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Exclusive video and podcast premiere: VON’s Architects of Death

VON has been long recognized as one of America’s first black metal bands. And while co-founder Jason Ventura, known as VENIEN!!!, has remarked that that was really never the original intent of the band’s mission, VON remains squarely rooted in the history of USBM, whether they like it or not.

architects of deathMusically, today’s iteration of VON, seems to bear little resemblance to the primitive thrashing that VENIEN!!! and Goat laid out in the early 1990s. VENIEN!!! continues on bass and primary vocals, but he is now accompanied by guitarist Carter “HangMan” Grant and drummer Tony “Dirty Fvkn! Pistols” Mainiero.

A careful listen to the recent episodically released singles that the group has been unleashing on unsuspecting listeners since December 2014 will reveal the that heart of VON remains as twisted and malevolent as ever. This music is dark, threatening, aggressive and laced with the lyrical evilness that are trademarks of VON. Want to hear a musical reflection of the depravity of humankind in the 21st Century? Listen to some of the new VON songs.

Today, Metallomuskum is pleased to present an exclusive premier of the lucky 11th installment in VON’s musical diary from the album Dark Gods. This new track, “Architects of Death,” can be heard here.

The overall vibe of “Architects of Death” is highly reminiscent of early VON. But the mid-tempo pace and nerve wracking tension created by the interplay between the hissing cymbals and the airy guitar melody give it a more doomy aesthetic. Lyrically the track bodes of impending chaos: a common theme for VON.

The single “Architects of Death” can be purchased as a limited edition CD at and comes with two bonus tracks “Death” and “Burn” packaged inside of a limited edition, hand numbered 56-page Dark Gods comic book, illustrated by VENIEN!!! himself.

I spoke with VON’s delightful and candid drummer Dirty Fvkn! Pistols on Saturday afternoon. We covered important questions such as “is VON black metal?” and “how many guitarists do you really need in a band?” But seriously give the interview a listen here!

Check out VON at their official website is

Architects of Death Lyrics:
Abandon the constructs that haunt your mind
Accept the darkness the chaos inside
The black eyes watch over us as we destroy!
The heard overpopulates infections will grow
Release the plague, death has come
The ancients return to claim their sons
The Architects of the Black Death heed their call
Masters, creators, destroyers of all
The Architects of Death
The Architects of Death

Taken from Dark Gods: Architects of Death (Comic Book+Audio CD Ltd Ed 25) from upcoming Volume II of III from the Dark Gods Trilogy.
Vocals: Jason “VENIEN!!!” Ventura
Background Vocals: Anthony “Dirty FvKn! Pistols” Mainiero & Carter “HangMan” Grant
Bass: Jason “VENIEN!!!” Ventura
Guitars: Carter “HangMan” Grant & John “Lord Giblete” Gonzales
Drums: Anthony “Dirty FvKn! Pistols” Mainiero
Lyrics & music written by: Jason “VENIEN!!!” Ventura
Produced by: Jason “VENIEN!!!” Ventura
Engineered, Mixed, & Mastered by: Jason “VENIEN!!!” Ventura at The PIT (Litchfield Park, AZ)
Recorded at: The PIT (Litchfield Park, AZ)
Release Date: Feb 9th 2015
Format: Exclusive Comic Book Audio CD
Label: Von Records
Buy at



Vattnet Viskar members, Tombs Mike Hill talking about nothing much at Metro Gallery

This time on the podcast, I chatted with Mike Hill of Tombs and all the members of Vattnet Viskar (Chris Alfieri, Seamus Menihane, Nick Thornbury and Casey Aylward) before their Metro Gallery show with Pallbearer on October 30, 2014. We talked about Halloween, podcasting, wrestling, bad interviews, coffee and how Lover Boy may influence modern metal.

2014-10-30-20.51.01-3Vattnet Viskar, who are now referring to themselves humorously as false black metal, now have the best spoof t-shirt in all that is false: the inverted David Cross shirt. They gave me one. I will wear it proudly.

Here’s a link to their Twitter where you can see that I mean.

