The first Google search result of Numenorean leads to website called tolkiengateway.net. But lest you think the Calgary-based black metallers using the name are yet another Hobbit-fucking nerd fest, think again. In fact, the themes permeating their soon-to-be released (July 22) Season of Mist debut LP, Home, are perhaps a bit too real. For starters, the album cover depicts the lifeless body of a little girl. If you’re a parent of a small child and/or possess an ounce of humanity, I highly recommend NOT clicking here.
Decibel has the premiere of the title track below, but first Numenorean creative force Byron Lemley attempts to quell our concerns.
What the fuck is up with your album cover? You’d better have a good, non-exploitative answer, or this is the end of this interview.
Our album’s central theme, music and image revolves around a longing for something that we as humans will never achieve. We are all empty and broken in some form or another, so we look for fulfilment through things like money, sex, relationships, drugs, religion, and a variety of other things, but we in the end ultimately remain void of any true happiness. What we are really searching for, is the innocence of a child, which knows nothing about this world and since we are incapable of ever getting that back, the only place we can find this comfort is inevitably only through death. The little girl on the cover represents this final resting place for us – beyond our existence in this world. And our album title sums it up once you realize that she doesn't have to go through all the pain and sorrow of becoming an adult. Home evokes this melancholic blissful state within the listener and as you spend more time becoming familiar her picture, you begin to see the music reflecting her being in this condition, reflected in her face seemingly close to smiling. It is the death of innocence.
We are very aware that this idea is too much for many people, but art shouldn't be easily digestible. Collectively we thought it was important to choose an image that established the language of the album as well as something that would allow the listener to begin their experience before even hearing the first song. It's not vague, it's sincere and dangerously straight to the point. The album is meant to be listened to as an entire journey that transforms you from start to finish and although the lyrics vary on different aspects of loss, all of 5 the song titles represent the succession of one's life. HOME: Born into the world with complete innocence. THIRST: Searching for the answers life has given you. SHORELESS: Feelings of hopelessness DEVOUR: Willingly letting life destroy you. LAID DOWN: Making peace with what you become and surrendering your self to the earth.
Your lyrical themes have been explored to a degree in black metal before (Fen, Agalloch, ect). But perhaps not to this degree. Why do you think black metal—and your band’s more melodic style, in particular—is an effective vehicle for a message that’s essentially hopeless?
I think this style works incredibly well with that particular message as it can be contradictory and conflicting at points, where the lyrics can create a very desolate horizon, while simultaneously the atmosphere and mood of the music can be very soaring and full of hope, which creates a very intense encapsulating listen, especially with the above mentioned bands. As with almost any piece of music, this was a statement of where we were in the time of writing, so we don't necessarily feel these emotions and thoughts every second of the day. If that was the case, we'd never leave our house and eventually just kill ourselves. Music is the only way to overcome these demons, and we all hold this band and other creative outlets to the highest of importance. Having said that, we're not a pro-suicide DSBM band by any means, but we have explored these realms, and somewhat obsessively at times, as we all know death lurks around the corner.
The band’s 2014 demo was recorded with just two members—Brandon Lemley providing vocals and twin brother Byron Lemley handling everything else. How did the dynamic change with having a full band in place for the recording of Home?
This band started out with just us, and Demo 2014 was really only intended as a channel to locate members cut from the same cloth, as there wasn’t many bands in the area with a similar style and mindset. Very quickly a label based out of Winnipeg, Filth Regime Records (owned by Jordan Dorge of Wilt), picked it up and we sold out our share of the album, which was actually quite surprising to the two of us, based on the real reason for creating it in the first place. After a few members changes through-out that time, we finally secured the line-up that we have today, one where we have full trust in everyone's creative vision towards all aspects of this band. We are now a complete entity and not individuals in this band. We serve the music and express every hidden emotion we have, as vulnerable as that can be at times. Performing Home in it's entirety is a very intense experience for all of us, as everyone has shed their soul on this album.
The pain of life's journey does not relent.
It beats against the soul's shores until the spirit is eroded.
The child dies smiling, in the bliss of eternal unknowing.
Comfort is found in the abyss.
The destination seems bleak, ingrained deep within us. In its depths, we find what we have known all along: “Home”
Pre-order Home from Season of Mist here.