ..."like being attacked by a jaguar while someone throws drums at you" Key tracks eh... There are a range of songs on here mostly written since 2008. All first recordings except for "Bleed" which was originally on our Fuck the Lord re-release demo CD in 1999. It weirdly fits in well today though, being about global economic tyranny. The album opens with Digitize - our live opener after the intro "Approaching Monster" fades up. I guess I like the newer tracks on the album (don't you always though). "The Adversary" I am pretty happy with as it contains one of my favourite lines to sing "an anti-theist the antithesis of everything that you believe" - as you might guess it is a call to atheists to be more proactive and intolerant instead of reasonable. "Butchered" is a remembrance to Matt from Backyard Burial. I wrote it on the plane to his funeral. Chased Through The Woods (By a Rhyming Dictionary) is a piss-take of paint-by -numbers, juvenile Gore/Grind, which contains another favourite lyric "...Taped a glock, to my cock, nine millimetres in her box".

Mostly it is about futility in many forms. It's called Relentless Entropy which is a lyric from the penultimate song - "Life Machines".

It's out through Grindhead at some stage so I'm guessing it will be available through the online store Obviously at our shows as well on CD and I'm guessing other media as well. We'll probably hit the road on this one too depending on when it is released

3) You mentioned the late Matt "Blaps Warmonger" Hall and his band Backyard Burial, of whom Malevolence released a split album with. What would you like to tell us about Matt, your involvement with him and Backyard Burial? 

We had a pretty long involvement - Malevolence started doing the annual Punkfest in Wellington around 1996 so we became regular visitors to the Wellington scene. Ryan (from Backyard) was in a few punk bands as well, so I knew him through that scene (got to know him better when he hitched around the entire country for the Brutal Truth tour in 1998 - so did you I guess :). I have video footage of the first Backyard show I saw (in 1999 I think) at Thistle Hall on Cuba St in Wellington. I talked to Matt after the show and we kept in touch ever since. Obviously Backyard and Malevolence played a heap of shows together over the years. Matt and I also shared similar interests such as home brewing, recreational substance abuse and screaming, - he was generally a GC. He had a depth of character often missing in the metal scene. Just before his untimely demise he was coming up to Auckland regularly for work training so we'd always have catch up. You mentioned the Split CD which was pretty much his idea - 3 original songs + a live track + a cover each, and he thought of the image too - a grinder chewing into Aotearoa. The other members of Backyard are doing various projects at the moment too - well worth looking out for from what I've seen so far...

4) On your website ( you’ve made the entire Malevolence back catalogue available for download. If someone reading this who had never heard you before where to go there, what would you recommend they download first and why?

I recommend they download it all and decide what they like - I like it all but hear the parts that aren't quite where we wanted to be (if that makes sense). As i said earlier it has been evolving slowly over time, so if you want to hear us now, I'd recommend the new album (there are rough mixes of about half of it available on the site). We do resurrect the odd song from other albums live every now and then but we're not quite ready for the greatest hits tour :) We're still writing (in fact working on another EP right now) so we play the current stuff more than the back catalogue. I put the catalogue up after finding pirated copies of our stuff out there - I figure you might as well get it from us. Immediately after I did it I saw 3-4 blogs linking directly to it rather than going to some tedious download site.

We have always had a DIY attitude, probably fromour connection with the punk scene. I'm an audio engineer so the recording part just takes my time, Julz is a printer, and taught me to screen print back in the day so even before piracy we were giving away our product. To this day at shows/online our merch and cds are cheap - we don't have the same overheads as other bands so we generally have older CDs for $5 & T's for $25. We often play for expenses only and any profit simply goes back into the band - I read Fenriz explaining why they he still works at the Post Office in Oslo and he said he didn't want to live off music because he felt it would make him start writing for popularity and money rather than just doing what the fuck he wanted. I've always thought that was very cool.

Besides which it's almost impossible to live off original music in any genre in New Zealand - too small a population base. I've probably ranted way outside the bounds of where you were going with that question eh :)
Ben - Drums

5) Lets talk about your role as an Audio Engineer. You have your own “Back Door Studios” where you have recorded the like of Witchrist and Diocletian. You are also a tutor at an Audio engineering school and have been abused by Glen Benton from that shitty fuckin band Deicide. Tell us a bit about these things and any others worth speaking of. 

Well it is "Blackdoor Studio" - not quite ready for that name change yet :)

It harks back to the DIY ethic really - can't afford to go to a studio? I'll just do it myself and that's how it started. Blackdoor is my project studio (where all my money goes to die). I do tracking, mixing and mastering for various projects. The nice thing about having a project studio is I can pick and choose projects I want to work on rather than running a commercial operation. I do stuff outside the metal/punk genre but the majority of the projects I work on are in that vein. As an added bonus Malevolence use it for our practice space. I do work at a polytechnic running an audio engineering course by day and while I haven't personally been abused by Glen Benton (apart from having his awful bass playing inflicted on me:) I was abused along with every other sound tech on Deicide's tour through Australia and NZ. Apparently it's part of his act - like hating Christians - He doesn't really mean any of it :) It’s probably a metaphor...

6) When I first met you when Malevolence played support on the 98 NZ Brutal truth Tour, you were wearing Nuns habits and womens underwear on stage. What happened there? What are you stand out memories from that tour?

The nun's habit started as a drunken tour joke (that potentially went too far :)

On tour at Punkfest around 1996, a couple of us ended up drunk in a toy shop (as you do) on a Saturday afternoon (if I remember rightly there was a nephew's birthday or some such excuse). Weirdly we found two lycra costumes - a nun and a french maid. There was no other choice for us - we wore them out of the store and played in them for the rest of the tour - it just kind of escalated from there :) I liked the confusing imagery of a nun playing grind, and a guy playing extreme metal in drag :) and the softness of women's underwear :)

Actually I took the nun's habit out of the cupboard for Antichristchurch's Satanfest in 2003. In my defense - Birdflesh :) Speaking of which, if anyone has a copy of "Demo of Hell" I'd be keen for a copy - Had one courtesy of Kra'zine in the early 90's and someone nicked it - awesome demo…

Ahh the Brutal Truth tour - so many good memories. Good guys. They stayed at our house when we returned to Auckland and hung out having BBQ/booze times. I remember playing Palmerston North (at Stomach) and this crazy motherfucker in a wheelchair who spent the night rolling at full speed at the stage and diving at us while we played ,then launching himself back on to his chair in the pit amongst everyone else going crazy - I remember worrying at the time that he would get trampled to death - but he was invincible. I think we gave him a t-shirt after the show. 

I got the whole band to autograph odd things. I still have a copy of the book "deliverance" that is signed by Rich Hoak - I found out he was from Georgia so it seemed appropriate - he wrote "nice panties dude" - I was hoping for "squeal like a pig :) Dan lilker signed a poster I had of him just wearing cut offs on stage with Nuclear Assault (from "Power Metal" magazine) - everyone was giving him shit for it. I got Gurn to sign a toy plastic guitar that made really annoying sounds - but I ended up giving it to him to take home to his kids - I suspect he played it too much on the plane because the band split after that :) Speaking of autographs - Half of them couldn't be bothered doing signings so we all too turns pretending to be in Brutal Truth and signing shit randomly. Kevin was signing everything with "I (heart) cock - Bob Dylan" so that's a genuine Kevin Sharp. The funniest time was at Real Groovy where I was signing albums with Kevin (I think the rest of the band was in a van getting stoned as shit) and he signed someone's album and the guy said "What the fuck - you're not in Brutal Truth" to him. We just cracked up. 

There are a few photos on their" last" release "Goodbye Cruel World" - of course they have reformed now (no Gurn - might have been that plastic guitar)

That was a great tour...

7) There were a few other international tours where you played support after Brutal Truth. Care to mention a few low and highlights from those?

