If you frequent my blog you will know by now that I only review releases that I can highly recommend to other people. And since music is rarely detached from the musician, I usually try to get some deeper knowledge by talking to the band responsible for it. Last year when I reviewed Battle Dagorath‘s album “I – Dark Dragons of the Cosmos” I decided to wait for the second part of this opus to do the interview. And now the time has come, since “II – Frozen Light of Eternal Darkness” releases in about a week.
So BSB, tell me a little more about the band, a short bio if you like.
Battle Dagorath was born in the year 2002. Since the beginning the vision was to invoke the haunted pathways and create distant ominous landscapes. Cold Bleak Atmospheres and Intense Glorification of Darkness are combined to open the gates of the Night Sky. Harnessing the forces of Mystique Revelation we journey through fields beyond these horizons, exploring realms of the deeper dimensions. Through time we have gradually evolved as an outlier within this so-called “Atmospheric” black metal genre. When we started the sound derived from the early forms of Black metal but also with other outside influences, and we remain this way.
It’s been almost a year since you released “I- Dark Dragons of the Cosmos”. How has the feedback been so far?
There’s always a mixed reaction to our albums so it’s nothing new. In general every time we release an album it flies under the radar and gets discounted by many. We’ve never really been accepted or hailed by the mass and I don’t think that will ever change. Nowadays “Atmospheric” black metal has become labeled as another cliché and we get accused of this, but I don’t see it as such, whatever trends that come and go, has nothing to do with us. We find our own path and we evolve in our own way. By nature, Black Metal is atmospheric, so beyond a reference point for dummies, this term is redundant. For me the fight ends when we finish the songs. I don’t waste much time looking for positive or negative attention. It really means nothing. Everyone experiences their own truths, so I don’t go too far beyond into others thoughts. If somehow the music can connect with others in a natural way, then that’s good.
Give me some insights about your lyrical themes and your artwork.
Battle Dagorath is music from a dreamlike dimension. It is a solemn ceremony to the inner cycles of the soul. The end result is a purging rite that ruminates into the deep shrouds of disintegration. Metamorphosis consumes your being. Our explorations manifest from the unconscious, we travel along these gateways. The places that would inspire this are more cold remote distant places that lurk in the inner realms, untouched places. This creation is about these things that lie beyond the pale. This is the basis for our inspiration. To look through the boundaries of this dimension and into other dimensions.
This is only the first part of an opus. When is the second part, “II- Frozen Light of Eternal Darkness” coming?
“Frozen Light” is to be released in the Autumn time of 2017 by Avantgarde Music (p.s. according to their bandcamp it releases September 15th).
Can we expect something vastly different in “II”, or is it an extension of the path you followed with “I”?
All the releases are extensions of each other; each one evolves like a link in the chain. “Frozen Light” is the natural next step in this path. There is an emphasis of hypnotic majesty in the arrangements. We expanded on the mystical embodiment and spectral grandeur of our message.
In retrospect, would you change anything in the albums?
No not really. When you look back there can be things that you could pick at but I don’t dwell too much on the past works. Once the music is completed I’m done and on to the next work. With creating, I enjoy seeing both the limits of the past and the evolution into the future. I think every artist can see it in this way, otherwise there would be no point.
You have released “I” in both CD and vinyl format. “II” will be released only in CD. What is the reason for that? Are we going to see it in vinyl at a later time?
With “Dark Dragons” we wanted a vinyl. But it doesn’t have to be this way for everything. The format of any release is something secondary. These things have their charms but it’s merely materialism and it won’t endure. Only music endures. I don’t know if “Frozen Light of Eternal Darkness” will be released on vinyl, Avantgarde Music has said that they will release it on vinyl eventually, but we shall have to wait and see.
You live in the USA while Vinterriket is located in Switzerland (if I am not wrong). How do you manage to work? What is your creative routine?
We never rehearse, only create. I construct the structures here in my home, then I’ll mail rough drafts to Vinterriket and we start to develop the songs in this manner, going back and forth experimenting with the ideas.
What are your future plans for Battle Dagorath?
At a time the frustrations I felt with the limitations of this band had me thinking that I wouldn’t go any further. But lately I’m rethinking things, I want to take things slow and simply continue being creative. I’m planning a few splits with some good artists who I am in contact with.
I know you also run a label. Give me some details. Are you accepting demos from bands or do you scout yourself?
I’ve had a label, Mercenary Musik, for many years now. It was always run idealistically, as a vehicle to push great underground art, Mercenary Musik will always stand for art as it should be, free from conformity! But in many ways it’s too unrealistic for my health and survival. In the last years the label has become far more inactive. After 20 years involved in this, I’d say that I’m definitely winding it down now. It still exists but not like before.
There is a shift in the music business. Bands are now releasing music easier than ever. On the other hand, people don’t seem interested to pay for music anymore. Being both in a band and a label, where do you stand on this?
From a business perspective, this is the worst time you could have chosen to make music. The Internet created a deep vacuum and what remains is merely a shell from the past. The mystery of discovering music that existed in the old days has been replaced by instant gratification, now you can conveniently find 20 bands all sounding the same within a few clicks, without pay a dime .As an artist there isn’t money to be made from this. What I’ve learned is that you have to try and not let these limits derail your dreams to create. Humanity in conjunction with technology is a plague that is reaching for the end game. Don’t have any expectations. There are no solutions to anything.
Are you involved in any other bands or projects? What are your personal future plans?
I’m also involved in a black-thrash project called Hellschwadron, we released an album last year entitled “Storming Obliteration”. Currently I’m writing the lyrics for another album.
Any albums that you’ve listened to recently and would like to share with the readers of this interview?
About the scene nowadays, without wanting to sound overly negative, I don’t feel part of it. I can probably name more bands that I don’t like than those that I do. And I’m really only interested to listen to artists that I relate with. Some great ones that I can mention are Lorn, Earth and Pillars, Near, Lluvia, Brouillard, Forn Valdyrheim, Dissonant Winds, Tempestarii, Volahn, Prosternatur, Cryfemal, to name a few. Also the new Sadistic Intent split, which I helped with some engineering, this one is magic!
What do you know about the Greek metal scene? Any favorite bands?
My favorites are Spectral Lore, Darchon, Nocternity, Lord Impaler, Order of the Ebon Hand, Typhoeus, Prometheus, Stutthof, Legion of Doom, Dark Messiah.
Closing thoughts ? Anything else to add?
Thanks for this interview!