Surprisingly, VV is playing Maryland Deathfest (that’s not the surprising part) but on the same night and on the same stage as some pretty extreme black metal bands: Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult and Aeturnus. I can’t wait to see how this plays out.

Tombs are also playing Maryland Deathfest, but at the big Edison Lot outdoor stage. I find this interesting too, since I have only ever seen Tombs on a small stage with Mike Hill right in my face. I will be curious to see how their performance translates on to a much, much larger stage.

The October 30 show at Metro Gallery was fun. Everyone was on point. I even liked Pallbearer. For those of you who know me in real life, this is quite a statement. I don’t hate Pallbearer, don’t get me wrong. I just don’t enjoy having my guts dissolved sonically. But that night the sound was scaled back quite a bit, and they sounded great. The vocals were beautiful.

Here’s a link to the podcast.

Check out some photos from the show on Flickr!

Here are some links relevant to our discussion:

Vattnet Viskar
Mike Hill’s podcast Everything Went Black
Savage Gold Coffee

Pact to headline first Grimscape

There are many bands labeled as American black metal, but few in the USBM scene that present a full-fledged occult ritual the way Pact does. The Moribund Cult Records group perfectly blends traditional black metal aesthetics and symbolism with the pummeling grind and growl of death metal.

The Erie, PA group will headline Metallomusikum’s first-ever Grimscape Saturday, July 26 at The Sidebar in Baltimore along with Virginia’s Dispellment, Maryland’s black metal underground veterans Inverted Trifixion, and newcomers AntiKosmos and Hex Temple, who are both making their stage debuts. Tickets are $12 at the door or online at  Pre-sales of this show have been strong and a sell-out is possible.



Pact’s most recent album, The Infernal Hierarchies, Penetrating the Threshold of Night, elevates the band to the next realm of aural assault with more complex songwriting, better production and even more visceral vocals than their debut full-length, The Dragon Lineage of Satan. Preview the album here.

PACT is Wretch on guitar and bass, Hag doing vocals, Dirge as session guitar and T on drums. T was kind enough to respond to a short Q & A prior to the show.

When and how did Pact get together?

We had all played in other bands together in the past then in 2008 the three of us recorded a split under the name Aiwass, followed by a full length. No live shows were ever performed and Aiwass was ended. Then in 2010 we got back together with the intent of playing black metal.

What specifically motivates you? I mean, as individuals, as a band? What is your inspiration?

We are definitely motivated by the love and creation of heavy dark metal. We enjoy writing new music and pushing ourselves to grow and become more extreme.

Your latest album came out in April. How are reviewers receiving it so far?

The Infernal Hierarchies album is doing well and has received excellent reviews all over the world.

The vocals seem a little different on The Infernal Hierarchies than what I noticed on The Dragon Lineage of Satan. What has changed? What are some things you would hope people would notice about this new record and the direction the music is going in?

Hag’s vocals really haven’t changed much; he has found the range he wanted and worked from there. It helps that we had a more solid mix and master for this new album, which allowed all instruments to shine through. We write music to please ourselves but if people enjoy it, then it is a bonus.

What do you hope people experience during your live performances?

We want people to feel the emotion that we put into our songs.

What other shows/festivals do you have planned for the coming months?

We are playing Wraith of the Goat III festival in September alongside Wormreich, Neldoreth and Kult ov Azazel.

What does the future hold for PACT?

We will continue to write and record music. We have seven songs written for a new album.

If you were not playing music, how would you spend your time?

Don’t know what we would be doing, something artistic for sure.

Anything else you want people to know about the band?

Enjoy our music. Get the new album. Embrace the left hand path of thought. Hail Darkness!!

Check out Pact, Dispellment and Inverted Trifixion below:


Cemetery Piss: spreading that vulture love tonight at Sidebar

Cemetery Piss are a raw, blackened heavy metal outfit out of Baltimore. They play tonight at 11:30 p.m, May 22, in a free show at the Sidebar  as part of the Maryland Deathfest VII festivities. Here’s the event link.