Well… Straight after Brutal Truth we toured the country again for the release of the first full length, "Almost Like Something Completely Sinister". Soon after that we toured with Impaled Nazarene. Again we wound up the tour at my house and several hours of brutal drinking occurred. Not too many memories of that tour worth sharing as it was very quick, - 2 shows really if I recollect correctly. I remember Mika, was involved in a car accident which soured his experience somewhat. After that we toured with Atomizer - (PS Caught up with Saundies in Melbourne last time we played there) which was a barrel of laughs through the country. We toured with Pungent Stench in 2003 as well, which was amazing for me - being a fan for so long and then getting to see them for a heap of shows. I think around that time we decided that other bands needed a chance to play shows :), and to be honest as much as I love touring and catching up with people on the road, there are only so many times you can tour NZ on the bones of your arse and see it as a good idea. So we scaled back the frequency of shows and tours. When Ben joined at the end of 2005, it gave us the chance to hold back and write some new material - we had gotten to the point where we were playing all the time, and maybe learning a new song every 3 months or so which gets very boring for us - I have quite a short attention span :). So not really answering your question - that is a lot of ground to cover. The "low-lights" are mostly forgotten (and as the old Tremeloes song says "even the bad times are good") and the highlights of touring is the process itself and the people you meet along the way - In fact the highlights would definitely be the people - We've made some good friends on the road.

What most people don't realize about touring is it has long periods of boredom - the show is 45 mins out of each 24 hour period. You just get up early, wait to get to the next venue, wait for soundcheck, wait to play, pack down, sleep, repeat. 
Julian - Ass player

8) You’ve played in a few other projects including Masters Of Metal, Black Metal Sabbath, and Diswomble. Can you please tell us about those. Are there any others to tell about?

Diswomble was the first side project, which happened soon after Julian joined the band, so round 1994. It was Julian's crust-grind band really, but at the time we were just thrashing around writing punk and drinking to much :) - Good times! At the time I was also in a band called Lagerwerfer, which was me and Spencer from "The Warners" doing some drunken drum machine stuff. Malevolence, Diswomble, Pig Benis and Lagerwerfer (or a combination of them) would often play shows together and we all knew each other and hung out so it was a cool little scene. There were other side projects like "2 Days Old" and "Jesus Fucked & The Latter Day Sluts" that lasted only a few shows. 

Prior to Masters of Metal, Spencer, Zakk and I were in a little holiday project band called "The Lucky Book Club" which was an idea that Devon from "All You Can Eat" came up with. Basically he was on holiday, and wanted to form a band and record a 7" in every country he was in. We wrote and recorded 4 songs but I don't know if they ever saw the light of day - I have a copy on cassette somewhere. After that the Book Club went back to our normal bands for a few years until 2003 when Spencer got in touch with me about drumming in Masters Of Metal - As it turned out Zakk was in it too so it was a bit like a reunion. Masters of Metal is really just a bunch of us playing 70's and 80's rock and metal - It's part comedy - as we dress up and act like we are playing arena shows, but we are quite serious about performing the music well and making sure people have a good time. We have pretty much limited it to a single show per year around Xmas.

Around 2003 Nich asked me to sing in his band, Prisondethfux, which at the time was him and Nathan (then of Backyard Burial), and programmed drums on a laptop. We only played a few sporadic shows, and put out an album "Drink It Down" as well as a few compilation appearances. Nich joined Malevolence on second guitar around then too. 

Black Metal Sabbath is an idea that Heath (Skuldom) had been talking about for a few years as a concept: Black Sabbath songs in the style of Norwegian Black Metal. Originally it consisted of me, Heath & Will from Skuldom, and Phil from Vassafor and we did one show and one rehearsal demo. Phil buggered off overseas, and we wanted to keep it going so we eventually recruited Kimball from Anno Domini Mortus, to take over on bass. We're thinking of putting together a show at the moment. 

I'm also currently in a punk rock "supergroup" called Scumbeat, which is me and Bev from Garagefodder on Guitars, Dave from Missing Teeth/ the murderchord on bass, and Boot from Sticky Filth on drums. 

I'm not the only one in side projects though - Ben is also in Vassafor. 

Julian may be the only sensible one among us these days - sticking to the one band :) 

9) A while ago you talked to me about the idea of re-recording some of your older tunes which are still crowd favorites in your live set. Could you tell us a bit about that and when we might see it? What other ideas or plans you have down the pipeline that we could look forward to? 

I have often thought that there are a few songs that developed further after we recorded them and it might be cool to re-record those songs but I am also wary of revisiting the past. We are always working on new material and it is always fun to record something fresh. So I think about it from time to time but I don’t know when or if it will happen. The latest incarnation of this idea is just choosing 2 or 3 songs to round out an EP.

Things in the pipeline? We are self-releasing “Relentless Entropy” on limited edition vinyl (just waiting on the test-pressing now) which is a nice way to end 2013. We are playing a festival in Wellington (Beyond The Black) for New Years, and opening for Primate at the end of January 2014. So more of the same really - more recording - more shows...

10) Any last comments?

Thanks for the interview and supporting the underground scene. See you on the road!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Internal Bleeding interview

Chris Pervelis  of INTERNAL BLEEDING was the first person I sent a questionnaire interview* to for Subcide Zine #1, along with a US $5 note for a copy of their 'Invocation Of Evil' demo tape, 20 years ago.  With the band recently reforming, it seemed only proper that I interview him again!
As I post this the band have just kicked off on a European tour.  If you're in that part of the world and reading this see the tour dates later in the article and see em if you can!

1) 20 years ago in 1993, almost to the week, I sent you the very first set of interview questions for Subcide Zine #1. 20 years later things seem to have gone full circle i.e. Internal Bleeding has recently been reformed and I relaunched Subcide as an online blog a couple of years back. Why do you think this has happened? What key things have happened in that time? What do you think we'll both be doing 20 years from now?

20 years Chris? Really? Wow, it's been that long. Amazing. I remember when we first made contact, it was really exciting because you were one of the the first from New Zealand to contact the band. Seems like no big deal today with the internet and Facebook, but back in 1993, it was a pretty big deal since everything was done through the mail. I think we both know the answer as to why this has happened 20 years later: we both just love heavy music, and no matter what we do, we can't escape it. Extreme and heavy music is like Heroin. Once it's in your veins, it's real tough to kick. 20 years from now, when you do the Subcide 40th anniversary issue We'll both be celebrating our retirement from the working world and sitting on our respective front porches watching our grandkids play in the front yard. Christ, I'll be 65 in 20 years. I don't even want to contemplate that.
Click on the above and below images to read the original Internal Bleeding interview from Subcide Zine #1

2) And I’ll be 60.... What do you think has changed about Internal Bleeding since the first time around?

Oh jesus a lot has changed since the first time around! There are so many different life experiences that you go through over the years that change you as a person. 

Anyway, I think we've grown tremendously as musicians. Both our technical skills and our musical palates have expanded greatly. This, I believe has helped us take our music to an even higher level of intensity and creativity. We don't feel locked in a box or shackled down because we are limited by our ability and knowledge.

Also, this time around we are far more of a team when it comes to the writing process. It used to be that me or the other guitarist in the band would write all the riffs, present them to the band, then arrange things. Now it is a very collaborative effort. Everyone pitches in and writes riffs. Even our drummer, who cannot play a lick of guitar will hum or tap out something he hears in his head, and I will turn it into a riff. It's very gratifying to see everyone being do damn productive.

We're also a lot more mature as people, which I think makes for more interesting road trips. Now instead of scrounging money for beer and gas, when we go out on the road, we have some money in our pockets and are usually looking around for a place to smoke a cigar, relax and enjoy each other's company.

3) You’ve just been recording a brand new Album. What should people expect from that? What will it be called? How will people be able to get hold of it? Could you please name and describe a few of it's key tracks?

Well, we finished recording, but it wasn't an album, it was more like 1/2 an album. We're using the 5 songs we recorded as a demo of sorts to shop the material to labels. Once we secure a deal with a good label, we will go back into the studio and finish recording the other four songs. Then, we'll finally release an album. It's a bit of a drawn out process, I know, but this is what our management has asked us to do. Anyway, Some of the tracks on this release are songs we've been playing live for the past year or so. These include "The Visitant", "In the Absence of Soul" and "The Pageantry of Savagery". Then there are two more that we recorded that we do not plan on playing out live until after we put out an album.

As for this material that is on "demo", it's the most mature Internal Bleeding to date. Full of the groove and slam that people expect from us, but with twists and turns that will take things a bit further musically. The production is really good too, so we're happy with that as well.

4)  How do audiences react to Internal Bleeding in 2013 compared to say 1993?

