:: Interview with Enthroned
Interview with Enthroned
During a time when Scandinavia produced the world’s best black metal albums, Enthroned
put Belgium on the map. Forming in 1993, Enthroned
has made its impact upon the worldwide legions of black metal heathens, especially inspiring a thriving French scene.
The group has accomplished this feat by creating music with both feet planted firmly in hell. Their inferno blasts of guitar licks, blazing drumbeats and wicked shrieks invoke the proper sounds to summon the unnameable abominations from the Necronomicon. Just like legendary BM acts Gorgoroth
has lost a member to suicide (drummer/founder Cernunnos in 1997).
vocalist and studio guitarist Nornagest explained to Metal Ship how if one doesn’t have a center point, the dark arts will lead to one becoming lost. Possibly this is what happened to Cernunnos (or he had major depression). Whatever the case, Enthroned
has soldiered on for Satan with several other drummers, arriving with Garghuf, who currently plays with the group.
Narnagest is not an original member, but has played guitar with the band since 1995, and came into the group shortly after their debut full length Prophecies of Pagan Fire. Narnagest became the group’s vocalist in 2006, replacing the original voice of Enthroned
, Lord Sabathan. A man of large stature, Narnagest is the epitome of black metal. It runs in his blood; he is first cousins with Venom
Metal Ship met up with the nefarious Narnagest on Enthroned
’s tour bus. Enthroned
was sharing a bus with tour mates, the devils of the Outback—Destroyer 666. Narnagest offered us a clear picture
of the occult-driven universe that is Enthroned
Metalship : You’ve had some problems at the start of this tour. Is this your first show in the States for this tour?
Nornagest: This is the third date we’ve been on in this tour.
Metalship : What happened and how did you resolve the situation?
Nornagest: We had some problems with Customs. We had problems getting our Vistas. We didn’t get our Vistas until the day we were supposed to be playing New York. We had to reschedule that date and take the first available flight to Tampa instead of New York, so we missed a couple of shows. Now a days, it is harder to get into the States than to get into Russia, if you can imagine that.
Metalship : Enthroned hasn’t toured the U.S. in nine years. Why did you have such a long gap between tours?
Nornagest: I don’t know, man. We’ve tried a couple of times, but the problem is a lot of guys just aren’t serious. We have to pay for everything. We just don’t have the money to do that. It costs a fortune. We recently built our own recording studio and it cost us around a million. We focused on that for more than a year. Of course, it takes a year or two until you get any business.
Metalship : How do you feel about being on Regain Records?
Nornagest: Regain has been great! They support us very good, even more than what we ask. We couldn’t ask for a better label.
Metalship : Who did you tour with last time?
Nornagest: We toured with Blood Storm from Philly, Sol Evil and Quadrivium (?) from California. Chris from Blood Storm played session in Absu
and plays with Goreaphobia.
Metalship : How did you come up with the title for your new album? What does it mean?
Nornagest: Pentagrammaton comes from ancient
Greece. It means a five-letter name. It’s an old concept, meaning one will find these five letters, these five characters, and define his own divinity. In the Kabala, the Pentagrammaton symbolizes Jesus Christ, but we don’t take that concept. We feel that is bullshit. The Pentagrammaton is a concept that dates back to early civilization, from Sumer to Mesopotamia to ancient
Egypt. The Cult
of Set has a part that says, “I have come into being a god by myself.” That is the same concept. We use that word because it fits with the concept of the album, perfectly.
Metalship : The concept is about man becoming divine.
Nornagest: Yes, through observation and exploration of the inner self. Through experience, practice and wisdom you will find your divinity.
Metalship : Is that how you view the occult? Is the ultimate goal to find yourself, to find your inner divinity?
Nornagest: Yes, in a way. Everybody has his own view about the occult and Satanism. I take a bit of a different stance. You never stop learning. You learn everyday, and you will always learn. Even if you’re one hundred ten or two hundred, there are still things you learn everyday. That is a good way to view your existence. Learning and not sitting on your ass and saying, “I know everything.” To me, that is the Pentagrammaton. Exploring and learning from your own mistakes, by becoming involved in what interests yourself is the best way to open up and make yourself better, hopefully. That’s something personal.
Metalship : That sounds quite similar to martial arts. I’m a master martial artist, and our philosophy is you never stop learning. You never know a move; you just explore it.
Nornagest: Exactly, I’ve been doing martial arts since I was five. I studied Judo, Aikido and (couldn’t make out last style). I’m a brown belt in Judo.
Metalship : How does this album compare to Tetra Karcist? Do you feel it’s an improvement?
