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what can I say? This album (We
is crap except two-three songs. It’s not a real representation of War."
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R: The WE ARE TOTAL WAR mini-cd was recently released, with the Total War EP and early mixes of selections from We Are War. The We Are War tracks seem to take on a new life with the sharper guitar tone and increased speed. Will we ever hear the early mixes of the other We are War songs?
Blackmoon: NO. Those other ones are shit in my opinion. Actually I am fucking embarrassed about some songs on this album, since the playing and production is crap. These recordings were done in like two days each album.
[Note: Ha ha, and I gave it 4 Perplex Skulls. Ah, well, I still like it, and I’d give the early mixes 5 skulls.]
R: At one point you were planning to re-record some of the We are War songs with a new line-up. With the abandonment of the project and creation of Total War, is this no longer a possibility?
Blackmoon: No, we’ll do new material for Total War. I just hope we have time to record something soon. Right now all time goes into Infernal since we have to get the new album out like March/April next year.
R: Please discuss the decision to change War into Total War. What will the music be like? Who else will be involved besides you and All?
Blackmoon: There will be new faces in the band. A new drummer. The guy from Infernal, Alzazmon, that is. We might use some of the Hypocrisy guys again also, if we can get our schedules to match. Anyway, this won’t happen until probably mid 2002.
R: You lost three of War’s original members right away. Did that have something to do with the change in direction on We are War? Why the decision to bring Lars Szöke on drums? His performance disappointed me somewhat on the full-length, but he sounds quite good on the early mixes.
Blackmoon: The whole thing Szöke was a just a kind of a panic fix since we planned to do that album with Peter, whose drumming fits War perfectly. Peter was too occupied with producing, so he told us he had no time to be part. So in a hurry we had to find another drummer, and Peter recommended Szöke for the job. It did not work out that good as you can hear on the album. He’s a cool person though.
R: Can you explain your overall dissatisfaction with We are War? Was it kind of a joke for “Rapture 2” to fade out so soon after only one riff, or in “Infernal” when you play the main riff countless times at the end of the song? The lyrics to Total War are almost entirely coherent, but less so on We are War. Will the lyrics ever be made available?
Blackmoon: Well, what can I say? This album is crap except two-three songs. It’s not a real representation of War. The whole album was done in a hurry. [Note: I guess a cigar is just a cigar sometimes.] The lyrics won’t be available.
R: In the We are Total War liner notes, you mentioned “All’s near fatal accident” and crashing your car. What happened to All, and how seriously did you wreck your car?
Blackmoon: Well, about All. He got a severe bleeding in his brain one and a half years ago, just out of the blue, when he was home. Luckily his girlfriend was also there. He just fell to the floor, and became unconscious, went to the hospital and later had a big operation in his head. He was very close to death, and it has taken like a year for him to get back to normal shape. He’s still suffering from this.
Well, about that CRASH, it was pretty out of this world. I’d been at the Abyss Studio to meet Tägtren and get some older recording equipment he wasselling away. Then at the way back to Stockholm at 23:15, I crashed with my Volvo I had at the time. What happened was that an about a half ton big elk (a lot of ‘em in Sweden) just all of a sudden appeared from the side of the road and smashed into the car, making me lose control over it and then made me drive straight into the side barrier fence of the road. I got a bad whiplash injury, but didn’t get a fucking scratch. I had to climb out of the car’s side window since I could not open the door. There was blood from this fucking elk and glass from the front window all over me, and I later found one of the elk’s horns in the backseat . . . pretty disgusting. Ambulance and police came, and they later told me that many people had died on this road since many wild animals (like elks) passed that particular road at night. Anyway, incredibly, I did not get a fucking scratch.
Blackmoon: Hmm, actually, that was just a very short while. What happened was that Joakim (the drummer), phoned me up after years of no contact and asked me if I’d like to rejoin them. I said no first, but since I had not too much going on at the time, I eventually agreed to try out for it. Since it was a different line-up I thought maybe it could work out. However, in the end it just didn’t feel right. I had no problem with their other new guitarist, who is a really outstanding guitarist, but it was clear that me and Joakim still do not really work together. So we decided to not work together. It wouldn’t have worked in the long run anyway.
R: Will the lyrics to the Infernal EP be made available anywhere, like on the Hellspawn website? When do you plan to relaunch the website?
Blackmoon: All the Infernal lyrics will be available on the coming Infernal website, hope to have it up before the new year . . . the same with the Hellspawn site. Anyway, since not that much has happened on the release front lately, I haven’t exactly been too motivated to get it up.
R: How will the Infernal debut compare to the EP? At one point I heard it would be more varied, but in the last Hellspawn update it sounds like you’re setting out to make one of the most extreme albums ever.
Blackmoon: We are out to make a really extreme album, but also a more varied album than the MCD. This goes for both arrangements and the drumming. There are several ways to play extreme stuff, so there’s no real contradiction in that.
