(Comrade Aleks interviews Erik from the Canadian band Nachtterror, for whom we had the pleasure of recently premiering a song from their new split with Altars of Grief.)
So we’ve reached the second part of the split-album Of Ash And Dying Light as I get in touch with the mastermind of Nachtterror, another band from Regina, Canada, who took part in this record alongside Altars of Grief.
Both bands show their best, creating a dark, mournful, and harsh atmosphere, but if Altars of Grief (with whom we did an interview a few weeks ago) are good in the doom/black genre, Nachtterror prefer symphonic black stuff. Let’s go further into the reign of ash and dying light with Erik.
Hail Erik! Nachtterror will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2016, yet you have just two EPs and a brand new split with your countrymen Altars of Grief. What did you do all this time?
Hails to you Aleks! Well, Nachtterror has had a lot of evolution over that 10 year-period. Between members changing, people living in different provinces, and general growing pains of life, we have had a few hiatuses, a few breaks, as well spending a lot of time perfecting and really finding the depth of the tracks we have written for Judgement. Judgement has been our intense musical focus for the better part of that 10 years.
What does the band mean for you? What’s the overall message of Nachtterror?
Nachtterror is a band focused on telling a story of tragedy and empowerment. The tragedy of life and the suffering that can accompany it, and the empowerment of embracing your own negativity and using it to evolve and grow. The message we try to convey is one of acceptance of the inevitable and the ability to use it and overcome it. We want our listeners leaving our album understanding that “there’s something beautiful in the dark.”
The Canadian label Hypnotic Dirge has released the split-vinyl of Nachtterror and Altars of Grief this August. For whom would you recommend this record?
We have been so lucky to have this release via HDR and have been receiving a lot of wonderful reviews internationally! Its been very humbling to hear the opinions of fans and musicians worldwide. I’d recommend this album to any fan of Black/Doom metal, anyone who enjoys layers of dynamics vocally, and anyone interested in finding a story within a soundtrack. Both Altars of Grief and Nachtterror write conceptually, so both sides of this split have a story to tell beyond just the music.
You’ve recorded two new songs for this split – “The Breath of the World Ablaze” and “Upon Ashen Shores”. What make you proud of these songs?
Well, for starters, these are the first songs we’ve written as a band in a year or so, so it was very rewarding to create something new finally, AND these are the first Nachtterror tracks to feature new keyboardist Hohrd. I feel these tracks perfectly encompass the range of Nachtterror. From the heavy, violent outburst of “Breath”, to the melancholic post-apocalyptic quiet of “Upon Ashen Shores”, these tracks really express our range beautifully.
What was your main intention when you took your place in the studio to record these songs? How did this recording session go?
Our main intention when we headed into studio for these tracks was to have the best recordings to express our sound possible. We knew Altars of Grief and HDR would grant us exposure we hadn’t found previously, so it was important to have the tracks be as perfect and representative of us as possible. We recorded with Justin Bender at Blue Door Studio in Regina, SK, because he’s been mixing our sound for many many years and we knew he would know exactly what we expected of ourselves and of our recordings.
What is the nature of the songs’ conception that you recorded for this split-album? Is it a kind of diary or do you see yourselves more as story-tellers?
We are definitely storytellers. We all have a huge focus on creating a world and a story to not only give an audience whatever motif we feel like exploring, but also to express our own personal emotions and thoughts. This split conceptually exists within the realm of our “Judgement” storyline and lore. These two tracks in a literal sense are about the ritualistic birth of a god and his wrath upon the world.
Metaphorically, this album is about embracing the negative aspects of the self and making the decision to become a god, or be destroyed by it. “Breath” speaks of embracing the beauty in the dark, and “Upon Ashen Shores” laments the failures of being destroyed by your own weakness.
The digital version of this release includes two bonus tracks, “Fall of the Sabbath” and “Belial”, previously performed on the Beneath the Crimson Moon EP (2012). Why did you decide to include both tracks in the digital version?
We decided to include these tracks because they are, by all accounts, the “original” songs written by our current and lasting lineup. “Fall…” was the first musical contribution I brought to Nachtterror in 2006, and “Belial” actually began as a track by a former project of our bassist and myself. We’ve played these songs for years, but never felt like we gave them proper justice in the studio. It felt only appropriate as we head into a renewed focus to give these tracks a final opportunity to shine.
Your music obviously has black metal in its core, so the song’s title “Belial” suits Nachtterror’s musical conception very well. What does this image mean for you?
All of the members of Nachtterror have Black Metal in our musical roots, we all grew up enjoying various styles and were very influenced early on by bands like Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir, and then as we became aware of bands like Emperor and Celtic Frost our sound evolved with those influences.
We’ve have always focused heavily on theatrics, musically and visually, and “dark gods” have always been fascinating to us. Be it Belial or Vatiel (Judgement’s “dark god”), there is so much power and story to the idea of these beasts, and we love to write musically and lyrically around these ideas.
Hmm… A monument of Satan was set in Detroit about a week ago. What do you think about such an event? A kitsch? A necessary step? A form of art?
What a beautiful progressive concept! Most of Nachtterror is either atheistic or have their own personal religious preference, but I for one feel it is wonderful. The idea that we’ve evolved enough as a society in North America that there is freedom to worship/tribute a concept so demonized (pun) and morally ostracized is social evolution at its finest. If you choose to believe in a god, let all gods be fair game! I vote an Odin statue next.
Nachtterror works over its first full-length album, Judgement. What is the state of your progress currently?
Judgement is near completion! With only a few tracks left to record, and some final touch-ups before mixing/mastering, we are very close to announcing a release date. After almost 10 years of work, we couldn’t be happier with what its shaping into. This album is the legacy of Nachtterror until today. It’s reflective not only of our musical growth, but also of our personal growth. Some of us were barely 18 when we began this concept, and this album has encompassed so much of our personal struggle and growth as individuals as well. This truly is the reflection of Nachtterror as much as it is a story of Judgement.
What about Hypnotic Dirge Records? Firstly, I know it as an “international” label, but it seems that for some period the label has gathered around itself bands from the Canadian scene. Do you feel it is a core of Canadian depressive metal?
HDR has been around for many years, growing a wonderful network and releasing some of the most beautiful songs and styles I’ve come across. From label bands like Netra, to Evoke Efrits, there is a beautiful cross-section of styles. With the renewed focus on Canadian content, I personally feel HDR is becoming the hub for international exposure for Canadian depressive bands. Altars of Grief has had so much success and positive reviews across the globe thanks to HDR’s hard work, and I have no doubt this importance to our underground scene will only grow as things progress.