Sunday, May 17

A Strange Dream...

I just awoke from an approximately two-hour nap, which I orchestrated to give me enough energy to take care of all of my last-minute chores before I leave this stinking faeces-plastered hell-hole I call...well, actually I don't call it 'home' at all. Anyway, I took the nap so I could revive myself in order to get the hell out of here at midnight (vacation). Yes, I only travel at midnight; I don't trust anyone who's out and about under the light of day. So...I was about 3/4 through my nap when I -decided- to wake because I was having an intense and eerie dream. With the full co-operation of my memory, here it is [note: I wrote all of this just after waking, so I wouldn't forget too much]:

I was living in (but apparently as a guest, or as a resident in not very good standing, or just a relatively new one) some community. It was like a wooded commune that you may have seen in the Wicker Man, or that I imagine might be on the Pitcairn Islands. Everything was very nice and rustic, but small enough to lend it its eerieness and that menacing aspect brought about by ages of isolation.

Earlier in the day I had been in the cemetary and had overheard a heated debate about the lately deceased caretaker (?) and his importance in the community. It seemed that he had a special duty (a supernumerary duty), beyond his mundane groundskeeping, which was the care of an old, crafted wooden box. It seemed that some of the conversers were agitating for the late caretaker, while others were just as rabidly against him. I recall that a fleeting suspicion crossed my mind that, with enough enemies, any man can be set-up and murdered. This idea crossed my mind fleetingly, as I said, the way stray thoughts are wont to do in any active mind during the course of events and the vicissitudes of the day.

The sense was of a deep social divide in this community; that was the milieu, if you will.

The next scene that I recall was directly from my own perspective, but my identity was unclear; whether I was the same precise character from before or a different one, or some degree different, in some way, was what was unclear.

I was on a road, an unimproved road as we would call it, that is, cleared completely, but just a dirt road nonetheless. I would imagine that all of the roads were of this kind, if not undeveloped altogether. The road passed through the thick, wild forest which comprised the greatest area of the--I want to say island, but I don't know that it was an island--land.

I had paused at the side of the road, to pick something up perhaps (this is not clear right now). Suddenly, from the opposite side of the road, from within the woods but not at ground level, about 15 feet in the air, just high enough to be extremely threatening, a bizarre, 'alien,' slightly anthropomorphized flying insect-man came wheeling straight at me. The creature's intention was immediately clear, without ambiguity: to kill me.

I immediately reached somewhere on my body, maybe to where my boot ended at the ankle, and grasped a knife which I brandished for all my life, with adrenaline flooding my nervous system with the survival instinct. The creature made a frighteningly close pass at me (it may have grazed me, or not, I'm still not sure about this); perhaps my brandishing of the knife had thrown it from its course.

As the creature readied to wheel and make a second pass at me from where it first emerged, I was startled by an approaching noise that quickly increased in volume, coming from my left, not quite from the road but approaching the road from the woods on my side. A line of at least 10, possibly as many as 20, bizarrely clad warriors with strange swords stormed from the woods and headed straight for the creature. Their intention was as readily apparent as the creature's had been when it first made its appearance: to kill the creature; I did not understand whether these characters were friends or enemies or neither, but I was relieved utterly to see them (temporarily, at least) rescue me.

I omitted that the creature, in addition to two wings, had a sort of stinger-tail, like that of a scorpion, with the point stiffened and ready to strike, beneath it.

The battle scene was not epic, as they seemed to have chased it off (although they may have killed it, this part is foggy).

The rest is very bizarre and lacks continuity, but I'll record what memory offers.

I had been escorted (they were allies after all) to a sort of stronghold in another area (not necessarily a different realm altogther, but this place did not fit in with the original land). This place had a strange, futuro-archaic blending of old-fashioned and ultra-modern and high-tech, like the warriors had seemed with their armor that looked like platinum, who also carried modern-seeming swords. Anachronism is the word to keep in mind now.

This place was like an ancient, fortified city of Europe in external design, in outward appearance that is, but had very modern, even futuristic capabilities and equipment.

There was a strong hue of orange all around, either emanating from the fortress-city itself, or indicating that the sun was setting (you know how ambiguous dreams can be, at least when trying to recollect them). There was a great bustle all around, and people were obviously getting prepared for a battle.

I recall the air becoming full of and teeming with creatures like the one from before, but some were larger. There was also a great 'mothership' (this is the word that just fits now) hovering high above in the air. I am not sure whether this belonged to the creatures as some staging point for their assault, or if it was 'ours' ('us' being the humans, I suppose).

