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Faidra – immensely great Swedish atmospheric black metal

In april 2020, a new mysterious atmospheric black metal band from Sweden, namely Faidra, came to the light with the release of their debut album “Six Voices Inside”. The album has received praise and warm welcome within the scene, hence our curious excitement that lead to this interview with the anonymous person behind this one man act…

1. The background

Hello, please begin by telling us a about Faidra and your secret self.

Faidra is a Swedish Atmospheric Black Metal solo project that formed during late summer of 2019. Mostly just a project to entertain myself. There never were any intentions of letting anybody else listen to the music. After sending a rough mix of a couple of songs to friends for feedback and ideas, I later figured I would try to put a few songs on Spotify, since they really liked the result. An easy way to put stuff on Spotify is through a record label, so i sent some tracks to 3-4 labels and got interest from two of them, Northern Silence being one.

Sounds like a surprisingly low ambition approach, especially considering the end result. Is there anything more you can tell us about yourself? I guess you have a background in the music scene?

Yes, I have played in metal bands earlier, but these never really got anywhere. I actually had much more success playing folk music – I was in a band for ten years playing Irish/Celtic folk and we did that for a living for a couple of years…

Ok, cool. So, what first got you into this genre, and what motivates and inspires you to create the music you do?

Depending on what you mean there are a couple of things. Just listening to the genre and appreciating it, I have done for years. I occasionally listened to a few black metal bands during the 90’s but around the 2000’s Cradle of Filth released an album called “Midian” which still remains a favourite of mine. No matter what one might think of Cradle of Filth, i know they are pariah, but they really are unmatched when it comes to their lyrical abilities. Their early work at least, is largely pretty good and that album led me to dive deeper into the atmospheric part of the genre. Eventually this would lead me to another favourite band of mine, though not atmospheric, namely Marduk. So i guess ”Midian” is pretty much responsible for getting me to explore extreme music much more than i had done earlier.

What got me into the genre in regards to writing i guess i got inspiration from several other acts. Mgla, Burzum and Drudkh to name a few. But mainly i listened a lot to an album called ”Forest Sky” by Hermóðr and that album got me the idea and the inspiration to try to record my own black metal.

2. The present

You mention some excellent sources of inspiration there, what do you think about black metal anno 2020 – anything worth praising?

I tend to listen to the old and ”regular” stuff, but also other genres a lot. As for newer acts i have to mention Batushka (the real one) and Mgla for doing something very good and interesting. Also, Curse Upon A Prayer’s latest release is something i enjoy.

Some solid 2020 highlights there, although the last band Curse Upon A Prayer is something I need to listen in to…

Your debut album, “Six Voices Inside”, is really getting status in the underground I believe. Please tell us about it.

The album was not intended at all as stated earlier. The idea was to just make a few tracks to entertain myself. I was mostly doing folk music and Northern/Viking tunes with lots of ambience and atmosphere at the time. I figured i would see how a distorted guitar would sound in the midst of horns, bones, lyres and ancient string instruments. It sounded really good. With some inspiration from Hermodr’s Forest Sky album in the back of my mind, this turned into dropping the viking-stuff and going for atmospheric black metal instead.

Alright, so how has the reception for the album been so far?

The reception has been amazing. I am not aware of any negative reviews what so ever, and i have recieved nothing but praise from fans and the sales have impressed my label too.

3. The future

I perfectly understand, so what will be next for you, any new material being written?

I’m recording ideas mostly, that hopefully will turn into songs later on. Once I have a couple of riffs and ideas, putting it together usually goes pretty fast. The plan is to get enough material for the second album as well as a couple of songs to release online only as i did with ”Ixion”.

Interesting, can we assume there is a good chance for a new Faidra release during 2021?

I really hope so, it all depends on how much free time i’ll have to work on it. I have a full time job and recently got an addition to the family aswell. So free time is pretty rare nowadays.

Sounds great, both with family life and new material. Thanks a lot for the interview, good luck with the new material and future endeavours… /J.

