photo by Ville Ruusunen
(Karina Noctum has brought us the following interview of Goat Aggressor, a veteran drummer and member of the Finnish black metal band Malum, whose fourth album, Devil’s Creation, was just released by Purity Through Fire.)
In this interview with Finnish drummer Goat Aggressor we talked about his most recent release with the band Malum. The band offer a melodious harmonic sound with well-structured songs. Devil’s Creation is another gem for all those who like the Scandinavian underground.
How long did it take to write the album?
We usually write new material constantly and start working on it as soon as other priorities, such as gigs etc, are taken care of. Given the present situation we had lots of time in our hands, so I think the album was written in about six months or so.
Who produced it? Do you like to be involved in the production? Why/why not?
We, the band, produced it as a collective. Our recording engineer Hex Inferi also had some ideas.
What do you think makes the new album distinct from other releases?
It’s not distinct, per se. There is a continuation in relation to the older releases, style-wise and production-wise. This is, however, the first official release I play on as a drummer, so that naturally changed things a bit. I think the dynamics of the band are now very well balanced and I think my aggressive playing style complements the material. Also, the new release is starting to feature more riffs and songs from different members of the band, which gives it more variety, but still keeps the style constant.
What are the lyrical themes in the album?
Who made the artwork and how does it relate to the lyrical themes?
The artwork was a painting done by Roni Ärling. He is responsible for many other album covers of the band too.
How would you describe the music?
Well, it’s black metal, obviously. We do have a melodic element, which is not unfamiliar to the so-called Finnish sound, but I think we have a certain twist that we add to the sound, which makes it sound like Malum. The album is very balanced, in my opinion. It is very compact, just under 40 minutes, but it doesn’t need anything more. There are no weak songs and the tracks complement each other. As has become a tradition for us, the album features one song sung in our native Finnish.
How does the drumming in this new release reflect your personal touch?
As I mentioned earlier, my style of playing is kind of aggressive and I think it is recognizable. I play quite a lot of cymbals to complement the riffs, in the vein of John Bonham. My handling of the snare drum is quite strong and I think this element complements the material very much. I am also enjoying the snare sound a lot. I use aluminium Ludwig Acrolite. I think my style can be noticed, but it merged very well with the overall sound of the band and it became a part of it.
What do you do now that you aren’t touring? Are you writing more music?
Well, there was much work relating to the release of the album, all the post-production, etc. We just recently had the release “off our hands”, so to speak, so everything is quite open at the moment. If things don’t start perking up with the gigs it does sound logical to start working on some new material.
Do you have any side projects that you are working on currently?
Not to speak of. Metal Archives shows my active bands.
Do you believe in natural talent when it comes to music or is it a commitment and practice that it takes to succeed?
I would say both. It is true that you can achieve much by just practicing a lot, but it is not all. There has to be a certain element of chance and also a drive that moves you forward. Also it requires a certain mindset to be able to memorize songs, etc.
How much do you practice yourself?
Less that I should, really. But I have been playing for so long, 25 years already, so when I have to be able to perform, I can get myself up to speed in quite a short time. Also, I work in the metal industry, so having a physical job keeps me in shape. I have also developed a method to practice on my own at home, without the actual drums. This has proven effective.
How would you define good Black Metal drumming?
I think this applies to all drumming, not only to black metal: Show your own colours, but have a respect for tradition. Master technique, but challenge it once in a while. Listen to music, show influence. This is how great drummers are made!
What do you think about trends in Black Metal?
I will not comment on this.
What do you miss the most about touring?
Well, even though it’s hard, it is very rewarding. It shows you that you are doing what you really want to do. To be able to project externally the energy inherent in the music and the aggressiveness it embodies. And of course it is always nice to see new places and meet new people.
Any Finnish upcoming bands you would like to recommend us?
I don’t want to be biased, so no comments. Every man should cut his own way through the jungle.
Anything you’d like to add?
Keep the Black Flame burning!!