The next and last scene I can recall is that I was flying myself, high up in the amber air, exulting in the thrill of flying, then I noticed that I was flying straight towards the 'mouth' of the earlier-mentioned 'mothership.' It had a wide-open sort of loading zone, like a mouth that was wide open, and this was clearly my goal.

I forgot to mention, and this may make things somewhat clearer, that the aforementioned caretaker and that wooden box had been related to the ensuing events by someone at some point. I think it was directly explained to me after my rescue -- then again, I may have heard it when I overheard the conversation in the cemetary, or even when being escorted by the strange futuristic knights who had saved me from the stranger flying-scorpion-insect-man.

The box held some secret or power of some kind, the guarding of which was a sacred duty by the people of the land where this whole tale began. The caretaker had been charged with this duty, as I mentioned. But this was very important -- this was the sense I got. So, I inferred that the caretaker's death somehow brought about this whole war because he was the only one who could fulfill this duty, and thus things were no longer as they should be; or, conversely, that he had been mismanaging things somehow, and that those dissident ones who argued against him during the conversation in the cemetary had conspired against him (maybe murdered him) in order to get the box into the care of someone else's hands.
These two conjectures are what I really thought during the dream, but again, you know how dreams are, so I seemed to be thinking in multiple directions at once.

Interestingly, this all took place in a slightly lucid state. For example, when I reached for the dagger that I had, I remember that I actively considered my options and 'remembered' that I had a knife on me, thus prompting me to draw it.

Unfortunately, this is all of the detail that I can remember about this dream, and as you can tell, much of this detail is highly ambiguous, so every scenario has multiple directions it could have taken, each one with the potential to completely alter the tone and mood of the later scenes.

Considering this point, I suppose it's not too much of a stretch of imagination to say that, in a way, -all- of the possible twists and turns had happened, simultaneously, or synchronistically. There are many brilliant people [i.e., Buckminster Fuller and Robert Anton Wilson] who argue for a multi-dimensional universe with parallel realities, so...why not?

Friday, May 15

A note to my non-Readership

Some interviews in the works:

It of Abruptum, Ophthalamia, Vondur et alia.

Apollyon (two years and still waiting for those answers! This obviously won't happen...then again...).

Jogezai of Taarma (after three years, I finally got a response, and this very well may materialize; maybe Apollyon will send those answers, after all).

I'll keep the two or three of you folks who read this posted on developments.

A word on errors - typographical, orthographical and ontological.

As a longstanding matter of policy, since the first and second website incarnations of this underground metal medium, I do not edit the interviewees' responses for even ovbiouus typographical errors. So, when you happen to see these, and you will, do not be alarmed that I have erroneously typed the responses or presume that there is some terrible mistake - there isn't. Hell, I will post a bounty to the one who can spot a typographical error on my part; there must be one, though more than that is unlikely!

Interview with Yasuyuki

Yasuyuki Suzuki honored my silly questions with his ichiban answers. You know him from Abigail, Barbatos, Tiger Junkies and Cut-Throat, plus numerous guest appearances with a myriad of bands. I had the pleasure to buy the Welcome All Hell Fuckers EP from him when he played with Sigh at the Spotlight in Virginia in 2003 (ca.). I was in a hurry and wanted him to sign it, so I ripped the shrink-wrapping off of the case with my teeth like a starving dog, eliciting a chuckle from him. Very cool on!
Was this your first trip to the US, musically or otherwise? What did you think of the fans there? Do you agree that metal transcends national borders, bringing metalheads together under the flag of blood, blasphemy and beer? In other words, do you feel that a metalhead is a metalhead no matter what part of the world they're from?

Hails ! Yes SIGH usa tour were my first trip to usa. Sure tour was great and met many many metal headbangers. I think they were crazy. Ha ha. Many diehard fans bring the my CD's then I wrote many autograph for my stuff. Amazed. Few month later I went to usa again for ABIGAIL usa tour. Sure great shows. Everyday beer and metal !

How did you like playing with Deceased? I particularly enjoyed when Deceased brought Mirai on stage to do the vocals for their cover of Black Metal! I couldn't believe my fucking ears, or my eyes!

Yeah I really enjoyed DECEASED shows. King was very funny guy ! I remember session with King on VA show. But I think it was Die hard. No ? Maybe never played Black metal on this tour.

I love Abigail, but another project of yours is Barbatos. As a drummer, I truly enjoy your drumming on War! Speed and Power and Rocking Metal Motherfucker--the album Fury and Fear... is great too. What is the meaning of this name?