4. Links

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Hellenic black metal legends Varathron return with a brilliant live album – “Glorification under The Latin Moon”

“Glorification under The Latin Moon” was recorded in its entirety on August 4th, 2019 in São Paulo (Brazil) during the final show of Varathron‘s 30 Years Of Darkness Tour, the historic setlist boasts some of the bands finest compositions, from 1988 and beyond, most notably including the entirety of classic “His Majesty At The Swamp” from 1993, to most recent songs, taken from the acclaimed “Patriarchs Of Evil” album, which made it to an awful lot of year-end lists in 2018. We took the opportunity to catch up with Hellenic black metal legend Varathron‘s vocalist Stefan Necroabyssious…

Hello Stefan, please tell us about your new great live album “Glorification under The Latin Moon”.

Thank you for your great support to my band. Our first official live album and the whole situation is amazing. That album was recorded in Sao Paulo of Brazil, my second homeland as I said there, because we received so much love, passion and respect for our band. The sound was very good and the passion of the crowd awesome. We played the entire “His Majesty at the Swamp” album and some new tracks. Infernal night – I’ll never forget it!

Sounds amazing! It is great with represses and the live album! We’re wondering, is there possibly some new material round the corner?

Yes, we’re working on new material now! The new album will follow the path of “Patriarchs of Evil”, but even more abysmal and evil. I think it will be very good stuff!

Any other news about Varathron?

I hope the best for the near future and our musical community, and that we can start playing live shows and spread the words of evil… Soon I wish!

/Stefan Necroabyssious

We’re certainly looking forward to the follow-up to the successful “Patriarchs of Evil”. Meanwhile, we will enjoy “Glorification under The Latin Moon” – please check out the legendary “Son of The Moon” below.

Tracklist

A1Cultum Deus Aeternum (Ιntro)
A2Ouroboros Dweller
A3Cassiopeia’s Ode
A4Tenebrous
B1Saturnian Sect
B2His Majesty At The Swamp
B3Son Of The Moon
B4Unholy Funeral
C1Nightly Kingdoms
C2Lustful Father
C3Flowers Of My Youth
C4The River Of My Souls
D1The Tressrising Of Nyarlathotep
D2Genesis Of Apocryphal Desire
D3Sic Transit Gloria Mundi (Outro)
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French black metal label Les Acteurs De l’Ombre Productions added to our catalogue

We welcome the French underground label Les Acteurs De l’Ombre (LADLO) to our rooster. They release some of the finest black metal. We took the chance to catch up with label founder Gérald.

Read that LADLO started as a magazine and concert organizer. Could you elaborate on that and the philosophy and purpose?

“It all started back in 2001, when I decided to create the association LADLO, with two of my friends. At the beginning, it was a webzine for which 50 writers have worked. I had to leave the presidency of the association in 2008 due to a professional transfer, and that is when I requested the creation of the label for the association.

I had this idea in my mind since a few years, but I was lost in the downward spiral of the webzine and the organization of gigs, so I had no time to think about this…

It has been very exciting indeed. Because I always worked for the association as a volunteer, I had no risk of losing money, which allowed me to fully enjoy this new project. Pensées Nocturnes was the solo project of one member of our association that organized gigs : this way, we stayed ‘in family’ so to say – no pressure, only happiness and a burning desire to discover a new universe and meet new persons…

Before, I used to organize gigs all around Paris, among which three annual festivals: Black Metal, Pagan, and Doom Metal for 10 years. The team quickly got bigger; we organized more than 100 shows and more than 500 bands played for us.

Today the label has more than 20 volunteers, and we have no other desire than to have fun and do things the best we can. Making people discover our favorite bands is a main motivation for us.”

French black metal seems relatively big and we also get many orders from France. What do you think about the development of black metal in France?

“I think French scene always generated some interest abroad. It never was a reference, but since black metal was born, it has always offered qualitative bands starting with Mütiilation in 91, Nehëmah in 92 and others. Our bands never really exported themselves, but we got a critical success with a few avant-garde bands such as Blut Aus Nord, and Deathspell Omega, that stood out. While the traditional black metal scene has known its share of great bands, others wanted to try new things, with new inspirations, freeing themselves from their influences and rebelling against conventions. I’d say it’s kind of our trademark: we do what we like, here in France. I think our bands have improved, even if I feel like we were always slow on the uptake. Today, some think we have qualities and follow our flourishing scene very closely. But let’s not be mistaken, French scene remains anecdotal in black metal universe. World is full of so many great bands…”

Thanks a lot Gérald for your words and good luck with everything going forward!