Well, it's definitely a new experience. There's still a lot of hardcore IB fans at the shows who know our material and rage right along with us. But there are also a lot of younger people who may or may not have heard of us, which makes it exciting because we are playing in front of new people. When some people hear that some of the songs we are playing are 20+ years old, they completely freak out -- I think that is one of the coolest feelings ever. To know we're still relevant, we're gaining new fans and people still dig what we're doing is a truly humbling experience.

5) That leads to a topical question of the modern underground Metal scene. What do you see as being it’s pros and cons?

Well, the digital revolution I think is the biggest change in the past 20 years and it's definitely a double-edged sword and has changed the way bands have approached promotion. On one hand all the Facebook, twitter and email is great. It keeps us connected and makes communication simple and easy. On the other hand, it takes far less commitment by both the bands and the fans because every type of communication is so easy. I miss handwritten letters, photocopied flyers and waiting every day for the postman to deliver something. But other than my lamentation of a time that has past, I think the core of everything has stayed the same and it's still going strong. People are still into it, there's definitely a brotherhood that cannot be broken and the enthusiasm for discovering new bands is driving people to seek out and explore. All good things!

6) What new and exciting bands have you seen lately that you would recommend readers check out? Why?

Two bands who I have totally been diggin lately are The MERCILESS CONCEPT and TENTACLES. I dig the Merciless concept because not only do I like their music a lot, but I think they have a really great attitude and really go out of their way to put on a killer show and treat their fans right. Tentacles is just flat out insanity. Total brutal death, with some groove, plus some really cool melodic parts that are creepy as hell and really stick in your head. I find them to be pretty refreshing. 

7) While we’ve been doing this interview you have released a music video for a new song "Castigo Corpus Meum". As a first insight to new IB material, this tune is intriguing as it goes through a number of interesting musical transitions over it’s 5+ minutes. Could you please tell us about the thought processes that went into creating the song? Is it indicative of your other new material? Could you please explain the concept behind the lyrics and video?

Well, I think it was a natural progression for us. We know our core sound, which is constant catchy grooves and slam riffs but we wanted to expand that a bit and push our music into some different dimensions, so it would be fuller, more interesting and more diverse. I think we achieved our goals, because a song such as Castigo Corpus Meum has all the hallmarks of the Internal Bleeding sound, just expanded and opened up. It is definitely indicative of the new material. Lyrically, the song is about a chapter from the book "The DaVinci Code." It's where the antagonist of the book lashes and tortures himself. At the end of the chapter he mutters the words "Castigo Corpus Meum". It was something that Keith (DeVito Vocalist) and I found very interesting and we discussed it for a while. Finally we sat down one night and wrote the lyrics together. As for the video, we just tried to recreate that scene a little bit and mix it in with some live action stuff.

8) what else is inspiring the subject matter of Internal Bleeding lyrics these days?

We've moved our lyrical focus quite a bit. I wouldn't say that they are necessarily reality based, but I would say they are 'near' reality based. Many of the lyrics we are writing today usually focus on a single person and his interactions with the world around him. Common themes are mental exhaustion and breakdown, supernatural experiences, the effect society's violence has on the young, etc. Basically, every song lyric is a story about an individual. The current song we are working on, "Fabricating Bliss" is about a person suffering from Symphorophilia, which is a basically sexual arousal through watching accidents and other misfortunes. He goes around setting up disasters for so he can get his rocks off. Fun stuff.

9) Lets talk about you for a bit. In the late 90s/early 2000s you left Internal Bleeding to Focus on your Job/Business in Graphic Design. Care to tell us about this part of your life? Feel free to throw in a plug!

Well, I had always done graphic design and advertising every since I graduated college. In the late 90s, I had a really great job as a creative director and partner at an advertising agency. It was a great gig. I had plenty of time off to play in the band, made lots of money, etc. However, the advertising business is brutal as hell and very volatile and it was taking a toll on me, working 15-16 hours a day, constant traveling, etc. I made the decision to leave the high-powered job behind and start my own company so I could have more time for the things I love, be captain of my own ship so to speak and to make my own future. It took a lot of effort and hard work, but it's paid off. I now have 3 employees, the same income I had when I was a creative director, and much more free time for my family, the band, etc. If you'd like to learn more about my business, feel free to visit You'll see I do a variety of work from web, to print advertising and beyond.

10) I see you’re about to head off on a tour of Europe. Tell us about that? Could a trip to the southern hemisphere be on the cards at some stage?

Yeah, cannot wait. Us, Disgorge and Beheaded. Should be a killer tour. We're going out for 12 days. That's about the most we can do since we all have jobs, etc. Would I ever love to hit the Southern Hemisphere. That, my friend, would be an absolute dream come true for the band. You never know. We've been offered some pretty cool stuff in Indonesia, etc., just kind of fell through though. Let's hope one of these offers works.

11) Thanks for the Interview Chris. In closing, could you please tell readers who haven’t heard Internal Bleeding before, why they should check you out. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Well, basically, if you want to hear where the 'slam' genre in Deathmetal started, you should check us out. If you like your Deathmetal heavy, groovy as hell and well played, then by all means check out Internal Bleeding. You can visit us on Facebook and visit our website to learn more at Thanks Chris!!!

* The actual first interview I did for Subcide Zine #1 was an in person recorded interview with Tom Larkin from Shihad.  Internal Bleeding was the first band I had actual letter writing contact with. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Vánargandr interview part 2

7. Going back to the first question and also referring to a theme that seems to be running through this interview. You've talked about people and organisations that have been involved with and then moved on from. Satanism is supposed to be about an individual practitioners journey through life where they strive to excel to be the best/strongest they can be on which ever path they are on. Does this not then contradict the existence of Satanic groups and organisations which are in fact a collective group? Why/why not?

Good question, and one that will have an interesting response.

Organisations are, in essence, just a tool and platform to work with, and to re-slot an old coin, a means to an end. At some stage along the way, there needs to be some type of cohesion with certain aims and activities to make their enactment useful and as widespread as possible, with the greatest impact, and this includes both Magickal and practical aims; Gestalt. This goes hand in hand with some of the activities required at an early stage as well, i.e. forming and leading a temple – which ultimately, most of the time at least, becomes part of leading those that need to be lead, whether the people involved are aware of this or not. This means as well that you are able to have a larger impact with activities and practical actions, rituals and so forth, regardless that the outcome is often purely personal. They are, in the end however, a means as above and elsewhere, and once their usefulness has served its purpose, they are moved on from and discarded; their usefulness, what has been achieved by both their successes and failures, is assimilated, learnt and grown from. An Order does, obviously, continue on after this, as it should, and again stemming from the same idea of Gestalt once more.

Orders are useful for the point that they demand participation and dedication, the meeting of “minimum standards” etc, in addition to the fact that they can also provide access to things which are a valuable resource and enable the discussion and fleshing out of ideas. Additionally, they also provide the ability to contribute to and augment certain traditions and ideas, to ensure they remain organic and dynamic and are genuinely HERETICAL – i.e. ossified ideas and forms are destroyed, out-dated means are discarded, synthesis is possible, contagion is progressively active and fluid, and indeed Machiavellian, as is the Realpolitik, as is the Sinister Dialectic, and Satanism itself… Hence the nature, and relevance, for example of, “The Mass of Heresy” as a genuine Black Mass.

Of course, there are some that will never participate in an Order of group, who will never contribute to anything greater than themselves, or recognise the transcendent. The individual is an illusion, and realistically speaking, there are few that are genuine individuals irrespective, which is a difficult and harsh reality to acknowledge – one must BECOME an individual in every definition of the term. One can make excuses about why an Order is not necessary, but this often also involves making excuses about everything else as well – i.e. it’s great to theorise that you can run a marathon in less than 4hours, just as much as you can theorise that blood stained hands are easy to live with, but both require a certain nature to be attained and actualised, to endure the accompanying ordeals and trials, and to achieve a practical and tangible outcome. “Self-overcoming” is a not a work of theory. A mirrored statement can be made in respect to those that make assertions in relation to being “elite” – which is a definition and reflection which by, again its very nature, is something which should defined by someone who is worthy of rendering the title by their own virtue. The members of a particular “elite military squad” with whom I have met do not define themselves as being elite for example, but it is those around them, who by seeing their abilities and their possibilities, render this title and honour to them.