Thanks ! But I have not beat drums on the BARBATOS albums [oops! - Alky]. I used session musicians. BARBATOS is my favorite lucifer name. It's very strong !

Barbatos songs often deal with the Japanese military of WW II, with songs like We're Crazy Fighters and Zero Fighter. Who is your favorite Japanese military hero of WW II, and please tell me something about him?

Yes I'm writing lyrics about war, beer, sexual, metal. Zero fighter is my fave fighter air plane. Very strong and fit my sound. Then I respect Isoroku Yamamoto. He was boss of the japanese army.

Who the hell is Ilona, anyway?

Ilona is famous italian porno star. If you want know more, please lead BULLDOZER's "IX" album lyrics ! She is the very best !

It sounds to me like you have life figured out with "Beer! Metal! Sex!" That really does sum it up. What are your thoughts on psychedelic substances such as LSD, psilocybin (Magic Mushrooms) and mescaline (Peyote)?

I don't use drugs. Beer and sex are my medicine. I can get more ecstasy from it.

What are some of your favorite horror/gore films? Directors?

Cannibal holocaust. But I'm more into prono movies.

How about Akira Kurosawa? I love The Seven Samurai!

Yeah I love seven samurai. Also I love Takeshi Kitano too. His movies are more violence, yakuza and suicide ! Fucking dengirous.

What's a typical Friday night like for you? Do you invite Mirai over, order pizza and watch horror movies all night while listening to Venom LPs? Or do you go out to the bars and pick up as many sluts as you can find? Or both?

Some times going to rock bar or open metal party with friends. But recently are very busy for recordings and reharsal.

Abigail has an upcoming US tour. Will this be limited like the Sigh tour, or will you visit more areas of the country; and Canada?

Maybe we are going to usa tour in summer 2007. We have plan play in west and east coast, canada and Mexico. Nuclear war now ! prod will organize this tour. I can't wait.

Do you have all of your fingers? Fingertips?


What do you think about the South Korean band Sad Legend?

I have not listen this band yet.

Abigail consists of yourself, Yasunori and Youhei. What other musical projects are those two involved in?

Yasunori left the band long time ago. Youhei is beating drums on CUT THROAT and some BARBATOS traxs. Also I'm using hight school days friends for BARBATOS recordings. Jero of GORGON is playing the ABIGAIL and BARBATOS live sessions. Of course Mirai and Shinichi are still playing the CUT THRAOT with us.

Japan is well-known as the pioneer in the robotics industry. Are personal maid-type robots affordable, and if so, do you have one yet? You could program her to listen to metal while washing your dishes and wearing a French maids' outfit.

No intersting it. I'm a not manga otaku.

I know Abigail has toured Europe before--did this include stops in Germany? If so, what did you think of Deutschland, its culture and its people?

We played many times in germany. I like germany because possible drink beer everywhere. Ha ha.

Will you include a stop in Afghanistan in your tour?

I don't know. Very hard find organizer. Ha ha.


Tuesday, May 12

Interview with Saul M. of Waylander - Co. Armagh, Northern Ireland

I first heard Waylander's song Born to the Fight on some underground metal compilation tape I stumbled across. It was a demo' version--from the second demo' Dawning of a New Age, since there was a tin whistle playing along--to make an educated guess.
Since then, I've gotten ahold of both albums, and like both a lot, especially the first--which is the case with a lot of my favorite bands.
Unlike many so-called Folk Metal bands, not to name any...Cruachan...Waylander doesn't seem to 'over-do' it with the traditional instruments. The tin whistle is just another instrument, playing along always like the drums and guitars. I prefer this approach because Waylander relies on their metal roots to distinguish themselves, rather than throwing in two bagpipe players, a few bodhrans and a harp. QUESTION is (this is my only lame duck question, I promise): You are currently recording the third album. Will the new album be in the same vein as the older twain, with Ard Chieftan O'Hagan's gruff death metal vocals and down-to-Earth, yet certainly Celtic, style? Or have you hired Shane 'No-Tooth' McGowan to do backing vocals?

