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Black metal is een genre dat dicht bevolkt is, maar vrij wisselend van kwaliteit. Iedereen is natuurlijk bekend met de Zweedse en Noorse bands, maar de bands uit Finland zijn volgens mij kwalitatief veel constanter. Nieuwe naam uit Finland Aegrus sluit zich direct aan bij de top van het genre met hun album ‘Thy Numinous Darkness’. Met een flinke knipoog naar de old school black metal van de jaren negentig, maar met de beide voeten stevig in het heden leveren de heren een album af dat bestaat uit louter klasse songs. En dat soort bands willen we graag presenteren in ons magazine, dus spraken we met de beide heren Lux Tenebris en Darkseer Inculta.

Door: Berto | Archiveer onder black metal

To start things of, can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
Lux Tenebris: We met with Darkseer Inculta via a mutual friend in the summer of 2005 and had an idea to build up a Black Metal band which gets its subjects from anti- Christianity, misanthropy and Satanism in general. Nowadays our subjects have grown much deeper into Satanism, Devil worship and occult but those building blocks from the beginning of times always remain in our lyrics in some way. Anyway, after me met each other it didn’t took long and Aegrus was founded at the end of the year 2005, me as a songwriter, playing guitars and bass and Darkseer Inculta handling vocals and drums. We shared similar tastes when it comes to music and dark arts in general and either of us didn’t have other bands so the process was easy I would say. At some point later Diabolical Beats joined us as a drummer and Praestigiatoris as a session guitarist. After a couple of demos and one EP, Diabolical Beats left the band because he wanted to concentrate on his other band Karelian Warcry. Darkseer Inculta then made a decision to start to play drums again and things started really to develop. We recorded our first album ‘Devotion For The Devil’ which was noticed and released by Drakkar Productions in early 2015. After that we nominated Praestigiatoris as a full member of the band and Serpentifer joined us to play drums. Despite the new line-up our newest release, second full length ‘Thy Numinous Darkness’ was still recorded by me and Darkseer Inculta.

What kind of bands were you into when you started listening to metal? And what is it that makes black metal your favorite genre?
Darkseer Inculta: I started with the bands like Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Dio, Iron Maiden, Rainbow, Led Zeppelin, because those were what my father was listening to a lot when I was young. After that came bands like Metallica, Slayer etc. I think I was thirteen years old when I got my first taste of black metal and obviously the impact was really significant to such a young lad. Since I’ve always had a deep interest towards all that is dark and mysterious, had a deep despise against religions and a strong and ever growing rebellious spirit within, Black Metal seemed to be the perfect option to me. Naturally things have developed even deeper as time has passed and there really isn’t a better way for me to express myself and to fill my musical needs than by through Black Metal.

What does the bandname Aegrus mean? What does it stand for?
LT: It was a pseudonym that Darkseer Inculta used in some other band long time ago. After it broke up the name got stuck in his head and he thought that it would be good name for a band. Aegrus is Latin and it means “ill, sick, diseased or unwell” and during these 12 years of our existence the words concept has developed in our minds into more deeper meaning. For being an outsider of this prevailing society called mankind, feeling sick among vast masses who act like sheep without brains buying all that media feeds to them, and being against the humanist laws for weak ones in which the bible plays a big role. For us it represents opposition to everything we hate and loath.

The album artwork is very cold and ‘thrashy’. How did the cover come about?
DSL: We thought what could represent the name and the concept of the album the most and thought that the ominous, almost like a storm gathering sky full of dark clouds suited best for our vision. Dark cloaked figure standing in ritualistic pose ready to be taken and swallowed by His Numinous Darkness.

