What is black metal?Carnifex: Nefarium's (Myspace link) primary thought concerns the communicative aspect, with the idea that a black metal listener could understand a message of hate and anger towards those elements that can be [considered] personal. In an apathetic and driven world, powered by hypocrisy, we seek personal illumination to give the most adequate voice to their ideals, there, where the darkness is greatest, to avoid limits and pre-conceptions and to grow spiritually towards a single and univocal truth. Each man has the faculty to create and develop a personal hell through his choices and in same way we are trying to read our thoughts to understand what we are. Black metal is the spiritual bridge to join to that and it could exist in every person [if] they want to walk it.
Do you think black metal’s far too commercialized or is this a natural occurrence when bands play live more often, sign to bigger labels, etc.? Carnifex: We do not believe and we are not particularly relying on the commercial aspect of what concerns Nefarium. I guess during [our] concerts you will never see Nefarium pants, key chains, or mouse pads. We prefer to offer a sincere black metal, spreading our message of hate and anger. Anyway, a band can’t develop without good support from sincere listeners. Black metal is mainly music and music is communication, so we need professional promoters and also some help from the media in general to be better known and to spread our name. We really don’t care about money and we keep playing. [We are] pushed by our strong passion for black metal.
How do Ad Discipulum and Haeretichristus differ? Carnifex: The biggest difference between Ad Discipulum and Nefarium’s older releases is the final sound and there’s also some innovations in the music style. We chose to avoid the artificial sound of the drums due to the current tendency [by bands] to use exaggerated triggers. We risked obtaining a less precise tom feeling, but it’s surely more natural. We think that Ad Discipulum’s songs are assimilated easier, even if the whole album is really fast and aggressive.
Musically, there’s a fair bit of death metal in Nefarium. I hear it in the riff structure. Would you describe Nefarium as a black/death hybrid? Carnifex: We don’t care about Nefarium’s musical definition. We simply create music from hatred. We wish that our songs could be listened to and considered as extreme metal, and that it could still give listeners feelings of anger and violence. We like to offer a strong and immediate musical impact. Anyway, we feel free to mix death and black metal. We play fast and brutal blasphemic metal!
I like the use of Middle Eastern/Eastern scales in your music. Gives it a different feel. Not so Nordic, if you know what I mean. What are your non-metal influences? Carnifex: Adventor is Nefarium’s main composer, but we all like to compose melodies by studying and practicing our instruments. So, it’s quite important to have good inspiration. We like to listen to all bands that play technical and dark music. With Nefarium, we want to border coldness and brutality. We usually listen to every kind of extreme metal. [We] don't have prejudgments towards keyboards, synthesizers, or clean vocals, but [those kinds of] instruments—except for electric guitars and drums—are not what we are looking for. For example, we like to listen to Goldfrapp, The Knife, or old Lustmord. We appreciate their work because they create sick [musical] atmospheres without fast and raging riffs.
How did you get 1349 and Mortuary Drape members involved as guests? Not many people remember Mortuary Drape. Cult stuff, there. Carnifex: The choice to call these guests during the recordings of Ad Discipulum was to bring Nefarium conceptually closer to bands like 1349; bands that contributed to the development of the extreme metal scene. When we recorded the new album we were just looking for good musicians in bands that we support. When we contacted Archaon (1349), [we] sent him Nefarium’s older release, he appreciated our work, and then our collaboration began. We already knew Wildness Perversion (Mortuary Drape) because we shared the stage with him in 2001; we needed a person truly involved in occultism and satanic practices. Mortuary Drape has played occult metal since 1986 and we really appreciate their devotion to extreme music. They are not so well known in Europe, but the underground scene is familiar. We read a Watain interview talking about Mortuary Drape’s inspiration. Archaon's guitar solos gave Ad Discipulum a good ‘thrash metal’ touch and Wildness Perversion’s vocals emphasized the dark atmosphere thanks to the Latin vocal parts.
You recorded at Omega-Gates Studio, but mixed in Sweden with Andy LaRoque. Any reason for the change? You went to Hitfire Studios in Sweden to mix Haeretichristus. Carnifex: When Nefarium first discussed Ad Discipulum’s sound—wishing to obtain something new—we decided we should have moved to Sonic Train Studios to collaborate with a non-black metal producer. We wanted to [highlight] the dynamic and natural style of Garghuf’s drumming to distinguish Nefarium’s sound from latest Scandinavian 'fast metal' productions. Today, we’re proud because when we started to work on Ad Discipulum, we absolutely wanted to follow our own way and we think with this new album, we have finally found our sound. Andy LaRoque gave us good suggestions about the final production. We really appreciated his professional way of working in the studio.