The first time I saw Cemetery Piss, I went in not knowing what to expect, as their visual appearance is fairly unassuming. No spikes or corpse paint here, but maybe a bullet belt and a couple patch vests. If anything, I expected something a bit trippy. But the name — Cemetery Piss — hinted at something more extreme.

I know Adam Savage as an easy going promoter of shows in Baltimore and their drummer Derrick Hans of The Pilgrim, which is sort of a stoner-doom rock group. But the moment the band started to play and Adam let loose with some of the the rawest, sharpest and most gut-punching vocals I’d heard since Bathory’s Quorthon, I knew this was a band I needed to pay attention to.

Drummer Derrick and bassist Rebecca Chernoff lay down a black-thrash influenced rhythm section, and guitarist Dirck Ober blazes through some fuzzy toned pscyhedelic speed metal-esque riffs that are catchy as hell. Adam ties it all together with a highly physical performance.

I sent the band some questions since I was unfamiliar with their history and pre-history. These replies have been sitting in my “to-do” list for a little while (all apologies to CP), so a couple of the answers are dated, but the facts remain. Here’s what Dirck had to say.

When and how did Cemetery Piss get together (if you were all in other bands people would recognize, mention that)?

Cemetery Piss started out as a solo recording project. In around 2006 or 2007, after my band Crypt of Raix had folded, I was in a place where I’d resolved to make some music on my own. I had no set expectations or plans. I just set out to make the music I wanted, by myself, and see what happened. Before too long, I had four instrumentals recorded on a four-track. Adam Savage and I were already playing together in Vincent Black Shadow, so I enlisted him to lay down vocals. These four songs came together as the Rest in Piss demo, named after the title track, which framed what Cemetery Piss was about then. After we’d passed that thing around for a little while, we re-recorded it in a proper studio with Kevin Bernsten, and Timpaler (Tim Snodgrass) of Diabolic Force Distribution released the Rest in Piss EP on cassette. The tape gave us our first real audience, and by the time Adam and I were recording the Such the Vultures Love 7”, Rebecca Chernoff of Spoilage/Icefox had heard it and expressed interest in playing bass in a live incarnation of the band. Encouraged, we approached Derrick Hans of Oak/The Pilgrim/Deathammer about playing drums, and lucky for us he was into it.

Do you consider yourselves black metal or something else? Are there other bands you think you may sound similar to?

We’re not devout black metallers, but there’s a strong influence there. I’m trying to channel that point where thrash was breaking its own boundaries, pushing both aggression and atmosphere as the music evolved into death metal. Possessed’s Seven Churches, Morbid’s December Moon and Necrovore’s Divus de Mortuus were all in heavy rotation when I started writing for the band. Of course, Bathory’s Blood Fire Death, Mayhem through De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas and Darkthrone are all influences, as well as bands like Von, Absu, Sarcofago, Blasphemy and Beherit. I also really like Funeral Mist, Ofermod and Malign. If I’m going to get to the root of what we do, though, I have to say that Riot, Saxon, Priest and Maiden are just as crucial to our sound. Our mission is to stand firmly rooted in the traditions of metal while trying to break our own boundaries to darken, brutalize, and dement the music.

What are some exciting shows you have coming up? Who would you like to tour with?

Our next show is April 16 with the legendary Satan, and we’re super excited about that. After that, we’re playing a Maryland Deathfest Sidebar show with Bastard Sapling from Richmond, with whom we also played Cemetery Piss’ first live show. (Note: Bastard Sapling moved to Friday night.) (Playing at MDF) is awesome because it gives us the chance to play for an audience from around the world who might never hear of or think to even check us out otherwise. On top of that, getting to actually play puts my annual Deathfest experience on a whole other level. We also have our singer’s birthday show coming up on June 7 with Pig Destroyer, Inter Arma from Richmond and Putrisect. As far as bands we’d like to tour with, I guess I already gave you my dream list in my last answer. It’s so hard to choose. I don’t know how this would ever be possible, but there’s this death metal band from Brazil called Divine Death that I would love to join forces with. They’ve been around since the early 90’s and they’re so sick and yet somehow relatively unknown outside of Brazil. Really, I’d like to tour with any band that carries the spirit of the music we love, especially if they’re a few steps ahead of us and can help us move forward in our own path.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

In five years I see Cemetery Piss reaching a much larger audience. I want our records to take us traveling the world. Order of the Vulture worldwide takeover!