Black Metal is a very crowded genre. How do you set yourselves apart from the rest? And how is Finnish black metal different from the rest?
LT: If you make your art with passion and no compromises it eventually pays off. Sooner or later bands with no real interest towards Black Metal will drop off and the ones with true meaning will be noticed. Even though our main goal is not to be like some new Watain or Behemoth with the fame but we’ll just keep creating our vision and if someone happens to notice us we don’t oppose that. At least Finnish Black Metal is honest, real and shows high quality in general. I think it has something to do with our trait as Finnish people tend to be genuine with their words and owns truthful attitude against their doings and other people, as many I think have noticed who have worked with Finns. Musically the question is harder. Many countries seems to have their own sound for some reason but I haven’t yet discovered the reason behind that. Nature.. Water.. Culture.. All combined?

Where do you get ideas for the lyrics?
DSI: Inspiration for lyrics comes first and foremost from my/our personal lives as a reflection, from the chosen spiritual path, traversing under the blackened wings of the master towards the great liberator, Death itself. Various topics about Satanism, occult and other aspects of dark arts and one’s inner black flame and devotion. This is the deeper, personal and more commonly used form of lyrical creation in our music. But of course sometimes the song might benefit for more straight forward approach in the form of curses and desecrations against the weak lambs of Judeo-Christian/Muslim sub-humans by unchaining the wolves from within ourselves. Although things have gone deeper and turned more towards the maze of inner self, I like to keep the way of direct blasphemy along as well. After all, from there everything got started, and the hate and despise haven’t gone anywhere since the early years..

How did you get in touch with your label? And do you really need a label these days (with internet and social media) to release your music?
LT: We invited Saturnian Mist to play with us in our hometown Kouvola in 2011 so then we met with the Saturnal Records guys since the same persons were involved in both band and label. After that we kept in touch in different happenings and at some point they wanted to release our material. That led to a deal with them. Basically Drakkar Productions was our first label in 2015 so we spent almost a decade without a record label and I can assure you that a label helps a lot for example in distribution. To release material through internet by ourselves isn’t the issue but we have never felt comfortable to tout and sell our material to anyone so on our behalf it’s better to have a label with professionals at work for that kind of things.

What goals did you set yourself when you started the band and did you reach any of them?
DSI: Nothing major or any wondrous goals were set. No big fame or glory. You don’t do this kind of music for money for example. We just wanted to play the music we like the most, to perform a handful of live rituals here and there and to release albums. So, apparently we have reached everyone of those goals by now.

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What do you consider the biggest difference between your first album and the new one?
LT: There’s that same basic Aegrus vibe for sure in our new album but little things are better here and there comparing to ‘Devotion For The Devil’. Songs are faster and gloomier with more melancholia, even better than before. The production is stronger with an ominous touch in it thanks to mixing and mastering because both our albums were recorded in our rehearsal place with more or less the same kind of equipment. The lyrics haven’t changed so much since those have always come straight from the heart and our hearts have always belonged and will always belong to Satan so our message is timeless. All in all new album is more solid wholeness.

Does black metal need the aggressive imagery to get their points of view across? And is black metal of way of life or just a very energetic outlet for stress and such?
DSI: Not necessarily in every case, but certainly that will create some atmosphere and because Black Metal in it’s very essence has always been about Satan and war against religions in general, why change the tradition that works so well. To me, as a very tradition heavy person, those kind of imagery is mandatory. And yes, I guess you can say that Black Metal is a way of life or something in that sense, as it is certainly more than just a music genre...

How do you write your songs? Does it always start with a riff?
LT: I have no one way of doing songs. I just convey riffs and emotions which are taken from different influences around me and filter those through me. Field of influences can be endless so where those come from, there’s no clear answer. I try to put thought and meaning in every part of the song and I guess I’m bit prudent what comes to composing songs. I don’t resist chaos either but I prefer it in controlled form. I make all the music by myself and send demo versions to others with some kind of primitive idea or red line about the concept of the songs. Together we then forge songs into their final musical shape in our rehearsal chamber. Songs refines and matures to next level when Darkseer Inculta put his effort into the songs in a form of lyrics. Although sometimes my vision of the song may be so clear to me that I feel the urge to write lyrics by myself so I can capture the exact essence to the song that I want. Of course it’s clear that some people are interested in the little details but I think that the process of making songs from the view of outsiders of the band, by us or any other band, isn’t relevant but all that matters is the result. Demo versions of the songs, part of the lyrics or which tune we play isn’t important before greater things but what’s important is that when you have the whole record in your hand in physical form with artwork done, chants playing from stereo and being immersed oneself into the wholeness of the album. That’s the thing at least I want from the album I’m interested in or like.

