(Pic: Antti Klemi)
(Pic: Antti Klemi)
Well boys and girls, if you have been avid readers of Mikko’s most lovely magazine then I guess you may know that I also waste my time playing in Primordial. And Mikko also wasted space of his magazine with me in his last journalistic debacle.
So this time round I was asked to contribute something, or other, and for months I put it on the long finger and with my hectic schedule… as you can imagine, boys and girls, made it hard for me to pull my finger out of my ass and write something. Then the offer of contributing some poetry came nicely along via this wonderful electronic mail and we all thought that this may be the answer we had been searching for. So here I am attempting to write something of an article based around the intermittent scribbling of words in my little black book. When in actuality I am writing an article about nothing in particular at all. I just like to see my name in print, if you understand…?
I must say that the writing of lyrics, after all these years, can be a painful process. Not being one of those people who regret the things they wrote years ago, I am still in fact quite proud of the lyrics I wrote in 1992, such as To the Ends of the Earth from our demo and first album Imrama. Not exactly painful in the emotional sense but simply after penning more that a few the well can run dry and your natural evolution as a person can alter your writing process. So right now, with a new Primordial album looming, the lyrics are not coming in a way they may have before. Taking something artistic and making it a discipline is one of the most difficult things you can do, and making yourself write can mean many long blank half hours staring at an empty page, that is until you take to drawing a little pentagram or perhaps even venturing the outline of the Venom logo… or if you are feeling really ambitious then you might even try the Morbid Angel logo...
The life of a scholarly waster, huh?
However, what I have done is to take, let’s say four things I have written over the last few years, and make a little comment on what they meant at the time and how I view them now. So with your excitement level reaching an all time high, prepare to be pushed over the edge, my friends.
The first one is actually from our first album Imrama and a charming little ditty called Infernal Summer.
Her skin so pale… shrouded in black
I drew down the veil, I wanted her back
I am at one with what never lived
I’ll draw down the veil, and offer up what I have to give
Shall you try and poison my every word
At a Summers Funeral, I woke to the light
Shall you lay my bed with thorns
and clutch at me like you have done to life…?
Shall I be the chief mourner, in your procession
No stone lays unturned…(rest in your grave)
I can no longer hear, the silence calling your name
or the choirs of ruin lamenting your pain.
Now when I look back on my older lyrics, as I said before, I don’t feel embarrassed, or what have you, as many people seem to, I just mainly wonder what it is that I am talking about. The use of cryptic, almost clandestine imagery practically goes into overload with for example Infernal Summer, and that habit is something I have somewhat dropped or lost over the years. The imagery of women seems to haunt the early Primordial albums and when once accosted by a drunken member of the Belgian black metal band Enthroned, he remarked (perhaps even mumbled!) that we wrote the first ever black metal love song… The Darkest Flame, well actually he said The Eternal Flame and then realised that was a Bangles track, boy did he have mud on his face, or perhaps on his denim patched vest! Not very black metal really. Yet at the time he had a point, seeing as Cradle of Filth for example was using some female imagery as well, although more gothic and with considerably more tits. Yet not many bands in the black metal scene were toying with anything close to feminine at the time… - strange? As for Infernal Summer, I seem to get this vague memory of being in a forest somewhere and being inspired by the setting sun and making some analogy between that and the changing of seasons and the passing of life… hey, it was in 1994. Remember black metal? - the good old days when we all walked in the forest with our hair in front of our faces and sweated in our leather pants at the height of Summer. An Infernally hot fucking Summer.
Hey whom am I kidding in live in Ireland?
The second one is one I am particularly proud of, although once I had written it I knew it could never really make a Primordial track. The idea was to create something that adhered to a certain metre and rhythm… or onomatopoeia… So at the time I was reading a lot of Baudelaire and Rimbaud, for example, and tried my hand at a little of the French ‘Satanic school’…
Father who dwells in the most arcane of light
with a sweep of whose hand
yields a divine gesture of grace.
