.:.REVIVAL THROUGH ARCANE SKINS.:.
An Interview with Thy Darkened Shade
Liber Lvcifer I: KhemSedjet—Thy Darkened Shade’s latest offering from 2014—stands among the great works in black metal that have paved their way through the serpentine paths of the left-hand tradition. Steeped with archaic and esoteric allegories and the most extreme emotions of the spirit, Thy Darkened Shade stands at the forefront of today’s black metal scene. Abhik Chakraborty had the opportunity to interview Semjaza to talk about that which has stood as the very pillar of the latest release and that of the act as a whole.
Heathen Harvest: Hails, Semjaza! I want to start this interview by hearing from you what Thy Darkened Shade, the entity, means to you. While the essence of the art, on one level, depends and varies on the ones who experience it, what is the essence, for you personally, that drives this ominous black entity?
Semjaza: Hails to you! Thy Darkened Shade means everything since the music, the lyrics, the artwork, etc., symbolize my magical diary and my ascension towards the true light of Lucifer. Thy Darkened Shade is therefore holy to me and must be approached with the ultimate of reverences.
We are capturing something much greater than anything mundane which is highly correlating with the unveiling of my Higher Self and the final return, the quest towards the black sun, and the destruction of the futile creation. It is His essence that guides.
HH: 2014 saw the release of your second full-length, the masterpiece Liber Lvcifer I: KhemSedjet. It’s a release whose lyrical content is as elitist as its musical execution. Do you consider your art to be incomplete without the sheer majesty of the lyrics? Is the need for the inhaling of the words as important as that of the music to completely grasp the wholesome ideal being that is emanated from the art itself?
SE: Thanks for your words. Black metal is not just music; black metal, to me, can only be described as the ultimate art form to summon forces not of this world. Even though many people do not realize the majesty of this divine art form, I have understood it as Holy even from an early age. With Thy Darkened Shade, I am trying to capture exactly what I think the ultimate black metal statement should be. This means great lyrics that worship the source, an honest understanding of the acausal realm, great music, great, non-plastic production, and last but not least, great artwork that captures His quintessence.
HH: The latest full-length is indeed a display of great musical technicality (that doesn’t compromise the atmosphere of the art) alongside the sheer mastery of the concept that went into the atmosphere manifested by both the music and the lyrics. There have been bands in both the past and the present black metal era whose music has been technically minimal and simple, yet the ‘sub-textual’ content in the riffs has made their music beyond majestic and simply unreproducible. For someone who has been drinking from the ancient waters of the old deities of Scandinavian black metal and beyond since time immemorial, I found the amount of ‘sub-textual’ content in your riffs as dynamic as the technicality that stares right in the face of the listener. How much does technical sophistication matter for you as an artist?
SE: It doesn’t really matter if music is technically difficult or very easy to play. I am a huge admirer of both technical bands and more simplified ones. For example, Bathory, early Burzum, and Arckanum are among my top bands, and their music is not that difficult to play, but the spirit that they channel through their art is unmatched. Therefore, for me, what really matters is the essence; sinister essence can be achieved by using both means.
HH: I have seen you use the phrase ‘AcausalNecrosophic Black Metal’ in the past to define your work collectively from both the musical and the philosophical perspectives. Do you see your latest offering as the spawn of that same path that leads to the acausal realm? For me, the philosophy of the art is very important, and I am interested in seeing your work from a much deeper perspective. Please elaborate on the philosophy that went specifically into manifesting Liber Lvcifer I: KhemSedjet.
SE: The philosophy is the same with EternvsMos, NexRitvs and will remain similar with all our albums. Of course, the concept changes for each album, but the source that we adore stays the same; it is the everlasting worship of chaos, which I view as the acausal realm and the real admiration towards the Gods of the Dark. Also, since I am evolving and becoming more aware of chaos, each album is closer to the source and, therefore, something greater than before.
The only label that is valid as far as Thy Darkened Shade’s music is concerned is ‘AcausalNecrosophic Black Metal’. It is acausal because I am only recording when I am in a sacred state, aiming to tap with the energies not of this world and become the vessel of sinister forces into Malkuth’s nothingness and necrosophic because it is a commitment towards Qayin and Qalmana, our true witch blood.
HH: Thy Darkened Shade had been in existence for over a decade before your debut offering, EternvsMos, NexRitvs, was unleashed back in 2012. From the days of the earliest conception of the project, how has the sound evolved through time to your 2012 release, as well as to your second offering in 2014?
SE: The sound changed dramatically from 1999 to EternvsMos, NexRitvs since I was experimenting with various musical directions (under the black metal banner) and I was un-awakened. I understood afterwards that it wasn’t the music itself that hindered its release, but my black flame that boycotted my ego for years, which is something that I am really proud of. I finished and released our first album by the time I had achieved a better understanding of my Luciferian quest in this lifetime. Even though I had many Luciferian calls from a rather early age and was seriously occupied with occult knowledge and practice, by the time I finished EternvsMos, NexRitvs, I was aware of the mechanisms that I had to use in order to channel Luciferian energy into my being and thus, to become a vessel while composing, invoking at the same time the essence of the true elder gods. As for the evolution from EternvsMos, NexRitvs to Liber Lvcifer I: KhemSedjet, I am sure we exceeded all expectations; as I mentioned before, the source is the same, but we are closer to that source!
HH: Both of Thy Darkened Shade’s releases have been unleashed through the mighty World Terror Committee (Germany). What is your opinion of the label? Are you satisfied with the support you have received from them?
