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Interview with Nattsvargr by Mutilador e-zine (Feb. 2012)
 
Greetings! On behalf of Mutilador e-Zine, thank you for answering this interview. To start with this series of questions, could you talk a little about the history of the band? You started under the name Nocturnal Abyss, what was the thing which caused the name change?

Morbid greetings. NATTSVARGR rose from the ashes of a previous project, yes. Initially, it was to be the continuation of NOCTURNAL ABYSS, but it eventually took on a life of its own and is quite separate from what came before. The pieces did not come together until a year later.

Since the beginning of the project have been several lineup changes, why was that? Do you think this time is there a connected lineup?

In general, it is often difficult to find other musicians that are dedicated and willing to put their full time and energy into something. Black Metal seems to have a lot of casual followers in this cursed land, but those that truly understand its dark essence are few and far in-between. Death Metal reigned far too long in this country, and most Americans are unable to really separate that sort of background from the type of music that they are trying to play. Too often, this mentality will remain and will be reflected in the music, which will frequently be little more than Death Metal hiding behind Black Metal aesthetics. Also, one must realize that Americans like to follow trends. So even if it is possible to purge any and all outside elements, it is still likely that the musicians are eager to jump on whatever bandwagon they are able to. Of course, this results in the flood of weaklings that waste their time with DSBM bedroom projects or following the Orthodox trend. This may continue to be an obstacle, but as long as Werewolf and I remain, NATTSVARGR shall exist.

In your music feels a lot of influence of the winter, the night, the moon. Are these kinds of issues a key to write? Or, in general, what is Noctir's source of inspiration to create the lyrics for Nattsvargr?

I detest the light of the sun, along with its warmth. I always have, as this horrible thing plagues me with headaches and extreme discomfort. Of course, the night has always been a time where there exists more clarity of mind and even more energy, as the sun only seems to drain it. The same can be said of winter. I find myself filled with more motivation and energy, in the autumn and winter months. There is something very pure about the freezing cold winds and the snow-covered landscape. Hiking through the wilderness, struggling through several feet of snow and ice, can also be a quite invigorating experience. To get out into the forest on a gloomy winter day, far from civilization, is quite valuable. There, some measure of peace can be found, away from the infestation of human scum. Even more, it is during this time of year that most people will be closed off in their homes, afraid of the frigid weather. Since a young age, I have always felt more connected to the cold and dark. People fear what they cannot see, so it is somehow natural to be reluctant to venture out into the darkness. For me, it is peaceful and there is less interference from others or the light, itself. As for the moon, it is possible to lose much time, gazing obsessively at the nocturnal eye. The moonlight is, again, something far more natural to me than the intense light of the sun.

"Freezing Moon" is the cover you did for this song of Mayhem. Is this band a strong influence on you?

The classic era of MAYHEM is, of course, very important. If not for bands such as this, Black Metal would not have developed the way that it has. Too many idiots disregard their significance and ignore their music in favour of the rest of the mystery that surrounded the band. The truth is that they captured the true essence of Black Metal and conveyed a pitch-black darkness that very few have managed to duplicate. Unfortunately, this was mostly embodied by Euronymous and Dead, while the others were merely followers. Without them, the band is not the same.

Literally, what does NATTSVARGR mean? And for you, what is the 'real' meaning that is behind this project?

It is the combination of two Old Norse words, meaning something along the lines of nocturnal wolf. The essence of the night is something that has long been significant for me, going back to my earliest years. As for the wolf, it represents opposition to the sheep-like mentality of the masses; in particular, as it relates to the Judeo-Christian scum that inhabits much of the western world. It stands for the open eye in a sea of the blind; a mind capable of critical thinking, in a world where very few ever stop to think about anything or to question that which is going on around them.

Tell us a little about your latest material entitled Vinterblod. How was the recording process, the lyrics composition, etc.? Are you satisfied with the result? What makes it different from your previous recordings?
 
Vinterblod is the culmination of what we have been working toward, from the beginning. It represents the pure essence of NATTSVARGR and is, in a way, the start of a new chapter for the band. The previous record had a lot of problems, including the musical direction. Too much was undecided and I was still trying to keep alive the spirit of my previous band. This time around, we discussed what we wanted to achieve and then set about doing so. Most of the lyrics were written in 2006-07, but did not fit what we had at the time. That also had a lot to do with the musical direction. Once this was all set, the music came together over a period of a few months, at a natural pace. We wanted to make sure that each riff belonged, and did not rush anything for the sake of pumping out an album. It turned out better than I expected, and I think we were both quite pleased. That said, being a bit of a perfectionist, there is always something that can be improved upon. Anyone that is truly creative will hardly ever be satisfied. The only thing that can result from that is stagnation, really.
 
Vinterblod consists of 7 tracks, which of all is your favorite and why?

This is difficult to answer. I think it is more a case of favourite riffs, or how one transitions to the next, or even a particular vocal line compliments the guitar riff, working well to create the desired atmosphere.

The last two albums have been recorded in the Necrodeath Studios, why? Are you comfortable there?


Yes, we are definitely comfortable there. There were times where I ended up sleeping in the studio, while working on the album. We took care of everything ourselves and, being familiar with the equipment at this point, I see no reason not to continue using Necrodeath.

What can you tell us about your previous works? What satisfactions have left on you?


Winds of Transilvania displeased me, greatly. I actually prefer the demos, as the first album was plagued by a lot of problems, from the songwriting to the recording. Even if everything had been recorded exactly as I wished, the record would still have lacked a sense of consistency. Still, a couple of the songs represent areas of development that we have not yet revisited, so I think there is still some value to them.

What are the plans you have for this 2012? And what do you expect from the band in the near future?

At the moment, I am in talks with another label about getting Vinterblod re-released, with wider distribution. We'll soon be recruiting some new members and working on material for the next record. We've had some invitations to play some of the smaller festivals, so I think it might be time to play live again, in the near future.

