Finland's black metal scene is alive and well, thanks to a plethora of strong bands, one of whom, Azaghal, has followed up their excellent album Omega from 2008 with the equally enticing slab of brutality called Teraphim. Guitarist Narqath spoke with Sea of Tranquility Publisher Pete Pardo recently regarding the new album, live plans, and the black metal scene in general.
SoT: Last time we spoke, the band had just released the excellent "Omega", and now you've unleased 'Teraphim", an equally solid album. Can you talk a bit about the last year in the life of Azaghal, between the writing of the new album and any touring you might have done?
Narqath: We played only a few select festivals after "Omega", also Niflungr (Kingdom of Agony, Niflhel, Wyrd) joined the band shortly after "Omega" was released. Then we mainly concentrated on the writing process as we were pretty inspired by how Omega turned out, so I wanted get back to work quickly and continue from where we had left off.
SoT: Teraphim comes out at a time when classic genre acts such as Immortal, Marduk, Gorgoroth, and Dark Funeral have either already released or are soon to release brand new albums. Are you worried that Teraphim might get lost in the shuffle a bit, despite the fact that it's probably just as strong as any of these other releases?
Narqath: Haven't really thought about this to be honest, but I guess it's more of the labels problem than mine (laughs). I suspect that we have more of an underground audience than any of those bands nowadays though, so I hope it won't be a problem.
SoT: How has the feedback been from black metal fans and journalists to Teraphim?
Narqath: There hasn't been much feedback yet, but what we've heard so far has been very positive.
SoT: Can you talk about some of the songs on the new album and the inspiration behind them?
Narqath: I won't go to any specific songs, but the main themes on this album are based around Lovecraftian (inspired) mythos about the Siggusim, Elilum and Teraphim. Siggusim destroys all human and animal life on earth, Elilum all the plant life and Teraphim is the cleansing fire which destroys the world itself. So, again, it's about the end of the world, like on "Omega" but from a different perspective / different story this time.
SoT: The band does a good job mixing in both classic raw & primal black metal sounds with some atmospheric & symphonic elements. Would you say Teraphim, and your style in general, is tailor-made to please just about any black metal fan, whether they are into old school sounds or more modern flavors?
Narqath: It's tailored to just please ourselves, everything else is irrelevant, altough good feedback is almost nice. But we have never made any changes to our music even if the feedback has been pretty negative in some points in our career from certain medias.
SoT: We all know about the quality of black metal acts in Norway, Sweden, and Finland, but there seems to be a growing number of very good bands also coming out of the USA and France. Do you follow some of the newer bands on the scene that are coming out of these countries?
Narqath: France has always had a great scene in my opinion, with the black legions bands and newer bands like Ad Hominem, Arkhon Infaustus and all of Neige's projects... Well, none of these are really new bands, but I haven't followed the scene that closely in years... Like wise, I can't name any "new" bands from the US, but my personal faves are Leviathan / Lurker of Chalice and Inquisition, if you count 'em as a US band.
SoT: Does Azaghal have any live plans for late 2009 into early 2010?
Narqath: Yeah, we'll play with Ad Hominem in France and Belgium in late November, then it's off to Milan, Italy to headline the Black Winter Festival in early December. 2010 is still pretty much open, but we'll atleast return for a few more shows in Italy and there has also been some discussion about the first ever Azaghal gig in Finland in early 2010.
SoT: Last we spoke, you mentioned that you would possibly be doing some dates with Horna-did that ever happen?
Narqath: No, nothing so far atleast.
SoT: Fans here in the US would love to see Azaghal live-has there been any talk of possibly getting together a handful of Moribund bands for a small US tour?
Narqath: Unfortunately no news about this. It would of course be fucking excellent to finally come over there to play.
SoT: Anything else you'd like to say to your black metal fans here at Sea of Tranquility?
Narqath: Thanks for the interview! Check out samples from "Teraphim" at http://www.myspace.com/azaghalterrorcult
Now time for some beer!
(Click here to read our review of Teraphim