Make sure to visit the homepage of LADLO, and below you’ll find the recently added titles from this fine label…

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Black metal act Leviathan (SWE) are back with “Förmörkelse”

Back from the dead, Swedish black metal outfit Leviathan return after 18 (!) years of silence with the followup to their 2002 debut “Far Beyond The Light”. The new LP “Förmörkelse” is written by, and all instruments are played by, Roger “Phycon” Markström. He got some help with prominent guest appearances, by members from Dråpsnatt and Vintersorg. We caught up with Roger to get a comment about the new album…

Leviathan about “Förmörkelse”…

Hello Roger, please tell us about the new album, “Förmörkelse”.

The new album has taken quite some time to be completely finalized and that is really kind of bizarre and weird, but also fascinating… I have for a long time had an urge to continue the ‘Leviathan journey’ and from time to time I was contacted by labels giving lousy offers. I have also ‘from natural causes’ learnt that it is important to be able to trust each other, in the relation between the artist and the label. After finally finding a label to work with, I got up to speed with the writing which was performed by me and me only in utter lonelieness, except for my Gibson guitar. I took my ideas and created promos and then the real recording of the album took place in three different studios in Skellefteå, Sweden.

This all may sound like a walk in the park, but behind this is misery – the album is truly about personal experiences, from the last 18 years, in the form of violence, drugs, alcohol, knives, bloodshed, disgusting perversion and perfect purity – these dark and sometimes tragic happenings constitutes the fundament for “Förmörkelse”, and without them the album wouldn’t exist…

Nebular Carcoma press release

“One of the most cult names before the term “cult” began being bandied about with reckless abandon, Leviathan appeared out of nowhere in 2002 with one album, Far Beyond the Light, and then disappeared forever. Granted, the man behind this Leviathan was no newcomer: one Phycon, who concurrently drummed in Armagedda before their demise and the precursor Volkermord. As such, the breadth of ambition across Förmörkelse was startling if not completely unexpected. So pure, so cold, and yet so brimming with lifeless life – an intentional paradox, perhaps – here did Phycon ably bridge the ’90s wave of black metal which so informed his youth with the yet-to-burst wave beginning at the dawn of the new millennium. It was an invigorating experience for all who heard it, and has since become a collector’s item, released as it was by Shining‘s since-closed Selbstmord Services label.

But, just like how Far Beyond the Light appeared literally out of nowhere, so, too, does Leviathan’s comeback with Förmörkelse. Almost picking up right where the debut album left off, after a tense intro does Leviathan-the-man waste no time in establishing a splendorously grim atmosphere, roiling with the rippling physicality which so endeared that debut whilst maintaining a perversely invigorating melancholy. Each of the subsequent nine tracks build both with patience and urgency, each deliriously dark texture taking its time to wrap its black leathery wings around the listener. An ages-old sort of melodicism is intertwined throughout, often draped in haunting / shimmering shades of chorus pedal, which works as ghostly counterpoint to the gnashing pulse so central to the Leviathan aesthetic. And central to that is Phycon’s exquisitely deft and daresay-swinging drum-work, which even shines during the album’s moments of restraint and repose, allowing space and shade to work their magick as Förmörkelse moves on. And, by record’s end, the listener is left with catharsis and climax – so pure, so cold, and yet so vibrant.

Indeed, Leviathan’s brilliance radiates outward through the ages, across decades, and remains just as vital and timeless as when the band began. If it takes nearly another 20 years for the follow-up to Förmörkelse, so be it: we are only richer for experiencing Phycon’s vision when he so chooses to reveal it.”

Taster from the album

Leviathan – “Förmörkelse” track listing

  1. XVII
  2. Avgrundens Återsken
  3. Förmörkelse
  4. Svart
  5. Förbannelsen
  6. Verklighetens Väv
  7. En Tidlös Illvilja
  8. Melankolins Ävja
  9. Babylons Sand
  10. Pestens Sigill