Before the end of this interview, where our readers can contact the band, listen to the music or purchase your albums?

We can be contacted at nocturnal_abyss_records@yahoo.com or noctir@hotmail.com. Music can be heard at the following:
http://www.facebook.com/Nattsvargr
http://myspace.com/nattsblod

Finally, Thanks again for the time taken to answer this interview. Wish you lots of success in all your future plans. Anything else you want to add?

Thanks for the interview. Hail to the true underground.

Interview with Nattsvargr (March 2010)

"Archaic Metallurgy" by Miguel Miranda

Unpretentious musical Nihilism

It wouldn't be a stretch to observe that the black metal scene, even if localized in North America alone, is endless. So the big question is: Amidst the confusing multitude, which band deserves our attention? Nattsvargr do. These New York state natives have a substantial discography behind them that continues to grow with the release of this year's 'Vinterblod'. Released on March, 'Vinterblod' is half an our of stripped down unpretentious musical Nihilism loaded with frenzied guitar play and enough wintry atmosphere to chill the blood. Speaking to yours truly is the ever croaksome vocalist Noctir who expounds on all matters blasphemous, divine, and extreme.

AM: Nattsvargr. It just rolls right off your tongue. What is it?

Noctir: It is the combination of two Old Norse words, meaning something along the lines of nocturnal wolf. The essence of the night is something that has long been significant for me, going back to my earliest years. As for the wolf, it represents opposition to the sheep-like mentality of the masses; in particular, as it relates to the Judeo-Christian scum that inhabits much of the western world. It stands for the open eye in a sea of the blind; a mind capable of critical thinking, in a world where very few ever stop to think about anything or to question that which is going on around them.

AM: It's just the two of you. When did it all begin?

Noctir: Werewolf and I came into contact in early 2007, during the winter months. Nattsvargr has its roots in a previous band which was put to rest for some time and then later resurrected under a new name, but it took some time for the right pieces to fall into place and to get to the point where we are now.

AM: You're from Guilderland, New York. What makes your slice of the world special? What would I see in your hometown if I ever visit?

Noctir: Guilderland is a small town that is part of the greater Capital District, joined to Albany. There is nothing remarkable about this area, for the most part. It is a city in decay. If not for the abundance of old cemeteries and vast forests, I would have nothing positive to say at all about this place.

AM: You actually have four albums under your belts plus this new 'Vinterblod'. What makes your brand of raw, minimalist black metal stand apart from the rest?

Noctir: 'Vinterblod' is only the second full-length album for Nattsvargr and it marks a great improvement over the previous release in every conceivable manner. As for standing out, I can definitely say that there is a strong contrast between Nattsvargr and every other USBM band that I have been exposed to. Our music places the utmost value on the guitar riffs, giving the melodies room to breathe and to create the intended atmosphere. A lot of times, you find that American bands are unable to give up their death metal roots, as this is what many were into prior to making black metal. There is an emphasis on "brutality" and annoying break-downs that dominates the sound and leaves little or no room for the guitar melodies. In my eyes, many of them are merely death metal bands with stolen black metal aesthetics. Then, there is the other side of the coin; the infinite number of one-man depressive black metal projects that you find in the USBM scene. Suddenly, everyone believes that they are as brilliant as Varg Vikernes and that they will become the new Burzum. Actually, I hear more of a Strid influence in some of these, except with highly distorted vocals that possess no feeling. Nattsvargr is not drowning in digital effects. The sound is raw and stripped-down, as it should be. And, of course, there are bands of both styles that go to great lengths to prove how Satanic they are. For me, Satan is a symbolic figure, standing as the opposer of the Great Lie of Judeo-Christian mythology. This false religion is something that I have a strong hatred for!

By the same token, I could in no way attempt to strengthen its supposed validity by claiming to believe in the literal existence of a horned devil. I see many that believe the lie and think that this mythology is, in fact, history and reality; however, their stance is that they support the "villain" in the story. They waste countless hours studying occult texts that are often written by Jews, and expend energy in their studies as well as the way in which they live their lives. Anyone with even a rudimentary background in history and/or theology can, easily, see the natural evolution of the Judeo-Christian mythology, as it was formed by picking bits and pieces from the mythologies of surrounding people. In particular, this utter nonsense regarding the fictional character known as Jesus is beyond sickening. It is amazing that people are so mindless that, even in this day and age, this Jewish cult endures. Not only that, but people routinely choose to ignore facts and even common sense, because it contradicts their feeble beliefs.

AM: Can you break down your discography so far and point out the merits of each Nattsvargr release?

Noctir: 'Morbid Night of Melancholy' (2007) was the first step on the path that has brought us to where we are now. This demo was the first collaboration between Werewolf and myself, and is seen as the birth of the band as it is now known. These songs were then used for our first album. 'Winds of Transilvania' (2009) still maintains the variation that was found on the demo, and explores other facets of our sound. In many ways, it was like a journey to discover who we were as a band and to ascertain what worked and what didn't, within our own limitations. It has its positive points, but I feel that the greatest impact that it had was to leave me dissatisfied enough that I pushed Werewolf and myself to waste no time in working on a new album. I never felt that our first album reached its full potential, and it was very much a product of the chaotic time period in which it was recorded. With 'Vinterblod' (2010), we were very focused and worked closer together than on the previous album. I presented him my vision of what I wanted to achieve with this and we were on the same page, throughout the entire process. 'Vinterblod' is much more than a mere collection of songs. It is much more cohesive than its predecessor in sound and theme.

AM: How long did it take to write and compose the songs on 'Vinterblod'?

Noctir: The concept was born in late October. As we began to work, we were contacted to take part in a split album, so the first songs were finished by November. We took a break and then began writing songs again by the end of December. Final recording took place in February, and everything was finished by the first week of March.