Firstly I wouldn’t say that Cruachan over do it with the trad instrument. That’s their style and do it very very well. Folk metal falls into so many sub-genres these days, and I see them as mainly a folk band with added metal elements. On the other hand I feel that we are the opposite. We keep the metal first and the trad second, mainly that our live shows are reliant on how well the local sound man can mix trad instruments. We’ve taken a new approach with the new album, the folk is as important as the metal. We took a lot of time with the folk instruments bringing them up to the level of the guitars and drums. So expect to hear Fiddle, Mandolin and Uilleann pipes aswell as the usual tinwhistle.
Eexpect every part of the album to be far more mature and epic than past works. From the drums to the guitars to the folk instruments, we took a very long time to make sure that they were as epic and folkishly technical as we could possibly play while staying “true” to our old school black/death/thrash roots and the Waylander sound.
The new album features 2 new members on guitars. Featuring myself and gazz, so a far higher level of guitar playing all round, especially with lead playing and solo swapping between guitars and traditional instruments.

For my edification, because I'm an ignorant POGUE, please tell me about life in Northern Ireland, specifically in your county of Armagh. Have the Troubles troubled you in Armagh? Is Armagh a predominantly Catholic area; does the populace prefer to stay with Great Britain or to rejoin Ireland-proper? What do you and the rest of the band think about this?

We all come from different parts of Northern Ireland, for example Ciaran is from Armagh and I am from Lisburn. Both areas are from both ends of the political spectram. The band is now 50/50 when it comes to being “protestant” or “catholic”, but it has never came up at any point or caused arguments within the band. As far as we see it we are metal heads and that’s a religion in itself in this country and fuck everything else. In the Irish metal scene “what religion are you?” will be the last question you will ever hear. We are a Pagan metal band so therefore we have strong pagan beliefs that contradict most forms of mainstream religion, so we don’t count ourselves as part of either side of the Northern Irish political battlefield.
We get asked political questions all the time and are assumed to be “anti British and pro IRA” which gets us pretty wound up as we don’t want to be connected to that part of Irish culture in any way.

This may be partly answered by your response to the last question (this is not a REALTIME interview, whomever is reading this), but how do 'normal' people in Armagh, or Northern Ireland in general, react to a band that demands a return of the proud Gaelic people's pagan past?

You’d be surprised, anywhere we play there’s always a crowd of drunken headcases jumping round the place. Irish traditional music seems to bring out that alcoholic in all of us haha
Irish traditional music was in this country before Christianity ever hit these shores. So no matter if you protestant, catholic or Jedi, you should be very proud of the beautiful instruments this Island calls its own.
There are some people who cant get past the political side of things in this country, who we see in the corner of our gigs with their arms folded. I’d like to thank them for that, as we then know who we should really be playing for, The people down the front with Pint in hand. We will never pretend we are something we are not to please a crowd in a certain religious area. We are a pagan metal band and that’s the way it is.

What have you to say about the so-called Celtic Twilight (or was it Celtic Revival?...) that William Butler Yeats spoke of, believed in and worked towards?

I probably should know more about it, but I don’t haha.
From what I know he was focused on the ancient Irish stories over anything political. As with our music, all our lyrics are about Celtic Mythology and ancient Irish history. Which we feel is the real Ireland.

How fares the Gaelic tongue in Northern Ireland? Is it similar to Ireland, where it is generally only spoken in secluded, rural areas?

Same applies here, though it is actually getting popular again. Also the use of “Ulster-Scots” is becoming more common. Which is a blend of Gaelic and northern Irish/Scottish slang. Ciaran our singer loves to use the Irish language within our music. For example, the poem in the middle of “King Of The Faries”
Wish I actually knew what he was saying hahaha. I could ask him, but you know how it is when there’s more important aspects of folk metal……like drinking

Everybody knows that alcohol takes precedence over all else in every Irishman's life, without exception (being sober and Irish means that you can stand up to piss). What experience have you (all of you, y'all as we say in southern States) with psychedelic drugs such as LSD and magic mushrooms? Do you think that Terrence McKenna's hypothesis makes sense: that psilocybin-containing mushrooms are the perennially sought-after "missing link," which bridges our language-using "superior" species to our hominid ancestors?

Mushrooms eh?? Haha
We make sure that we partake in most Pagan holidays, such as
Lughnasadh and Beltaine. Where mushroom tea and pagan rituals sort of go hand in hand. Personally I felt a great sense of spirituality with them…..until I got chased by a scarecrow… not always so fun.
A past member of Waylander (Jason Barriskill) now experiments in areas of Shamanism and has written several papers on how psychedelic drugs and certain images effect spirituality. I just wouldn’t leave my pint around him unattended, incase I’m his next preject haha.
I see the stereotypical “drunken Irish man” view still stands. I would protest that if we weren’t know for our drunken exploits.
There actually used to be monthly articles in metal mags about who Waylander had drunk under the table haha. Still undefeated I must say. The whole drinking reputation was part of the reason Century Media signed the band.
Recently we played a German festival called Pagan Nights and challenged all the bands to a Drinking World Cup. The main rivals were Vreid (formally Windir) representing Norway and Wolfchant raising the horn for Germany.
I can tell you that it was a close call, but after 5 days drinking and the tally was counted, we seemed to have drank more pints than all the other bands put together. A proud moment I assure you!

