Osmose Productions, long regarded as the fore-runners
inreleasing the elite of the host of black metal bands present,finally managed
to get a third tour together, which pushed offin the first week of February for
a full month.
Under the banner "Winter War 95", the tour featured Enslaved (Nor) and Marduk (Swe). Reason enough for Adi to catch up withthe bands after their show in Berlin and talk about everything from black metal image to insider gossip...
Adi: How's the tour been so far?
Grutle (Enslaved) - It's been quite good, although we've played only a few dates. One can tell the difference between the Eastern and Western German cities, though, no doubt...
Grutle: Well, in Annaberg we had a bit of a problem. (Annabergis where many "extreme" black metal bands come from). Some guys had made their way into the show and began claiming that we should get lost as Osmose is a mainstream label and that this had nothing to do with black metal. In fact, two of them then began a big discussion with Johan (of Metallysee Concerts) and even threw over the T-shirt stand. Well, there was a bit of an altercation and, of course, they were all thrown out. What idiots.
Blonde dewd from Marduk: Imagine that! They call Osmose a mainstream label, and we sell about 5,000 - 6,000 records... Do you call that mainstream?
Talking about sales, how has "Frost" done for you?
Grutle: Very well, as far as we're concerned. I don't know exactly, but I think we've sold almost 10,000 so far...
Well, after all the hype and negative press the Norwegian scene is getting and has gotten, I think that finally, people may be concentrating on the music.
Grutle: Yes, most certainly. I'm glad about that too. The new bands are playing quite well and finally we are asked about the music as well!
You released a statement disclaiming any contacts to the Inner Circle and actively participating in the havoc that went on in the last couple of years... Did you want to do this or did your label tell you you should?
Grutle: No, we did that entirely ourselves. We thought that it would help us avoid having to answer the same questions over and over again.
Why do you think everything went out of hand up in Norway?
Grutle: I really don't know. I'm the wrong person to ask that - we had nothing to do with all of it. Basically, the scene in Norway was always very small and we knew each other. We had a common hate of all these Christian ideals that they would tell us about and the extreme music just fit the hate for that...but we all, Euronymous, Demonaz, all of us - we all got into the same kind of music at about the same time - first Led Zeppelin and stuff, later Venom, Slayer, Destruction and Celtic Frost...
Can I admit that I'd even list some NWOBHM like first Judas Priest and Iron Maiden in there?...
Grutle: Sure, those were great albums, too...
(Morgan Hakansson of Marduk joins the round)
Morgan: It was all very
strange and everything happened very quickly. I remember getting Mayhem's "Deathcrush"
in 87-88 and getting in touch with Pelle (Dead) almost immediately because they
are, even today, the best band I know. We had good contact with each other
until I called up his mother one day because I hadn't heard from him in over 2
weeks and she said, "you know, Pelle, he's dead". That was a total
shock - none of us had expected any of this stuff to happen. And then
Euronymous, too. (grimaces)
Tell me about the problems you're having because of your image, or what people are writing about you.
Morgan: Where should I begin? Those idiots at Rock Hard wrote to everyone telling them we were fascists because we belonged to a fascist political party. All we said is that we belong to a party that supports a limit to the number of asylum seekers admitted into Sweden. That is all I said. I don't know who's been writing all this extra stuff, but if it's Rock Hard, they will be hearing from us after this tour, believe me. We are not finished with them yet.
I believe your gig in Munich has been cancelled as a result...
Morgan: Yes. You know, if they don't like black metal and don't want to have anything to do with it, that's fine with me. But they shouldn't meddle around with it then. They should just leave it alone. Someone told me they gave our record 8.5 points out of 10, but this review was never printed. Peter (of "Ablaze" zine): Well, it's one individual who gave it 8.5 points - not the whole staff of Rock Hard. And I printed your interview on the phone exactly as you had said it...so don't blame me!
I'm trying to think of the most extreme record Rock Hard has ever reviewed...
Morgan: Don't think too hard, it's probably Running Wild.
My favourite subject next - Morgan, what's up with Abruptum?
Morgan: Hey! Yes, there will be a new Abruptum record later this year, hopefully. I'd like to record it in September and we're quite sure we'll do it with Full Moon Productions. Maybe even a double-CD...170 minutes of Abruptum!!
Why are so many bands signing with an American label, Full Moon? I believe you hate America/American bands.
Morgan: Well, they're a good new label, from what one can make out. They seem to be honest and true to what they want to do. And not all American bands suck BTW, I love Morbid Angel's "Covenant" - that's an excellent album. Or Deicide's first one.
But these are more death metal...what about American black metal bands...like Grand Belial's Key?
Morgan: Oh, see, I really want to hear these guys. I've heard alot about them. You're right though, I can't think of any black metal band right now...I listen to the old guard Swedish bands like Dissection and stuff. Dissection is a great band.
My favourites are still Grotesque (RIP)- do you like them? And what other new albums/bands are you into these days?
Morgan: Grotesque is an excellent band...they were even supposed to release a full-length album which never got released. I've got it on tape, though, and it's excellent. There are no good Swedish bands these days...only Dark Funeral and Unpure maybe...my five fave albums right now ??
1. Mayhem- De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas,
2. Mayhem- De Mysteriis...
3. Mayhem- De Mysteriis...(ahem!).
Back to Abruptum - someone mentioned it was going to be a little more musical this time...
Morgan: No way, no music. I want to incorporate more distorted violins this time - I'm psyched and ready to record the new one!
In all seriousness, can you listen through an entire Abruptum record? And how did you get this idea? How do you record it?
Morgan: Oh sure, I can listen to it over and over. I used to play with It (Tony Sarkko) in a band called Abhor, and although I later started Marduk with Joakim here, Tony and I always wanted to do something totally mad. Whilst in the studio, Tony started drinking dripping wax from a candle and I ended up slitting myself for the vocals (shows me scars which range from small to large...on the forearms). It was all quite manic.
Talking about being manic... can you tell me whether Abbath really plays those drums that fast (on Immortal's albums)?
Morgan: *grin*...ha! ha! You don't know what kind of maniac Abbath is. He plays drums like he's possessed - no drummachine or anything, believe me. I know this guy well and he's quite crazy. Of course, they need to have someone else do drums live...
...but I believe Eric is out...any idea who'll take over?
Morgan: No, no news on that...who knows, maybe Hellhammer may decide to do drums for Immortal.
What does the musical future look like for Marduk then? I mean, "Opus Nocturne" has turned out to be a really fast album...much faster than "Those Of The Unlight" in my opinon... much faster can it get?
Morgan: Which did you like better?
I must say, I thought "Those..." was a more variable album - I liked that.
Morgan: Hmmm, well, if you think this one was fast, wait till the next one! It'll be even faster. We may even do a cover-version of a Slayer song "Kill Again" on it...
Morgan, mind writing Abruptum or Marduk on the wall of this club here?
(Bands keep writing all over that wall)
Morgan: That's for wimps.
On that clear-cut note...that's approximately all that was of any real interest, because the bands were lined up to take showers/remove all the make-up. Not all the Marduk guys were talkative (Morgan being the obvious exception!), but thanks to both bands for spending this time with me!