AM: Can you trace your evolution as a song writer? How did you teach yourself to construct vocal melodies (at least vocal lines) and conceptual pieces?

Noctir: Musically, there are often times when a melody will arise within my mind, and I do what I can to bring it to life. In the case of one of the songs on the new album, I simply picked up my guitar and began playing and the song came together within a few minutes. Of course, my skills as a guitarist leave a lot to be desired, so I was fortunate that Werewolf was able to take my crude song and bring it out of the darkness and into the light, so to speak.

Vocally, I've always been more likely to simply go with what feels most natural. However, for 'Vinterblod', I began to put more thought into the placement of the vocals. There were several occasions where I purposely went against my first instinct, regarding timing; i.e. when to begin each line, whether or not to drag it out, etc. A few times, it seemed a bit awkward, but in the end it helped to add a dynamic that would not have existed, otherwise. I see the vocals as yet another instrument to accentuate the overall atmosphere of the song, so it was important to put a lot of thought into this.

AM: What is it like when the two of you are working on music together? Do you feel re-energized every time you nail a song?

Noctir: For the most part, we must work from a distance. This makes things more difficult, to a degree. Yet we work so well together that it posed no real problem at all, aside from the time it took to re-record a couple things, during the initial songwriting process. As I said, we came into this with a set goal in mind, so we both knew exactly what it would take to accomplish this.

As each song that was completed was another step toward the realization of our vision. Once one was finished, we would review it and make sure it was to our liking and then move on to the next.

AM: Honestly now, how would you rate your capabilities as a musician? How far does Nattsvargr have to go before every note you play feels like second nature?

Noctir: As I am answering this alone, I will have to say that I would rate Werewolf quite highly as a musician. He has written some brilliant riffs and has shown a remarkable capacity to take an idea that exists in words only and to make it a musical reality. If ever I feel something needs to be altered in any way, he makes the appropriate changes with ease.

AM: What recording software does Nattsvargr use?

Noctir: I know that the Cubase and Audacity programs were used, at different points. Really, this isn't something that were genuinely concerned with. We simply used whatever was most convenient.

AM: How about the weapons in your arsenal? I mean gear. Band gear.

Noctir: Again, we used whatever was available. While there was a general idea of what the album should sound like, we were confident enough in our abilities to achieve this that we could have gotten the same results with any brand of guitar/amp/etc.

AM: Now that the finished product is at hand, are you noticing details that you would like to change or is 'Vinterblod' the epitome of completion?

Noctir: As a perfectionist, I will never be 100% satisfied with anything that I create. However, with that said, 'Vinterblod' has lived up to and exceeded my expectations. Once the album was completed, I listened to it a few dozen times to see if it was truly ready to be unleashed upon the world and I can say with full confidence that this is a good representation of Nattsvargr.

AM: How can feeble mortals lay hands on your music? Where can they go to buy copies?

Noctir: Right now, we have released the album through our own small label, Nocturnal Abyss Records. I am in talks with several labels with regard to giving the album a more proper release and better distribution. A lot of time and energy was put into this album. From the music to the lyrics and even the images; everything was well thought-out and holds a deep significance. It is important, to me, to see to it that the album is made available to as many people as possible.

AM: Do you guys actually like cold weather?

Noctir: Absolutely. I have a very low tolerance for heat, to begin with. I've also had a deep appreciation for autumn and winter since childhood. Maybe it has something to do with being born during this time. There is a mystical feeling that is ever-present in the autumn months, as the season of dying takes hold. As for winter, I find it to be a very pure and calm time. Many get the "winter blues", but I feel just the opposite. As the bitter cold winds return, my mood improves and I become more motivated. It is no coincidence that 'Vinterblod' was created during the autumn and winter months.

AM: Listening to the new Orphaned Land makes me feel I'm eating in a Middle Eastern restaurant. What albums are totally grabbing you by the balls at the moment?

Noctir: Typically, I am listening to older releases, but it happens that a couple bands have resurrected their careers and thus gained my attention once more. Aside from previewing the Nattsvargr album, endlessly, I have been listening to the latest Gorgoroth release quite a bit, as well as the last Nifelheim. And, just today, I received the new Burzum album in the mail. I've anticipated this release for a decade, and it is definitely living up to my expectations.

AM: Are there moments when you contemplate the future of recorded music? Where is Nattsvargr headed in the next few years?

Noctir: I wonder how much of an impact illegal downloading will have on the music industry, over time. People like to compare it to home taping and attempt to justify it, as the younger generation was brought up in the internet age, where everything you desire is merely a few keystrokes away. They seem to possess a sense of entitlement. If the problem becomes too severe, smaller record labels disappear. Larger ones reduce the number of bands signed or CDs manufactured. Budgets become smaller, so tours become less frequent and merchandise disappears as there is more difficulty in gauging how much support a band has; therefore, there is no clear picture on whether or not they'll get back their investment. So, downloading an album may not be like directly taking money from an artist;s pocket, but it can have long-term effects that will lead to the same result.

In an ideal situation, Nattsvargr would get signed by a decent label and be in a position to tour in support of our albums, get better distribution as well and maybe even a larger recording budget. As I see it, we've only just begun to build up momentum.

AM: How much music do you feed your ears on a daily basis? Do you still bother catching live bands?

Noctir: Music plays a large role in my daily life. It always has. I spend a lot of time still digging up lost gems from the past. There are so many bands out there that you really must take an active role in seeking out what it is that you want. I pay little attention to newer bands, honestly, but I figure that if they are worth hearing I'll run across them in a few years.

I don't get out much, these days. The last gig I caught was Watain, in late 2008. Before that, it was Celtic Frost, in 2006. It seems I'm due to be dragged out at some point this year.

