photo by Duffi-Graffie
(Wil Cifer interviews Ritual Butcherer, guitarist, composer, and co-founder of Finland’s Archgoat, whose new album The Apocalyptic Triumphator is one of 2015’s high points so far.)
Your new album The Apocalyptic Triumphator has really set the bar high for metal coming out in 2015. One of the most impressive things about Archgoat is the fact that despite being incredibly heavy, you guys pull this off and still write good songs instead of placing all the focus on the heavy element. What do you attribute this to?
Our whole composing process is guitar-riff orientated and everything builds around the guitar parts. If the guitar riff is good and in company of 4-5 equally good riffs, it is then easy to add tempos with the drums to keep things interesting, but if the guitar part is weak or mediocre the drumming or vocals will not help the situation. We have in the two last recordings really wanted to get a heavy and thick sound because it just works with our hymns. And the drop tuning we use adds even more beef to the whole barrage of sound.
How has the songwriting process changed for you guys over the years?
In the beginning we all participated equally in hymn writing, but I have been ￼taking more and more responsibility than in previous years and now have alone composed all the music from Heavenly Vulva as for The Apocalyptic Triumphator. It is, though, irrelevant who of the members does what, as the band is a band, and not for personal glory but for the glorifying of Lucifer.
photo by Duffi-Graffie
From a production standpoint, each album takes another step toward a sound that is more pristine than the last. What changed in the recording process for The Apocalyptic Triumphator?
Every release is a frozen dissection of that one moment, and every moment differs from the others. We took our time with the sound engineering and mixing and steered the sound toward what we wanted, and the outcome was The Apocalyptic Triumphator as it is. Where we are with our next release I do not know, as the time will then tell us to steer the sound where it needs to be.
There is a death metal grit to your sound. What death metal bands have been an inspiration to you over the years?
Among the main influences for Archgoat has been Carcass with Reek of Putrefaction, which in my opinion is harsher than most of the so-called cult releases. We really liked the doomy low-tuned sound and the tempo changes, and probably that gave us the idea of doing these tempo changes we are now known for. Also Celtic Frost with their mid-tempos had something going that influenced our way of composing. I think the list would be quite long, but these two would be the obvious biggest influences.
Sonically where do you feel death metal ends and black metal begins?
For me BLACK metal is about philosophy, and music comes second. If the music were more important than the philosophy, that would totally take all the seriousness away from this genre and make it one genre among others where music makes the difference, not your philosophy. BLACK metal is about Satanism and black METAL is about musical wankery. We play BLACK metal for Satan.
What are your thoughts on the current state of black metal?
I am really not too interested about what others do but concentrate on what ￼we do. I killed Archgoat with Angelslayer due to the scene being ass-raped by new bands with plastic ideology. Now I see things differently and do not even think of us as a band of the scene. We are a band of the scene that there was in 1989 to early ’90s.
How does the Finnish metal scene differ from that of other Northern European countries?
In Finland we have bands like Azazel, Barathrum, and Obscure Burial, who sound more crushing and less melodic than the bands of our fellow countries. It is more evil and pure in my opinion, and more philosophy-driven than musically driven.
Who are some of the occult authors you feel Archgoat’s philosophy resembles?
I would really think that again the list would be very long, but I would encourage you to study the works of Brother Myrmydon from the Cathedral of the Black Goat. He is very genuine and he’s written in way that does not exhaust the reader by being overly complex.
Are there any plans to do a US tour, and what challenges do you face playing the States?
We do not have any challenges about playing in the States other than we need to leave most of our stage stuff home. But then again a wise man settles these things with the promoters in advance, so you get what you need to get. I would just say that now it is too preliminary to say anything, but we are working with people with whom we have great experiences and let’s see if the plan happens or not.