Hails Lashtal, welcome and my apologies for sending this interview wich such a big delay. It's a real pleasure to have Veneror on our pages, as your album as been one of the most presents in my player these last months. How is everything going on in Veneror's ranks since its release? What will you be listening to while answering my questions by the way? On my turntable there's Wulkanaz's fantastic “Paúrpura Fræovíbôkôs” and after that I'll probably be playing last Abysmal Grief LP.
Ave and thank you for that space and for the good words. As Veneror we're very quiet in this moment, looking around and thinking about the future. No hurry. In this moment i'm listening to Dark Quarterer's first album, maybe I am too old fashioned...
So, as Veneror's still pretty unknown, I'd like you to introduce the band a bit for our readers. As far as I know, you all come from different bands such as Fourth Monarchy, Blasphemous Noise Torment, Oath, Strix or Sidus Tenebrarum, among others, and founded the band in 2008, even if you stayed in the shadows until 2011, when your first demo was released. But, could you please explain us the reasons of your meeting and to create a new band, and especially the ideas, philosophy or any other kind of things you had in mind to create it? Did you already know each other long before or were those ideas what forced your meeting?
I played in Fourth Monarchy just for an year, during 2008, then the band went split-up and I decided to raise a new act. It took a couple of years, but finally in 2010 we were able to record our demo (released on Tape the following year). When I founded Veneror I simply wanted to play mid90es Black Metal with a strong occult, satanic and witching image. I already known Umbra from a long time and it was natural to call him to the axes. Amaymon later joined us and here we are.
That first demo, “Nightwandering...” was released y a small italian label called Black Tears Of Death, who have released stuff from other italian bands such as Evol, Frostmoon Eclipse or Abhor, and included three tracks. Unfortunately, I haven't had the occasion to listen to it, so could you please explain us a bit how did that first Veneror step sound like and how close/far it was from your first album? What kind of feelings/thoughts did that evocative title hide?
Yes, Black Tears of Death is a little “cult” in Italy, for the above mentioned reasons, by the way they messed up a bit everything, and they just pressed something like 80 or 90 copies over the 200 they promised to us. Our demo was raw and surely more “ignorant” than our full-length, it was very angry and lo-fi and I still like it for that reason. By the way I think that it already had some melodies and some of the epicness that you can see now.
Finally focusing on your first album, “Percussimus Foedus cum Morte”, which was the main reason for asking you this interview, I have to say that the first thing that attracted me from it was its fabulous cover, which was done by people from Necromantic Art. We can definitely find some roman references in the frame that surrounds the scene, and I would even dare it has some relation with the character of the Sibyl, which has deep Greek/Roman roots. Could you please introduce us into the visual idea that encompasses your first full-length?
Thank you, glad that you like it. Necromantic Art is the pseudonym of Jonathan Hultén from Tribulation, who really did a great job. He's a great artist and a great guy. Yes, I can say that the cover merge elements from different cultures (as our lyrics do, so it is very fitting), it's hard to say if the officiant here depicted is actually a Witch or a Pythia. This is what I mean when I say that the cover perfectly represent our music.
After crossing that first step, the entrance door of your album, I was completely immersed by height hymns that glorify the sinister realms of the shadows and, despite I didn't completely agree with the comparisons your label did with other Italian bands, I have to admit I found, since the very first moment, some deep Mediterranean roots in your music too, as it possessed the kind of melodic vibes that make you travel through time to the immemorial past, just like the ones of some classical Greek bands or even some newer Italian ones. But what's your opinion about this? Do you feel strongly attached to the southern way of Black Metal?
Our label did those comparison because of that Mediterranean and Occult feeling. I agree that, musically speaking, we are different from Mortuary Drape or Altar Of Perversion as we're more melodic and maybe “swedish” sounding. By the way I was inspired by old italian acts as the aforementioned, but Maldoror in particular were a starting point for me. I obviously feel attached to the southern way of Black Metal, because of its occult atmosphere. So I gladly appreciate who is able to see the connection between us and the old italian (and greek as well) scene.
Even though, there are some strong ties to the northern melodic way of playing this black art, especially to the Swedish one, in my opinion, with some references to Dissection and other similar bands that emerged in the mid nineties. What did those bands have that, still nowadays, most of Black Metal bands still take references from their music, lyrics and image? Do you think there is some sort of tie or connection in the use of melodies that both Swedish and Greek bands used?
Every band needs a starting point; during the 90es the working model was the music from the 80es, now it is the music from the 90es, in the future it will be the nowadays crap. And yes, I do; the use of melodies was typical in the mid90es, it was a matter of “fashion” too in a certain sense.
Your first album possesses a very classical approach to (Black) Metal, with more or less simple structures (or not too technical) and a deep focus on melodies and speed, even though the drumming is pretty intense. Is this classical view of the stule something you intentionally pushed or just what came through your minds and hearts when writing the songs? Will it stay like this way in the future or would you maybe try exploring different ideas, be it other influences or any other possible ideas that could enrich it? What would be the better way to keep away from the mass of bands who just try to copy the classical gods of the style?
The epic atmosphere surely came through my mind when writing the songs. I'm not a skilled guitarist so i'm not able to write technical and complex riffs (luckily, I have to say...) and the simple and repetitive structure of the songs in my opinion is quite evocative. Obviously sometimes the outcome is better and sometimes worse.
I was mentioning before the comparisons your label did with other Italian bands, specifically Mortuary Drape and Necromass, which I don't find so obviously in your music, but what about their lyrical/philosophical approach to Black Metal? Do you feel some kind of proximity to their views on the occult, satanism and other obscure subjects? In your logo we find a pentagram and an inverted cross, and your lyrics refer to sorcery, satanism, luciferianism, blasphemy and the other side.
