Greetings over there. First, as usual, I’d like to thank you very much for taking your time to answer this interview. I have been listening to your music for more than fifteen years and I have to say this is a great honor. Please, introduce yourself to our listeners.
Thank you for your support and words, I am Nornagest, lead vocalist, guitar player and composer of Enthroned.
Before talking about the new album, the last time I interviewed Enthroned, Nornagest to be more precise, was almost thirteen years ago. Lots of things have changed, except for commitment, in my humble opinion. Could you please tell us a bit what were the main changes that happened in the band, as a person (what can be shared, of course) as well as how you feel over the whole black metal scene.
As you said; many things have changed, and not only in Enthroned that is, the scene went through different phases , from its original aura and mysticism to the ridiculous trend to calmer waters and finally to what we know today. All these phases morphed the black metal scene into a common thing within metal and known to the world which has mostly its bad sides in my humble opinion. As a person my interest within the Black metal scene of old has not changed at all, but towards the “common black metal scene” my interest is close to nil; too many bands without soul, too many parasites and teens who have no clue what bands like Enthroned (among others) stands for. As for the band, as you know the biggest change was the replacement of our previous vocalist, Sabathan, a new contract with Agonia and the opening of our own recording studio, Blackout Multimedia in Brussels.
And now let’s talk about the band’s new album, Sovereigns, released in April, 2014. The new album is very impressive. First, for those who haven’t had the chance to hear it yet, please, tell us a bit about the musical side of Sovereigns. For Enthroned fans already, is there any of your older releases that be considered, in some sort of way, a bit similar to this one?
“Sovereigns” is in the continuation of what Enthroned has been doing these last years but steps further. The major difference would be the third guitarist on the recording (not live) and the fact to have a third line gave us another perspective on how to approach some parts of the composition, things could eb afterwards rearranged to fit a two guitar performance for the live element and to add some tones here and there which give more dimension on the record without losing anything when we perform these songs live. Each track has its own feeling, its own tone, this was done on purpose to fit with the lyrical concept, but we’ll come to that later, each song has its own personality to be more clear. You can find any elements that Enthroned pulled out on our 21 years of history and some new ones. A song like “Divine Coagulation” would have fitted with no problems on releases like “Prophecies of Pagan Fire” or “Towards the Skullthrone of Satan”, you also have a track like “Lamp of Invisible Lights” which is a mid tempo track, where you could say I do a “duet” with Aleister Crowley (something I always wanted to do) , typical Enthroned fast tracks and songs more “out of the box” like “The Edge of Agony” or “Baal al Maut”. All in all, the entire album is really full of variation and intensity while being hypnotic and dark.
As for the lyrical aspect of Sovereigns: it was stated that it is kind of complex to get especially for someone who is not into the occult, Satanism, Goetia, etc. Could you elaborate just a bit more about this. We can definitely say that the band does practice what “preaches” (for the lack of a better word right now) on the lyrics?
I always write my lyrics, since 2006 at least, in a way that most people won’t get. The Occult has been a secret doctrine for thousands of years and has to remain so for obvious reasons. Any Black metal fan can look on Wikipedia and found the meaning of who is that Demon etc… or use terms due to the internet but they won’t understand one bit the reality that lay behind some words or names and even less their content, direction and meaning. Enthroned, as I said many times, is a catalyst for its members and that’s our only goal, not fame, not to be understood or to make money, which would be pretty ridiculous while playing in a Black metal band… I can just say that each track on “Sovereigns” is seen from the point of view of a certain entity, eight in total, each song reflects the views, opinion and reaction to a certain situation or event. This lyrical direction was a real challenge as if you want to have this type of concept, while being real, no fantasy, no imaginative forms but in its real pure content, it is really hard to deal with this kind of approach even if you lived those events.
I’ve been reading several reviews about Sovereigns and, almost all of them were very, very positive (which, as I’ve said before, completely agree). But what can you tell us about the fans so far, how have they reacted over Sovereigns? Do you believe that this is an album that pleases both old and new Enthroned fans?
Most reactions we’ve had from fans were amazing, you always have those who are stuck in nostalgia and will always prefer the first album or the first vocalist, I do not care, it is a matter of taste, their problem not mine, but in general the feedback was utterly impressive and not only from the metal scene… I had reactions from important figures of the Occult and artists from other genre as well.
Your two last albums, including Sovereigns, were released by Agonia Records. How satisfied is the band with the label’s work? Also, ever since the release of Pentagrammaton, Enthroned has released a new album every two years. Is this something that we can expect from the band, a new album every two years? If possible, of course, hehe.