In saying the above however, Orders can sometimes provide guidance for those that need to be guided, albeit that this is often a process of planting and cultivating seeds. Those Orders, groups, fraternities that offer guidance, insulation, and assurance via dogma however, are largely irrelevant and purposeless, when often they are nothing more than a cult of personality (i.e. Church of Satan, Temple of Set), which fall apart when the leadership is removed, especially when their founding ideas decay beyond relevance, and they cease to represent any type of heresy or purpose. Being part of a group like CoS requires nothing more than a monetary payment, which seems a step into irrelevance. Hence the reason why, for example, there is no “official” membership of O9A. It seems at odds also with the idea of Satanism to cultivate a group of drooling and proselyting sycophants who cannot think for themselves; albeit the skill lies in the façade that is created by making them think that they do. But worse still are those whose “Satanism” is nothing more than paper thin inverted crosses, playful pentagrams and the worn arms of anti-christianity, humanism and dualism. Dead aeon relics also shall remain the forte of those that live in a dead aeon ethos.

Of course, Satanism is in essence about the individual journey, but when we understand that in order to best actualise this, and for it to have greater meaning, and that the individual is irrelevant, things take a slightly different turn. The goals that I see Satanism as having are transpersonal, and indeed I do not have personal regard for myself in this context – i.e. I see myself as a vessel and means, but not an end by any account. What I do can have meaning, but to limit it purely to myself is a waste of potential.

Naturally, this is not to cast the individual into irrelevance, albeit most of the “individuals” that I have met along the way have had such a rabble of philosophy and goals, that they themselves have not achieved anything. To set one’s own goals in the first place is something which most people are unable to do, let alone persevere with, but there are always exceptions, as there should be – those that are possessed of a Promethean/Faustian Fire, those that are willing to live their lives without regard, to live as a scythe of Falcifer… In this regard, ties to an Order are problematic, given that they can act as more of a hindrance to progression, but indeed, these individuals are very few and far between. I have had the fortune to encounter a few such people – possessed of an admirable resilience, a genuine creative and defiant fire and Will – and to their benefit, they did not place themselves in positions of authority or leadership, because there was no need to do so; by their very nature they attract people of similar minds and ethos, because those that need to be led and supported, who seek assurance and comfort, do not fit within that particular network.

Orders however should not be seen as a place for the weak, or a cradle for the needy. They are not support structures, nor are they places which give counselling guidance or to provide assistance in failures or short comings. If an individual undertakes a task or ordeal, they do so on their own admonition. If they fail, and are, for example given, subsequently investigated by police or other organisations, the Order stands apart, as it always does, and lets the individual face and accept any responsibility therefrom, there is no interest, no concern, no attachment, no counsel. This is just the same if one is working with a group on an activity, e.g. such as infiltrating a structure and working to bring it down from the inside. It is done because it has been deemed that doing so is useful and aids the Sinister Dialectic, but the participants are alone to complete what needs to be done. It is a similar situation if creating an action group which will challenge the status quo. There is no search for personal glory in these activities, especially as they need to be done via clandestine means. This does of course make things perilous and arduous, but this is also part of the definition of what Satanism IS. Part of this may be elaborated on in the possible “Satanism, Crime and the Black Mass” article for The Sinister Flame IV.

Ultimately, above all, Satanism seeks to create a new, higher, type of (true) individual; a genuine Elite, a new stage of evolution. Means and methods are dialectic, and may involve agitating for various, seemingly paradoxical, causes; albeit, as I have stated before, there are no paradoxes in the Sinister Dialectic…

And to quote at length:

"It is of fundamental importance - to evolution both individual and otherwise - that what is Dark, Sinister or Satanic is made real in a practical way, over and over again. That is, that what is dangerous, awesome, numinous, tragic, deadly, terrible, terrifying and beyond the power of ordinary mortals, laws or governments to control is made manifest. In effect, non-Initiates (and even Initiates) need constantly reminding that such things still exist; they need constantly to be brought "face-to-face", and touched, with what is, or appears to be, inexplicable, uncontrollable, powerful and "evil". They need reminding of their own mortality - of the unforeseen, inexplicable "powers of Fate", of the powerful force of "Nature".

If this means killing, wars, suffering, sacrifice, terror, disease. tragedy and disruption, then such things must be - for it is one of the duties of a Satanic Initiate to so presence the dark, and prepare the way for, or initiate, the change and evolution which always result from such things. Such things as these must be, and always will be, because the majority of people are or will remain, inert and sub-human unless changed. The majority is - and always will be until it evolves to become something else - raw material to be used, moulded, cut-away and shaped to create what must be. There is no such thing as an innocent person because everyone who exists is part of the whole, the change, the evolution, the presencing of life itself, which is beyond them, and their life only has meaning through the change, development and evolution of life. Their importance is what they can become, or what can be achieved through their death, their tragedy, their living - their importance does not lie in their individual happiness or their individual desires or whatever."

8. Could you give some examples of what "Magickal and practical aims" an order or occult organisation might look to achieve?

My answer to this question will be both broad and narrow, as there is sometimes information which it is unwise to disseminate in a “public forum” such as the internet, but see, for example “ONA Strategy and Tactics”, “Hysteron Proteron”, “The Practice of Evil: In Context” etc. Satanism does not seek any form of official recognition as it does not seek to become respectable or accessible to the majority. Even most that would profess to be, are simply failures or grossly deluded. One can fill oneself with as much externally acquired theory as one wishes, but without application, assimilation, experience, and practical application, it is worthless.

The Magickal and practical aims which are sought, and progressed, essentially are manifold, as one influences and enables the other to be undertaken.

I.e. one of the aims which is sought is to usher in a “New Aeon” (i.e. the Galactic Aeon), which requires the number of genuine Adepts to be forthwith increased. Obviously, the path to Adeptship is perilous and hard, and this, along the way, includes the Initiate participating in certain acts and activities along the way. This goes hand in hand with both Magick and the practical aims. The use of Magick is to increase certain presences in the causal plane, by creating a rent to the Acausal… As I have indicated elsewhere, it must be understood that the “New Aeon” will not occur within our causal lifetimes, but this also, is irrelevant.

An Initiate might, on their own, feel that the achievement of a practical step will aid the unfolding of the Sinister Dialectic, though it is important to add that they are not instructed on what an appropriate step might be – because there is no need to. This, ultimately, is what it means to be an Initiate.

Often, as with the Black Order of Pan-Europa, the “aims” are presented in a manner in which the intent is underscored therein – i.e. if we look at, for example given, the Articles of Faith of TBO:
  1. We believe in Uralten - the Original or Ancient One of the Germanics as representative of the creative/destructive force that permeates the cosmos.
  2. Our creed is therefore based on the laws of nature, as revealed by science.
  3. Feelings of oneness and attunement with nature and the cosmos as manifestations of the Uralten-Force are "good." That which weakens is “evil".
  4. Our morality is that which strengthens the individual is "good." That which weakens is "evil".
  5. We hold that nature, and therefore history, is cyclic, governed by cycles of life/death/renewal, and that these principles govern the rise and fall of civilizations.
  6. The cosmos operates on the basis of polarities, and that the interaction of these polarities causes evolution.
  7. Man need not be a passive spectator or victim of the 'gods' or 'Fate', but by understanding the laws of the cosmos can, through his will, be an active agent in the evolutionary process.
  8. Those attuned to the Uralten Force flowing through nature have the essence of the Force within, and are links in an evolutionary chain toward the Nizetzschean Over Man.
  9. Man's destiny is to play amongst the stars; the destiny of his evolution into the foreseeable future: Homo Galactica.

The above, when properly read, indeed contains a great amount of information, both exoterically and esoterically. The main indication is that it requires, and indeed demands, practical application. There are already enough theorists and book worms in the world, amongst, and over, the deluded, that have never stepped out into either the cold of night, or experienced anything remotely dangerous, or performed anything that is genuinely Evil… Once again, as above, there is no victory without sacrifice, and no sacrifice without bloodshed. War breeds and reveals character – in combat, there is nowhere to hide, and there are no gods to give you the guts… There is no birth without blood.
Archived ONA flyer

8.1) Specifically how would those "Magickal and practical aims" be achieved?