Is there a central musical and lyrical theme to Ad Discipulum? Carnifex: We mainly speak about religion, focusing on Catholic episodes that influence everyday life. Like pedophilia or psychological attempts to weaken society through fake teachings from Ecclesiastical speeches. We live in a country where Catholicism is everywhere and the Vatican has massive control over schools, media, work, and, of course, music, so who could better know the worst side of this religion than the people that live here? Since we were very young, religious education gave us the opportunity to study the Bible and we feel lucky because if you want to be against something, you have to know every detail about it; with Ad Discipulum, we simply created a statement against the Church.
Talk about the track titles and their relation to various religious figures of importance. Carnifex: We have one main concept on the album. Every song title is connected because they tell stories about Biblical persons and focus on their faults. On the CD tracklist you could read the title and in brackets the name of the character to which the lyric references. A song named “The Bastard Son of Satan” talks about Jesus Christ’s life and his supposed acts, but actually we think the false Messiah once again has been created by the Catholic religion only to manipulate its disciples by using a super-human but ridiculous man. “Servus Servorum Satanae” talks about the current pope Benedictus XVI, an old sick man, chief of sectarian repressive movements called Catholicism. Simon Peter betrayed Christ three times. Mary Magdalene was a slut. Caius Longinus was the soldier who killed Christ on the cross and Pontius Pilate was the man who condemned the Messiah to death. The Bible is our main inspiration—although we don't believe in the truthfulness of the Book or in the effectiveness of its teachings. Anyway, the parables tell stories of victims and victors who often paid with their lives through the same ultra-mundane punishment. Somehow this fascinates us.
Think we’ll ever find the real Spear of Longinus? Carnifex: Someone tells the Holy Lance is in a Wien museum, another Lance has been preserved in Krakow, Poland since at least the 1200s. However, German records indicate that it was a copy of the Wien Lance. In the movie The Librarian it is told that Hitler and Napoleon had strong power because they had parts of the Holy Spear. As we said before we don't believe in the truthfulness of the Bible and we really don’t care about the Roman Lance. Jesus Christ was probably tortured, crucified, and killed only to make the pseudo-Messiah a kind of hero.
Who is a greater madman? Herod the Great or Cassius Longinus? Carnifex: Biblical events told that Cassius Longinus hit Jesus on the cross with a spear to check if he was dead, but when only water ran out of his body the sky turned black and he regretted his actions, praying to Holy God for his salvation. Actually, we think Cassius Longinus is mainly a murderer. If just the remorse was enough to be proclaimed a saint then this episode confirms, once again, the stupid attitude of Catholic teachings. Herod the Great was the King of Judea and he tried to find and kill Jesus Christ at his birth place but failed. Anyway, in front of Longinus, Herod the Great didn’t receive any orders from superiors, so he was undoubtedly the greater madman.
What would you say to Pontius Pilate if you met him? Carnifex: Crucifixion is quite painful, but what would happen if Christ was burned. The Church’s symbol would become a [cigarette] lighter. Why not kill the messiah with dildos?!
What do you guys do as day jobs/professions? Carnifex: Adventor is a tattoo artist. His studio is called Torvum Tattoo and it’s located in Italy. Adventor tattooed Niklas Kvaforth from Shining, Seidemann from 1349, Sykelig from Den Saakaldte, and other metal musicians. He collaborated with Carlos from Black Shadow Tattoo in Sweden and he’s trying to get experience in Europe. Garghuf is a professional drummer and he’s always busy playing with Enthroned as an official member and with Gorgoroth as session musician. Me and Vexator just try to get money to pay the rent and to buy food.
Where do you see black metal (or even extreme music) going from here? Carnifex: Today, people and mainly young kids are looking for the extreme side of every societal aspect. Talking about music, black metal could become more commercial and better known, but a lot of guys think this music is only attitude and they will probably form small and useful metal bands only to have 'fun' with friends. It is already happening today. Black metal needs more respect and it’s important to recognize it’s, first and foremost, music.
** Nefarium's Ad Discipulum is out now on Agonia Records. Order it here.