If you were not playing music, how would you spend your free time?

That’s a tough question. Everything I do revolves around music. I think that’s true of everyone in the band. Derrick is in several bands. Adam’s work revolves around music, too. Maybe Rebecca might spend more time on her motorcycle. I might spend more time reading, hand-binding books or traveling. We might all party a little bit more.

What motivates you? I mean as a person, as a band? What is your inspiration?

When I was a kid, my cousin Bryant played me Kill ‘Em All and then let me play his electric guitar. It was pretty much over for me then. Now I’m inspired by a need to keep my spirit free. A little chaos can loosen the grip of the regulating rank and file. Embracing mortality and shedding the idea that life should follow some peaceful order and fit some happy image means shedding the bonds of a lot of mundane worldly bullshit, too. That’s what inspires me and I pull from the furthest reaches of my imagination to express that with due conviction in our music.

If you could live anywhere in the world, at any time, where and when would it be and why?

I think the obvious choice would have to be the Bay area during the golden age of thrash. My other choice would be Belo Horizonte, the metal capital of Brazil, in the late 80’s/early 90’s so I could rage with the likes of Sarcofago, Sepultura, Mutilator, Holocausto and so many other awesome bands.

Anything else you want people to know about the band?

Right now we’re working on our first full-length album as a full band. We’ve already recorded four songs with Kevin Bernsten at Developing Nations Studio, and we’ll be back soon to finish. Beware the Order of the Vulture!

Check out some photos from Cemetery Piss’s March 20 performance with Obliteration at Metro Gallery.

Listen to Cemetery Piss on Bandcamp.

The Oracle thumb their noses at your elitist metal attitudes

The Oracle from Maryland brings the collective musical influence and experience of four well-established performers to create something unique that they hope will challenge the elitist attitudes of all the metal subgenres they meld together. It’s a little bit sludge, a little bit doom, a little bit black metal and maybe even a little bit crust.

The Metallomusikum podcast team (Derek Beam, Jason Waldmann, and I) met with The Oracle this week at Midtown BBQ and Brew for a chat about their first few shows together as a band.  The Oracle is James Haun (guitar/vocals), Russ Strahan (guitar), Ron McGinnis (bass/vocals)  and Ben Proudman (drums).  James (ex- Sourvein, ex- Ol’ Scratch), Russ (ex-Pentagram), Ron (Pale Divine, Admiral Browning, Trilogy) and Ben (Rhin) collectively bring decades of experience to this new project.  This is evident in the music they produce which fairly defies neat classification.

In performance, The Oracle produce a ferocious wall of sound. James presents a formidable lead vocalist both in height and aggression. Russ lends a quiet class –he even started the set wearing a top hat — demonstrating his well-earned reputation as one of metal’s most skilled and soulful guitarists. Ben lays down a solid foundation that sets the pace for every song, shifting from doom-y drone to black metal blast beat at any moment.  Ron, plucking his signature six string bass, also offers strong supporting vocals to counter James and rounds out the profoundly heavy rhythm section.

For me at least, despite the fact that the music drinks deeply from black metal’s chalice of blood, the tunes remain mostly in the sludge/doom camp.  You can get an idea what the band sounds like on their demo  “Veiled Oblivion” but that recording features the vocals and bass-work Helena Goldberg (Akris), who left The Oracle after nearly two years of songwriting, to raise a family.  The latest incarnation should be experienced live.

Listen to the podcast here.

Check out a gallery of photos from the March 8 show at the Sidebar. PS. Happy Birthday Sidebar owner, Travis Hunt.

More than 30 reasons why Abigail Williams refuses to call it quits

Ever-evolving metal purveyors Abigail Williams will celebrate a decade of plying their dark arts with a 30+ city US headlining tour and a new portfolio of songs. Although many thought the band had officially called it quits, remaining original member, songwriter, guitarist and vocalist Ken Sorceron says his black metal renegades shall ascend once more.