AM: Waking up early for my daily commute to class is a major drag for me. I'm not a morning type, you see. What's making your life suck at the moment?

Noctir: In short, about 6.5 billion parasites that are long overdue for extermination.

AM: We've reached the end. Is writing and releasing your own music without ever taking it to the outside world a form of masturbation?

Noctir: Sometimes, creativity can be the ultimate goal in itself. It is catharsis for some...

 

 

Interview with Nattsvargr (May 2010)
 
"Official Nattsvargr" by Anders
 
It is rare to run into musicians that truly believe in their art beyond a simple tribute to their influences. Nattsvargr rose from the remains of frontman Noctir's previous band, Nocturnal Abyss; itself, and extension of an earlier band called Mutilation. With musical roots going back to late 1996, Noctir has witnessed a lot of changes in the underground metal scene. While many Black Metallers go out of their way to say little to put up a shroud of misanthropy or to make themselves seem more interesting, Noctir has no problems speaking his mind when it comes to music. Now, with the release of Nattsvargr's second full-length album, the band members hope to increase their standing in the ever-growing underground and to make a statement.

What does "Vinterblod" represent to you?

Noctir: This album is the culmination of what Werewolf and I have been working toward, for the last few years. "Vinterblod" represents the pure essence of Nattsvargr, and it marks the beginning of a new chapter for the band. Early on, I was still attempting to keep some of the elements of my previous band in the mix, and this proved to be a detriment. In a sense, we were working against ourselves.

I actually enjoyed the early stuff a lot. The demo tapes showed a lot of promise. I've heard that the first album didn't turn out as planned. Care to explain?

Noctir: "Winds of Transilvania" was the product of a chaotic time. This album seemed cursed, early on. It was supposed to be recorded much earlier. Basically, around the time that you and the few others received the "Fimbulvetr" tape, this was when we originally expected to be releasing our first album. There was a lot going on, and then some serious problems for myself. The album was finally recorded by the end of 2008 and I was unable to have any part in producing or mixing. A couple songs went unfinished, as well, and my overall opinion of the album is low. As far as I am concerned, the demo versions were far superior.

So you weren't happy with it at all. Did this have an effect on the following album?

Noctir: Absolutely. The best thing that came from this abomination was the motivation to regroup and focus on one specific goal. The concept and direction of "Vinterblod" was discussed in advance and we were on the same page from day one. It took a little longer than hoped but, in the end, we met and exceeded our expectations.

So with this album, we get the best representation of the band and what is to come?

Noctir: In all honesty, I wish that I had not lost my focus, years earlier. I take all of the blame for the way the previous album turned out, in a sense. I may not have mixed it, but I lost focus when discussing what I wanted, during the first year after Werewolf came aboard. He is very skilled, but I had him all over the place with various suggestions and so on. It was also my fault that the recording of the first album was delayed for so long, and then rushed in the end. We recently had some small label in either Portugal or Spain (I forget which) that wanted to re-release it, but I couldn't approve of this without re-mixing the album, at least. I then discovered that the original recordings were lost, so this idea had to be dropped. Perhaps, down the line, we'll re-record it. However, this is unlikely, as it seems more important to move forward and correct these past mistakes by remaining focused on the task at hand and following the path that we are currently on. The cold and minimalist atmosphere of "Vinterblod" is exactly as it is meant to be and we will continue with this style from now on.

I like the overall minimalism of the album, from the music to the artwork. You told me that even the cover was very important to you. In what way is this so and how do you feel about bands that put little effort into the presentation of their albums?

Noctir: Well, what other bands do is of little concern to me, unless it happens to be a band that I follow, myself. Of course, I think it is much more appropriate when the artwork and lyrics are in tune with the music and everything comes together in creating the desired atmosphere. For "Vinterblod", I took a very personal approach to this. I designed everything, myself. The cover photo was taken outside my home, a few years ago, and the photo inside was taken in a cemetery nearby, some months before that. All of the lyrics were written during the same period as when the photos were taken. There is a deeper meaning to all of this that I am unable to discuss, but it is somehow a tribute to an existence that is now forever gone. It was very significant for me to ensure that the atmosphere conveyed by the music was also reflected in the imagery and lyrics as well. Perhaps, in a way, this was done in reverse as I already had a good idea of which lyrics were to be used and what photos would be involved. In the end, I consider "Vinterblod" to be a success. Now, the next step is to ensure that it is available to all who wish to listen to it.

You didn't include lyrics on this or any past releases. Is there a reason for this?

Noctir: I have always debated on whether or not to publish the lyrics. I am not ashamed of them, as many artists seem to be. The lyrics are, actually, very important and a lot of energy went into writing them. As I said, there is a greater significance attached to the lyrics and the time period during which they were written than one might expect. For one reason or another, I always hesitate to share them. If you listen closely, most can be deciphered anyway. Perhaps, we will include them if the album is reissued.

Are there any plans for the album to see a wider release?

Noctir: This is what we hope. Too much energy, time and effort was put into this for it to fade into obscurity. Personally, I'm not seeking any profit out of this. I would be glad to just find the right label to give it a proper release, and to not see penny. There has been a good deal of support, especially from Europe, yet the lack of distribution is hindering our efforts. I have been in contact with a few people, so we'll see how this turns out.

Do you think "Vinterblod" will be the catalyst to see the band signed to a recording contract?

Noctir: At the moment, this is not a concern. Naturally, it would be good to get signed and have some amount of support, in order to make more albums, tour and so on. However, the immediate goal is to try to spread this album as far as possible. It has nothing to do with trying to make a name for ourselves or profit, somehow. It's purely about the music. The essence of this album is very genuine and we are confident in what we have accomplished. However, if only a handful of people are able to hear it, then we failed to do justice to our own creation.

What's next after this? You sound very content with what you've done. Are you worried that things will slow down now that you don't have the desire to prove yourselves, like after "Winds of Transilvania"?