Tell me about some other worthy bands from Northern Ireland that I should check out.

I dunno where to start. Ireland as a whole has an unbelievably high standard of bands.
But staying within the North, my favourite bands would have to be Overoth, Sorrowfall, Condemned Nemesis, Aftermath…..the list goes on.
But if I had to mention just one band it would have to be Runecaster. Gazz (our other guitarist) plays bass for them and our producer on the new album is the front man. They serve up some of the best “fist in the air” folk anthems you’ll find anywhere. So I’d advise everyone to hunt them down.
Also I couldn’t go without mentioning my other band while im at it haha “Order Of Shadow” which also features Waylander’s other guitarist Gazz. Check it out if you like epic black/death metal. So look out for the OOS album later in the year.

What do you think about some of the better-known Irish bands like Cruachan, Primordial, Geasa, The Pogues and (of course) Thin Lizzy?

What can’t we say about Primordial?? We all love them!! It’s only the beginning for them now that they are getting so much exposure. If there’s anyone reading that hasn’t heard their last album “The Gathering Wilderness” you don’t know what your missing. Instant classic!
One over looked Irish band is Horselips, they started the whole celtic rock vibe for us and also covered “King Of The Faries” but I prefer ours haha
Clannad also inspire us to no end when it comes to atmosphere. If anyone hasn’t heard of them, they are the Irish version of Finland’s “Tenhi” they are made up of Enya’s brothers and sister.

Waylander has played at such metal festivals as Bloodstock and the Day of Darkness festival. What sort of reception does a band from Northern Ireland get at a big, international metal fest?

Day Of Darkness is just a great day out and piss up as we know about 98% of the people there. Unfortunately I joined the band 3 weeks after Bloodstock 03 but from articles I’ve read, it’ll be a while till people forget us seeing that each year they have a spot called “this years Waylandery style band” haha. We were also in the top 10 bands to play Bloodstock in Metalhammer magazine which was nice.
When it comes hospitality no festival compares to Pagan Nights in Germany. Apart form all the free alcohol that week, they brought us to a few birthday parties and piss up session, which I doubt they’ll forget haha.
We’ve got a good few International festivals lined up for this summer as well as several tours. We will also be hitting the U.S. with any luck, so if there’s any of you out in the states that’s up for a drinking contest bring it to the gig. We’ve beaten most of Europe and need new challenges haha.

This is really a follow-up to the last question: I think that Impaled Nazarene and Beherit once played the Day of Darkness festival together, unless I'm mistaken--have you met any of those maniacs, by chance? Specifically, what do you think of Beherit?

Neither of them have played Day Of Darkness before, so I can’t really say.
Haven’t heard Beherit as far as I know.

Do you or anyone you know have any idea of the whereabouts of Holocausto Vengeance of Beherit--last I heard, he was going by the name DJ Gamma?

I’m assuming he’s a know nutcase?? Don’t know anything about that sorry.


Thanks for the interview, remember to link the following.

Also mention that the new album “Honour Amongst Chaos” will be out in March.
thanks again

Sunday, May 10

Interview Mike Riddick of Yamatu, Equimanthorn, The Soil Bleeds Black and sundry others - Virginia, USA

Firstly, why not introduce yourself according to your sundry professions? My interest in interviewing you lies with my observation of your name all over the metal underground; when snooping around for more Absu information (enough is never enough), reading a random metal 'zine, and beyond. I frequently will read paraphrases of: "Mike Riddick contributed X to project Y"; "enlisting the help of X, project Y was able to..." It's been a while since I've conducted one of my classic "static" interviews, as I call them, so pardon me while as I warm up to some better questions, and thanks in advance for helping me to break back in. Nutshell: describe some of your musical, literary, and artistic endeavors, et caetera.

