(In January of this year Dark Essence Records released the highly anticipated third album by the Norwegian black metal band Endezzma, and in this new interview Karina Noctum spoke with the band’s vocalist M. Shax about the production, themes, and artwork of the album.)
This interview with Shax, the vocalist of the Norwegian Black Metal band Endezzma is focused on their latest album, The Archer, Fjord and The Thunder, released back on January 21st. This release is definitely worth checking out if you are fond of the Norwegian BM style as it includes lots of sonic goodies.
How long did it take for you to write The Archer, Fjord and the Thunder?
We started working on the new album as soon we released The Arcane Abyss. I guess it took two years in the making. It was an intricate and intense process since this album, sound-wise, is the most multi-layered one we have done.
What would you like to achieve in the listener with the new album?
‘We would like the listeners to take a seat in the rotten boat of slumber and sail down the fjord into the toxic haze with The Archer, into the thunder and stellar darkness! We want to place the listeners in the same emotional, devoted, powerful and intense state as we all were in when we wrote and created the album.
Who are the main composers?
The album is composed and created as a band effort together. But the guitarist, Malphas, made much of the preproduction, first idea compositions, and riffs. Also Nihil made riffs and parts for songs. We later on threw ideas back and forth until the songs were firmly shaped and crafted. We later on brought the presentations of the songs into the rehearsal place and made the last and final touches.
How do you think the music has evolved in this new album?
The music on The Archer album is more complex and multilayered. The song structure and compositions are more edged and well-made. The sound itself is more powerful and epic than ever before on an Endezzma album. Our music has always been complex and diverse, but I think this time we had a more steady plan when we started working on the album. We directed the idea towards where we wanted to take the album. I think the songs on the album are better and more complete in their structure and musical expression. We worked in a more detailed manner this time, giving more attention to technical details. The sound of the new album has also been taken up to another level. I think the sound is way more rich but at the same time keeps that old metal vibe and intensity. It’s powerful yet ugly and in your face!!
How often do you rehearse since you live in different places?
Normally when the band is active, and we play gigs and festivals frequently, we try to have rehearsals together once per week at a minimum. It really depends on the band’s schedule and program. Yes, that’s true we don’t live close to each other, but we don’t live that far away from each other either, so it’s really no problem getting together. The basic and most important rehearsal would always be the work you put behind at home, daily.
Where was the album recorded?
The album was recorded in Malfherno Studios Norway. We are very fortunate that Malphas, our guitarist, has his own recording studio. It’s a very comfortable working situation being able to work like that, and in this way we keep full control over the music. When all the pieces were put together, we gave it all over to Tore Stjerna at Necromorbus Studio Stockholm for the mixing and master adjustments.
Who produced the album and how involved are you in the production?
The album was produced by Malphas together with the band. As a band we are 100% present in the production and the result. We have a very instinctual and clear vision on how we want everything. We go quite a few rounds concerning the sound from the start until the end of the mix. The sound is the ultimate bridge to complete the expression and the atmosphere of the album.
What are the lyrical themes about?
We had a clear vision and philosophy concerning the thematic side of the album. All the lyrics are tied together and belong in the same landscape. Every different lyric gives you information or just simply a story that all together provide meaning and reason in the greater puzzle. The basics are there as always in Endezzma, fundamental inner darkness and of course the different elements related to the matter of death. Also energies and power have a fundamental place in this philosophical world.
The artwork is very nice, who made it?
Thank you. The artwork was painted by the Serbian artist Stefan Todorovic and his Khaos Diktator art agency. It’s a very special painting that we are very devoted to and satisfied with, very descriptive and capturing of the lyrical and philosophical platform of the album. I had a very clear art direction concerning what we wanted from the artwork, but he added so much energy and depth to it. Since the lyrics and the philosophical platform of the album were very important, we wanted a painting and visual carpet that right away would tell our story and take the listener directly into our mythical dark universe. The album cover has gotten a lot of amazing feedback, so apparently it is an “eye-catcher”
Did the artist have total freedom or did you have a clear vision of what you wanted?
The painter got very clear instructions about the lyrical concept and the philosophical platform of the album. I had a very distinctive idea about the cover and how we wanted it and what it needed to express, since the lyrics were important in the big picture of the album. The art-directions were thus made by us but when the painting was going in the correct direction the painter had his freedom to add details and use his own creative approach of course.
How is the artwork related to the lyrical themes?
The title paints a picture as detailed as possible in the listener’s mind. The Archer, fjord, and the thunder are three essential key words in the album’s philosophical agenda. The Archer is the main magus, the fjord is the passage, and the thunder manifests the fire and the energy of this grand epic and mythical world of stellar darkness. It’s kind of a concept album since all the themes are built around the same philosophy that is visualized through these above-mentioned elements and key words.
We have earlier written much about death, and the meaning of death based on how you live, present yourself, and our inner darkness. Through the album’s philosophical theme we have created certain characters and placed them into a certain landscape and mythical setting. You have a lot of energies talking and a huge symbolism that we invite the listeners to dive into. It’s like poetry, everyone will maybe sit back with a different reaction after they both read and listen to it…
The videos are really good as well. It seems like you got professional help — do you get any label support to do this or did you do it yourselves?
Thank you. It’s not easy to pull off videos in the extreme metal world. It’s an intricate thing that easily can go south, so to speak.
The videos were shot and directed by the Portuguese video director Guilherme Henriques, the same person who recently directed the new Moonspell videos. He flew to Norway last year, just in time before the covid situation erupted, to make the videos for the album. The collaboration worked out really well. We just wanted the videos to be an effective intense fist in the face. And a good way to expose the songs.
The planning of the concept and video set-up was all done by the band in collaboration with the director Guilherme. The video got financial support and was funded by the Norwegian state through the “Fond For Lyd og Bilde”. It’s a cultural fund made to support art and artists.
Are you planning a release show once things go back to normal?
Unfortunately, I guess the year of 2021 will look much the same as 2020.
But we will be back with a vengeance for sure! As soon as the gates open and the world opens up the stage carpets, we are ready to STORM THE WORLD!!! There will be big tour announcements and festivals coming….
Have you re-confirmed any 2020 live shows for 2021?
All shows that were confirmed for 2020 are all re-confirmed for 2021. So let’s see if they again need to be re-confirmed again for 2022.