Noctir: Actually, I am never 100% satisfied with anything that I do, so this will be enough to urge me forward and to motivate further recordings. I think, to a large extent, this album came to life through my sheer will to see it done. I'm sure that Werewolf would appreciate a break, and he deserves this of course. If I could, I would begin working on the follow-up very soon, but I seem to be keeping busy with some other projects, so it may be next year before we come together again to record an album. Now that we have really found our place, I expect the process to be more smooth and the ultimate outcome to be another step forward. I've already got a couple songs written for the next album. With that being said, if I die tomorrow, I could pass away with a certain level of satisfaction with what we have done.

What separates Nattsvargr from its predecessor, Nocturnal Abyss? And do you see this as a direct continuation of that band or even Mutilation?

Noctir: I think, early on, I viewed it as such. I wanted this band to pick up from where the last one left off. It was this error that created some of the confusion, early in the songwriting process. Today, I see them as two separate entities. Nocturnal Abyss began as a continuation of the direction that Mutilation was heading, at the end of that band. We played live and spent a significant amount of time rehearsing together. Overall, the feeling was very different. Eventually, with the personal problems of one member and the general laziness of the other, I found myself alone. It was a pitiful end for the project, as I finally finished it up solo, with a horrible demo of underdeveloped ideas before calling it quits. Going from weekly rehearsals and live gigs to recording in a friend's basement studio, it was discouraging. At that point, it was only the same project in name only, anyway, as even the style was shifting, due to the influence of a couple other members that came and went, and my own musical limitations.

All in all, Nattsvargr is something that I take much more seriously. It means a lot more to me, and the time period during which things really came together is one that I regard very highly. Of course, the entire atmosphere surrounding this couldn't be more different. We have never played live, either, though this is something that I would like to change, down the line.

So how would you compare today's scene to the one that existed when you first started making music?

Noctir: What a vague question... To limit this to Black Metal, I think that the musical climate in the mid-to-late 90s was the beginning of something unpleasant. Too many terrible bands were jumping on the bandwagon; even worse, this was at a time when many of the "old guard" Second Wave bands were expanding their borders and diluting the essence of what Black Metal is and should always stand for. There was nothing evil or dangerous about injecting all of this goth mentality of 'beauty' and 'romance' within the confines of Black Metal. The one good thing that came from this was that many bands came into existence to rebel against this mentality and to revive/preserve the old sound, whether it be the early 90s Second Wave sound or that of the First Wave. The last decade wasn't very good for music, in my opinion, with few exceptions. In a way, it would appear that many bands have tried to go back to their roots a little more, after getting this experimental nonsense out of their systems. But, in the end, I think there are too many bands these days. Not every fan needs to make their own music. All too often, people just want to emulate those that they admire and have no real feeling of their own to convey. I'm not saying that everyone must do something completely unique. There exists a certain framework within Black Metal and, while it may not have reached the end of its evolution, most would do well to not stray beyond these limits unless they possess a higher understanding of the meaning behind it all. That said, you can make something that is totally safe and accepted, but if it's soulless, empty and bereft of any sincerity, then it's pointless. I think that a lot of the newer bands are watered-down, at their very core, because they are only looking to the most recent generation of bands for inspiration. The old bands were tapping into something darker and more primal. Then came the next wave that took what the older ones had done and added something else, but more often the original source was forgotten. Then, in the last decade, the beginnings have been all but forgotten.

What bands, if any, do you find yourself supporting currently?

Noctir: There aren't a whole lot, but a few. Watain comes to mind, immediately. This one is particularly satisfying as I have been supporting them through my radio show and other ways, for nearly a decade now. This was years before most people in the states had heard of them, of course. I have been pleased to see how they have grown. Usually, if I do find an active band that I like, they split up or dwell in obscurity. Nifelheim is another band that I like. They take quite a long time between releases, but they keep the old spirit alive very well. As well, my friend in Infernal recently released a new E.P. and is working on a full-length, so I expect something truly impressive to come from him soon.

All Swedish bands I notice. You don't have a lot of contact with others in the USBM scene?

Noctir: Eh, I don't care for any of this shit, truly. I never should have come back to these damned shores. We have nothing in common with anyone in the American Black Metal scene and I can't think of a single band that doesn't make me want to vomit. Maybe there are a few good bands, out there, but I don't bother to explore. I prefer to spend my time digging up forgotten gems. But out of all the modern Black Metal that I've heard coming from the US, it's not for me.

I know you are involved in some other projects as well. Do you care to comment on any of those?

Noctir: Hm, not so much. Travel problems are hindering things with Blackmoon, though we got through recording well enough. The others are eager to play live again, so either I'll return to Sweden or step aside and let them go on their own. As for Bloodfrost, it has more of a link to Nattsvargr, as I used it as a testing ground for a couple songs that would end up being used for "Vinterblod". Werewolf was taking a break, dealing with some other matters, so I kept the creative energy flowing by working with the Bloodfrost project. Since then, it's taken on a life of its own. We had to unload some useless baggage recently, in the form of an unmotivated ex-member, but we're working on an E.P. at the moment. Beyond this, I may take a break of my own, soon.

You know how to keep busy. I was reading your webzine the other night. I don't think I'll ever get through everything!

Noctir: Indeed. I think I've slowed down a lot, since this past autumn, as most of my attention has been on creating music. Also, resurrecting my radio program after a one-year hiatus, time seems to slip away. When all is said and done, I prefer to look back and see some evidence that I've used my time wisely. I'm much more satisfied to have something to show at the end of the day, like a new song or an album review or lyrics. Of course, it's meaningless in a way. Once I'm dead, it will all be forgotten. If not soon, then after a short amount of time, surely. We're all just passing through. In the grand scheme of things, the entire history of humans is insignificant. At the rate things are breaking down, there may be no one to remember our deeds even a century from now. The sooner the better.