Basic RGBFor this early 2014 outing, Sorceron will be joined by veterans, guitarist, Jeff Wilson and touring bassist, John Porada, (both ex-Nachtmystium), and touring drummer, Jesse Beahler, (ex-Jungle Rot, Nightfire). In the studio, Wilson and long-time Abigail Williams guitarist Ian Jekelis will work with Sorceron on a full-length to be recorded in Chicago sometime in April. Drummer Alex Rudinger (The Faceless) and bassist Will Lindsay (ex-Nachtmystium, Wolves In The Throne Room) will complete the ensemble. Fans should expect a release on Candelight Records in late August or early September.

“Touring and recording are two different things in my mind,” Sorceron said. “Certain people you want around in the studio and certain people are more suitable in a live situation. Abigail Williams has never had a real solid lineup going from recording to live; we have always kept it moving.

On tour, Abigail Williams will perform their critically acclaimed 2012 album “Becoming” in its entirety. They will complete their headlining set list with selections from their genre-blending past and uncompromising new future.

With regard to the band’s genre, Sorceron doesn’t particularly care if people use the term “black metal” to describe the band and realizes many use it simply as a convenient way to classify the music.

“To some people, it’s up for debate as to whether what we play is black metal or not, but to me it doesn’t matter either way. I’m not thinking about genres and shit like that when writing music.” In fact, he laughs, he can’t even think of any adjectives to describe his music in print, “I’m not great with words, but I could make the noises with my mouth to help describe it.”


Abigail Williams

Abigail Williams is also hard to place in today’s landscape of what is described at US black metal. Since their inception in 2004, the group has continuously changed personnel, and with each new performer, came a new musical influence. The only thing that has remained constant is Sorceron who is constantly seeking new personal experiences to inspire songs and developing innovative combinations of sounds that frankly defy neat categorization. Like the girl the band was named for—the chief accuser in the Salem witch trials—Abigail Williams keeps changing her story and her sound.

“The thing about Abigail Williams is that we never fit into any landscape,” Sorceron says. “I’ve become pretty comfortable with that role. I used to read the criticism about the band on the Internet, but I stopped caring a while ago. People aren’t comfortable liking a band that has changed sound over the years.”

Sorceron also emphasizes that Abigail Williams is not a “brand” but rather a conduit for unceasing artistic expression.

“My observation has been that music fans tend to think of a band as a brand. It’s the same, as clothing in some ways. Like when someone decides they won’t be caught dead wearing XYZ brand because they sell at ‘insert lame store name here’ and ‘these types of people’ like it. I’m not oblivious to the fact that a lot of fans of our early stuff don’t like the newer stuff, and a lot of the people that like the new stuff hate the old stuff. It is a challenge for some of these people to ‘wear’ this brand in public because of it. I don’t think of my music as a brand but as an outlet for creativity and a vehicle to go and see the places I want to go see and sometimes connect with like-minded people.”

Ken Sorceron

Ken Sorceron. Photo by Wendy Schreier

Sorceron found like-minded connections with the members of Lord Mantis and recently joined the band and performed on their latest recording, “Death Mask.” However, he says he keeps Abigail Williams in motion, because, “It is what I do.”


