Alghazanth - Alghazanth is spreading the plagueAfter grading the Finnish black metal band Alghazanth with 90 points out of a 100 for their latest release Wreath of Thevetat, it was only fair to them and to you to get to know this band with great potential better.
Hey guys. How are you doing?
'Ave! We are doing rather fine at the moment, thanks for asking. We have a couple of gigs coming up and in addition to that we are in the process of composing new songs for the next full-length album. So, business as usual, I guess.'
Please introduce yourself and the band for those who don’t know you.
'My name is Gorath Moonthorn and I'm the drummer in a band called Alghazanth which performs majestic Black Metal. There are four other souls involved as well and they go by the names of Goat Tormentor (vocals, bass), Thasmorg (guitars), Grimort (guitars) and Ekholm (synths). Alghazanth has been in existence for exactly 13 years now and during this time we have released two demos, one promo and five full-length albums.'
Can you name some bands which were of influence on Alghazanth?
'When we first started playing and composing the bands we were most into were Emperor, Marduk, Immortal, Mayhem, Old Man's Child and the like. Along the years the range of sources for influence and inspiration has expanded to some extent but the magic of those older bands and their older releases still holds us in a tight grip.'
What does the word Alghazanth mean and how did you come up with the name?
'Alghazanth is the name of this entity that appeared to me in the shape of a talking white wolf in a dream back when we were starting up the band. He told me that I had one important task to fulfill before it would be my time to follow him to the realms beyond. So, the name was revealed to me and not taken from any book. I thought that nothing could fit this band better than a name with such a personal and mystical meaning to it.'
I was absolutely swept off my feet by your latest full length Wreath of Thevetat. How were the reactions to your new album outside of Holland?
'I'm pleased to hear that the album has resonated with you so strongly. The reactions have been mainly very positive but there have also been some negative ones as well. The negative reviews we've received are mostly those "this isn't old-school/harsh/dirty enough" -reviews. But hey, we're not doing this to please everyone. The majority of the feedback and the reviews has been even surprisingly positive, though. The album has gotten quite many 10/10 ratings and the response from those who have bought it has been just great. Many have said that they didn't like our previous works at all but this new one just took them by the throat. To me personally, comments like that are the best kind of feedback there is.'
Alghazanth was formed in 1995 and released three demos and four full lengths before the end of 2004. It took you guys another four years to introduce your fifth full length to the world. What happened in that four years?
'Well, we had some major line-up changes during that period. Three of the six members that were on The Polarity Axiom album had to leave the band. You can imagine that a thing like this really slows everything down quite a bit. In addition to this we were without a rehearsal place for a full year. After we got a new place to rehearse in and found new blood to complete the line-up, things started rolling at full speed again. It didn't take that much time before we had all the songs finished for a new album and were ready to record them. The period between these two albums was laborious and demanding indeed but it really paid off because now we are a Hell of a lot stronger as a band than before.'
In your official biography you state that you used a completely different approach to the recordings of Wreath of Thevetat. Can you explain why it was necessary to record this album in three different studios?
'Previously we just entered the studio for two or three weeks and worked with the album practically non-stop without taking any days off. That is really exhausting and before you're even half way through you become somewhat deaf to what you're doing and you end up making compromises and even clear mistakes. We were determined to avoid making this same old mistake again with Wreath of Thevetat and therefore we decided to record the album in shorter periods over a long period of time. This way we kept our ears fresh, so to speak, and the overall performance with the instruments was so much better when we didn't have to work for hours and days on end. Actually, we used just one professional studio for this album. That was the Tico Tico Studio where we recorded the drum tracks. The reason for this was simple: we've always liked their style when it comes to drum sounds
and that's why we wanted to record the drums there. The synths were recorded in our keyboardist's own homestudio. This was due to a matter of convenience because he lives 250 kilometres from us. There was absolutely no sense at all in getting him over here with his gear when all the synth tracks could be recorded at his apartment. The bass, the guitars and the vocals were recorded at our rehearsal place. This was really convenient for us but the more important reason for doing so was the fact that we wanted to have a certain edge and harshness to the sounds. All this worked out just the way we planned so we couldn't be any more pleased with how things turned out.'
What would you say is the biggest, musical difference between The Polarity Axiom (release: 2004) and Wreath of Thevetat? Why did you choose a new path?
'Whereas The Polarity Axiom leans more to the direction of technical and performance-driven approach, Wreath of Thevetat focuses on more straight-forwarded, atmospheric and epic style of Black Metal. This is not something we pushed ourselves to do, the transition came rather naturally. The reason why, for example, The Polarity Axiom represents a more complex approach lies pretty much in the preferences of our past members. They had a somewhat big influence on how we sounded back then because also they were strongly involved in the process of composing and arranging the songs. Now that the time came for them to part ways with Alghazanth, the rest of us continued doing what we prefer the most. It's basically as simple as that.'
What does the concept of black metal really mean to you?
'To me black metal is simply so much more than "just music". It is a concept that appeals to me musically more than any other genre, that's true, but even more than that I appreciate it because of its ideological and spiritual qualities. I'm not saying that I am one of those "message above music" -guys because if the music isn't good in my ears, great lyrics can't make me start listening to it. What I am saying is that bands with both great music and highly occult and/or Satanic lyrics are what make me tick.
I experience black metal as one of the means to awaken and feed the Flames of Darkness that dwell dormant within those that feel drawn towards the more hidden aspects of existence. It is something that can possess you, make you stronger, free you and set you on the path of true self-development. It's not the whole path but it can be a very significant
part of it. At least this is how I see it.'
I noticed the remark on your website about MySpace. What is it exactly that you have against it?
'MySpace is a phenomenon that we don't want to be a part of simply because we feel it is totally unnecessary and against our personal preferences. You can listen to the songs and read the info, the news and whatnot on a band's own website. So what other significant purposes does MySpace have? None. The only thing it offers is the chance to pad other people on the back and to get a flow of unwanted advertisement on your pages. We say "no thanks" to all that. MySpace is very popular and we don't have anything against the bands that utilize it. We just don't want to be a part of it ourselves. Since there seems to be at least one site on MySpace that promotes itself as "official Alghazanth fansite", we wanted to put that statement on our webpage to clear things out. There's nothing official about it whatsoever.'
What was your most memorable live show? Do you ever tour outside of Finland? If so, when can we expect you in Holland?
'It must be the first one we played back in 1999 (or was it 1998..?). It was a shitty one but it really burnt onto my brain as a great memory. It was a strange feeling to perform live, strange in a good way. It was so different from what playing is at the rehearsal place or in the studio. All that corpse paint, blood and spikes give a lot to the overall atmosphere, you know. I got hooked on that immediately. We haven't done any gigs outside Finland yet but we are more than willing to change this if such opportunity should present itself to us. We just have to wait and see what happens with that. Yes, Holland is most definitely on our list of places where we'd like to spread our plague!'
What will the future of Alghazanth look like?
'We will do some live shows here and there when we have the opportunity. Apart from that, we will continue working on the songs for the next album. It's kind of early to say anything for sure but I have a strong feeling that we will be recording the next one in the autumn of 2009. Until then, keep on consuming the offerings on Wreath of Thevetat... Ecrin Saitan!'