That is all I have. Any final words?

Noctir: ...
 
 
 
 

Interview with Nattsvargr (2009)
 
"Metal Revolution" by Zana
 
Nattsvargr hails all the way from USA. 3 demos released so far and a special surprise coming up soon! I talked with Noctir that told everything you would want to know about Nattsvargr and if anyone has a question that is not brought up in this interview then check out their website. Thanks again to Noctir for his kind answers and friendship. Read more below!

MR: Hail Noctir! Lets start with the fact you formed a band back in 1999. Can you tell us more about that?

I was already in a Thrash/Death Metal band, called Mutilation, before this, playing something that was a mix of Hell Awaits and Scream Bloody Gore. By early 99, it pretty much died out. When I met up with the original guitarist, I had more input regarding the sound, which took a darker turn, while still being rooted in the 80s bands. We were disgusted with most of the music being released around that time, as all the old bands had deteriorated and the newer ones were mostly worthless. So, we decided that we would carry on this old spirit, ourselves. I happened to be listening to a lot of Venom, Slayer, Possessed, Hellhammer, etc. and this was evident in the music.

MR: Have you played black metal from the very start? What made you choose this genre after all?

As for this band, yes, it has been Black Metal from the very start. This music was the most natural for me to relate to, so it was only fitting to create it myself. If you look at Death Metal, for example, it has long since lost touch with its roots. Black Metal still carries this tradition forward into the unknown.

MR: How did you came across with the name Nocturnal Abyss and what made you change it to Nattsvargr later?

Naming the band Nocturnal Abyss was a very personal thing. My entire life, I have been obsessed with the night. This was something shared by all of the members in the band, at that time. As for the Abyss... only those who have suffered at the fathomless depths truly understand. The name was, ultimately changed, due to the band not really making itself known. This has been a cursed endeavour, surely. During a period of inactivity, some feeble internet band took this name for their own. Rather than waste time on such an unimportant matter, I simply chose something different.

MR: Has your goals changed in the years of creating? what is Nattsvargr's goal anyway?

Band members have come and gone, but the focus is still the same. We are drawn to the dark side of life so it is natural to play dark music. There is no special goal, other than creating something that carries the traditions of the music that we have felt so connected to for so long. We have no interest in playing some brutal, meaningless style. The dark melodies are what add dimension to the music. This is simply what is within us, waiting to be unleashed.

MR: How about releases? What have you released so far?

So far, due to financial problems and an unstable line-up, the releases have been rare. After the At One With Evil E.P. we expected a full-length album to follow it. We got half-way through the Rites of the Black Moon album, before losing our guitarist and abandoning the project. A few years later, I recorded a demo in solitude and then laid the band to rest a short time later. The Morbid Night of Melancholy demo was the result of resurrecting the band and joining with Werewolf, the current guitarist. This was in the diabolical summer of 2007. After that, we took about a year to write an album, but it was finally recorded recently and is soon to be released. We don't have a label, so we will have to do everything ourselves.

MR: Where can a metal head get these releases and for what kind of metal heads would you recommend your music ?

These recordings are mostly available in some sort of bootlegged format, since we never made enough copies. Most copies of the last demo were sent to ungrateful labels across Europe, as well as the many people that wrote to request them. I almost forgot to keep one for myself. With the new album, we will make sure that it is available to anyone that is interested. That would probably include anyone that appreciates bands including Bathory, Hellhammer, Morbid, Tormentor, Mayhem, Darkthrone, Burzum, etc.

MR: And future releases? Anything planned already?

As I mentioned, the Nattsvargr full-length will finally be released in the very near future. Everything is recorded, the cover has been designed. Once the final touches are finished, it will descend from the blackened sky.We have re-recorded the songs from the demo, since we weren't entirely satisfied with how that came out. The new songs are definitely in the same vein, while also showing a little more of the 80s influences. The mournful feeling is still present, when necessary, but the mood is one of pure, morbid evil. Imagine a dead corpse rising from the damp, cold earth and stalking the foggy night in search of human blood or others to infect with the cursed Black Death. Ravens circle overhead as rats follow behind him. Worms fall from his eye sockets and the mud from his stinking grave does leave a trail behind him, along with the stench of death.In his black heart he feels hatred for the living and worships only death and chaos. This is what we wish to convey with this music.

MR: What about concert? Have you played any so far?

This line-up has not been on a stage. I've not performed live with this band in nearly a decade. Without a full and stable band, it has been nearly impossible. Live shows are not very appealing to me, but I understand that it is a necessity. Time shall tell...

MR: How about video clips? can we ever expect any?

I have not really considered this. We would need a label to cover the cost of such a thing. It could be interesting, if done right.

MR: What about lyrics? What is the lyrical theme? who writes them?

I have always written the lyrics for every band that I have been in. There is no central theme, other than conveying darkness by creating vivid mental imagery. The lyrics express hatred for all life and cosmic existence, at the core. There are some that tell depressive stories or glorify the frozen lands of the north as well as a very strong anti-Christian sentiment. The lyrics are simply a reflection of the dark thoughts, coursing through my brain at any given moment. I get inspired by the dark side of life. Some of the lyrics for the next record were written in Romania. I was walking through the forest, near Bran Castle, and was obsessed by the full moon and the lyrics just came to me like evil voices from the darkened shadows.

MR: And melodies? Do you compose them as a team or do you have someone in charge of that?

In the past, things were more organic, so to speak. My primary duties are as lyricist and vocalist, but I have always contributed as much as possible to the songwriting. For this last demo and album, it was different as Werewolf and I live several hours apart. I give some thoughts on what I wish to hear and he sends me riffs or rough versions of songs. I have had more to do with arranging the songs than writing the melodies. Werewolf is responsible for that. With such a distance, there's not much more to do other than suggest that a riff be sped up or slowed down, or eliminated altogether. It has been an interesting process.

