Sweden’s This Gift Is A Curse gave us (with help from Season of Mist) one of the last year’s most stupefyingly heavy, implacably savage, and frighteningly eerie albums. On All Hail the Swinelord, they made music that will take you apart and send what’s left of your mind into a very dark place. And today we’re helping bring you the premiere of a video for one of the album’s terrifying tracks, “XI: For I Am the Fire“.
The video was written and directed by Ivan K. Maras (Deathless Pictures). Filmed in black and white, it makes the natural woodland setting seem ominous and threatening, and the barren trees and vacant fields bear cold witness to a ritual that visually captures the atmosphere of unavoidable catastrophe created by the music.
The song is disorienting and harrowing. Armed with big sludgy riffs and a brute-force rhythm section, it pounds mercilessly while the guitars and the unhinged, blood-spraying vocals ratchet the tension inexorably, flooding the senses with aural poison. Even when the pounding relents in the song’s mid-section, the music continues to generate an aura of supernatural peril — until the cataclysm comes, like a cloudburst from a heavy, black sky.
In short, the visuals and the music in this potent video are a fine match, a match made in hell.
To order or download the album, this link provides lots of options.
And below the video, read the director’s comments about what inspired the visuals and about the place where it was filmed.
Comments from director Ivan K. Maras:
“Tar, the very essence of a dead tree. Like a small reminder that everything in nature is transitory. Even ancient life that aged for millennia will eventually perish within shortest of moments. The perpetual cycle of birth and death. THIS GIFT IS A CURSE brought this reminder into music for me when I witnessed them live for the first time in my home town back in 2013. As I was driving to a distant location for a shooting two years ago, I saw a very strange scenery to my right. A vast field bordered with a dark forest and a single most peculiar tree in front of it. It was dead. With white branches reaching down towards the field and the forest behind. As if it was holding on its last moments of life, stretching to the sunburnt field and reaching out for the darkness of the forest.
“This scenery sparked the idea for a script that I later sent to Jonas of THIS GIFT IS A CURSE. I wanted to explore the duality of nature: Birth/Life as well as the approach to death as something that is not necessarily the end as we know it. Nature is beauty in its purest and most chaotic form, but within this merciless chaos lies a constant cycle of evolutionary repetition. Everything is part of a cycled and therefore universally immortal.
“The script seemed to fit perfectly to the lyrical theme of the song. As if the song was written for it and vice versa. It is about longing for something other than the human physical ‘life’ and its shelling. I wanted to explore the curiosity for what lies beyond the threshold and the great void. The symbolism in the video enfolds between the femininity and beauty of mother nature, ancient life and the merciless law that it will be taken when nature demands it.
“The video was then filmed near Cologne in a protected area/moorland where nature is untouched since many centuries – what dies there stays there among the roots. The oldest tree is said to be a 1000 year old oak.”