R: Given the revolving door line-up of drummers in Infernal, is Alzazmon still your drummer? How did you originally get in contact with Matte Modin? Was he always intended to just play on the EP, or did he leave?
Blackmoon: Alzazmon is the new and permanent drummer of Infernal. He’s been in the band since January, and it’s working extremely well [Note: Alzazmon was the drummer on Vobiscum Satanas.] As far as Matte Modin goes, it was Themgoroth who knew him. He was basically intended to do the MCD and do some gigs and he was really into it. He’s a really good drummer. Anyway, he’s in Dark Funeral right now . . . and Alzazmon is in Infernal! We see each other since Dark Funeral and Infernal rehearse in the same building, door to door with each other. Quite a weird situation, but that's how it is. To make things even weirder, I can tell you we are right now checking out Typhos as a second guitarist for Infernal, and he's as you know also an ex-Dark Funeral member.
R: Secrets of the Black Arts and Infernal are some of the most evil-sounding releases out there. Is it important to you to create an atmosphere like that? I think it’s notable that you have succeeded in creating one that is far more intense than bands who rely on keyboards. How do you get inspired to write your music?
Blackmoon: I don’t get very inspired these days, but I write regardless. I have to force myself to write since it doesn’t come in the natural way I’ve been writing before. I regularly get mental blocks, but now we rehearse often and I also write and arrange things at home and record it in my little studio I have set up at home. I’ll work on this daily since we have to have everything completed in early February when we’ll go to the studio.
R: Do you write the lyrics for Infernal? I heard that the full length would have a concept based around Armageddon. Can you elaborate on this? Do you have any song titles available?
Blackmoon: Yeah, well, the lyrics are based on the concept of Armageddon. Not all of it, but a overall concept of the coming album. A very typical subject, yes, but the only concept that truly fits our music, and something we decided upon a long time ago. That’s why I label our music SATANIC HOLOCAUST METAL. The songs are invocations to the end of this world and all things living. The end of Jehovah, Christianity, humanity and all life itself. Still, the lyrics are very much like apocalyptic paintings, describing dark and sinister atmospheres, not really any type of Deicide lyrics . . . it’s more like dark poetry, satanic and very apocalyptic poetry. New songs include: “Hellstorms,” “Branded by the Pentagram’s Mark,” “Demonlord (Father Satan).”
R: Has Infernal been able to play live at all? I heard you planned to play a couple Dark Funeral songs (“Secrets of the Black Arts” and “My Dark Desires”?).
Blackmoon: No, but that will change when the new album is out. We will play these Funeral songs, yes.
R: You’ve assumed role of vocalist for Infernal. What happened to Themgoroth? How is playing guitar and doing vocals working out for you? Will your vocal style be similar to the way you sounded on “Satanic Blood”?
Blackmoon: I can play guitar and sing with ease, no problem. Right now, we are demoing material and we have just recently tried a real vocalist and most likely we’ll have him on the record since he sings better than me. Anyway, since things are not 100 percent clear I won’t mention his name. In case of this not working out I will surely do the vocals. It’s just that we thought it’s better to have a guy that can concentrate on the singing and also concentrate on being a real showman in a live situation. My vocals do not sound like I did on the Von track, but sound something in the vein of Immortal but a little deeper.
"I don’t listen to shit like any kind of Adidas metal like Korn, Slipknot, etc. Neither do I listen to rap. I am Metal to the bone. METAL is my life."
R: When will you record the Infernal debut, and where? Is there a tentative release date? I heard it would be released on Hammerheart.
Blackmoon: As far as a release date goes, it will be around early spring 2002. We’ll record in February. It will be on Hammerheart or Osmose. We are dealing with both labels right now . . . we will sign very soon.
We had No Fashion and Listenable, but financially they didn’t come up with an as good deal.
R: Here’s something I’ve wanted to ask you about Secrets of the Black Arts - did you consciously arrange “When Angels Forever Die,” “The Fire Eternal,” and “Satan’s Mayhem” in a row? They all start similarly - 1000 mph with screams or immediate vocals. After these are the very atmospheric tracks “Shadows Over Transylvania” and “Bloodfrozen,” which are also a bit similar with the last riff of “Shadows” seeming to bleed into “Bloodfrozen.” Did you consciously try to arrange the album so that each group of songs explored a similar mood?
Blackmoon: No! That’s pure coincidence. I haven’t thought about that at all. However, why we did it like that was probably due to that we wanted the album to be built up like I think an album should: start fast, then slow down a little, then gradually build the speed again to the absolute edge, and then cool down for the very last songs.
R: Hellspawn released the Von demo. When did you first hear it, and what kind of impact did it have on you? What are some of your favorite albums?