Nornagest: It’s the logical follow up, both in concept and in music. You can look at the music, the artwork, the whole package of the last two and see that they are different from the rest. With Tetra Karcist, we started dealing with how we view occultism, in its true core. We’re not talking cheap Satanism like the kind people who listen to Possessed
or Morbid Angel
. We want to represent true occultism, true Satanism. On this album, the music is more raw and more direct. The concept is how the members of this band experience occultism. The next one will be the same. We will go again in that direction. We will continue with the concept on the new album.
Metalship : You already started writing stuff for the new album.
Nornagest: Yes, we have some songs. We are working on the concept, as well. We have a concept in mind, already, and have been writing things down on paper. It is going very well. We’re hoping to release it around next year. We’ll see. We don’t know yet. Now, we can do things in our own studio. When something comes to mind, we can record it. The studio costs us a bunch in the beginning, but we can record there and we have bands coming to our studio to record, as well. It’s nice to have something that you dream about. You know, your work is your passion. Plus, we can help other bands. We can help give them what they are looking for.
Metalship : Onielar of Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult and Yvan Galasse make a guest appearance on your album. How did this come about and what was it like working with those two?
Nornagest: Onielar came there with her husband. They are friends of ours. We’ve known each other for years and really appreciate each other. We did a song with her called “The Vitalized Shell.” She brought something feminine to the song. It seemed fitting with her special kind of voice, especially with her being female, so we asked her to come sing those parts. It was a big honor for her to sing with us. It was a big honor for us to have her sing on our album. We don’t want people that we don’t know do guest appearances. We only have friends on our albums. We also want people with the same ideologies and beliefs. It can be somebody that has nothing to do with black metal, but we still need the same ideology.
Metalship : Has Enthroned played a lot of shows with Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult?
Nornagest: A few.
Metalship : "Ad Te Clamamvs Exsvles Morvua Liberi" is a very spooky track. Were you going for a film score feeling?
Nornagest: That song was done by a guy [Yvan Galasse] we know. It has nothing to do with metal. Again, he is a friend who has similar ideologies, so we wanted to work with him and create something not metal.
Metalship : Did you make this track as a lead in to “Unconscious Minds?”
Nornagest: Yes. The words translate into “we pray for you dead children.” I got that from an old hymn. It was in Latin, and it goes out to all the lost souls. You know, the children who think they know better than their parents and teachers. We wanted to have that eeriness to the “Unconscious Minds” song, which is what it is.
Metalship : The opening track “In Missi Solemnibvs” relates similar atmosphere.
Nornagest: We weren’t going for a film score vibe. We just wanted to recreate what we heard in our minds.
Metalship : I remember your vocals being much shriller on earlier releases. I feel your voice is more accessible, now. Tell our readers about developing your vocals.
Nornagest: We had a different vocalist (Sabathan) before, but we had to go our separate ways. There were some personal issues. It was better that he went his own way. There are no hard feelings between us. We are still friends and go have a drink, but he couldn’t work anymore in the band. When he left, I tried out a few other guys for vocalists. All the other guys wanted me to do the vocals because I wrote all the lyrics. I didn’t want to, but I figured I would give it a try. No one can give the right emotions to the lyrics that you write. I’ve been the lead vocalist since 2006. I hope my voice sounds good tonight because I have a cold. I woke up this morning not feeling so well. We’ll see how it goes tonight. I’ll do my best.
Metalship : Is there a dark god you can call upon to help you with your vocals?
Nornagest: I have to look within myself and help myself first. Why should I go the easy way out? I will try the hard route first.
Metalship : I understand you wrote lyrics for Antaeus’ last effort “"Blood Libels". What is your relationship with that group? Are you friends with many French BM bands?
Nornagest: Yes, I was actually going to be a session guitar player for Antaeus
, but that didn’t work out because of time and money. MkM and LSK are long-time friends. I’ve known them since ’95. One day, MkM came to my place to party. He said he didn’t have much inspiration writing lyrics. I told him I would write him a song. He was talking to my girlfriend and some other people, and then I came back and said, “Here you are.” He said, “What is this?” I told him I was going to write him lyrics, so there they were. I said, “I know how you are, so I wrote this song from the point of view of your character. I wrote this as if I were you.” It was kind of embarrassing, everyone laughed. He used those lyrics. That came out to be a great song.
Metalship : You wrote this so fast. This must have been something you had been thinking about for quite a while.
Nornagest: No, it was in my head like “boom.” I’ve known him since 1995 and I know what he is like.
Metalship : What’s next after this tour?
Nornagest: Right after we tour the U.S., we fly to Brazil. We do a few days there. Then, we spend one month touring Europe. After Europe, we go back to Central America for a few shows, and then we might have a show in Raleigh [North Carolina, U.S.A.]. We were supposed to play in Raleigh, but was canceled because of the Vista thing, so a guy is thinking about bringing us there for a single show. This guy wants to pay for our flight, so we figure, why not? It’s better to fly from Mexico than from Belgium.
added by Darren Cowan, on August 15, 2010 for Metalship