The answer to this will begin with a quote, which, with some synchronicity, was already culled:

The reality is that there are no easy, idealistic options. A genuine insight and understanding of aeonic matters means certain judgements have to be made: certain tactics have to be employed in order to achieve anything. Satanism is concerned with real, meaningful changes in the real world: it is not concerned with mystical or pseudo-mystical world-views and impractical idealisms. In a fundamental sense, Satanism is pragmatic – aeonically.

The present reality is as stated above – no amount of wishful thinking or idealism or sentiment will change this. One either aids aeonic change and thus contributes towards evolutionary change, or one does not.

The first thing which must be understood is that there are both long and short term aims. The present Western Aeon still has several hundred years to go, so when we talk “long term”, this means change which is effected to culminate in approx. 350-500 years. Both the short and long term aims however are designed to dis-stabilise the current distortion which is presented as “Western Civilisation” and its predominant ideas and follies, its disease and contagion, its illness of Spirit as it stands in its death throes, in its danse macabre enshrouded within the Winter, qv Spengler, of this age.

There are a variety of means and methods which one is able to employ in order to effect change. Some of them, to state the obvious, are regarded by society at large as being “illegal”, but Satanism, as it should be, has no concern with the inherent “legality” or “illegality” of certain acts – what matters is what they produce and what they achieve. For the initiate or neophyte, what matters also is the understanding that such activity provides, Aeonically, especially when undertaking things as an insight role. The perseverance which is demanded by an insight role in the first place, the pre-planning, the execution, the after effects, are on their own character building – they are not for the weak, the “hobbyist” nor the “dabbler”.

There are large degrees of what could be called “entryism” and subterfuge which can be involved at any stage, which can involve entering key organisations for the purpose of information gathering, or destabilising, and utilisation of their resources, or even gaining skills which can in turn aid the individual to help enact the Sinister Dialectic, so e.g., obtaining information about police tactics and responses, is useful, just as much as learning military tactics and drills are as well. It is useful to, for example also, work within certain organisations which hold great deals of information that cover entire nations, with special interest in those that provide, for example, social services. If one were able to, for example, influence policy change within said type of organisation, the effect and impact can be wide-spread – i.e. making it more difficult for people to obtain certain services or assistance, creating as a flow on effect suicide, murder, homelessness, illness within certain groups, and the eventual societal collapse that this can culminate in.

The increased reliance on the internet, or at least computer/electronic based things, both individually and for most countries provides a salient opportunity, albeit my personal interest is moreso towards EMP warfare, however impossible that may seem.

Drug dealing, agitating for extremist groups of both the Left and the Right, sometimes even simultaneously, and even minor actions to create chaos and disorder are also supported and encouraged. It may appear contradictory and paradoxical to support extremes of both the Left and Right, but this is a Realpolitik approach in action, as much as it is the Sinister Dialectic. Drug dealing, and manufacturing, obviously speak for themselves.

Additionally, the selection of Opfers can, and do, aid change when properly selected, albeit most do already, by their very character. There are no such things as “innocent people” (see quote from question 7), they are, and must be considered as, tools and material for a means to an end.

It must be understood, especially in the current political climate, that there is the propensity for some ideas, actions and aims, to be considered as possible “acts of terrorism”. In effect, anything that challenges the status quo, especially when emanating from the idea of a greater purpose is. The West itself has become so enthralled by the idea of the individual in decline that anything beyond the self meets with a lack of comprehension – be that a Japanese Kamikaze pilot during WWII, or an Islamic suicide bomber.

Ultimately, nothing is sacred.

9. Lets go back to Vánargandr for a bit. I am interested to know what technology, instruments and objects you use and have used to create your sound. Could you please give an insight into this?

An apology will be offered at the commencement of this question, in that it won’t really “reveal” anything “new” or “original”. The answers also, to me, are disinteresting. People, bands, projects, can all have the most amazing resources available to them through studio hardware, software, musical instruments, effects etc, but still create nothing of value, nor express anything remotely awe-inspiring or numinous. The sound, for example, of cracking and breaking bones, or a skull being ground by hand for making incense, can just be noise, or can be something else totally. The difference is the inspiration, the intent, the purpose, the Nexion and the vessel. The same is true of any instrument, or even voice.

The methodology which has been used by Vánargandr has changed and developed over the years, and the origin of some of these methods goes back even further.

Basically, between 1997 to 2002, various analogue methods were used. Everything was recorded to cassette, and where necessary mixed using some very “lo-fi” means. No effects units were used at this time. Keyboards were first used in 1999, and the ones employed between then and up to 2002 were very much of the “vintage” variety – certainly not by design, and a matter of just using what became available by fortune.

Around mid-2002 things started being recorded direct to computer. Initially, and for the first several years, via some pretty shitty means, creating ways to work around the limitations encountered. This is the period which is alluded to in Question 2, in that since this time, no musickal instruments have been used. While there are sometimes “normal” instruments employed during rehearsals, they are moreso utilised to achieve or augment a certain frame of mind and consciousness – they don’t find their place into any completed recording, perhaps with the exception of the odd feedback squeal here and there.

Effects units, pedals etc were not introduced until around 2006, with an especial appreciation for rack reverbs. Spending time to custom patches has proven greatly worthwhile, as has experimenting with pedal/rack placements in chains.

When material started being recorded direct to computer, this enabled various programmes and plug-ins to be used to craft the finished result. The processing on files differs a great deal – and can be minor things such as removing background noise and hiss, to almost absurd amounts where it bears no resemblance to the original. This ties in with the “management” of the recording sessions and the pre-planning and mapping involved. Things do appear chaotic and messy, and to an extent they are, but this is how the Acausal acts, ebbs and flows.

A number of things have been used during recordings, as indicated above; but beside that various mundane objects, such as sheet metal, knives, hammers, whips, ritual bells to name a few. Once again, as stated in question 3, neither midi software, nor stolen samples (including the generic “library” kind) are used. The latter, especially, is loathed with a vengeance.

10. I've listened to a good cross section of your material, with the latest being 'Tenebris IV'. Which seems to have developed itself into a nihilistic mediation soundtrack for an apocalyptic death ritual. It seems to have advanced itself to the point of sounding dynamic and seeming to sound if so there has been no human input in its creation. Was this intentional? Where do you intend to take it next? 

The progression and dynamism of Vánargandr remains as a core element, sometimes profound, sometimes not. There is no particular “conscious design”, other than that which is reflective of our own Occult experiences and development. A large difference may be that there is no attention paid to what others are doing – we are not part of a “scene”, nor is there any particular “camaraderie” apart from a literal couple of individuals. We don’t listen to a significant amount of music anymore either – and haven’t done so for several years now, maybe an album or two a year, sometimes less.

The diachronic movement and development is considered a natural progression. Future recordings will further elaborate on what has been laid out on the releases of the past several years to a “natural conclusion” as this parallels the Ideals which lay our foundation. As has been stated in prior interviews, and elsewhere in this interview, the formula of relevance is Incipit VITRIOL…

11. Thanks for your time and hopefully enlightening readers on the subject matter we've discussed. Is there anything you would like to add in closing?

Again, as has been stated in prior interviews, there is nothing new said herein, period. Thank you for persevering with us in getting this completed.

The only way to contact Vánargandr is –

Please note in advance that there is reply guaranteed.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Vánargandr interview part 1

Vánargandrpreviously reviewed in these pagesis the avantgarde occult noise project of one 'Draco Fenrirsson'.  Who, in addition to Vánargandr, also has a vast knowledge and experience of Satanism.  In particular, it's history in New Zealand.  This interview goes into depth on both these topics.
Note that this is a pretty heavy read, so I recommend opening Google and Wikipedia tabs in your browser so that you can research some of the names and terminology as you go. It's also the longest interview ever published on Subcide Webzine.  So much so that it's test the size limits of 'Blogger' and meant I have to post it in two parts. ...I'll post part 2 in a few days, but in the meantime get your head around this!

1. I understand you have been involved in various Occult groups in NZ over the years and are quite knowledgeable in the history of such things here. Could you please give a run down of your involvement in this and an over view of where you are now personally?