There is a strict connection between our Occult lyrical approach and the attitude of the early italian acts. We're all blessed by the cult of Death, worshippers of the Devil, of Black Magick and of the dirty shroud of the dead Christ.
In fact, I recently read an interview of yours on Kaleidoscope #13, and I liked that your views and thoughts on the occult and related stuff seemed very close to you; you really seem to know what you're speaking about and do it in a serious way, in contrast with so many bands that are merely using it to shock people, which is pretty harmless nowadays. And I never understood why people spoke about things they didn't feel/understand as, for example, I could never speak about the occult because I barely know anything about it. But I have spoken enough, let me know your opinion about these matters please. Where does that interest for the occult come and how present is it in your everyday life?
Shocking people is good, but I don't stand those people who can barely read but still use big words and occult random quotes. The “orthodox” Black Metal trend gave life to a lot of meaningless bands; everybody tries to act like an orthodox monk, and the outcome is totally dumb. I've always been fascinated by the Devil and the Occult, and luckily I have the chance to study a lot of interesting things. I am a Devil worshipper and this is the simple reason why I play Black Metal, nothing more. The interest came when I was searching for a connection with the Other side, unfortunately I failed but step after step I discovered my path. Magick is in front of us every day, but it's difficult to see it and hear it with our mortal senses.
Why do you think Italian bands (especially when it comes to Black Metal, but in Doom and Prog'Rock too) had always such a deep relation with occult themes, and serious ones, in comparison to bands from other countries, that used Satanism, Anti-Christianity or Paganism more as a form of rebellion. Are those subjects closer to Italian people and folklore than any other country's? Is the area where you live rich in this kind of culture? Could you tell us some old myth from your city?
We are the most christian country, so obviously the people here receive a stronger catholic education since they're child. So it's easy to understand why heresy and blasphemy are so deeply connected with our culture. This is basically why Crowley (and many others before him) came here. All the “religious” trend is just stealing stuff from Italy, using latin statements (making a lot of funny mistakes) and trying to be “sacral”. Then, I have to say that middle-europeans are without any doubt more cultured than other countries (as the U.S.A.). I am not surprised if a see an italian, or a german, or a spanish band talking about philosophy. I would, instead, be really surprised if the band came from New Jersey...
I live in the north-east, next to Venice, in the land of heresy. There are not many stories from my city, if not the story of a witch called Angioletta delle Rive, condamned by the inquisition.
Italy's extreme Metal scene always suffered of a “second class effect” just as others like the Spanish and French ones in comparison to the ones of the north of Europe despite having some very important bands, but in the last years some small but powerful underground scenes emerged in different parts of your country, with great bands such as Spite Extreme Wing., Janvs and Hiems on the northwest, Tenebrae In Perpetuum, Chelmno, Near, Absentia Lunae, Strix and others in the northeast, among others, and apart of the older bands such as Mortuary Drape, Necromass, Opera IX, Altar of Perversion or Handful Of Hate. Can we say the Italian underground is in its better form since the mid nineties? What's your opinion about those bands I mentioned, and which ones would you recommend to me and our readers?
This question is funny, as I known personally many (almost every) of the bands you're talking about, so I must be careful. But Black Metal cannot live without Devil-worshipping, so you can see that only Mortuary Drape, early Necromass (nowadays “Necromass” are terrible), early Opera IX (more or less the same) and Altar of Perversion are serious Black Metal bands here. Then, the first album from Handful of Hate was nice, the second was worse but still good, and I dislike everything they've done after that. Spite Extreme Wing, Janvs and Hiems terribly suck. Sorry for that, but I think that the italian scene was fucking better in the 90es. Try to listen to bands as Goatfire, Funeral Oration, Melets... Nowadays italian Black Metal is nothing compared to these bands. By the way there are still good acts raising from the abyss as Unctoris, Vultur and Zervm.
Please let me know your opinion about the following bands and their evolution, which in my opinion had some impact on Veneror:
- Rotting Christ: One of the best bands ever until “Triarchy of the Lost Lovers”, then they disappear.
- Dissection: Obviously the best Black Metal band from Sweden after Bathory.
- Unanimated: Always great, even the last album (“In the Light of Darkness”) is killer.
- Kawir: Fantastic band, the song from the 7” split with Sigh is a masterpiece (with Necroabyssiou from Varathron at the vocals), the 7” split with Zemial is timeless (one of the most representative releases from the greek underground) and I like also the new stuff.
- Thou Art Lord: The first 7” is one of my favourite Black Metal recording, a true gem. Black Metal incarnate.
- Vinterland: Great band and great people, they influenced me a lot.
- Sacramentum: With Vinterland, probably the biggest influence on our music.
- Dawn: Never liked them so much. I find them uninspired if compared to the aforementioned bands.
Before closing this interview, please explain us a bit what's going to happen in the near future when it comes to Veneror. Have you already started working on new songs? Is there any new release planned soon? Will there be some live activity? Are you maybe working on other projects?
I would like to play live shows but at the moment it seems that there is no opportunity to do it. Now by now we're silent, but when the time will come, we will break our Silentium again. Silentium est aureum. No other projects, not for me at least.
Thanks a lot for your time Lashtal, and my best wishes for Veneror's future, as you fully deserve them. Last words are yours.
Thank you for that space. Be ready to become, as Alfonso X said, a “vassalo do demo”: a disciple of the Devil. Hail Satan.
Gia Thanatos is a webzine dedicated to music for the apocalyptic times. No matter the scene or genre it comes from, and mainly chosen according to its author's taste.