SE: The label is really a brotherhood of individuals who care about black metal and its values, and they release some of the best black metal albums worldwide. I view Sven (Zimper) as a brother of mine; there are no pseudo-professional feelings between us and we respect each other like comrades. I am totally satisfied with the label, and their belief in Thy Darkened Shade is huge!
HH: If I’m not mistaken, Vampress Imperium has been responsible for manifesting the artwork for both of your releases. What was the process with which you approached the concept of the artwork in relation to the work as a whole? While the artworks related to Thy Darkened Shade have been widely appreciated, how much are you satisfied with her work?
SE: Both her artwork and drawings are the ultimate representation of Thy Darkened Shade’s music. She always takes the appropriate time and we exchange files and ideas during the process in order to ensure that the final result will be as close to Him as possible. She knows the energies that I am dealing with, and most of the time we empower the outcome with synchronized workings. Needless to say, that all the sigils derive from our own magical work, the work of the Order of Promethean Fyre.
HH: While we are on the subject of artwork, what are some of your favourite album covers that have been unleashed through the ages in the world of black metal?
SE: Too many to mention, I will only refer to six here, but there are obviously more:
- Dissection – Storm of the Light’s Bane
- Emperor – In the Nightside Eclipse
- Necromantia – Scarlet Evil Witching Black
- Mercyful Fate – Don’t Break the Oath
- Burzum – HvisLyset Tar Oss
- Watain – Lawless Darkness
And although not black metal, my favorite cover of all time is of course ‘The Number of the Beast’ by the best band ever, Iron Maiden.
HH: If you’re asked to make a list of some of the black metal classics from the eighties to the nineties that have influenced you and your work, what would that list consist of?
SE: That’s a really difficult question, since I am sure I will leave some masterpieces out. Even though I cannot really know in what ways these albums are influencing me, these are for sure amongst the best albums I ever listened in my life until now. My ultimate black vision should be similar to the vision of Euronymous, but here is a list of my most influential albums/demos in black metal, in no particular order:
- Bathory – Blood Fire Death / Under the Sign of the Black Mark / The Return / Bathory
- Mercyful Fate – Melissa / Don’t Break the Oath
- Celtic Frost – To Mega Therion / Into the Pandemonium (Hellhammer – Satanic Rites demo)
- Mayhem – De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas / Wolf’s Lair Abyss
- Dissection – Storm of the Light’s Bane / The Somberlain (musically) / Reinkaos (lyrically & ideologically)
*Dissection is the ultimate Satanic bm statement, huge influence on me and my path.
- Dødheimsgard — KronetTilKonge / Satanic Art / 666 International
- Thorns – The demos (Grymyrk / Trøndertun / The Thule Tape) / Thorns
- Emperor – Wrath of the Tyrant / In the Nightside Eclipse / Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk
- Burzum – Burzum / Aske / DetSomEngangVar / HvisLyset Tar Oss
- Darkthrone – A Blaze in the Northern Sky / Under a Funeral Moon / Transylvanian Hunger
- Necromantia – The Black Arts – The Everlasting Sins / Crossing the Fiery Path / Scarlet Evil Witching Black
- Rotting Christ – Passage to Arcturo / Thy Mighty Contract / Non Serviam
- Abigor – Opvs IV / Apokalypse / Fractal Possession
- Deathspell Omega – Si MonvmentvmReqvires, Circvmspice
- Funeral Mist – Salvation / Maranatha
- Watain – Casus Luciferi
- VedBuensEnde – Written in Waters
- Arcturus – La Masquerade Infernale
- Samael — Worship Him / Ceremony of the Opposites
HH: How do you see the black metal scene today? Do you see the spirit of the art having the same intensity it once had among the worthy ones?
SE: I am one of those people who care for the inside and not for the outside. I have been seriously possessed by black metal and metal with fire for two decades now. When I see unworthy people, I regularly ignore or laugh sardonically. There are many great black metal releases, and I see some few people caring for spiritual development too. The essence of black metal lies in between the horns of the devil.
HH: Next, I would like to come to the subject that involves the possibility of a split album. It has been known in the underground among select individuals that there is a four-way split release incoming that involves Thy Darkened Shade. Is this true? And if it is true, can you enlighten us about it?
SE: There was a talk about a grand statement that unites, and we started working on that ambition. We are extremely proud of the split, and we are sure that it will remain something really unique in the scene. A fire that burns everything to the ground—a fire that originates from Thaumiel’s throne!
HH: What is your opinion on the tradition of Ancient Greece and the ancient traditions as a whole? As someone from India, I would like to know your opinion on this.
SE: I respect certain parts of the religion and civilization of ancient Hellas, and ancient traditions since I believe we can learn from them. There are glimpses of Luciferian sparks and fallen angel gnosis in those civilizations and can be traced from mythology and arts to philosophy and sometimes even from the way of life. It is us that we need to decipher the codes from and find the keys that unlock the gate to chaos. The entirety of ancient religions from Greece, Rome, Egypt, Ancient Near East, etc. are of high interest since the gods know no nations and Lucifer has been there lurking in the shadows since the very beginning under different names.
Hail Set! Hail Prometheus! Hail Lucifer! Your essence is one and several to the blind!
HH: Thank you for your time, Semjaza! As we end this interview here, I’m leaving this space for you to add anything you like.
SE: May the lords of darkness be with us, forever! Thanks for the interview!