I have been involved with various things over the past 20+ years or so, and levels of involvement have differed greatly during that time. I will keep this rather brief, but also advise that there are some details that I will be purposefully laconic on, or exclude entirely. The groups and individuals which I have been involved with have largely reflected the ethos which I have held and sought to develop over time; they have been, and are, consonant with the continuing goals which are held, especially as it is realised that we seek to establish something not on sand, but rock, and build not for now, but for eternity, and we must acknowledge also that the goals which we have will not occur within our own causal timeframe – hence, we are the sowers, and cultivators, of seeds, and indeed the term “Aeonic Seeding” has been utilised with just cause previously.

Initially, domestically based, I had some involvement with the then Order of the Left Hand Path (OLHP), which certainly had an influence on the nascent ideas that I had already been formulating prior to contact. The Magister, Faustus Scorpius, became a good friend of mine, albeit we ultimately ending up moving in drastically different directions, as reflective of what we each felt were most important to the aims and goals that we each had and have.

I contributed to a large number of issues of the quarterly journal “The Nexus”/“Western Destiny” between around 1997 to 2002, which was originally a vehicle for OLHP and then to some extent (early on) Ordo Sinistra Vivendi (OSV). FS and I, alongside another comrade, also provided a Western Occult axis to a local occult journal by the name of “Circlecaster” as well, which was pretty much a representation of the quagmire of the NZ Occult Movement and its morbid fascination with those things non-Western, and Magian, in origin. This in particular ended up causing something of a furore, with the usual myopic accusations of being “intolerant” etc etc, albeit the points that were raised and put forward for debate were never acknowledged by those they were directed towards, and that particular journal finished when we were only just getting started.

At the time that The Black Order of Pan-Europa (TBO) was active, I was involved in other activities of my own, and wasn’t able to sacrifice the time that this demanded, which I was already dedicating in short supply elsewhere. In 2000 however, I did edit a compilation of articles culled from the internal, members only, journal called “The Flaming Sword”, which as I recall was around 60 pages or so in length. This was done in conspiracy with the original founder of TBO, Wulf Grimwald, and published by Black Axis Productions in collaboration with Realist Publications, with forewords written by WG and I. There were a limited release of these also with black covers and an embossed silver wolf hook cross. This particular publication will not be reissued, and somewhat disappointingly, it is also on floppy disc, which is “somewhere”, given that the HD files have long been deleted.

Around this time I produced a sole copy of a journal entitled “Black Axis”, which proposed to explore the European Psyche, and also featured lengthy interviews with a handful of “metal” bands/labels (Animae Immortalitas, Kristallnacht, Donar’s Krieg, AMSG Productions), although the articles therein were the main focus (material featured articles by 2 Grand Masters of TBO and a leading member of the White Order of Thule). I then moved onto Ansuz Transmissions (AT), which reproduced the Order of Nine Angles (O9A) archives in facsimile from the original MSS, including reproductions of “The Self Immolation Rite”, “Eorthe”, and also the exclusive production of “Sappho: Fragments” from the master tape which I still have, somewhere. AT was closed because new opportunities and possibilities were beginning to evolve which I wished to focus on, and it had become a full time job at that time which I was unable to continue to any logical conclusion.

Somewhere along the way I was also involved in the revived Church of Odin, although it folded before I was able to activate the Sinister Division that I had envisioned, but in saying that, again, I was involved in another, more “political”, group then as well with people that lived in my area, which was more of a priority, although it subsequently collapsed when I declined leadership of it.

Externally, I have been involved with, and collaborated with, members of OSV/Order of the Deorc Fyre also, as I lived quite close to a couple of them. Contacts along the way in New Zealand also lead to contacts with various other groups, e.g. O9A, the White Order of Thule (WOT), the Corona Borealis Foundation (CBF – post WOT), OJB to name a few. Interestingly, I was asked to become the editor of WOT’s journal, “Crossing the Abyss”, as I was in regular contact with one of the founders, although I had to pass due to lack of facilities, and was also asked to head CBF for Australasia, who also used a slightly revised version of TBO’s “Articles of Faith”.

At the time of writing, there is continued discussion about the resurrection and re-invigorating of The Black Order of Pan-Europa, which may make an external presence again in the near future. This is partially because the outer Order was destroyed by internal schism before it managed to achieve any of its aims, and because the vitality of the Order and its ethos remains. Some of the old ideas of the Order will be discarded, although the original mission statement, in large, remains relevant. I would envision that this would accordingly include a deeper dynamic, i.e. with a specific Arts Division, which already has a vehicle in the Order of the Black Sun, and accordingly, the Temple of the Dark Earth will perform something else…

Currently, and briefly, I am something of a Drecc, and Vánargandr represents one facet of this by which the Sinister Numen is presented. Importantly, Vánargandr also only represents one part of what I am involved in, and what I undertake, and there are still other activities, including physical and practical ones – be that via experiences or ordeals.

2. Leading on, how have those things influenced Vánargandr? What do you try to convey through its sound and imagery? Why have you chosen to work with sound/noise scapes as opposed to a more musical approach?

Vánargandr seeks to convey, communicate, cultivate and promulgate Sinister Numen and Black Magick. As has been stated from the start, Vánargandr is, and always will be, a Satanic work, influenced by the Acausal, and the above experiences, influences, amalgamations, integrations and developments have worked with this, whether conscious or unconsciously, exoteric or esoteric. As ever, the formula is: Incipit VITRIOL…

The form employed is moreso representative of the Acausal, which by its very nature appears chaotic, albeit also limitless in its delivery and execution. The essence is that we wished to present something beyond the limits of the current forms of popular musicology, to add a more ritual aspect, and to also transcend the limitations of verbal communication (“uerbis fallantibus, loquitur musica”). I dislike most modern forms of music nowadays irrespective, especially since most are nothing more, but often quite less, than entertainment, and not works of art, nor swords of death and do no re-presence anything whatsoever.

A couple of the first releases by Vánargandr could have been considered more “musical” in their delivery (e.g. “Ok Vigs Fotum Ver Skiptum” and “Under Twilight Skies”), but this has been abandoned since 2002, although there are a number of unreleased and unfinished recordings from this particular era. It would also be convenience and ease to employ a more musical approach, or to use instruments to try and communicate the Sinister essence, so the challenge is to create something from the mouth and flesh of the living Nexion.

3. Could you please give a run-down of the Vánargandr discography with a brief description of each release. Also including forthcoming titles and what can be expected of them. How can these (all releases) be obtained?

Throughout all recordings that we have made, there have been enduring ideas and themes – that being, in part, to “forge not works of art, but Swords of Death, for therein lies Great Art”. There has been consistently a Sinister essence to all works, a consideration of musick within the Western Ethos, the use of Sinister Chant on several works, and “poetic” renderings of track titles to encompass a consistency of Spirit and focus within. In relation to presentation, there has been no conscious effort to be “unique” per se, but congruent again, with the enduring ethos behind. Thus, of course, the incrementing usage of images of Death Worship and indeed, Aeonic Death Magick on the whole. That such is not evident to some, is merely an indication of their lack of cognition, and lack of comprehension of such things for the greater part. Contagion. Veiled insidious poisons. There is no compromise, no alignment to fluctuating trends, no search for vacuous vainglory, just as there is no desire to cultivate proselyting vassals and the vicarious… Hence the reason also, for the absence of a “logo”, self-indulgent “promotional pictures” and other things – because this simply does not matter. The essence here also is that Vánargandr is a work which doesn’t seek the glory of “the self”, especially as it is acknowledged that in sowing such works of Death, that the causal being is irrelevant.

That which causes expression of itself via the implementation or provocation of acts which in their design achieve long-term aims beyond the causal death of an individual; changing aspects of a society by significant creations and thus changing a whole race of people - fulfilling the Destiny or Wyrd of the ethos of a civilization. Acts that inaugurate a New Aeon. The causal nature that is dictated by the essence of things - “fate”, etc.

While there has been no active effort to do so, there has been an avoidance and disdain for some of the “commonalities” of the attendant genres and milieu, even if such we don’t consider that Vánargandr fits within a specific genre per se – i.e. we don’t use samples, midi software or other “orthodoxies”, because again, it is more of a challenge to create something from the mouth and flesh of the living Nexion – to imbue the Sinister Numen, the Dark and genuinely Evil.

And again, if it is not clear, there is no desire to create “music for entertainment” the transient trend, the “consumer” and even the misnomer of “art for art’s sake”. Suchlike already is the rule, disappointingly, and not the exception.