MR: And how far do you want to go with Nattsvargr? Any special plans or just going with the flow?

It would be nice to be signed and to be able to record in a proper studio and get decent distribution. My mind is bursting with musical ideas and I only need the opportunity to let them flow freely, like blood from a gaping wound. Unfortunately, after all these years, we have barely begun to scratch the surface. I look at a band, such as Watain, that began around the same time and I think that it would be pleasing to be in a similar position, at some point. But, beyond all of that, I see my time in this realm as limited and I wish to, perhaps, leave something behind worth remembering. A legacy of some sort. But if I leave nothing but a rotting corpse, then so be it.

MR: Is there anything you want your fans to be careful about or pay extra attention to?

I think poverty will prevent this, but maybe some label will take notice of the new album and give us a chance. But most are only interested in signing shit bands, these days, so there is no way to know for sure if this will ever happen. We are not following any of the current trends or gimmicks being used by many others, currently, so maybe we are not so interesting.

MR: Any last advice or words of hate for people are yours.

The new album is soon to rise from its morbid grave, so keep an eye out for that. I must now be getting back to my coffin...

MR: Thank you for this interview.
 
 
 

Interview with Nocturnal Abyss (2000)

"Unholy War 'Zine"

With the explosion of black metal in recent years, it's hard to tell who is who. There are some that are attracted by the mystique of it all and others that just like the imagery. Then, there are those that exist for something more. They hunger to create something black and evil. Nocturnal Abyss hearkens back to the simplistic, raw essence of black metal. This is stripped-down and nasty. There are few USBM acts in the underground with the vision that these possess.

First, let's introduce the members and what they do.

Magnus: Noctir handles vocals and all lyrics. Sin plays the guitar and is responsible for writing most of the music and I take care of the drumming duties.

Your demo, "At One With Evil", this was a very rare thing for me to hear. Not a lot of bands have a sound that is so rooted in the past, especially bands in the US.

Magnus: Well, it is our goal to make really primitive music. It's a fist in the face of these gutless, keyboard bands. We wanted something dark and raw, so we made it ourselves. But, make no mistake, this is no retro act. This is simply what we feel black metal should sound like.

Noctir: Far too often, a few guys get together, after hearing their first DARKTHRONE album, and decide they are going to form a band. They have no real understanding of what it is all about. They are simpleminded and seek only to imitate what they've heard. There's a difference between strict imitation and knowing the roots of evil music. Black Metal is not something that should be filled with experimentation. There's a certain framework that one should not go beyond. There's a foundation that should never be forgotten.

And most bands skip this foundation?

Magnus: Completely.

So, you had a few line-up problems for a while, yes?

Magnus: Yes. Sin took off last fall, and we put things on hold for a while, waiting to see if he was coming back.

During this time, had you managed to accomplish anything, at all?

Noctir: I was able to spend a lot of time writing for the upcoming album. I'm not like other people; I can't get drunk and write an album or something. I have to be somewhere that inspires me, such as a cemetery. I need peace and quiet.

Magnus: Musically, we came up with a few things but didn't pursue it, alone. We wanted to wait and to be sure if we were going to have to continue without Sin. Thankfully, we did not have to.

And now you have material for a full-length prepared?

Noctir: Yes. The album will be titled "Rites of the Black Moon" and we plan to enter the studio in November to record.

This will be similar to the demo?

Noctir: More or less. All the same elements will be present. You'll definitely hear the 80s black metal influence but we like to think that we're bringing something else to the table as well. It is one thing to make music in tribute, but it's pointless unless you add something to it. Doesn't matter how large or small, but there must be some added character.

Magnus: If the demo was like burning in the flames of Hell, this will be like entering the mouth of Satan, himself! Total fucking darkness!

Have you been signed to a label yet? Who is going to release the album? Do you intend on making more copies of the demo as well?

Noctir: No, we've not signed with anyone. We plan to record and distribute the album on our own. Things can change but, at the moment, this is the plan.

Magnus: As for the demo, we've run out at the present time. There's no real need to make more since we're going to be recording an album soon. All the same songs will be present, plus several more. Maybe, we'll make tape recordings for friends or something, but there's no plan to get more officially done.

What do you think of the commercialization of black metal? In particular, as a newer band just getting in to this, how do you propose to differentiate between your band and the countless others in the scene right now?

Magnus: People have ears, yes? That is all that will be necessary to tell the difference between our stuff and someone else. There's a lot of awful shit out there, but that makes it all the more worthwhile once you find something good, after sifting through all the trash first. Then again, it can also make people tired of caring before they find anything worthy.

Noctir: I'm not sure that it really concerns me. I mean, most of the stuff being sold isn't even real Black Metal, so I hardly see the relevance. The problem is the marketing of these bands that keeps identifying them with something that they're not, in order to sell records. Despite all this, good music will find a way to be heard. As Magnus said, there's a lot more shit out there today, but people will appreciate it more when they do find quality material.

Who do you think is putting out quality albums in the current scene?

Magnus: Hell, that's a hard question to answer. Most good bands have turned into a joke.

Noctir: I like the new NIFELHEIM album. I'm looking forward to getting the WATAIN album as well. Otherwise, I'm pretty oblivious to anything good coming out lately.

So, what got you into this music?

Noctir: I grew up with 80s music. Hard rock and metal were there from the start. As for Black Metal, I heard VENOM and HELLHAMMER first, I guess. I actually came late for all the Norwegian stuff. I didn't hear any of that until like 96. DARKTHRONE was one of the first ones I heard. Then there was MAYHEM and BURZUM.