That two years thing is not on purpose, we take the time needed before recording anything except for “Armoured Bestial Hell”, but when you look at our discography, we mostly took two years in between each releases except for “Carnage…” , “Tera Karcist” and “Pentagrammaton” . “Carnage in Worlds Beyond” was released one year after “Armoured Bestial Hell” but that was due to some shits with the previous label, these tracks were written actually before we entered the studion for the previous album, before “tetra Karcist” we had a change of vocalist and prior to “Pentagrammaton” we had to build the recording studio. So basically we have been pretty constant composition wise. The collaboration with Agonia is going perfectly fine, we found a good home and we hope things will continue to go the way they are now and even better.
About tours or festivals in 2014. Could you share with us the places (or countries) that you’1l be playing as well as the others that are in conversations for an Enthroned concert?
We have a few concert in South America next week and as festival goes we play at the Throne Fest in Belgium, Brutal Assault in Czech republic, Dokk’em in Holland, Maryland Death Fest in the USA, Satan’s Convention in Germany and some more are in the talking but I won’t make them public for now, as it is how things are done, we only announce publicly something when all is confirmed between us and the promoter and the deal is signed, never before.
Speaking of concerts, how hard is it (or not) for the Enthroned to create the same level of intensity of the studio sound when it comes to your live gigs? In addition to that, what can the fans expect from an Enthroned show and what do you personally expect from them?
A live show consist of several ingredients to make it has it should be, most factor are independent of the bands most of the time; sound guy, P.A., acoustic of the venue etc… but when you have all these elements that is when the tracks come to live and take their actual form. There is no secret, you need the right people and to be in the right kind of mood to deliver the goods. I can’t tell the fans what to expect, they have to see by themselves, what I expect of them on the other hand is to let go and give in to their primal instincts, to feel the sound waves and let their anger, destructive feelings etc… take over . Too many mannequins are presents at Black metal concerts these days, standing there like constipated fucks just because “it is not true to…”fuck that shit, these idiots are no better than slaves who follow what others think, even these idiots who pay a ticket to a show to stay boozing in their car, listening to their CD’s … these are not flesh for a Black metal concert but just spoiled pansies.
Enthroned has played a great number of shows at several countries around the world. Could you share some of the best memories as well as some of the worst memories that you have when playing these concerts (or before or afterwards)? There’s no need to mention the places if you don’t want to.
I see more and more this question popping in interviews lately but my answer is almost the same; too many to mention, some killer shows with a killer audience, shitty show with shitty conditions, you’ll always have this at some point and I can’t favor one concert compared to another one each had their particular highlights or downfall.
Enthroned is a living entity for over twenty years. What keeps you motivated to play Extreme Metal? And, in addition to that, what drew you to metal, how was the first contact that you had with this amazing musical style?
My cousin (from a well known pioneer band) introduced me to metal when I was about nine. That’s how I discovered that style, before that I was annoying my parents with Kiss, Ac/Dc, Rose tattoo and some early live album from (back then) unknown Guns & Roses. He introduced me to the real thing with his band, Motorhead, Slayer, Black Sabbath, Kreator, Iron Maiden, Sex Pistols, The Exploited etc… and I then followed my own path. Honesty… honesty will always be the reason why I perform with Enthroned and what keeps me going, because as long as there will be a reason to do what I do I will continue and there never enough promotion for destruction, reconstruction, suffering and the utter joy coming out of it to let it flow without harvesting it . The day I won’t have anything to say anymore, then I’ll stop and put an end to Enthroned, and labels, fans etc… will never be the reason why I would continue, just because I’m not one of those sell out punks who create music without any meaning to it.
The usual metal question about alcohol, but that’s because I’ve read an interview in which Nornagest stated as one of your favorite beers Triple Karmeliet, the beer I enjoy drinking the most (perhaps with Delirium Nocturnum). Belgium has some very tasty beers, perhaps the best ones in the world. Could you share some others of your favorite ones as well as the best places to drink in Belgium?
Delirium Pub in Brussels is without doubt the best place to go, people who’ve been there know what I mean. The list could be endless but amongst the best one in my opinion you have Grimbergen Gold, Chimey Bleue, Kwak, Bon Voeux, Kasteel, Westvleteren, Black Albert…
We now reach the end of this interview. Like I stated before, I’d like to thank you very much for this opportunity and I want to wish you all the best in your future. Do you have any last words for our listeners?
Thanx for the interview! Khep’rApril 25, 2014