Blackmoon: I heard the Von demo first early ’93. I thought it was the most primitive and tyrannical shit I’ve heard . . . musically it didn’t have much of an impact on me, but that evil feeling really had an impact on me. That’s why we covered one of their songs on the Secrets album. Actually it wasn’t really supposed to be on the album since it doesn’t fit in, but in some way it ended up on that album anyway.
[Note: Believe it or not, this landmark demo was of United States origin. Very straightforward and hypnotic in its single-mindedness, its stripped down delivery and unique vocals replete with strange lyrics resulted in a very dark atmosphere. If Secrets is the soundtrack for burning in Hell, Von’s Satanic Blood was the black mass invocation to sign away the soul.]
Blackmoon's favorite albums:
Powerslave - Piece of Mind - The Number of the Beast
R: How long have you been playing guitar, and what made you want to start? I think your guitar style has a lot of atmosphere and feeling in it, and I wish more bands were adept at that. The current trend seems to be copying At the Gates, and I don’t think that style is interesting enough to keep duplicating.
Blackmoon: I have been playing since late ‘84 . . . still it’s only in the absolute last years that I’ve really started working hard on my playing. As far as trends go, I don’t really have a clue what is in . . . Anyway, when I listen to music I appreciate it if it’s good musicianship and good songs even if it’s musically not my cup of tea. Although I must say, I don’t listen to shit like any kind of Adidas metal like Korn, Slipknot, etc. Neither do I listen to rap. I am metal to the bone. METAL is my life.
R: Secrets of the Black Arts was re-recorded at Abyss Studios after Dan Swanö failed to produce it properly. You tried to prevent Necropolis from releasing We are War. The Infernal EP was recorded several months before it was mixed and released. Do you consider yourself a perfectionist?
Blackmoon: I am not a perfectionist . . . although I think for the future I will be. The only way to a really good album is perfectionism. I have for sure experienced enough recordings that haven’t turned into what I wanted. That old Swanö session was horrible crap that not even a ten year old kid into Burzum would have thought was good. I was not the reason why it ended up like it did, that was due to severely unprofessional production and manner from Mr. Swanö. He was overworked and mentally tired when we came to the studio. Also, our then drummer was not playing as good as he should have. So it ended up crap.
Anyway, I was the only one in the band that said we under no circumstances could release it, and that we should re-record it somewhere else. Ahriman said we should release it and the others too. That’s how very smart they were. No one wanted to go to the Abyss and re-record it. Anyway, I knew that was the right thing to do, and after we’d been there in early ’95, the whole black metal scene followed and recorded their albums there. Anyway, I had to fight like hell to not have that first session released.
Strangely enough, Ahriman considers himself to be a perfectionist. He might be more of a perfectionist these days, but he sure as hell wasn’t then. Several times he was drunk or having a hangover in the studio when he should play his stuff. So on some songs and parts on Secrets . . . I am playing both guitar parts. No bullshit. Ask Peter Tägtren about this, he surely remembers this.
R: Who are some death metal bands you like? Are you into bands like Krisiun, Rebaelliun, Angel Corpse, Centurian, etc.?
Blackmoon: Hell yes, I really like Krisiun, Centurian, Angel Corpse, Hate Eternal, Vader, Diabolic, and even some Nile, etc. Although I’d say I am more of a black metal maniac than death metal maniac, I still love really brutal and well-played death metal. I’m not too much into the Cannibal Corpse/Suffocation style, though. As far as death metal goes, I’ve been there since day one, listening to Death and Morbid Angel before they made any albums. I was a tapetrader back then, and got a hold of a lot of cool demos with bands a long time before they recorded any albums. My all time favourite demos are Morbid Angel’s Thy Kingdom Come and Annihilator’s Phantasmagoria which is a fucking brutal demo and nothing like the way too commercial album Alice in Hell.
R: What are the future plans for Hellspawn after the upcoming tributes? Will you be looking to sign any bands?
Blackmoon: I sure will. I will then have the economy to take up everything for real. With time and money, I’ll build Hellspawn into a small but professional label. Things are already rolling, and things look good for the future, although the market is pretty fucked up these days.
R: What do you do when you aren’t writing music or doing something with Hellspawn?
Blackmoon: Well, if I am not playing/rehearsing or working with Hellspawn in some way, I basically do everyday shit . . . some weightlifting and running each and every day now. Otherwise I read strange books, like people who have survived the most horrible things, watch crime/war documentaries all day. I have a collection of several hundred documentaries. I sometimes go out to drink with some friends and go to a gig, but I’ve been keeping that pretty low lately.
R: Thanks a lot for answering my questions, Blackmoon. I look forward to your upcoming projects with Hellspawn, Total War, and Infernal. Use this space for any last words you have.
Blackmoon: OK. Let us pray for WW III and the holocaust of the Muslim world.
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Interview Copyright 2002 E.C.McMullen Jr.