The following discography should be considered incomplete, as the full discography of Vánargandr hasn’t been recorded previously as it’s again regarded as unimportant on the whole. Essentially, what which was, has been, and will not be again. The synchronic and diachronic should be considered… The dates of some releases might be “slightly” incorrect…

Promo Rehearsal 1997: The “founding” 2 track rehearsal tape, featuring “Age of Fire” and “Luciferian”. Very rough improvised recordings, using anachronistic techniques, layered vocals, and lots of tape hiss. The methodology employed herein was developed over a number of preceding years, and the recording was purposefully rushed in order to retain a sense of the raw and “bestial”.  Following this release, there was the proposal that we do a split demo with a French project with whom we had a philosophical connection, however this was cancelled due to issues on our side. Said project dissolved soon thereafter regardless.

Promo Rehearsal II 1999: A rough and harsh stab in a more Abruptum/Burzum (neo-classical era) vein. 2 untitled tracks recorded on keyboards. “Droning” and “avant-garde” are two words that come to mind. Never properly released, although bootlegged by someone that it was sent to in Hellas.

Rehearsal 9 July 1999: A continuation of the above direction, also including a rough initial version of the “Blood Dream” track which would be formalized in the guise of the 1999 Promotrack.

Promotrack 1999: Recorded in a more “ambient” direction using keys and an improvised studio set up. Sent to some fucker in Belgium who signed Vánargandr for a cassette release and an appearance on a compilation CD, but who promptly disappeared and changed direction. This particular track also laid foundation for one of the tracks on “Ok Vigs Fotum Ver Skiptum” in 2001/02.

Promotrack II 2001: Initially recorded under a different project name, which was subsequently amalgamated into Vánargandr’s broadening raison d'être. Further work was completed on said track, “Traversing the Abyss”, with versions featuring elsewhere in both live and studio forms. Incidentally even “hailed” by one of Brian Lustmord’s former collaborators.

Ok Vigs Fotum Ver Skiptum CD-R I 2001/02: Debut full length album, recorded using keyboards in a more “musickal” direction. Very rushed recording completed in a matter of hours. Basically 3 really fucking long tracks, plus intro/outro and interludes which came to about 70mins. Came with booklet, and the first 20 copies in handmade black sleeves.

Promo Rehearsal III 2002: Rehearsal tape(s) recorded and disseminated when Vánargandr was first contemplating live performances. Various versions exist, none with the same (improvised) material. Mostly recorded using harsh effects, keyboards and a limited sampler (self-made samples).

Under Twilight Skies CD-R 2002: The final work of Vánargandr utilizing keyboards and a “musickal” approach. Was to have been released by a French label that disappeared after being sent the master. Recording started immediately following “Ok Vigs…”, with around 90minutes of material created – so it ended up being a 70+minute CD with 2 tracks left over. This album elaborated a lot on some of the promise which was indicated in “Ok Vigs…” and it was felt that, ultimately, this particular direction had run its course. The recording itself was completed over several months, requiring the appropriate “frame of mind” to be maintained throughout this period.

Valtivar CD-R 2005: A “compilation” album of sorts – 2 tracks from our live debut in 2002, 2 exclusive tracks, the full version of “From Within the Great Void” (which featured in an edited form on “Tests for the Sensory Impaired” compilation released via Club Bizarre) and a couple of remixes from the stalled “Kozmos Rost” album. This was to have been issued by another French label, which also disappeared. Handmade black covers with black text. One of the few releases also to feature the Vánargandr logo drawn by Rexor of Altar of Perversion.

Unofficial Promo 2006: 2 advance tracks from “Praeparet Bellum” in original form plus a special recording of “Traversing the Abyss”.

Praeparet Bellum MCD-R 2007: Somewhere between black ambient and harsh noise. Original design of the “Praeparet Bellum” series was to craft harsh tracks under, or in the vicinity of, the 5 minute mark, especially as previously track lengths were normally around 10 minutes or more.

Spirit of the Dark Gate, Guide of the Black Sun CD-R 2007: First of 2 albums recorded under the thema of the Black Sun. Rough atmospheric album consisting of 1 track at 30 minutes+. 10 copies were to have been issued, but I minimized this to much less because I was heavily involved in another activity at that time.

Kozmos Rost CD-R 2007: Was to have been released through Sonic Tyranny (GoatoWaRex sublabel) but Dani disappeared in the interim. This was considered at that time to have been the apex of Vánargandr works, given that it was worked on for several years, but still remains unfinished to this day. There are some versions of the rough, un-mastered, mixes floating around.

Praeparet Bellum II MCD-R 2008: The second in the envisioned series of three. More harsh than the first, but again with tracks all around the 5minute mark.

Uralten Todgeist Promo 2011: 3 advance tracks in 2 different forms – original recordings and Oppression Remixes. 5 official copies made with translucent covers and insert card. Some other copies made with standard covers, omitting the remixes.

Tenebris I – III 2012, IV 2013: The first steps in a planned 9 part series encompassing the arduous Occult journey of the Abyss. First 2 rituals released on cassette only, although from Ritual III onwards it is likely that the CD-R medium will be employed due to the scarcity of cassettes and the unreliability of suppliers. Ritual III came in a black metal tin with embossed Vánargandr symbol and maggots (the maggots were used as a simple suggestion for death, given that carrion larvae are a generalised sign of death and decay, especially in (formerly) living matter such as flesh). Someone even got a live 5.52mm bullet in theirs… All Tenebris Rituals are accompanied by an original text which is relevant to that particular recording. It is possible that the complete Tenebris series may be re-issued as a complete set in the future, with individual art pieces.

Uralten Todgeist CD-R 2012: Death monument which has been in the works since 2010. 1 track originally recorded for VK/Vassafor for the “Obsidian Codex” DLP. Contrasted to earlier works, this one has a more focused and Death Industrial approach, which will be augmented in the future. Much more complex tracks than previously, and a solid foundation upon which further works will be built.
The following have also been recorded but remain unreleased:
  • Lost in the Bloodred Eyes of Wyrd CD
  • Spectres of Light Fast Fading CD
  • Vánargandr MCD
  • Incipit VITRIOL MCD
  • In Entropy Enfolded (Spirit of the Dark Gate… Part II)
  • Celebrating the Black Herald CD
  • “The Air Thick with the Mist of Venom and Blood” (Track for split 12” with Altar of Perversion)
Early on, some material was also made available on-line through the late, which provided at least a platform to present some ideas for digestion – i.e. the early version of “Somewhere Beyond the Stars” and the first working version of “Lost in Black Waters”.

Apart from this, intros/outros have also been recorded for several bands, i.e. Altar of Perversion (“Adgnosco Veteris Vestigia Flammae” 10” (which was actually dedicated to myself), and the forthcoming “Intra Naos” LP), Vassafor (“Obsidian Codex” DLP), Heresiarch (“Hammer of Intransigence” MLP) are the only ones of importance however.

There is presently only the Black Sun Cult edition of “Valtivar” available. A couple of copies of Tenebris III and IV and Uralten Todgeist may be available from a selected distributer.

At this time, there are several planned releases inclusive of the 2 split 12”’s with Vassafor, although it is hoped that the split with Altar of Perversion will finally come out, especially since it’s been in the works since 2003… Obviously there is a stark difference of musickal direction for both, especially since they come from “transition stages”. A theme, and title, has already been found for the next full length release, but details will not be disclosed at this juncture. The seeds of the fifth Tenebris Ritual have also been sown already. “Kozmos Rost” will be reworked and completed as well.

Contrasting to this, there is also another couple of more “orthodox” projects presently in genesis, one of which will utilize a more “primitive metal” approach, although this will be distanced, and act separately, to Vánargandr. It is planned, although it has been for some time now, to release a “metal” demo sometime during 2013 – this will be more of a Black/Death hybrid, however inspired by bands like Bestial Summoning in that it will be entirely “impromptu” and there will be no prior rehearsals of material, just one take recordings of instruments (i.e. guitar and (real) drums) and vocals, with no re-recording thereafter. Nowadays “metal” scene seems too over-rehearsed, too practiced and polished and less feral and cruel than it used to be. This is not to imply however that said project will necessarily be particularly “good”, however that misses the point also.

