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…
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.”
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.
Very nice and spectacular represses, from 2020, of these Finnish black metal classics from Behexen were added to the store. The colours are spectacular, esp the “Nightside Emanations” release that comes in red, black and white multicoloured edition. “My Soul for His Glory” comes in a nice mixture of white, silver and gold.
If you don’t know these releases, just check them out below:
Is the virus comparable to Ragnarök? Of course it can be compared, but it is of course not a modern version of Ragnarök for our civilization. Although it will be for some individuals and businesses for sure. It is a pain for most of us of course with the Covid-19 virus spreading and killing, so to make something good for you guys, we decided to create a campaign for you who prefer to bury yourselves in misantrophic, doomy and negative music. At the bottom of this article, you will find a discount campaign for some great and inspiring music for these dark days, but first let’s dive into Ragnarök…
Ragnarök is the downfall and doom in the Norse / viking belief, and is indeed a very interesting and inspiring piece of cultural history. Especially for metal music.
It states itself on the life-blood of fated men, paints red the powers’ homes with crimson gore. Black become the sun’s beams in the summers that follow, weathers all treacherous. Do you still seek to know? And what?
Brothers will fight and kill each other, sisters’ children will defile kinship. It is harsh in the world, whoredom rife – an axe age, a sword age – shields are riven – a wind age, a wolf age – before the world goes headlong.
No man will have mercy on another.
Corona / Covid-19
The Covid-19 virus is hardly close to Ragnarök, but the pattern of virus spreading is extremely important. This modern age with globalization and people travelling all over the world, has left our civilization especially vulnerable to virus threats. The speed, with which such a virus spreads, is rapid. Compared to ‘digerdöden’, or the black death – an inspiration to many black metal bands, this virus has spread extremely fast. At that time, it started in the mid 1330-ies and arrived in Scandinavia the year 1349. It is not too hard to guess where the Norwegian black metal titans 1349 got their band name from. Nevertheless, the conclusion is of course that the speed with which a virus can spread, to where we live, is incredibly fast.
The big question is how long time will it take before another virus with significantly higher mortality rate hits us? When that happens, that could be Ragnarök. Maybe this will be Mother Nature’s way of dealing with over-population…
To support and encourage the drowning in darkness, we will offer certain doomy titles at reduced prices from today until the 31st of May. Items can of course run out of stock and we aim to keep the site updated accordingly.
DE MYSTERIIS DOM SATHANAS (25TH ANNIVERSARY BOX SET) (5LP + BOOK)
This deluxe and so box will be a collector’s item since it is a one time pressing only, so you should reserve your copy now.
“De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas” is often considered to be the most important Black Metal album of all time. The legendary Pytten can be quoted on saying “it was the next big thing after Grieg”, and we couldn’t agree more. The album was released on Euronymous label “Deathlike Silence Productions” May 24th 1994, marked as Anti-Mosh 006.
This timeless album shall be honoured with the release of the 25th Anniversary Box Set, with the help and support by long time Mayhem friend Finn Håkon Rødland. The Iconic Album has been remastered for vinyl from the original DAT tapes by Solslottet Studio, with guidances from Pytten himself and approved by Hellhammer. The cover art and packaging will for the first time be presented as Hellhammer originally envisioned it back in 93/94, including also the lyric scroll booklet. Also included are four additional vinyls with stunning artwork consisting of two different rehearsal sessions in Oslo from February and May 1992, taken directly from tapes Euronymous made, the instrumental rough mix from Grieghallen June 1992, and the rough mix with vocals from the tape Attila got after the vocal recordings in April/May 1993.
The Box Set will include a 96 page book with a series of in depth interviews casting Light and Darkness on the recording process and the glory days of Mayhem making history in the early 90’s, such as Pytten, Hellhammer, Attila, Necrobutcher, Nocturno Culto of Darkthrone, Bård `Faust” Eithun of Emperor, Shagrath of Dimmu Borgir, Dr. Best of Mysticum, Steinar “Sverd” Johnsen of Mortem/Arcturus, Erik Danielsson of Watain, Tore Bratseth of Old Funeral, Ivar and Grutle of Enslaved, HBM Majesty of Mare/Vemod/Dark Sonority, Nergal of Behemoth, Silenoz of Dimmu Borgir and Jørgen Lid Widing (lyric scrolls). Liner notes by Finn Håkon Rødland, Metalion, Iver Sandøy of Solslottet studio, and Maniac. The Book will include the original handwritten lyrics by Dead and Snorre, plus never before seen photos from the DMDS photo session, presented here for the very first time. The book will also give detailed insight into the classic cover art of Nidarosdomen. THE PAST IS ALIVE!
The Box Contains: – Original Album “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas”, Remasterered From The Original Dat Tapes – A 96 Page Book (See Description) – 4 x Bonus Vinyls.
This Box Set will be printed one time exclusively for the number of pre-orders only.
Original Album Re-mastered From The Original DAT Tapes
2. Freezing Moon
3. Cursed In Eternity
5. Life Eternal
6. From The Dark
7. Buried By Time And Dust
8. De Mysteriis Dom
Rehearsal Oslo: Skippergata, February 10th, 1992
1. Buried By Time And Dust
2. Cursed In Eternity
Materialized In Stone
4. Life Eternal
(Side B Blank)
Studio Rehearsal Oslo: Møllergata, May 16th, 1992
1. Funeral Fog
2. Freezing Moon
3. Pagan Fears
Buried In Time
5. Life Eternal
6. Buried By Time And Dust
8. De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas
Instrumental Rough Mix: Grieghallen, Bergen June
1. Buried By Time And Dust
3. Freezing Moon
4. Funeral Fog
6. From The Dark Past
7. Cursed In Eternity
De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas
Bonus Vinyl 4 Vocal Session, Grieghallen,Bergen April 30th- May 2nd 1993 Side A 1. Cursed In Eternity 2. Pagan Fears 3. Freezing Moon Side B 4. Funeral Fog 5. Life Eternal
Yes, they most certainly seem to be! Just stumbled over their latest track “Ophidian” and this is simply outstanding. When the vinyls come out, we will of course carry them for obvious reasons. Reach out, if you want if you are interested and don’t hesitate to check out their latest masterpiece “Profan”.