Finnish sextet Omnium Gatherum is a band that’s been on my radar for many years, but with 2011′s New World Shadows, they went from being a pleasant blip on my screen to a “holy shit it’s coming right for us!” These guys have moved so far ahead of the melodic death metal curve that they’re pretty much in a class by themselves, moving the subgenre ever forward and becoming its undisputed flagship band in the process. In 2013 they’ve set the bar for melo-death once again with Beyond, a downright beautiful juxtaposition of Maiden-esque melody, beastly vocals and a knack for creating music that’s progressive without ever falling victim to sounding overblown of pretentious. I got in contact with OG guitarist Markus Vanhala, to discuss the new album and the band’s plans for world domination in 2013.
I hate power metal. Actually, that’s a bit of an understatement. My hatred for the genre burns with the fire of a thousand suns going nova. Ah, that’s more like it. Anyway, it’s been years since I subjected myself to the genre due to extreme disdain, but then along came this beyond fucking hysterical review of Stratovarius’ latest flaming unicorn ride and I just couldn’t help myself. The review was so engaging that it was one of those things where I knew the album would make me cringe, but at the same time, I just had to know…
If it hasn’t by now become readily apparent, black metal cassettes are here to stay. Sure, big name metal bands like Pig Destroyer are getting in on the act, but I’m pretty sure that has more to do with labels smelling a potential trend to jump on than any sort of real appreciation for the lo-fi aesthetic. Cassettes work for black metal because sounding like shit works for black metal. It is a genre of music more perfectly suited to the format than any other; dark, ugly and fucking primitive.
Finland has long been known for conjuring up some of the filthiest, freakiest black metal out there, and that description more than applies to Sielunvihollinen, the second album from Förjord. Rife with the kind of sickening, saw-toothed gnarliness we’ve come to expect from the Finnish, the duo effortlessly combines the atmospheric and the scathing sides of black metal to create something that’s both staunchly traditional and uniquely their own.
What’s that you say? You’ve never heard of Aanal Beehemoth?! Actually, I’m not surprised. Their sole album, 2008′s excellent Forest Paranoid, flew largely under the radar, garnering very little coverage in spite of its filthy, blackened punk brilliance. That year, I interviewed the band for my Dethroned Emperor column at the now-defunct Sonic Frontiers website, and named Forest Paranoid as one of my favorite albums of 2008.
But where are they now? The last time I got an e-mail from Aanal Beehemoth, they promised me that they were working on a second/final album called Nekropunk, and sent me an mp3 that sounded like someone farting through some effects boxes. That was at least two years ago. I recently tried to e-mail them, but this time got no response. I contacted Suffering Jesus Productions, and they advised me that one of the members of Aanal Beehemoth had joined a pop punk band (I refuse to include a link to said band because it just bums me out).
Aanal Behemoth may have been a joke, but if that’s the case then I guess the joke was (and still is) on me. I enjoy the hell out of Forest Paranoid, regardless of how un-kvlt it might be. So without further ado, I present my interview with Deathly Fightar and Crazy Bomber, just as it appeared at Sonic Frontiers.
From Satanic Warmaster to Sargeist to Circle of Ouroborus, Finland is far from lacking when it comes to producing black metal that is filthy, fucked up, and utterly unique. But the country’s weirdest export might just be the self-described “nekro punk” practitioners of Aanal Beehemoth. Comprised of principal members Crazy Bomber and Deathly Fightar, the band sounds like nothing short of Darkthrone doing heroin in a scum-ridden Detroit back-alley with The Stooges.
Sure, many bands out there of late have developed an interest in combining black metal with elements of ’60s psychedelia, but Aanal Beehemoth takes a different approach, eschewing hallucinogenic drug-addled atmosphere in favor another aspect of that era’s music, the rough and tumble proto punk frenzy of bands like the aforementioned Stooges, The MC5 or the New York Dolls. By mixing snotty attitude with a seriously dark and grimy sound, the Finnish duo accomplish something that ninety-nine percent of black metal bands aren’t capable of. Quite simply, Aanal Beehemoth rocks.
Desperately wanting to find out more about this unholy duo’s rancid cocktail of blackened garage filth, I sought them out via that stronghold of true grimness known as myspace. To be honest I am not sure whether it was Crazy Bomber or Deathly Fightar (or both?) that answered this e-mail interrogation, hence all answers are attributed simply to Aanal Beehemoth.