Magnus: You hear a lot of posers talking about how they were 'waiting at the record store' the day that "A Blaze in the Northern Sky" came out and stupid shit like this. I can't fucking stand these idiotic lies. 99% of these people were probably listening to pop music or something. It's really bad because you know, especially in the states, that this was an impossible thing, practically. Not to mention these people are usually too young to have cared. But, of course, stupid pre-teens in the US were so aware of the Norwegian scene at its inception, you know? They'll say anything to try and be accepted as cool. As for me, I first got into black metal through VENOM, EMPEROR and DISSECTION.

What do you think of some of these bands now? Take DARKTHRONE, for example.

Noctir: I think the newest one is pretty boring. There's, maybe, two good riffs on there. "Total Death" had its problems, but I think most of it was in the mixing. When I listen to it in my car, and adjust the treble all the way up, it sounds pretty good. It's still lacking, but it has two or three songs that I like.

Magnus: I'm much more interested in hearing new material from DISSECTION, once Jon is out of jail.

Indeed. How important are live shows for you?

Noctir: Not at all. I wouldn't hate it so much, but the music scene in this country is a joke. Most crowds just want something filled with groove and breakdowns and all this mosh-oriented stuff so that they can jump around like some sort of jungle apes. I don't feel that this atmosphere is appropriate for this kind of music.

Magnus: I hate setting up and tearing down. I like playing, and that's all. In the end, I'm glad for doing it but I don't like everything that goes along with it. I'd rather just be able to listen to what we've done than to be doing it.

Well, that's about all I have. I wish you good luck with the recording. I can't wait to hear the album. Is there anything you'd like to add?

Noctir: The "Rites of the Black Moon" will soon be upon us…
 
 
 

Interview with Nocturnal Abyss (1999)
 
"Infected 'Zine"

We caught Nocturnal Abyss playing live and we were in awe. We had a set of our own to get ready for but we watched what we could. After the show, I made haste to the merch table to snag a copy of their demo and on that night I had finally found a modern black metal band that I actually liked. Here's a brief interview with two of the founding members.

The "At One With Evil" demo is one of the darkest things I've heard in a long time. I've heard a lot of posers trying so hard to get a sound like this, with no luck at all. What was your inspiration?

Noctir: The early albums of Slayer, Possessed, Bathory, Hellhammer/Celtic Frost, Kreator and Sodom are our main inspiration. The feeling from the old Mercyful Fate and Venom albums as well I would say.

How did the band start?

Noctir: I met Sin, through a mutual acquaintance and we discussed our love for old metal. In particular, we both had an appreciation for the darker bands from the 80s, such as the ones mentioned earlier. There didn't seem to be a lot of bands making this kind of music, so we chose to make it ourselves.

That kind of gets to my next question; who are your influences?

Noctir: Well, the aforementioned bands along with Tormentor, Grotesque, old Mayhem, Darkthrone, Sarcofago and anything else with that same feeling.

Magnus: The first Samael has a special place in my collection. "Into the Pentagram" is a classic!

I think that's why I like you guys so much. To be honest, I can't stand most black metal. It's probably the biggest trend going these days. How do you feel about this?

Noctir: Well, of course, Black Metal is not as it once was. A lot of bands are cashing in on the imagery and concepts without knowing or caring about what it all means. A lot of these people play music without knowing where it comes from. They don't have any knowledge of the ancient ones that came before.

Magnus: They stick some naked chick on the cover and slap on a little paint, if that much, and think it's a true BM record. This shit is getting ridiculous. All these pretty female vocals and keyboards are dominating everything and it's sickening. We want to remind people that this is about unleashing HELL!

That's what I felt when I listened to your demo. It's very raw and really far from the cheese that gets labeled black metal. So, what happened to your guitarist?

Magnus: We don't know, exactly. He left, abruptly, right after the demo was recorded, after a few gigs.

Yeah, you guys blew me away at 328! So, will you be continuing as a three-piece?

Noctir: Actually, the other guitarist you saw was just for live shows. Right now, there are only two of us. We are waiting to see if Sin turns up in the near future. If not, then we'll begin searching for a replacement. He wrote most of the music, with some help from me, so I don't want to bring in someone new unless I have to. This will, inevitably, lead to a shift in the sound in some way or another.

So, Noctir, I noticed you wore corpsepaint on stage. Do you feel this is necessary or that it might be typical to do so?

Noctir: There are those that think anything they do will be real Black Metal if they are wearing corpsepaint. Of course, this is not true. The imagery is but a part of the whole. I would not wear it if it didn't feel right. The atmosphere is right for it and that is all that matters.

Magnus: There's no need to let some fucking posers ruin something if it still has meaning for some, you know?

So, what bands do you support?

Magnus: That's hard to answer. If you look at Black and Death Metal right now there's not much to like about it. MAYHEM, DARKTHRONE, EMPEROR and IMMORTAL, for example, have all changed far too much. This is part of why we made this band. No one is making the music we want to hear anymore. No one is invoking the ancient demons.

Noctir: DISSECTION comes to mind, but Jon is in jail so I don't know the status of that band. Really, there's not much going on that's worth talking about these days. I like NIFELHEIM and OFERMOD, from Sweden. I like what I've heard from WATAIN as well. Most of the bands I like are now making sub-par albums or have long since broken up.

Not big fans of the current death metal scene?

Magnus: Death Metal has changed too much. Just like everything else, I prefer my music older. This new stuff doesn't have the same feeling. They make sounds but not music. There's no feeling; it's just a bunch of "tough guys" trying to show off who can make the heaviest, most brutal riff. And this technical shit is really killing me. There's no feeling at all.

Well, that's about all I have for right now. Keep up the good work and feel free to have the last word.

Magnus: The "At One With Evil" demo is still available, though copies are limited. We hope to get to work on something else as soon as we can.

Noctir: Thanks for the support! I must get back to my coffin now, beneath the frozen earth...