Confirmed dates so far include:
1/15 – Rochester, NY – The Bug Jar
1/16 – Albany, NY – Bogies
1/17 – New York, NY – Slake
1/18 – Reading, PA – Reverb
1/19 – Trenton, NJ – Championship
1/20 – Danbury, CT – Heirloom Arts Theatre
1/21 – Jeanette, PA – Gator’s
1/22 – Cleveland, OH – Agora Ballroom
1/23 – Warren, MI – The Ritz
1/24 – Kokomo, IN – Centerstage Bar & Grill
1/25 – Cherry Valley, IL – Take Twenty
1/26 – Chicago, IL – Reggies (with Charlie Fell* of Lord Mantis drums on this and each date thereafter)
1/29 – Cincinnati OH – TBA
1/30 – Johnson City TN – Mecca Lounge
1/31 – Fayetteville AR – TBA
2/1 – Fort Worth TX – Tomcat’s
2/2 – Corpus Christi TX – Zero’s
2/3 – McAllen TX – Fallback Records
2/4 – Big Spring TX – Sugars Bar
2/5 – Amarillo TX – Wreck Room
2/6 – Albuquerque NM – The Jam Spot
2/7 – Phoenix AZ – Tempe Tavern
2/8 – Los Angeles CA – Black Castle
2/9 – Bakersfield CA – Jerry’s Pizza
2/10 – Sacramento CA – The Midtown Barfly
2/11 – Oakland CA – Oakland Metro Operahouse
2/12 – Portland OR – Hawthorne Theatre
2/14 – Seattle WA – El Corazon
2/15 – Vancouver BC – The Astoria
2/16 – Spokane WA – The Hop
2/17 – Bozeman MT – The Complex
2/18 – Great Falls MT – Machinery Row
2/19 – Cheyenne WY – TBA
2/20 – Denver CO – Hi Dive
2/21 – Wichita KS – Lizard Lounge
2/22 – Tulsa OK – Downtown Lounge
2/23 – Oklahoma City OK – Chameleon Room
4/12 – Austin, TX – Texas Independence Fest

* Charlie Fell is the former drummer of Von and Nachtmystium but is vocalist/bassist for Lord Mantis.

Would you want to be vocalist for Dark Funeral?

darkfunerla header

Dark Funeral is apparently still looking for a vocalist. No joke, here is what Lord Ahriman – the founder, guitarist and songwriter of the Swedish Black Metal band  posted on his Facebook page just last week:

“If you’ve got what it takes to tour intensely and be the front man of the ineffable Kings of Black Metal, please send us your application to Please provide the following information when sending applications:
Send us a photo, your name, age and a short background story about you and maybe bandography incl. touring history. Also attach 1-2 audio/video clips in good quality that have been recorded recently. If we find you interesting, we’ll contact you regarding the next step.”

Dark Funeral has been around for 20 years and has only had two previous vocalists. Can you replace this guy:

‘Tis the season of thankfulness for black metal

Four of my favorite regional black metal bands gathered at The Sidebar Tavern November 15 for what I’d like to call my own personal “kvltsgiving”. The show merged the tail end of the two-week “No Souls, No Minds” tour of Pittsburgh’s blackened avant-grinders Dendritic Arbor and Philadelphia’s ritualistic Haethen with Baltimore’s black metal practitioners Xeukatre and Frederick’s aggressors Dweller in the Valley. I call it a “kvltsgiving” because seeing all these people that I love in one place to play music that I love trumps any  meal-based “thanksgiving” I could imagine. This was a feast for my ears and my mind. And this is the month for giving thanks, is it not?

Black metal is an extreme subgenre of a genre of music that in itself is considered somewhat extreme. Few people understand black metal, or care to, and this is probably how it should be. Black metal is not for you. In fact it is against you. I don’t think that is the reason this musical style appeals to me so much, as I don’t really seek out things that are intrinsically obscure. I haven’t signed the hipster oath just yet. But I know what I like and I know what moves me, and this music, especially this particular line up of these bands, was not something I was going to miss.

Dweller in the Valley, an aggressive trio from Frederick with a drummer/vocalist, began the evening in usual ritual style. Drummer Dane Olds adorns his kit with a herd of horned animal skulls of various sizes. Their style is forthright and filled with agony.  I can’t understand Dane’s lyrics, but he sure looks pissed. The effect is very cathartic for me (and possibly for that drunk girl in the audience). I am looking forward to hearing their forthcoming recording of new music…..whenever that drops. You can download their demo for free—name your own price.

Of the four, I have been aware of Haethen the longest. They performed at Satan’s Unholy Abomination Fest I in December 2012, and I have followed them since. Their music is melodic, yet raw, anti-life, blast-beat driven ambient black metal. They are probably my favorite among the four, because they play the style of black metal my ear gravitates toward. (There are substyles of the subgenre! It never ends!!) Check out the video for a taste.

