NEKROMANTHEON – Our mission is to have no mission
To celebrate the release of "Rise, Vulcan Spectre," Eternal Terror’s Peter Loftus caught up with bassist Sindre Solem.
For those who don’t know – who are Nekromantheon and what is your mission?
Hi dude. Nekromantheon are Christian Kick Holm on skin-whippin’ and lyrical madness, Arild Arse Torp on guitar, ripping solos and throat, and me, Sindre Solem on the lower frequencies plus additional screams. Live we are joined by Olav Bestial Tormentor Knutsen from the migthy Infernö and Lamented Souls on additional guitar. Our mission is to have no mission. And to thrash hard, fast, serious and splendourus. Hail the coven of the Minotaur.
Tell us about the new album. It seems to be pretty well received so far and in my humble opinion is definitely one of the best modern takes on thrash that we’ve heard.
Thank you for your kind words. The album is called "Rise, Vulcan Spectre". Not much to tell, it’s a fast and dark thrash metal album. We wrote it and recorded it ourselves at Kolbotn, Norway in our own studio, KickArse, so we have as much control as possible over the whole process. That’s the only way we can achieve a production and sound that fits us and the music (almost) perfectly.
What was the concept behind the lyrics?
The lyrics have their root in Greek mythology, glorifying the villan, the rebels and beasts in the mythological stories, but we often place an underlying theme or story within the lyrics, that reflects our opinion about life, music and sound, the metal scene, religion and other sordid things. The title track "RISE, VULCAN SPECTRE" is a comand, or an invocation, which means TO US that the spirit of old, great metal shall rise again. Vulcan, or Hephaestus as the greeks called him, was the ancient God of blacksmiths, sculptures, fire and vulcanoes, and he was cast down from the heavens to the void by Hera. To us, on this album, he represents the old burning flame that made thrash and extreme metal special back in the glory days. May his spirit live on.
How does the song-writing work within the band? Do you have a very specific idea of what you want to do or is there an organic element, where you just let things happen?
It works both ways, there are no rules telling us how to make music. It usually starts with someone having a few riffs or parts (usually Arild), and we work with them and sometimes just jam to get the song in place. Other times someone can have a whole song written, and we arrange it and make it work at the rehersal room. Everybody contributes in their own way to make the final product sound as good as possible, but there should be no secret that Arild (Vocals, all guitars) does most of the heavy lifting, musically.
What are your feelings on the modern bands playing thrash in the last decade?
Too many have the wrong idea, motivation and attitude to play and produce this type of music in our day and age. This is my humble opinion, and mine alone. Too many try to place the genre in a "modern prespective" with fancy state of the art production, and try to make it "new and relevant in the modern day society", yet they forget what it was all about, the speed, the anger, the intensity, the hate and a rebellious attitude TOWARDS the fucking society and everyone in it. Personaly I get sick and angry when listening to bands like Bonded by Blood etc. with their plastic production and lyrics about comic books. To quote Sadomancer from Deathhammer: "I like my thrash to be about violence and destruction, not Turtles and toxic baseball hats". But there is a very strong underground who sets the record straight, like DEATHHAMMER, ANTICHRIST, BLACK MAGIC, NOCTURNAL, VOMITOR, INCULTER, GRAVE DESECRATOR, CONDOR, OMEGA, KARNAX, WITCHGRAVE, BUNKER 66 etc. to name a few.
It seems to me that many of the modern thrash bands are more interested in recycling what came before rather than concentrating on the music and finding an individual voice…
Meh… Only the boring bands recycle, and that gets as boring as watching paint dry after two spins on the turntable. To me, the really good new bands are raw and old school sounding, but they use their inspiration sources as a starting point and evolve (or regress) in a way never done before. Can you really tell me that there are albums from the 80’s that sound exactly like Deathhammer’s "ONWARD TO THE PITS"? Even though they are not original, you have never heard those riffs, those insane vocals or that production before. The feeling is original, and the feeling is everything.
There’s lots of great musicianship in the field, and bands can achieve so much more in the studio than they may have been able to do in the late 80’s, but do you think the latest generation can ever really play thrash, or is this something that is only possible for those who lived through the thrash years?
It dosen’t matter how old or young you are as long as you have the attitude, the right motivation, the spirit and a vision on how you and your band shall sound. You are more of a die hard than most thrashers during the 80’s if you are able to set limitations for yourself, and don’t get distracted with all the technical help you can get in the studio. If you want an album to sound raw, hard and impulsive, record the fucking thing fast, intense and with equiptment that sound raw and dirty. Use your ears, not the computer. The vision is everything, and the insanity and energy of true thrash, and metal in general, are timeless.
What has been your favourite gig of the last year (either as punters or artists)?
Hard question, I’ve seen many cool shows and played a few cool ones with Nekromantheon. Our gig in Trondheim with Aura Noir and One Tail, One Head was awesome, the entire Norwegian tour with Aura Noir was great.
The coolest I’ve seen must have been Urfaust, Virus(nor), and Hexvessel at Roadburn, Autopsy in Oslo, Degial in Stockholm, Morbus Chron and Condor in Oslo, among many more..
Looking forward to NIDAROSIAN BLACK MASS in Brussels in February.
(Me too – heh heh.)
If you could tour with anyone in 2012, who would you choose? Do you prefer playing festivals or club gigs?
Aura Noir again, In Solitude, Antichrist, One Tail, One Head or Voivod would have been supreme. I guess the atmosphere always gets cooler at club gigs, I like the intensity and intimacy at club show the best, and the sound is often best indoors. But festivals have their charm as well, as it’s often more laid back etc, but the consept of NEKROMANTHEON works best at a small, dark, packed club venue.
Last I heard, The Elm Street Cafe in Oslo had closed – has anywhere new came up to replace it?
Not really. Not that serves as cool hang out and also a good club venue. We have Unholy as the main metal hangout, but that place does not work as a venue at all if you ask me, even though they’ve had a few killer shows there, like Execration and the Grave Desecrator show. But it’s too small, the sound usually sucks and they rarely do gigs there… Revolver is also good, and they have more and more metal gigs there, FUCKIN’ Sabbat (JAP) are playing there in November, but that place can be a bit "too hip" for my taste also, especially during the weekends..
But quite frankly, going out when there’s no show/consert going on bores me more and more, I’d rather be hanging out home or at some friends place with good friends, my bandmates and other interesting people, listening to music, drinking good beverages, eating good food etc without the distractions and the ignorant, idiotic pressence of the common man, metal fan or not.
Any band recommendations for the readers?
See the list above regarding new thrash bands, other bands I’m currently into are Venenum, Dødsengel, Vemod, Nettlecarrier, ORCUSTUS (always Orcustus, their first album just got out on Vinyl through world terror committee), Herder, Dead Loard, Invidious, Degial, Maim, Morbus Chron, Gouge, Occultation, Funereal Presence, Problems, Natur, Mare, Beastmilk….The list goes on forever.
What next for Nekromantheon?
Not sure, still got some gigs throughout the summer, then we are trying to get some European dates booked between the Death Doomed the Age festival and Incubate festival in September. If anybody in Europe wants to book us or play with us, please let me know! Other than this we are gonna play more live if the right opportunities rises. Arild and I also play in Obliteration, and we are trying to finish that album now also. After that one is finished, more Nekromantheon material will be written.