After the listening of an album such as "Of Beast and Vultures", I couldn't avoid to interview this great Finnish band. This new release is (as confirmed by my interlocutor) an "half concept" about the wild side of the nature, and its relationship with the human one, played with good ideas and a touch of innovation that, anyway, doesn't injure the musical proposal of the band. The word goes to Narqath...
Well, Azaghal is a well known BM band, but, at the same time, their history is quite unknown. I think it will be good if you can give us a short biography of it:
Ok, to put it short: the band was formed by me and former drummer Kalma V-Khaoz in late 1995. We recorded our first demo under the name Belfegor, but it was never widely spread. Varjoherra joined our horde as a vocalist in '97 & we also changed the band name to Azaghal. Since then we have released 3 demos, 3 full-lengths, 2 split CD's and some vinyl stuff. JL Nokturnal joined the band in 2001 & V-Khaoz left later the same year.
You have just realised the new album "Of Beasts and Vultures", a very good work, and let me say it has struck me so much. Could you tell me the process that has guided you to its creation? Do you think I'm mistaking if I consider it a sort of "half / concept"?
It's a "half-concept" album based loosely around the werewolf theme. Originally the lyrics were supposed to be much more strictly centred around the beasts / vultures theme, but the result isn't quite as one dimensional. I see "of Beasts.." as a logical follow-up to the previous full-length "Nine Circles of Hell" (released in '99), there are no special stories to tell about its creation, all the material was composed by me between '98 and '00.
I say this 'cause I can find, in the most part of
the songs of the album, a sort of common thread about the wild side
of nature, do you agree? This is the personal sensation that the listening
of "Of Beasts
" made me feel
It's a very good interpretation and very close to what our original idea was when creating this album.
Anyway, I think that you can better talk about the "concept" beyond the lyrics of this work, so I ask you if you can analyse them and let us know their meaning.
The album basically starts with the idea of forgetting all your old ideals & rising above the mindless hypocrite mass of the modern day ( "The Infernal One") and then progresses through elemental invocations ("Wizard", "Reign") and blasphemic galders ("The Beast - 666", "I am the Way") to the point where the transformation is complete and one is free from the human cell ("Bloodthirst").
Azaghal have always sang the most of their songs in Finnish language, even if they have always provided a translation of them in English: how much is important for you to write and sing a song in your home language, and, on the other hand, what difficulties do you find doing it in English?
We mostly sing in Finnish because our vocalist prefers to do so. I would prefer writing in English, since translating the lyrics from Finnish to English is quite hard & the English versions often end up sounding pretty stupid.
Besides the lyrical concept, I can affirm than the music of this album is really good, it unites the great riffs that Azaghal have always made with a touch of "technic" plus other things that, one time meeting my personal tastes and the other a little not, contribute to create really a good result. Why did you decided to insert some unusual parts like filtered voices, strange sounds and other things like these?
We inserted them simply because we wanted to, and unlike some people seem to think, we are not trying to sound more "modern" or anything like that by adding some effects or sound samples, we just though that they fitted well into the overall result and concept of the album.
Azaghal have always had a particular taste for arpeggios, and in this time we can hear, in some of your songs, some examples of the cool atmospheres that they can create and evoke. Do you consider this union between fast parts and other slow moments, essential characteristics of Azaghal music? What can you tell us about this?
The material just turns out that way naturally, I personally like the contrast of fast / slow parts. Adding some quieter parts adds much more power to the fast parts. Blasting at full-speed for the whole album length would just end up sounding boring.
What can you tell us about the actual line-up of the band? I can read in the booklet that some session musicians helped you, but your band consists of a trio, isn't it?
the line-up is:
At the moment we don't have a permanent drummer, but it's not really a problem. At least for the next few releases we are going to use either a session drummer or a drum machine.
How do you create your songs, and, what are the feelings / ideas that have inspired you during the composition of "Of Beasts and Vultures"?
I compose all the songs, mostly the lyrics are written first & then I compose the music to fit the atmosphere I get from the lyrics. I usually compose material for Azaghal when I am angry or when I am in a melancholic mood.
I'd like to know what are your personal believes, and of much of them can be found inside Azaghal's music. Can you tell me?
I do not follow any existing life-codes or religions, I rather make my own decisions and walk my own path. That's all I have to say about this subject, beyond this it is my personal business.
Inside the album there's a Bathory cover, "13 Candles": why did you decided to cover this song and what do you think of Bathory and their contribute to the growing of the extreme metal scene?
It was included because we think it's a killer track. Our version didn't turn out the best possible way, we had recorded another version of the song earlier and it had turned out much better, but sound wise and so on, this one fitted better to the album. I personally enjoy the first 3 albums of Bathory, but I do not like his Viking releases or any of the newer stuff. Bathory's influence on the scene was obviously huge, without Bathory several great bands would never have existed.
What are your musical influences and what kind of music do you listen to, besides BM?
When we started Azaghal, I was heavily influenced by the Norwegian Black Metal scene and releases such as Emperor - s/t & In the Nightside Eclipse, Darkthrone - Transilvanian Hunger, Immortal - Pure Holocaust and Burzum - Filosofem remain as my favorite albums still today. Nowadays I am not really that much influenced by any bands, more by my own feelings and imagination. Besides black metal I enjoy stuff like Current93, Death in June, Nature and Organisation, Sopor Aeternus and Devil Doll.
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And, perhaps, until Its coming, let's listen to good bands like Azaghal Hail Narqath!