Moribund have done it again and discovered another atramentous gem in the underground in the form of Pennsylvania's Pact. Taking traditional black metal and warping it to their own design, Pact's knowledge of the occult, literature, and philosophy forms the foundation for their own golden dawn. Comprised of guitarist Wretch, vocalist Hag and T on drums, the six-year old band describes its music as being "driven by the forces of chaos and death." Having all played in previous extreme metal outfits, sometimes with each other and sometimes apart, the three musicians "throw [their combined tastes] all into the melting pot with a black metal score ultimately in mind" to create the "trance-inducing yet brutal and intense black metal" that is their debut, The Dragon Lineage of Satan, a work they refer to as "a monument of individual empowerment and exaltation."
On the writing process for The Dragon Lineage of Satan, the band forms the tracks out of riffs, "some written before rehearsals and some parts just come out during practice. After a few good ideas come up that fit together satisfactorily the rest of the song just keeps building off it until we all feel it's complete." Their music is as their philosophy it seems, intricate, detailed, well-studied, and evolved from a core that is beyond good and evil that takes its final form only when it has come to fully embody their collective vision. The lyrics also undergo the same level of scrutiny, "the lyrical ideas are either written before the song is complete, but sometimes are also written or changed during a rehearsal or even as late as the recording process." As for their sound, where some black metal bands have chosen to expand their sound by including orchestral and/or keyboard elements into their sound, Pact "don't see any of those things fitting in with [their] vision of black metal." Given the themes behind The Dragon lineage of Satan, such pomp would be considered superfluous, even detrimental to their goal "to cause change!"
Pact call upon a number of sources to bring about their vision of "the destruction of herd mentality and mental mediocrity," infusing their music with the philosophies and traditions practices of the Golden Dawn, Germanic, and chaos magick, as well as the philosophies of Nietzsche and Kant, and the poetry of Blake, Crowley, and Baudelaire. Infamous for their anti-Christian views, Crowley and Nietzsche are not unfamiliar to those within black metal circles and are regularly cited as influential figures. Crowley's libertine maxim to "Do what thou wilt" has been frequently misconstrued as hedonistic licence instead of the disciplined search for true individuality that it was intended as (despite Crowley's own failings to challenge many of his own prejudices). Similar to his idea of will as transcending the limitations of religious doctrine, Nietzsche's attacks on the herd morality espoused by Christian doctrine and his concept of the transvaluation of values both hold great weight and provoke much debate for black metal philosophies. Blake's links to the Romantics and the philosophical and mystical undercurrents to his works mark it out as the expression of, again, something transcendent, something that bows to no master other than that of a higher purpose that no religion can embody. And Baudelaire's principle themes of sex and death in his most famous work, Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil), were so controversial that attempts to suppress it were successful. It requires no stretch of the imagination to see the influence these writers have had on the 20th and 21st centuries, least of all to acknowledge their relevance. When asked why their philosophy and practices takes their inspiration from 19th century (bar Kant) sources, they argue that "the words of the great poets, philosophers, artists, or magicians of the past are heard, as these personas carried the most sustenance. As long as useful information is being put forth, it can't become redundant. There would be nothing modern had nothing from the past been incorporated." That impact lies at the core of Pact's debut. Seeing religion as a disease that has "plagued the earth by keeping people locked in the position of follower," Hag's lyrical content encapsulates the band's anti-religious philosophy "to push limitations, and live by one's own code, ultimately following one's own will."
Recorded and produced "all without outside help", their relationship with Moribund is one of mutual respect, the label dealing with promotion and leaving Pact to carve out their sonic vision. With the album released through Moribund on January 31st, you may want to take Pact's advice and "look up the aristocratic soul, Fredrich Nietzsche and see for yourself" what their vision of change is.
Thanks to Pact for taking time out for the interview.
(Click here to read our review of The Dragon Lineage of Satan)