Per chance a fair maiden may take
leave of her life in a beauteous effort
to try and keep face…
No sad songs, nor mourner’s lament
Funeral orations, nor enchanting hymns
for death is a joy, and joy indeed death
When life can be short, yet so beautifully spent.
Satan, lest thou not hide
in the recesses of this world
Where black is as white…
and day is as night, so many
songs have yet to be sung,
and so many hearts yet to break
The night has many hands to seize
…and it’s words so many souls to wake.
Through the desperate heaving of earth
Voids of glorious pain, come
it is time to Spirit the Earth Aflame…
Still reads to a certain metre I think, the lyric may be surprising to those who have always viewed the band as a Pagan or Heathen one, but there is often Occult and, yes, even Satanic or Luciferian references here and there, never the usual clichés but the odd clandestine references. This little lyric however was pretty directly inspired by the French ‘Satanic school’ of poets and a healthy portion of the flounce and pomp of Oscar Wilde, particularly The Picture of Dorian Gray, that romanticising of the devil has always been something that fascinates me. Even in something like Milton’s Paradise Lost one cannot but feel empathy with the more human element of the devil, despite Milton being a Christian and in reality trying to impart something of a warning so to speak. However, the Devil is just more human at the end of the day, partially for me because he is simply the amalgamation of all the old Gods, and they were simply our natural relation to the elements… the Devil, he’s the real deal, my friends! Anyway, with this little ditty I was simply aping some literary greats and trying to make the Devil seem the romantic character and of course impress the black metal chicks…
Is it working?
Are there any black metal chicks left…?
Please write I’m lonely?
Now here is something I wrote at what must have been a pretty low ebb, minimalist really isn’t the word here. Around the time before we did our second album A Journey’s End the band was going through what we can call hard times, and now we weren’t dealing with our homies being shot in da ghetto, but coming to terms with how much we thought we disliked each other among other things, and then we did the album and things worked themselves out, as they usually do. And this charming little ode to the noose was written before that…Try it on for size.
noose so tight
cold shadows call
to my skin
white of your eyes
and the slumbering pains
Not even sure what to call that, it may appear sometime in Primordial, it does have a certain melancholic malice of forethought to it, kind of tasty. Quote this to your ex-loved one inside a nice card with perhaps nice flowers on the front, now repeat the exercise until they break…!
And the last one is one of the last things I have written. I choose these four things, as they are as far apart as the four elements could be, all represent me in very different ways, all very different. This one has a few more relevant modern day overtones, or rather undertones, while not being in any way political it has a whiff of Europe and Ancient Culture in there. A whiff of many things… See what you think.
Soiled hands at work to pit a nations fall
Skeletal hands upon the coffers of the old world
Ghosts of men, re-writing history
Red Ink, from the well of martyrdom
Words to drip from the traitors tongues
Waging a War between the crimson lines
The Old Heart of the Earth
Divided, poisoned, ready for the fall
Valiant men, made to wear the Devils mask
The Scapegoats for a new age
Such words will bear the fruit of flesh
today’s innocence, tomorrows finger on the trigger
So, who heralds the Grace of Fallen Empires
Hymns to the Ruination of Majesty
He who inherits the Dark Crown of ill will
and the scorn of those deemed righteous men
The Gauntlet thrown, the baton tossed
By statute, by law, by divine decree
impositions as kindling to the Fire
The Old Heart is beating, with Ancient Blood
I guess you can see a difference here, over the years our culture has become more and more important to us within the band, and the newer lyrics and the message behind Sprit the Earth Aflame also reflect that. The shadowy clandestine half spoken world of the older lyrics has been replaced by, quite simply, often rage. The melancholy is still there but this time evened out by the more Mighty aspects. Just another example of personal evolution in many ways. I know people will read things into, for example, this lyric that are not there but I would find it interesting to see what people actually read into this…
Especially the black metal chicks…?
So with that parting display of pathetic grovelling I will take my leave and thank my cruel mentor Mr Kuronen for forcing me to actually do something for once, don’t wake me from my slumber next time alright, I need my beauty sleep.