Aanal Beehemoth: To put end to this over-aged teenagers’ boredom and make a couple of moist kult recordings. Basically we are form of Satan, reflection of hell. We started out playing sizzling hot and exciting jam sessions at a poltergeist apartment and ghouls came and everybody got a brain damage now.
JH: The band’s name sounds like a mash-up of Anaal Nathrakh and Behemoth. Is this at all accurate of am I way off the mark?
AxB: Never heard of ‘em. We just wanted a name which best describes our sound, feeling and attitude. AxB was the nastiest and meanest of them all. Total berserk! Satan ge mig få makt!
JH: Is Aanal Beehemoth a black metal band?
AxB: It depend on who is asking. If it was some true hotpants neo-nazi penguin molo who’s offering his piss filled Suki Suki to me, we’d have to say NO thanks – we’re not. But that doesn’t mean we’re pussies ‘cos we are Aanal, the most bueno, the Most Evil shit. Aanal is more like evil influenced psychotropic pseudo-music. Yep… that’s it and no thanks. We’re nekro punk garage helvete straight from the forest.
JH: What were the circumstances surrounding the writing and recording of your debut album, Forest Paranoid?
AxB: At the time we were poor students, we dug up food from garbage cans and ate lichen and berries from the woods and swamps. Unfortunately we didn’t have money for a real studio so we had to do everything with old aanalog 4-track tape recorder and two crappy microphones. We recorded all that stuff right to the cassette tape in one short day. Self made fuzz boxes and guitars gave us total killerbee tone. Most of the songs and Krazy Bömber’s exorcism were improvised.
JH: What made you decide to offer Forest Paranoid as a free download?
AxB: Why poor people cannot enjoy good shit for free? We are not in it for money or shiny bollox stardom. This is total True Nekro and it is our mission to spread Satan’s bottomless well of glory to all the apes and shits out there and internet is good for that. We would do it from door to door like mormons or some other maniacs but we got no bicycle helmets or golden submarine.
JH: You’re also planning to release Forest Paranoid on CD through Suffering Jesus. Are you at all worried that no one will buy the CD since its been available as a free download for so long?
AxB: Not worried ‘cos it sounds better on the official piece of plastic and the covers look totally professional big buck production. Hardest wankers, biggest perverts and record collectors like Mary of Suffering Jesus can buy two copies of the cd and masturbate over the shrinkwrapped one many times during nocturnal satanic rituals keeping the other one safe from bodyfluids.
JH: What is your relationship with the Finnish black metal scene?
AxB: We don’t care about that posse just like we don’t care about anyone else’s gangbanging circlejerkers and holos. We don’t do anything vegan-atheists wouldn’t do, except worship evil. Aanal enjoy chrystals and respect from the Belzebub himself. Bigtime!
AxB: Hell yeah! Beside the usual krustpunk misery we’re digging that kind of music unlike some lame Hair-y-pussy-Metal. Dragonwankers and leather losers can come out of their closets and throw their plastic hammers and swords right back to the toybox. The Sonics, the Stooges and 60′s punk like that rules. We just keepin’ it cool.
JH: According your bio, Forest Paranoid was recorded back in October 2007. Have you been working on any new material?
AxB: Yes! We just recorded a whole bunch of new originals with new slaves at a session named Nekro Punk. This time Deathly Fightär gave drum duties to Kola Hoover and moved himself to banging the guitar. Hård Kikkelson joined on bass and Crazy Bömber did the nekro spelling and lost his mind on guitar. This one’s gonna be very snotty and groovy total garagerockmayhem. Also this hard hitting ass punisher will be available to all the maggots out there as soon as it’s ready.
JH: Is Aanal Beehemoth a live band? Will you be playing any shows in support of the album?
AxB: Yeah, we gonna do some shows with Kola & Hård and some other knarkars when the Forest Paranoid is out. Vi rider med svin sexhundrasextiosex kilometer per timma och sniffa en illuktande fjärt från cyckling rumpa. Oujee. Keep on rocking!!! Hiivavittu
You can check out samples of Forest Paranoid and find links to download the album in its entirey via the band’s official myspace (http://www.myspace.com/aanalbeehemoth). The plastic version should be out sometime this Fall on Suffering Jesus Productions.