Gavin, thank you for the opportunity to share my endeavors and thoughts on your website, it’s an honor and pleasure! My activities in the metal community began when first being introduced to the underground scene via Alex (Arghoslent / Grand Belial’s Key). The underground provided a great opportunity for my twin brother, Mark, and I to begin actively promoting our music in 1992/1993. Our initial expedition came in the form of a death metal project named EXCRESCENT. The project disbanded in the mid-nineties though has taken on a new form in my brother’s solo project, FETID ZOMBIE. In 1993/1994 I established my solo occult metal project, YAMATU. Several rare demos were published along with a tape release from France’s Drakkar Productions. The project is still active today and will likely see a new birth in 2008/2009. In 1992 we also established a folk/fantasy metal project titled THE SOIL BLEEDS BLACK. The project quickly evolved into a neo-medieval band that has since published numerous CDs and Vinyls on various European labels. We launched a replacement folk metal project named MOONROOT in 1998. Our debut album for MOONROOT will be published on Black Widow Records (Italy) later this year. Mark and I also joined the ranks of occult-experimental project, EQUIMANTHORN, in the mid-nineties. We’re currently wrapping up our fourth collaborative album with them this year, to be titled “A Fifth Conjuration.” In the early 2000’s, we completed an experimental project with members of BLACK FUNERAL, titled HEXENTANZ. The result was an exposition of musical medieval witchcraft. This project may continue to create albums in the long term, but for now it is on hold. Apart from myself, my brother has also contributed to the folk-metal outfit, FOLKEARTH, for several albums. Mark also performs in the band UNBURIED (VA). Perhaps it’s plainly obvious that we keep active. As for artistic contributions, my brother is rather widely known for his illustrative work so I don’t think I need to elaborate on that. He was recently profiled in Metal Hammer, Terrorizer and Revolver Magazines. Likewise, I have contributed a fair share of design work for various underground and major label metal bands. Our latest collaborative art project can be found on the new ARSIS album from Nuclear Blast.

I suppose that the first musical entity of yours that I heard was with The Soil Bleeds Black. Now, the track that I heard was one of a compilation released by The Fossil Dungeon. There were two ancient Equitant tracks, an Equimanthorn track or two, and many other darkly ambient tracks by many other bands. Would you tell me about The Fossil Dungeon, its provenance and its legacy?

THE FOSSIL DUNGEON was born out of a cassette tape label my brother and I operated in the early nineties called Dark Age Productions (in coincidence with PROSCRIPTOR of ABSU and Bard of CERNUNNOS’ WOODS). We would publish esoteric music (primarily from artists emerging from the metal community) and we would package and present these tapes in unique ways. Several of the bands from our small tape label later got picked up by labels like COLD MEAT INDUSTRY and DARK VINYL RECORDS. Since I was doing a lot of artwork for Dark Vinyl’s releases at the time, we collectively agreed to publish a compilation CD, titled “The Fossil Dungeon,” featuring bands from the archives of the Dark Age Productions roster. Shortly thereafter I launched my label under the same moniker: The Fossil Dungeon. That was seven or eight years ago and now the label has evolved into a 100% digital music label, preparing for the future. We managed to publish a catalog of about 20-25 high quality vinyls and CDs during that time span. We’re grateful for the response and appreciation we received for those efforts.

Now, the final track on this compilation (I cannot recall the name of the compilation) was attributed to Proscriptor. I'll make a wild conjecture and say that this untitled Proscriptor track was 1:37 in length. It involved some basic percussion, with a sort of back-and-forth chanted/sung part between Proscriptor and some woman. What's the deal with this Proscriptor track? I've never been able to get to the bottom of it, but often include it as a final track on Absu/Proscriptor/Magus compilations that I push on friends.

I don’t recall what PROSCRIPTOR’s original intent was with this particular song you speak of. I recall it being an invocation or calling of sorts, though I’m unsure of the purpose. I should ask him next time we communicate.

Equimanthorn. Equimanthorn, Equimanthorn, Equimanthorn...what's the story?

My first full experience was with Second Sephira Cella, a CD-R copy that Emperor Proscriptor Magickus McGovern, of regimental fame, who burned down the entire village of Xaltun in under eleven minutes--phew!--sent me. It is one of the albums that I use to feed my ever-so-hungry imagination after long grueling days of work, which tend to lack anything of the preternatural, primordial evocations so prevalent in Equimanthorn.

Now, having listened to Nindinugga Nimshimshargal Enlillara, I have more of this imaginative pabulum to chew over, figuratively of course (no, I don't ever eat discs, unless they're Absu discs!). The latter album is a bit different; as I see it, that is, hear it.