In the future there will also be a “return” to the roots of Vánargandr via cassette methodologies, however this will be utilized with “digital” forms and methods as well – in essence, although not the intended application is thesis + antithesis = synthesis, which provides a way forward (albeit the philosophical application is far more interesting and complex!). There remain a large number of hours of recordings archived on cassette which may also be resurrected and incorporated in “new” releases.

4. In November 2011 I saw you performing in support of Vassafor. As a back drop to this you had graphic vomit and piss porn projected on the back wall. What were you intending to convey with this? What else have you used or intend to use as an aesthetic to your live performance? 

Displays of material haven’t been consistent with our live performances, albeit this is also due to a lack of facilities for such things. The film used in Auckland was again one of Lucifer Valentine’s, as it was at the preceding show in Wellington in May. The design and intent was really to demonstrate the contempt of life on the whole, and the degradation of humanity… It is understood that at said Wellington show the audience was reviled by the screening, which again is more characteristic of those that profess but do not adhere.

Ideally however, this would not be a film, but part of the performance itself. Finding suitable persons to participate however is difficult, mainly due to the pain and suffering that is inflicted. Even locating people into receiving relentless sadism outside of a live performance is problematic (although not impossible), because most of those into it still like to maintain control of the circumstances. It’s hard for someone to scream out for help with a mouth full of their own shit, being choked with chains, with their ribs being stomped on however…

In saying that, we do wish to try and introduce a more ceremonial and ritual aspect to live performances, which is hinted at already via the use of ritual robes. There are several issues with this however, not least that this would require the addition of others to the Vánargandr live line up, which we are loathe to do. Currently we are wishing to try and recruit a particular person for live performances, although they are, unfortunately, not living on these shores at the time of writing (and were living in a different part of the country regardless), however it is envisioned that they would be an active participant, rather than a passive vessel, and thus ensuring that the current of Vánargandr is maintained and continued, rather than diluted and skewed away from. All things change however.

The final live performance of Vánargandr will occur in July 2013, having served its purpose at this point in time.

5. Could you talk bit about the material that will be included on the Altar of Perversion and Vassafor splits? What can listeners expect? How would you describe them?

The original version of the track which will feature on the split with Altar of Perversion was captured back in 2003 as indicated above, and is entitled “The Air Thick with the Mist of Blood and Venom”. At that particular stage, it marked a progression in the nascent development of Vánargandr away from a “musickal” approach, and more into what could be loosely termed “Black Ambient”. Part of this, and this development on the whole, was due to the disgust of the so-called “Dark Ambient” scene; it’s attendant romanticism, nostalgia and idea fixes which, vis-à-vis, Vánargandr, are redundant fragments of old Aeon spirit. Key parts in this particular track is the partial use of percussion for the first time, high pitched feedback, “dissonant” voices and a thick, oppressive, heavy atmosphere. The track itself is in a constant form of flux and development, and still provides a fitting accompaniment to Altar of Perversion. Given the age of the track however, it will be updated and partially re-recorded in the near future. It is still to be released via Ajna Offensive. We have, with some admittance, not listened to this track for several years now, although having recently done so it is felt that there is still a foundation to build upon and augment, rather than commence a new recording from scratch. This is due to the ethos captured within said track, its attendant atmosphere and the vitriol with which it was recorded, which continues to lie consonant with the founding and prevailing idea.

There are 2 splits to be completed with Vassafor, the first on Parasitic Records, and the second through Psychedelic Lotus Order. Both should be out in 2013 or early 2014.

The title of the track for the former betrays its content and direction – “Death and the Black Work”. This particular piece, again, marks a definitive progression and difference from other works – formative use of percussion and order disintegrating noise and vocals. The key, as with any split release, is to compliment and honour those on the other sides, to create work that is worthy of being considered in the same breath, rather than a pitiful ride on the power of their virtue and name. In part, this track also reflects some of the “older” influences on Vánargandr which have not been made evident previously – i.e. parts of acts like MZ.412, Brighter Death Now, Lustmord, Megaptera, Archon Satani etc but also of other ones like Arvo Part, Chopin, Ravel, Arca Funebris, Mordor (Swi), Mental Destruction, IRM, Novatron, Equimanthorn and so forth. The distinction is however that I haven’t listened to any of these acts or composers for a number of years now, so it will be more of a “reflective” influence than anything else.

We have, at the time of writing, yet to progress to the recording stage of the second split, albeit the thema has been found in Chaos Dissolution/Aeonic Death Magick. The intent will be to create something harsh and fittingly cruel and draconian; to contrast different facets and Acausal influences.
Key Of Alocer zine collection care of Kris Stanley

6. Going back to questions of the Occult, during my 20+ year involvement in NZ underground Metal, there have been two prominent characters who have shown up. One being Abaaner Incendium of 'Key of Alocer' Zine (93 - 95?) who later seemed to alienate a lot of people. The other being Kerry Bolton who was behind 'Order of the Left Hand Path' in the early 90s but later showed up as national secretary of the National Front (around 2004) and has apparently been involved in Christian groups at times. What has your take been on these things?

I used to regularly meet with both Abaaner and Kerry for several years, although severed contact with them some time ago.

Much like a lot of other people, I was in early contact with Abaaner during the initial Key of Alocer days (living as I was in a different part of the country), but found that there were a lot of flaws in his presented persona – kind of the erring feeling that there were things which weren't really there, which I confirmed with contact with a few other people at that time, and consolidated when I met him. The core is that he never got beyond his Christian upbringing, but failed to recognise it, and fell into the murky waters of the Abyss, becoming transfixed by his reflection therein; in Jungian terms his Shadow overpowered him rather than became integrated, and he failed to achieve even the early stages of Individuation, despite his insistence otherwise. Abaaner in the end was/is nothing more than a loser, a hollow shell for the wind to blow through; someone that thought that they were much more than they could ever be – but the same goes for all the self-proclaimed “elite” who never test nor prove themselves in the real world. The poor in spirit will always be the poor in spirit. Abaaner, in the end, also destroyed a perfectly good working Order by his incessant desire to alienate people, but even if he hadn’t, he would have led it to become a quiet tea party rather than an active, dynamic and resilient movement because he had neither the insight into, nor the understanding of, Aeonic Magick and the application required and demanded. Such things are difficult to ken when you don’t leave the house or similarly don’t want to go outside because the weather is inclement. There is no victory without sacrifice, and no sacrifice without bloodshed. This is even more so true, when one doesn't even have the courage to wield the sword at the start, let alone the strength the carry it.

In closing, Abaaner was also filled with

“…A kind of ‘Euphorie’ (Euphoria), in which the person over-rates himself, and imagines he has reached a phase of development which has only been stolen by way of an unconscious identification”

This is something that someone else identified in part, having completed a number of psychological studies.

Kerry’s name is one that seems to pop up constantly for some reason, although I have no issue in saying that I regarded him as a good friend for some time, and I used to visit him quite often because we shared so many ideas. His wife and I used to joke that Kerry was cultivating me as his prodigy as well, which felt like an honour at the time. My view at this juncture is that my relationship with him served a purpose, and nothing beyond that. Kerry is, and will always be to my mind, a torrid and tempestuous individual who oscillates in seemingly paradoxical ways, but always from a key foundation. A lot of people may be confused by the shifts that have occurred over time, but for those that know him, there is nothing to be confused about – especially if we draw some parallels to, for example given, a figure like David Myatt. One thing that should be understood through these seeming paradoxes is that Kerry has little tolerance for losers, time wasters and other vacuous beings – because there’s nothing to be gained in doing so; simply put, some people are, and always will be, disposable – there to be used until an end is met, and discarded as they should be afterwards, and without mercy or regret. I did end up working on a few things with Kerry, and wasn’t afraid to critique him when I felt that it was needed, but the same goes both ways as well.

I haven’t paid a great deal of attention to what Kerry has done in recent years, mainly because at the end of our contact we were moving in drastically different directions; i.e. our contact had served its purpose and will not be revisited again. Ultimately, there is no nostalgia, no warm memories to be reflected on; that which was, shall never again be, and shall not be mourned.

There was no surprise to see Kerry “pop up” as the secretary of NF, and much has been documented previously about his political involvements. See, for example “The Politics of Nostalgia” (1987) which documents things prior to OLHP, and includes the first presentation of the Church of Odin circa 1980.

Kerry Bolton (2004)