With three vinyls out and a fourth on its way we wanted to dig a little bit deeper into this relatively new atmospheric black metal entity, from the land of thousand lakes. Please allow us to present Aethyrick – atmospheric black metal from Finland.
1. The background
What first got you into this genre, and what drives you to create the music you do?
“The answer to both is the fact that black metal manages to awaken sensations and emotions in me in the way that no other genre can. In my early adoloscence I first discovered death metal and groups such as Deicide served to push me in the right direction, but when I heard Cradle of Filth’s debut for the first time, my fate was sealed. Very soon after this Marduk, Emperor, Mayhem and all those classic giants followed and deepened this connection. As cheesy as it sounds, it all changed my life. It swung open the gates to a realm that I had been circling around since my childhood and that instantly became my spiritual home. In a way what I’ve done ever since is about re-living and perpetuating that initial encounter and the effect it had on me on various levels, but it is clear that the spiritual dimension to all this has just been expanding since those teenage years. And here we are, after 25 years, still pacing around in that holy labyrinth without any need to find a way out.”
So does that mean that we can thank Glen Benton of Deicide a little, and maybe their selftitled debut album, for your existence? The starting point for a chain of events to follow…
“Glen Benton and the first two Deicide albums certainly gave a considerable push, but the initial momentum can be credited to Marko Palmén from Evocation for making me aware of death metal in the first place. A bit surprising maybe, but the thing is that our fathers have been friends since childhood and so we visited their family in Sweden quite often when I was a kid. Evocation had just released their debut demo so Marko gave me a copy and expanded my musical horizons quite a bit, hah. I wasn’t entirely sold from the get-go but the thing slowly grew on me and became an access point into this kind of extreme music.”
2. The present
That’s certainly an intriguing childhood story. Let’ s move on from history and musical forebears for now… So, please describe your creative process.
“Not very glamorous or mystical, I can tell you that. When inspiration strikes, it strikes without warning. We don’t invoke it, we don’t bribe or force it, we just obey it when it raises its head from the abyss. Of course the events and forces that kick us forward in this respect are manifold and even obscure to us, but the actual process is not that out of the ordinary. We just sit down and work on new stuff when time, mood and circumstances permit and then proceed to hone things further together until we reach the end result we both can agree upon and which still maintains the original spark that gave rise to it in the first place. We practically never work face to face so it’s down to sending ideas and files back and forth. But I don’t mind this as we do things almost in real-time. It would be another thing if we needed to kick each other frequently to get things forward.”
Sounds like the process is working. A generic question, but what are your opinions about black metal anno 2020?
“A lot of utter shit or too neutral stuff out there, that’s for sure, but I’m not one of those who label it all unworthy of any attention. Quite the opposite actually as I tend to keep both my mind and eyes open in case there’s a new release that might sweep me off my feet. Of course that’s a rare thing to occur and most of the albums released these days just pass me by, but there have been many exceptions to this too and this is what keeps me optimistic about this genre’s future as well.”
Are there any relatively recent releases or bands to emerge, that you could praise and hail, as positive exceptions?
“The most recent one is Lifvsleda’s debut album Det besegrade lifvet. I know it’s not their first release, but for some reason or another I never checked them out before. I’m glad I did now as it’s one of the best albums I’ve heard in a while. Another example is Faidra’s Six Voices Inside, what an awesome release of mid-tempo black metal that is, simple in form and rich in atmosphere.”
Some seriously great recommendations there, I notice that both are Swedish. Also, the Finnish black metal scene is getting more attention it seems, what are your views on the Finnish scene, bands, labels etc?
“Is it? I think it’s been getting quite a lot of attention at least since the turn of the millennium. But I might be a bit biased here, so don’t take that as a god-given truth. I personally feel there’s a satisfying level of integrity amongst the people involved in our country’s scene, by which I mean that the spiritual element is genuinely present and not just glued on for the sake of appearance. Naturally this doesn’t apply to everyone, not even to the majority, but considering that generally people are what they are I think the situation in Finland is something that can be applauded.”
I believe it is getting appreciation at least, or maybe I am spending my time in a ‘Finnish black metal filter bubble’ 🙂 Your last album, “Gnosis”, was released earlier this year. Please tell us more about it.
“Gnosis is the middle chapter in our album trilogy that started out with Praxis a year before. Musically it continues on the same path as the debut, but I feel that our way of expression has evolved quite a lot between those two albums. The core idea is still the same but somehow the atmosphere has reached new heights – and this I say without putting down the debut which I still enjoy immensely. Lyric-wise the themes revolve around divine knowledge gained through magical praxes, but this is of course a rather broad concept so the actual content of the lyrics is quite varied. None of these albums is a concept album in the strict sense of the word but each poem on them is closely tied to the title of the album.”
I completely agree and I would say, at least most days, that “Gnosis” is a step forward. Regarding magical praxes and Chumbley, would you like elaborate on the subject?
“This is a topic that could easily grow into an interview of its own, but I’ll keep it brief now. Even if I’m a bit over-simplifying things here, the Sabbatic Craft tradition, in the form initially brought into life by Chumbley, is essentially traditional witchcraft with high magical motives. We both have found our place under the large wings of this particular tradition, and this is actually the biggest factor behind the birth of Aethyrick. In my experience it’s very hard to find other musicians that not only share musical preferences but that walk the exact same esoteric path as you do, so in our case this band was pretty much written in the stars. Aethyrick explores both musically and lyrically our relation to this current and functions both as a mirror of revelation and a diary of things done and learnt upon this path that has once chosen us.”
3. The future
Your musical direction indicates that you seem stable with your sound, what’s next for you guys?
“Next step is to wait for our third album, Apotheosis, to arrive from the pressing plant. Should be out by the end of this year, but we shall see how it goes. Sounds a bit fast, I know, but we didn’t feel any need to stall this just for the sake of not having two full-lengths released the same year. We won’t be making this a habit, though. With this album trilogy things progressed surprisingly efficiently and we’ve just gone with the flow and let everything happen freely. There will be album number four from Aethyrick as we’re slowly working on new songs, but there will be a bit longer pause this time. Or not, who the hell knows!”
That is an impressive productivity, yet with supreme quality. Is it somewhat correct to assume that the forthcoming third album, “Apotheosis”, will continue in basically the same vein as “Praxis” and “Gnosis”?
“Yes, Apotheosis is clothed in the same raiments as the two albums before it, but I would say the overall feeling is even more star-embracing than on Gnosis. At least that’s how I see it as I think it’s a bit more majestic than its predecessors – and by this I don’t mean an increase in the keyboard department but rather the general feeling of the tracks as a whole…”
That sounds very interesting indeed. With that said, we look forward to the third album in the trilogy and thank you for the interview.
- Label: The Sinister Flame
- Vinyls available from The Wild Hunt
- Andrew D Chumbley (wikipedia)
- Cultus Sabbati