My first impression was that it doesn't seem as strictly ambient as Second Sephira Cella. Being a fan of Equitant, I recognized Equitant's electronic contributions immediately: heavy effects over his voice, and occasional drifting electronic sounds. Equitant certainly seems to have matured through his solo-work. I recognize Proscriptor's chants and singing, being a fanatical collector of his own solo-works.

Again, I beg your pardon for going on a rant when I am supposed to be asking a simple question: what's the story with Equimanthorn and your personal involvement?

First, I must say that the Southern Abyssic Communion of ABSU have always been an artistic and creative group of individuals. They initiated this “metal side project” before it was a trendy phenomenon (to my knowledge, only Mortiis and Abruptum had tread this territory). My understanding is that EQUIMANTHORN was born out of a creative energy to express the mysteries of life. The complex maze of understanding these mysteries conjure and the challenge of the inward journey are prominent throughout the first album, “Nindinugga…” The following albums continue this expression, leading up to our latest work (not yet released), which will be much more humble and explicative in nature. My involvement began with the rare second release, “Lectionum Antiquarum,” and really took form on “Second Sephira Cella” and “Exalted are the 7…” I’m personally pleased that you find satisfaction and an inspired imagination when engaging these works. That is, in part, what they are intended to accomplish.

Would it interest you to know that I am writing these questions from Sumeria? Well, I am. I just spent about a month in what was the site of Ur, where the Great Ziggurat of Ur still stands, having suffered some reconstruction. It takes time for the significance of these circumstances to sink in, due to the hectic and constant nature of my job (cleaning Sumerian toilets), but when I have a moment to rest, and pester people with questions like these, I realize how fucking amazing it all is. Sometimes I just sit outside, beneath the waxing moon, and feel it, in the air, and the soil, and the moonlight. Does this sound corny? I hope not, because I want my job cleaning toilets to have a sense of importance.

Toilet cleaning is a necessary evil. It is a blessing to sit on a clean toilet so those who use the ones you clean ought to respect your work! Toilets are also superb places of meditation so your job is, in some sense, a sacred one. You’d be surprised at the painstaking tasks many of the ancients went through to purify places of meditation! It was truly a remarkable and challenging role. While your present residence is considered a war zone, as it has been many times in history, you are certainly in a most ancient and magical place. It is amazing, truly! I long to one day visit the temples that surround you! Seven miles southwest of Ur (modern Tell Abu Shahrain) is the ancient city of Eridu where the first religious temple known to man was built. It is recorded that the god Enki oversaw the completion of this temple. He is also the god accredited with saving humanity and Utnapishtim (the biblical Noah) from the great flood. Of course, Ur is an old and sacred place as well. It was Abraham, founder of the Jews, who was a holy priest in Ur, later showing loyalty only to Yahweh. Many gods have manipulated and guided the history of humanity in your region. It is certainly still a clearly active place for world events.

An observation that I've made, that the name of Uruk bears an obvious etymological link to the modern name Iraq, turns out to be a contentious issue between historical linguists--I was disappointed to learn that I was not the first to see it. Another, similar observation I've made is that there are modern Iraqi names that bear the same resemblance. I was haggling with an Iraqi merchant, and during the talks over some trinket (haggling is important, regardless of what the item is) I asked his name. He responded that his name was Shamas. Instantly, I thought of Shamash and the Epic of Gilgamesh; other thoughts passed through my head, like "I wonder if he has a friend named Qilha'amesh"? Indeed, upon further importuning, Shamas told me that his name was from the Arabic name for "the sun." He got a bit reticent when I probed him for awareness of his pagan namesake, but I think that he knew all about it. Isn't this amazing?

That really is quite fascinating! I had no idea Shamas was a name used in this age still. It really shows the power and influence of history over hundreds of generations. I too have read of the lingual dispute regarding Iraq vs Uruk. It is a rather curious one!

In your own way, apart from anything I've mentioned about ancient Mesopotamia, please explain to me your interest in Sumerian paleo-history.

My interest originally stemmed from the fictional Necronomicon. In spite of its fictitious origins, it did lead to an interest in this area of history. Later, being a student of religion and philosophy at a Christian/Methodist school, my interest was spawned further when studying the history of the Jews as well as having access to vintage (late 1800s) books replete with Sumerian history at the campus library. I also examined other world religions and older traditions such as those of the Egyptians. All throughout this, I was also being educated, trained and initiated by a society with origins based in the old Temples in Ur. It was a magical period in the pursuit of knowledge and I will forever be fond of Mesopotamia and its history. What of yourself? I’m curious!