Whenever I send off an interview, I always hope my questions will cause the proverbial floodgates to open, that the artist will dig deep and spill his guts. As evidenced by the curt exchange below, such was not the case with Satanic Tyrant Werewolf, mastermind behind Finland’s Satanic Warmaster. Hey, at least I tried.
THKD: What did you set out to accomplish with your new album, Nachzehrer? How does it compare to previous Satanic Warmaster albums?
Satanic Tyrant Werewolf: I sought to create an even more morbid, dismal and dark album compared to the previous one. Something that would reflect the european shadow soul in a totally different way and wander deeper into the darkness of forgotten tales, fears and things that are only seen by the light of Satan’s eye.
THKD: Your last full-length, Carellian Satanist Madness, came out in 2005. Why the long wait between albums?
STW: Each time a new era for this creation has been at hand, I have contemplated the reasons to go on, and each time I have rejuvenated the idea and gone through changes that might not be seen superficially, but are crucial to pursue new horizons once more. This time I wanted to take my time to create something I would be satisfied with again, musically, lyrically and also in terms of general presentation and productions.
THKD: The production of Nachzehrer sounds much more raw than Carelian Satanist Madness or other more recent Satanic Warmaster recordings such as the Revelation ep. Was this intentional?
STW: For me the production on “Nachzehrer” is far from raw, and knowing the hours I put into the forging, it is far from “raw” in my perspective. The dismal storm that is the soundscape of “Nachzehrer” turned out very much like I visioned it to be.
THKD: When and where was the album recorded? What was your mindset going into/during the recording sessions?
STW: The album was recorded at the Satanic Metal Temple during one full year between 2009 and 2010. All possible mindsets were present during the recording at one point or another.
THKD: The songs on Nachzehrer are of course rooted in traditional black metal, but they have some very catchy moments that could almost be described as rock or punk. What inspired this?
STW: My music has always had the certain hard-hitting and catchy edge, so I don’t consider it as a new aspect in any way. There weren’t any particular inspirations to do this as this is the way I’ve always wanted it to be.
STW: They reflect traits that are also present in Satanic Warmaster, the wolf in man who takes what he needs driven by unearthly hunger and the vampire who feeds upon the suffering of the weak.
THKD: What are some of the other lyrical themes being explored on Nachzehrer?
STW: Satan, Lycanthropy, Vampirism, Strife, Necromancy and Death.
THKD: What does “Satan” mean to you? Do you think black metal is an inherently Satanic form of music?
STW: Satan is the light I grow towards. Yes, Black Metal is Satanic.
THKD: Aside from occasional session musicians, Satanic Warmaster has always been a solo project. Why do you prefer to work alone? Were any session musicians involves with Nachzehrer?
STW: Satanic Warmaster is my vision, thus I walk alone in that sense. There were session members on the album.
THKD: You’ve released Nachzehrer on your own Werewolf Records. Why put the album out yourself instead of working with an established label?
STW: Werewolf records IS an established label.
THKD: In spite of the 5 years between albums, you’ve put out a string of EPs, splits, etc over the past several years. How do you stay so prolific?
STW: A single song on a split 7” now and then hardly makes anyone prolific.
THKD: You’re involved in numerous projects aside from Satanic Warmaster. Is it difficult to juggle so many different bands? How do you decide when it is time for Satanic Warmaster?
STW: I create on impulse and various impulses require different banners to be presented under.
THKD: Finland has gained a reputation for producing some of the filthiest black metal out there. What (if anything) do you think separates the Finnish black metal scene/sound from the rest of the hordes out there?
STW: One of the most important things might be that many of the finnish bands have paid their dues to the highest and have worked seriously for years, but still without making any compromises whatsoever to gain more “mainstream” attention.
THKD: What’s your take on the current state of black metal? Do you care what’s going on in “the scene” aside from the bands you’re involved with? Is black metal a tradition that should be preserved?
STW: Luckily the “scene” has taught me not to follow so intensely as the only thing to expect is disappointment.
THKD: Are there any final words you’d like to add?
STW: Thanks for the interview. Stay evil! LUX EX TENEBRIS