Aeturnus feb1999 Mindview
Interview with Ares, 11.11.1998
Everyone who knows me a little better could confirm that I consider Norwegian band Aeternus one of the most original yet underestimated bands in the entire metal scene. Their debut album 'Beyond The Wandering Moon' hit me like a torpedo: blasting heavy doomed guitar riffs mixed with band leader Ares' beastly death grunts and drenched in an icy cold winter folk bath. With the re-released mini 'Dark Sorcery' and the brand new album '...And So The Night Became', Aeternus has earned its place on the dark metal throne. Just a few hours before their fantastic gig in The Steeple, Waregem, Belgium on the 13th of November 1998, I had a pretty long chat with Ares (ex-Gorgoroth and Immortal) about the current status and future of the band.
Are you satisfied with the new album, Ares?
Yeah definitely, it turned out exactly as we wanted. Look, when you're in the middle of writing new material it's difficult to overlook the global result and when an album is finished, you'll always say "I should have changed this and that" because you're subject to constant evolution, but globally I'm very proud of the result. Our new material is much more mature, it clearly shows what big steps forward we've taken in terms of music, sound, lyrics and vocals. At the same time, during the recording sessions, I already found tons of new ideas for the next album.
The next album? Already? Doh, we're talking with an unfathomably deep source of energy and inspiration here...
(laughs) I can even unveil the titel of our third cd: it's supposed to be called "Shadows Of Olds" and will contain more contrast between slow, heavy, moody parts and our christraping speedriffs.
I noticed that Aeternus is playing faster and faster over the years.
Obviously that's Vrolok's "fault", hehe. His drumming techniques have progressed immensely over the past years, which means we can play faster without the risk of sinking down into a noise pudding. I figured: if we're able to do such things, why not use it in our music? As I said, expect more contrast between speed and slow heaviness in the future.
Do you realize what a fantastic unique sound Aeternus has?
(without a second of doubt) Hell yeah! Ever since the first recordings of 'Dark Sorcery' in 1995 I started believing in my own creative thing, you know. We don't sound like a death metal band, yet our sound is heavy as hell and avoids any death and black metal clichés. Aeternus builds up an enormous wall of sound filled with bombast and blackened war chants. We describe our style as pure dark metal because the atmosphere and emotions you hear in the music are all very dark. The word 'dark' can have many different meanings, all very personal, but for us it's all about absence of light, evil and onscure thoughts. Yeah, I share your opinion that Aeternus is a very unique band, we don't sound like any other Norwegian band at all.
Lyrically you chant old Viking war hymns and such. Where do you take inspiration from?
Many people think that I take lyrics from medieval books and manuscripts but that's not true. Most lyrics originate from my own thoughts, I write them down on scraps of paper. I try not to write much about my aversion to religion and christianity because other bands are doing that and it all gets boring after a while. But everything majestic, glorious yet mysterious like the elements of nature, sorcery, medieval rites, wars and especially what goes on in a warrior's mind, those are the things I concentrate on. I rarely start writing about one particular subject, but instead I get emotionally involved into something and that's the starting point of yet another typical Aeternus song.
Those instrumental folk tracks at the end of every Aeternus album really stand out, you know.
Actually that whole idea started out during the
recording of 'Dark Sorcery' back in 1995. We wtill had some studio time left,
so I figured "Why not add an acoustic song at the end" and two hours
later I came up with a simple acoustic melodie that sounded very folky to our
own surprise. The whole band liked it so much that we wanted to repeat that on
the fortcoming albums, as you see. On '...And So The Night Became' the folk
influences are much clearer than in the past. The reason for that is obvious:
folk is a fantastic source of inspiration for both lyrics and music. Sometimes
you hear folk influences here and there in our heavy songs, and sometimes a
metal song originates from a folk tune because the emotions and atmosphere are
identical. Until now all our folk ideas came from the 11th, 12th century. On
the 'Beyond The Wandering Moon' album there's "The Last Feast", a
cover from the year 1014, originally composed by a Celtic tribal chief who
managed to defeat the Vikings. He managed to kick OUR ass, can you believe
that?! (laughter) By the way, folk music is another hobby of mine besides
playing in Aeternus. I also play in a band called Corona Borealis, a pure folk
band, and we're about to release an album in early 1999 on Hammerheart Records.
In Corona Borealis I can come up with ideas that would never fit within the Aeternus
concept. Check it out some day.
Do you stick to your Norwegian roots?
Of course I adore Norway, its impressive nature, its
purity. We have the best metal bands in the world and the aversion towards
christianity is still pretty much alive but I don't wanna discuss that today.
The whole story has been said and done earlier and it's getting boring all
together. But my country means a lot to me, I live in Bergen by the way.
So what can we expect from Aetenus live today?
Well, we're going to reproduce our hypochondriac, dark, heavy sound as good as possible. In other words: pure darkness is what you'll get. It's kind of difficult to describe, but we just let go what boils up inside. It's up to you to decide whether you like our show or not, but it's definitely going to be an obscure experience under a crushing wall of heavy sound.
And it sure was one of the best gigs I saw in 1998!