.:.AS WOLVES AMONGST RUINS.:.
An Interview with Nightbringer
In the ever-ascending pillars of black metal, Nightbringer stands as a vehicle of expressing spiritual individuality of the highest order. With what was their latest release at the time of penning this interview, Ego Dominus Tuus, taking the standards of the art form to soaring heights of esoteric expression, and now their recently announced Terra Damnata being prepared for an early spring release, Abhik Chakraborty talks to the band’s spearhead, Naas Alcameth, to illuminate and enlighten himself as well as the readers.
Heathen Harvest: First of all, I would like to congratulate you on your latest release, Ego Dominus Tuus—an offering of absolutely stellar quality and content. From the philosophical perspective, would you please elaborate on that which worked behind the invocation and manifestation of this pillar of sheer darkness and entropy?
Naas Alcameth: Thank you. As always, the album was the result of the inspiration drawn from our spiritual side. Personal studies, contemplation, and praxis sews seeds within the fertile field of the imagination, which serves as the marriage bed for epiphanic and theophanic inspiration, which leads towards the actualization of faith. This same inspiration is what drives our artistic expression.
HH: If I’m not mistaken, this particular album was actually recorded around a year before its official release date. What was the reason behind this delay?
NA: This was due in large to delays with the artwork. We had to dismiss not one but two artists due to an inability to keep to agreed upon schedules. It worked out in our favour in the end as I could not imagine not using the artists we did.
HH: Ego Dominus Tuus seemed to me to be Nightbringer’s most ambitious and sophisticated offering to date, from both the conceptual and the musical perspective. While the musicianship is stellar all-round, Menthor’s furious drumming—something which has also been displayed in Lvcifyre’s majestic Sun Eater—gave another dimension to the musicality of this particular release. How much, do you think, his drumming technique influenced the songwriting process and approach with which you proceeded in crafting this album?
NA: The songs were completely composed before Menthor was brought into the writing process. However, his style has lent Nightbringer an aspect it did not previously have, and has raised our songs to a new level of furor and intensity.
HH: Sophisticated musical technicality has been a characteristic of this release. Through the decades, black metal has evolved in many ways and through many paths. Today, releases like Ego Dominus Tuus or Abigor’s Leytmotif Luzifer (The 7 Temptations of Man) stand true to the paths that this tradition has traversed with time while maintaining the separate identity and characteristic of the essence of the artists and the mindset of the present era. In what way do you view the evolution of this particular style of art form through the decades and its relation to the elder gods of this path from the eighties and early nineties?
NA: Certain paradigms will always be intrinsic to true black metal (i.e. darkness and adversity in relation to a philosophical or spiritual mindset). However, these paradigms leave much room for interpretation and perspective. With that said, it naturally follows that the expressions of these paradigms will continually manifest with a multitude of variations. This is what keeps the tradition truly “alive.” The will to further refine and bring this style of music closer to an idealized form based upon its precepts will inevitably produce at least a few hits among the misses. Therefore, I see this sort of expansion as a positive thing in general. It is when certain groups or individuals attempt to throw out the paradigms all together that it loses its basis—its vital force—and manifests as hollow pantomimes and absurd mockeries. It is the modern relativist mind that wishes to level all things equilaterally—to castrate and usurp all things in an attempt to make things safe, accessible, and approachable to one and all with no prerequisites of disposition, spiritual, philosophical, or otherwise.
HH: The primary quality that any good black metal release should have is the ability to manifest a rich and vivid visual imagery before the one who is experiencing it. Your latest offering has indeed walked through the obscure paths and has taken the listeners with it. In addition, you are associated with ritual ambient and black metal projects like Temple of Not and Akhlys. Do you think that the longing to take yourself and the listener into the obscure paths through these various styles of music originates from the same root of the ‘self’?
NA: I would say that this is mostly correct. It is this very longing (the inner voiceless voice, the intuition) for self-knowledge (the longing for union with one’s otherness) that is the impetus for spiritual movement as well as spiritual expression.
HH: Ego Dominus Tuus translates as I Am Your Lord. It is known that the title is inspired by W. B. Yeats’s poem of the same name. Yeats himself took the phrase from Dante’s La Vita Nuova. This is interesting as Yeats was known to be a seeker of the spirit and also because of his well-known association with Rabindranath Tagore: a nineteenth/twentieth-century literary genius from my city of Kolkata whose influence on Bengali literature as well as modern Indian literature is tremendous. How important is the work of Yeats and similar other poets to Nightbringer?
NA: Ophis chose the title based off the Yeats poem, and he is indeed a fan of his works. He found this passage and, overall, Yeats’s concept of the Daemon, to be very relative to our work and thus chose the title. He could speak more to this specific question than I, I am afraid, but I can state that certain poets have indeed played an important role in influencing our work—poets such as Dante, Baudelaire, and Blake, for example.
HH: The idea surrounding the ‘Daemon’ is something that has been associated with Nightbringer, especially in this latest offering from 2014. Would you please elaborate on the role it has played in the conceptual theme of your latest work?
NA: The daemon, or one’s otherness of being, is an essential concept intrinsic to our spiritual path. This statement alludes to many things, at the heart of which is the contact and consummation with one’s penultimate darkness (daemon) before the final revelation of the daemon, and then the revelation itself: the entering into the darkness that is a light (and the light that is a darkness). This statement likely comes across quite nebulous and cryptic, but such things I only care to allude to and ultimately can only be alluded anyhow to when limited by discursive means and aspiration versus actualization. The centrality of this conception of the daemon within the context of our magical current and path justifies its centrality within our work.
HH: If one follows your work, it becomes very clear that Nightbringer has consistently drunk from the endless waters of the world’s paths of mystery and its mystical traditions. In your latest work, a certain attempt to initiate an experience of the ‘self’ and the attainment of the superior consciousness that goes with it has been noted. References to philosophical ideas that traverse through diverse paths from the Hellenes to Sufism to the Upanishads are a characteristic of Ego Dominus Tuus. What are the philosophical and spiritual writings that have particularly influenced you?
NA: They are multitudinous, no doubt, but if I were to select only a few by authors, I would name Peter Kingsley (specifically his works regarding the Parmenides poem), Andrew D. Chumbley and the Cultus Sabbati, René Guénon, Julius Evola, Ananda Coomaraswamy, select writings of Henry Corbin, and certain aspects expressed by Johannes Nefastos, to name a few.
HH: Now coming to the subject of the artwork: It is expected that the artwork is indeed a visual extension of the lyrical and musical conception that has been shaped by the acausal essence of the album. How was your experience of working with the artist for Ego Dominus Tuus, David Herrerias, and how satisfied are you with the final output?
NA: Working with David was really quite amazing. He is himself a wanderer upon the path, and thus he understood our vision quite intuitively. So much so that he needed no real clarifications or explanations beyond the initial notes provided to him. We are absolutely amazed with his work on this. He so completely captured the essence in visual form.
HH: A possibility of a split album that involves Nightbringer has been discussed in the underground recently. Can you mention anything in particular about this?
NA: Unfortunately I cannot reveal much information regarding this at this time other than it will be monumental.
HH: It has been a great honour for us to have you with us. Finally, as we wrap up this interview, I am leaving this space for you to put a final message for our readers.
NA: Pete solem in domo Erebi.