Tell me a bit about your brother and his activities. I've checked out Fetid Zombie and like this a lot. It's good old death metal, played the good old way, with the good old spirit. Hungry fetus? Yes! My favorite is Toilet Water Baptism! I love it. I also like his artwork (even ordered a Fetid Zombie t-shirt). His hellustrations remind me of the days when I was a still a teenager, listening to Carcass and Cannibal Corpse and the like; you know, you always had at least one buddy who was sketching some starving woman corpse eating her own half-developed baby! Who didn't? If you didn't, then this interview is over!

My brother never ceases to amaze me with his deviously creative renderings! One would think you would run out of ideas after thousands of illustrations, but he keeps developing new extremes of depravity. In some sense I consider it immature at times, perhaps having grown older now, yet I know this is what he excels at and his imagination is boundless. His band, FETID ZOMBIE, reflects his art quite precisely…ranging from disgusting to blasphemous. In many ways I believe this is an outlet for his distaste for organized religion and his own dealing with perhaps the darker qualities of the human condition. I’m excited about his music, as you noted, he’s bringing back some of the older underground death metal feel. His next release will even feature a guest appearance from Kam Lee (ex-DEATH / MASSACRE). I never thought something like that would happen, but it will most certainly be exciting!

Without getting too detailed, are you able to support yourself primarily through exercise of your artistic gifts, or do you require a mortal guise with which to trudge through the financial miasma of the common man's way of life? Don't you wish that I could just come out and ask a question, without some grandiose stylization? Just answer the first question.

Gavin, I really appreciate how you pose your questions in an interesting manner. It’s refreshing! As for financial sustenance, one could say that it does come via my creative effort. As active as I am with music, I do not currently make a financial lifestyle from it. I have been employed as a full-time designer with a company for about a decade now. That is my primary income source though I have recently developed more of an entrepreneurial spirit on account of my wife’s encouragement and inspiration. I’ve learned a lot about money and business during the past few years and I’ve learned that a basic financial education is vitally important to survival and well-being in life. I highly recommend anyone reading this to get some basic financial education. One good place to start is Dave Ramsey’s “Total Money Makeover.” His approach is conservative and provides a stable approach to securing financial well being. I will note, however, that no one ever became wealthy saving money so if one truly desires to get ahead in life, being a business owner of some kind is perhaps one’s best bet. There are tons of opportunities out there, whether it is through one’s own ideas and volition or through the variety of multi-level marketing businesses available to the “common man.” There are ways to get ahead. Often, the measure of one’s mind is reflected in the measure of their income. Wealthy people are those who think differently. A good classic book that is highly enlightening on this subject is “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. He is, essentially, the grandfather of the self-help movement and his book gleans wisdom from some of the greatest minds in American history. I highly support both of the books listed here if one really wants to change their financial situation or current position in life.

Unless you've covered this in the first question, tell me about Yamatu. I downloaded Shurpu Asaru from, but haven't quite absorbed it enough to ask very specific questions about it. I understand that it's essentially a collection of your demo's. Correct? I can tell you that I do like the way that you've put it together, with interludes that make me feel right at home here in Sumeria!

Indeed, the “Shurpu Asaru” release is a collection of demo recordings that took place between 1994 and 1998. It seemed, at the time, that much of this material was being duplicated on second-hand copies among various tape traders and I preferred a clearer rendering be made available. It was first published in a very limited unabridged CDR format (with lyrics and Sumerian tables) via Ultima Comparatio Productions. It was later reprinted as an abridged CD, of which there are a few remaining copies available. This project is still active and should see some new material forthcoming later this year or early 2009.

Now, the bread and butter: tell me about What was the inspiration; what is the mission, and where do you see this leading? I commend you for sticking a foot forward into the muck, and helping metal survive in the digital age! You can read about my own frustrations concerning digital music in the Bruce Willis/Marco Kehren interivew, but, damnit, I have a good reason for dealing with digital music files and players! Until they invent the VinylMan, I'm leaving my records at home! was born from an idea my wife had when discussing my other label, The Fossil Dungeon. The idea presented itself as an opportunity to begin an extreme metal label which is something I’ve always wanted to do. The mission of is to not only be the first all-digital extreme metal label, but to also eventually become the single-source online for purchasing extreme metal Mp3s. Another of our objectives is to help transit the underground into the digital age. We have partnerships with more than 25 other labels that we’re helping to tap into the digital music market. We have some other innovations that we plan to introduce during the rest of this year and we trust it should prove interesting and exciting!