The German cultband Secrets Of The Moon release their album “Seven Bells” in March 2012. The album is dark. As you could read in the review back in February. S.G. has spoken to Imhotep on several occasions, and these interviews are from 2002 up to date. Let darkness surround us.
This German force has recently released “Antithesis”. This album is another in the row of high quality Secrets Of The Moon-releases, and an obvious opportunity to speak to S.G. again. The reason this interview is pretty short, is that you can read the former huge interview we did when “Carved In Stigmata Wounds” was released.
I’m heavily impressed by the sound. It’s loud and clear and every element in your music can be heard. At first I was afraid that it would be a fist-in-my-face album only to get boring, but the music grows a lot. Why did the sound take a more professional turn and how did you work to maintain the envisioned sound that would be able to justify your extreme form of metal?
“We had quite a clear vision in mind when we entered the studio. We wanted a very massive and dark sound that not only underlines the image of the songs but really makes them going one step further. Fortunately we had a quite a good budget and were able to fully concentrate on the sound of each instrument in studio. There were also long talks with the producer before we actually started recording. We wanted it to be as good as possible and we are still very satisfied with the result.”
In the review I wrote that “Antithesis” is the album Satyricon should’ve desired to do. The reason is that the sound is quite similar (at least to my ears) and the two first minutes of “Versus” reminded me (too) strongly of certain passages from “Now, Diabolical”. However, “Antithesis” twists and turns and in the end remains as one of the top five of 2006 (I’m confident about that). What is your aim with “Antithesis”? Have you begun to get feedback, and if so, has it turned out the way you aimed for / expected?
”Uh I can not stand the comparisons with Satyricon. They are really professional in what they are doing but still I see no relations at all. Anyway, we want to reach what we always want to reach with every new album: self fulfillment. The reactions so far and very good it seems. But still I think that the album won’t find the acceptance that it probably deserves because the music is too special. We aim to become a bit more known though and I hope that we succeeded in a way.”
To me “Antithesis” is probably the most dynamic extreme metal album I’ve heard (at least from what I can remember now). There are slow songs, the alien “Metamorphosis” that binds the album together and the mighty “Lucifer Speaks”. But there are also progressive sections that impress me more and more for every single listen. After 3.21 in “Seraphim Is Dead” there’s an electric acoustic riff that continues for one and a half minute. During those ca. 90 seconds you present a tremendous solo-section, a radical change in the drumming and as well as some progressive drumming. My question is; do you write such a part because the song needs it, or is it more that you feel the desire to challenge yourself as musicians as well as us as listeners?
“No it is only because the song needs it. Take "Seraphim is dead" for example. The whole song is an up and down. It smashes the listener in front of wall and then hugs him again. The solo was clearly needed. And this fact goes for all songs on "Antithesis". Of course we see ourselves as musicians. But to me a good musician is not mainly good on his instrument. He has to learn how a song works and lives. That's a very important point!”
The vocal is very clear, and angry. In my favourite “Lucifer Speaks”, you sound furious and the way I interpret the lyrics you speak about the lost souls, those who do not dare to follow their own guidelines but rather follow the voice of the weakened god (God). I wonder, why should we listen to Lucifer when he Speaks? Isn’t that just another deity just like any other religious invention?
”Lucifer represents the lightbearer. The bringer of the "darkness at the end of the tunnel". There is no need to listen to lucifer because you can not refuse the listen anyway.”
My brother didn’t give the album a chance until I replayed it to him. He thought that the songs sounded similar and especially pointed out the similar introductions to every track. Well, he gave me right that the new release holds a very special enigma that needs time to evolve. Do you think that today’s fastfood metal scene will give the album the deserved time? And let me add that the new website is really great!
”Thank you. Well, it's a wish of mine that more people occupy closer with what we are doing musically. But it's very difficult to reach a new layer of listeners for us. Because 1. we are a band from Germany and 2. we are too special. We can only hope for a few more people and it seems that our label did a good job. At least the reactions from people who write to us are very overwhelming this time. Maybe they will recommend the album to other friends and there’s a small evolution going on. It would be fine yes...”
How do you think these new songs will be justified in the live situation? When, not if, shall we see you here in the cold North?
”We just did a small European tour and the new songs kick as live. It was pretty hard to let them out on stage first but now it works very fine. I really hope that we have the chance to go up north in 2007. Another dream that come true."
Secrets Of The Moon is a band that has developed a lot, and the last few years there an aura of Will that surrounds you. To me it seems like you’re getting stronger with every release, even though I personally think equal of “Carved In Stigmata Wounds” and “Antithesis”. For those new to the band that will read this, I ask you to write about your development! Like, why were you so silent until after the turn of the millennium? The development of the sound, and the development of the band as a whole.
”We were silent because we had to develop a lot. We wanted to reach a certain musical standard before doing a first album. We didn’t want to drown in the sea of faceless bands. That was the main reason. The other reasons were line-up problems. Secrets of the Moon is a band that will never stand still. We want to improve our musical strength. There are so many things we aim for and I hope that the end is not yet to come after one more record. We have a good working line up now and as long as we all pull the same string we will definitely come up with an even better album next time.”
I expect that most people will favour “Versus” and “Seraphim Is Dead”, as they are, at least to me, the most instant songs. But, I sense that “Ghost” and perhaps “Lucifer Speaks” were hard songs to write and record. They are less immediate and need a lot of time (just like the whole album). How did the album evolve? And, how did you work to make “Ordinance” a whole track despite the variation?
”Actually "Antithesis" was supposed to be a double album first but there was not enough time left that’s why we concentrated on 75 minutes of material only. There were endless discussions about which songs we put on the record. We never had that before but in the end we agreed on leaving two songs from the album. They will hopefully be released elsewhere. Also the order of the songs was something we had long nights of discussion about until everyone was satisfied finally. All in all to compose and to record the album for nearly one and a half years took so much energy from me that I almost collapsed in studio. Well now I don’t wanna miss anything and I know that the work was worth it. "Ordinance" was just the last song we did for the record and we wanted a very straight one to complete the session. Same with "Carved in stigmata wounds" actually where we did "Epoch" in the end.”
Personally I find “Nowhere 11.18” and “Exit” unnecessary. I would rather that “Versus” began the album and “Lucifer Speaks” ended your antithesis. In what way are the first and the last track necessary to the album? I ask because I have given it a lot of thought, but I haven’t come closer to any conclusion.
"”Nowhere 11.18" is the perfect introduction for the album because in 2 minutes and 2 riffs it features the main character behind the record as a whole. The massive and dark metallic approach. On the other side "Exit" represents nothing but the ultimate death to me. It's an ending theme and features a riff that has a very special and deep meaning as it was composed in times where death more noticeable than ever before.”
The horns in “Seraphim Is Dead” are perhaps the highlight on “Antithesis”. I look forward to it every single listen, and I love it. At the same time I’m glad you didn’t repeat those because they make more impact as it is now. Was this the intention behind the horns, the impact they make? Do you think most listeners will become annoyed of the challenge “Antithesis” really is? Do you think the sheep must be long dead now?
”No no the sheep are not dead yet.... the horns. yes... I don’t know... they were there when we needed them. Angels are in turmoil. Never forget about that. Thanks Roy for another interview. It's always a pleasure "talking" to you and I hope we'll meet in person soon!”
Composed by Roy Kristensen