You are described as ‘black metal'. This is of course because music has to be labelled in order to be marketed, but how would you describe your music?
DSI: When we’re talking about what truly is Black Metal, I think for starters the lyrical concept must contain Satan, Satanism or some kind of Satanic aspects in them in one way or another. Singing about dark forests isn’t enough. Then again there’s bands like Immortal for example, which usually is categorized to be Black Metal, so things or “rules” aren’t always carved in stone, I guess. And the other half is the music, which usually has the recognizable melody/riff structures and blast beats. We as a band definitely fill these “requirements”, so therefore I’d just say that we simply play “traditional” Black Metal without the need to add anything more to it.

How do you feel the band has progressed or changed sin since you started the band?
LT: Everything has gone in a more serious direction even there was nothing to laugh about in the beginning either. We have just progressed as humans with our philosophy of life and death, grown up and walked our path deeper into the darkness/light, which still remains its glory of ever tempting road pulling us closer every day. I couldn’t be more excited about the offerings what nameless one has to offer to me and I’m more than willing to receive everything I can! But basically Satan has always been our foundation and inspiration to us. As said a couple questions earlier thematically beginning of our themes dealt with anti-Christianity and misanthropy involved into the will of a strong person. Sounds some kind of pure Nietzscheism when I put it that way but that’s one part of our Satanism too. When we come up to this day our themes has gone more into wider scale of hate and loath towards organized religions not only Christianity. Satanism being still our main theme but it has developed more into deeper and serious Devil worship and adoration of Luciferian illumination. Musically our material has matured quite a lot too and even if I say it myself I have become a better songwriter. Our first material was more like riff based maybe even a little bit thrashy Black Metal without the melodic sense we have now. Our current material has more catchy moments, a more fitting production and more solid songs.

Modern metal is always produced in a more or less clinical way with ProTools and other programs helping bands to create a slick sound. On the other hand you see that about every band releases vinyl again. Where do you see music go in the near future? Will vinyl take over again, including a more organic production? Do extreme music and a slick production even go together?
LT: I see that there will be both formats in the future too. Even when the file based music is still growing the physical formats vinyl and cd, maybe cassette too, will always be the thing in the undergrounds of many genres amongst the people who appreciate that they can touch and smell what they buy. I personally don't understand who the fuck buys some lousy files when you can purchase a real physical album. It's all up to artist whether they want to make clean and clear or raw and primitive sound, the listener just has to deal with it because in the end the artist is the one who’s vision the creation is. When talking about Black Metal I think that the sound can be highly produced or very raw, whatever fits the purpose.

Are there any non-metal bands that you like and can recommend?
LT: Majority I listen is some kind of metal or rock but of course there are pearls in other genres too. From neofolk for example Spiritual Front, Pyhä Kuolema, Of The Wand and The Moon etc. and movie soundtracks always works like a charm. To name a few Ennio Morricone stuff, Rocky fucking IV!, Ninth Gate for example.

How would you convince the pope to listen to your music?
DSI: If I’ll somehow get a change to meet or speak to pope, then maybe I would say something whole different to him than trying to convince to listen our music… A good punch in the face or something.

Finally, when will you be playing live shows to promote the new album?
LT: We have our album release show in December 15th in bar Varjobaari, Tampere Finland with Finnish underground BM cult band Wintermoon and other Finnish band Goats Of Doom. Shows abroad aren’t planned yet so if some gig organizer wants to see us live feel free to contact us. Ave Satanas!

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