I heard about Dendritic Arbor earlier this year. They write songs with a pro-mother earth theme. Apparently, they used to perform shrouded in robes but I’ve never seen them play like that. Their music can best be described as certainly black metal but with definite experimental grindcore and avant garde underpinnings. Three of the four members are singing. It’s like a chorus of chaos. Dendritic Arbor is among the most challenging bands you are going to listen to as the music can be just as chaotic as the vocals. Most of their songs are short, except for the massive “Drifting,” which will fuck with your head after one listen.

Visually, Xeukatre  presents black metal the way it looked in the 90’s, complete with bullet belts and corpse paint. Musically, their style is raw and unpretentious,  a sort of what-you-see-is-what-you-get approach to black metal. I appreciate their aesthetic and am always entertained when they play. They will perform again next week with Demonic Christ at The Sidebar.

Black metal is alive and well, it would seem. It’s not what it was in the 80s or 90s, but because there is real evil in the material world, it seems to be evolving into something perhaps more brutal and sinister than its satan-worshipping roots. At my core, I find I need a means to express these themes and philosophies, and the presence of bands like these four is something to be thankful for.

View my gallery of photos below.

Black Witchery forges on with blasphemous new axeman

Under the name Black Witchery, vocalist/bassist Impurath and his horde have been offering up some of the most aggressive, brutal and primitive black metal on the American scene since 1999. This month, the group reconfigured their lineup with a new man on guitar. They continue to play one-off shows and fests across the country, including one coming up August 31 at St. Vitus in Brooklyn and the now sold out Cathedral of the Black Goat Metal Festival September 20-21) in Chicago.


Impurath of Black Witchery. Photo by Mary Spiro

Black Witchery holds nothing back in performance, putting forth a total aural and visual onslaught of unrelenting rhythms, pounding bass and uncompromising riffs punctuated by occasional murderous solos all draped in an aura of misery and darkness. Songs are simple, but not simplistic, with highly structured, albeit repetitive, progressions.

Other black metal bands spin webs of melodic atmosphere, while Black Witchery’s atmosphere emerges as it hammers your brain into submission with an iron fist of rage. The growling vocals spew forth in synchrony with the drums, as the bass and guitar mirror one another in chugging harmony.

Black Witchery is not a band for everyone, not even every black metal fan, but listening to one of their albums or watching them live could leave you a changed person. They are among the harshest sounding bands that I enjoy.  I find something new every time I listen to one of their studio recordings, and live performances are always captivating and strangely hypnotic.


New Black Witchery guitarist Alal’Xhaasztur playing with Hellvetron. Photo by Goddess Sioux

I was able to catch up with Impurath shortly after their recent personnel change. The group’s long-time guitarist, Tregenda, was moving on, in what I determined from talking with Impurath to be a mutual and amicable decision among members (so shut down the rumor mill). Axe duties have been passed on to multi-instrumentalist Alal’Xhaasztur from Nyogthaeblisz, Hellvetron and Nexul, hereby appropriately referred to as A.X., who will perform at the NY show this weekend.

In our email exchange, Impurath discusses these changes, the state of black metal and what’s coming up for Black Witchery.  Here is the result of our email Q & A:

Tell me about the current lineup.

Black Witchery’s current lineup is myself, Impurath – Bass and Malicious voice of SATAN, Vaz- Death hammer apocalypse, and A.X of Nyogthaeblisz/Hellvetron/Nexul, who has recently joined as blood axe domination. I would also recommend those other bands of A.X., as they are some of the best and darkest black/death chaos created on U.S. soil for many years. Also Perdition Temple and Amputator (Canada/USA) are worth a mention and are a fist in the face of the pathetic black metal scene of today. Also, Vaz is currently death hammer maniac for Blasphemy.

What are your current recording plans? Any new records in the works? And for what label?

We will release a split with REVENGE and a live and rehearsal LP/CD on Nuclear War Now! productions as the next strikes of BLACK WITCHERY.


Vaz of Black Witchery. Photo by Mary Spiro

Why is it important for your band members to maintain some level of anonymity?

The very essence of the word Occult is the answer to that question. Anonymity is important for any band if there is any honor within them. I detest most pathetic vermin who exist on this planet and only associate myself with a few individuals with whom we have had contact for years.

Would BW want to do an extended tour? And if so, with whom would you like to play?

Blasphemy , Revenge, Antediluvian, Nyogthaeblisz, Hellvetron, Archgoat, Ride for Revenge, Drowned, Immolation, Negative Plane, Blasphemous Witchcraft, Denial of God, Sadomator, etc. Any bands for whom we share a great respect and that I would like to witness repeatedly.

I notice that the band’s sound has remained consistently raw and primitive from album to album. How do you maintain this? And why do you choose to do so?

Our aim is to make each release as extreme as possible.

Lyrically, how has the band evolved over time? What themes or topics remain important to you?

Lyrics are always based on darkness, evil and blasphemous hatred, desecration, rituals, etc.

What is your opinion of American black metal? How do you feel about the state of black metal in general worldwide?

I don’t care about it. We continue on our path and ignore the external factors.

What are some American black metal bands you respect/admire?

Nyogthaeblisz, Hellvetron, Negative Plane, Nexul, and Black Funeral to name a couple of the best ones.

Who are your favorite groups to listen to?

The ones I mentioned above and many others like Antediluvian, Impetuous Ritual, Disma, Portal, Demonomancy (Italy) , old Beherit, Black Feast (Finland), Sect Pig, Pseudogod, etc.

What do you hope that people experience when they see your live show?

Pain and horror, fear, disharmony, chaos, intimidation….

How did you become a musician?

I’m not a musician but a vessel for the voice of SATAN.

What was the first band you remember listening to that got you excited about music? About metal?

Mercyful Fate Melissa and Seven Churches Possessed, Bathory, Celtic frost , etc

What are all the instruments you can play?


Tell me about your song writing process.

Usually envisioned in mind first…

Is there anything else you think people should know about Black Witchery?

Expect no mercy on the next BLACK WITCHERY releases…


Here are two previous posts written about Black Witchery for

Countdown to MDF X: Black Witchery

Oasis de Satanas in which a black metal festival is held in a Latin disco

Horde of the Eclipse: blackened impurity from central PA

Friday night I ventured into the darkened back room at Guido’s Speakeasy in Frederick to see/hear Dweller in the Valley, Sloth Herder and Horde of the Eclipse. These three are among my favorite local black metal bands and so to have them all together was a treat. Today, I want to talk a little about Horde of the Eclipse, an atmospheric black metal band from Harrisburg, PA, and I am long overdue in writing about them.

Horde of the Eclipse (Photo provided by band)

Horde of the Eclipse (Photo provided by band)

I first saw Horde of the Eclipse in the cellar of a tattoo shop in Chambersburg, PA. That was a weird little show. The Guido’s show was also kind of weird: minimal lighting, no AC to speak of and a small but devoted crowd. I suppose that’s what you might expect at a black metal show in Frederick.

But even in that tiny room, Horde sounded really good. These guys capture some of the best elements of black metal bands I love, which include Abigail Williams, Agalloch, Setherial and even Horna and Xasthur. The melodies soar and are sometimes enhanced by keyboards, the rhythms are complex and varied (i.e., not just unrelenting blast beats), and the guitars shred. Max Shoop’s vocals are raw and visceral. It’s sometimes hard to believe that those hellish sounds are coming out of his wiry frame.

The songwriting with this band is superior, and every song possesses interesting, memorable melodies and transitions that range from thrashy rocking parts to lush meditative sections. Everything they’ve recorded is on BandCamp, so I encourage you to follow the direction this band is heading. Download it, most of it is free or name your own price. A split with Sloth Herder is in the works, so I will be looking for that.

I think Horde of the Eclipse could be a very big band, that is, in an underground black metal sort of way. Maybe they need a little more time to “ripen” and more time to make the right connections that will position them in front of the right audiences to make that happen. Until then, I will make every attempt to see them when they play.

Horde of the Eclipse is Max Shoop: Vocals/Guitar; Andy Sheaffer: Guitar; Keith Loboda: Bass/Backing Vocals; and Lucas Sweger: Drums.

Check out the gallery I shot (in near darkness) below:

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