Quadrivium #6: «Hell», visually speaking

Quadrivium #6: «Hell» | Book + triple album, December 2014

Hey Satan, here’s a fairground for you.

The siks sikkkh sixth and final issue of Quadrivium magazine is called HELL. That’s for a reason. It comes with 356 piledriving full-size pages and 100 articles of subterranean frivolities. As usual, some of the interviews are the longest you’ll see while others are nothing but amusing anecdotes. A few features have a more comparative gaze, such as:


—A 14-page obsidian rundown on ICELANDIC METAL with members of POTENTIAM, SÓLSTAFIR, FORTID, THULE, CURSE and a cameo by Roberto Mammarella of AVANTGARDE MUSIC.


—All copies of the issue come with A TRIPLE CD of a FINNISH DEATH METAL SPECIAL originally aired on the US radio show THE METAL CAGE in 1993. See the bottom of the message for the track list.*

Other lovers of darkness filling up our luckless kettles with interviews:

and an interview on the significance of JULIUS EVOLA

We’d like to call the issue our very own «Black Machine». Get yours for 30 EUROS from:

quadrivium.magazine@gmail.com or

Published in collaboration with the good hands of Ahdistuksen Aihio Productions. It might be a good idea to ask your local and/or favourite distro if they are carrying this item. If they are not, ask them to get in touch with ahdistuksenaihio@gmail.com to do so. We offer very reasonable wholesale prices. Thank you.


* Released with the permission of the bands and their respective record labels, the track list for the triple CD compilation is as follows:


01. DEMIGOD — «Reincarnation»
(taken from the 1991 demo UNHOLY DOMAIN)
02. SENTENCED — «Wings»
(taken from the 1992 demo JOURNEY TO POHJOLA)
03. SCEPTICAL SCHIZO — «(Winter) Wrapped in Darkness I Grieve»
(taken from the 1991 demo THE FOUR SEASONS)
04. LUBRICANT — «Telesyphilis of Exfetation»
(taken from the 1991 demo SWALLOW THE SYMMETRIC SWAB)
05. THE LORD DIABOLUS — «Nocturnal Evil»
(taken from the 1991 demo DOWN THERE...)
06. MONSTROSITY — «Promised Paradise»
(taken from the 1991 demo THEATRE OF OPERATIONS)
07. THERGOTHON — «Yet the Watchers Guard»
(taken from the 1991 demo FHTAGN-NAGH YOG-SOTHOTH)
08. CIRCLE — «Valas» (not «In Romeo», as stated on the program)
(taken from the 1992 untitled demo)
09. BARTOLOMEUS — «Shape of Reality»
(taken from the 1991 demo SHAPE OF REALITY)
10. IMPALED NAZARENE — «Condemned to Hell»
(taken from the 1991 demo TAOG EHT FO HTAO EHT)


01. ABHORRENCE — «Pestilential Mists»
(taken from the 1990 self-titled EP)
02. XYSMA — «Above the Horizon»
(taken from the 1991 album YEAH!)
03. DISGRACE — «Waves of Hypocrisy Seas»
(taken from the 1991 SERAPHIC DECAY RECORDS sampler CD)
04. BEHERIT — «Witchcraft»
(taken from the  1991 album THE OATH OF BLACK BLOOD)
05. FUNEBRE — «Waiting for Arrival»
(taken from the 1991 album CHILDREN OF THE SCORN)
06. CONVULSE — «Infernal End»
(taken from the 1992 album WORLD WITHOUT GOD)
07. CARTILAGE — «Infernal Paradise»
(taken from the 1991 demo IN GODLY FLESH)
08. BELIAL — «For the Beasts»
(taken from the 1991 demo THE GODS OF THE PIT)
09. COPROPHILIA — «Burial Cremation»
(taken from the 1991 self-titled demo)
10. BARATHRUM — «Winter of the Black Snow»
(taken from the 1991 demo WITCHMASTER)
(taken from the 1991 demo NO ROOM FOR HUMANITY)


01. UNHOLY — «Colossal Vision»
(taken from the 1990 demo 11/90)
02. PROTECTED ILLUSION — «Merciless Dessert»
(taken from the 1990 cassette LP FESTERING FAIRYTALES)
03. MESSIAH PARATROOPS — «Buried in Mud»
(taken from the 1992 demo LOST SOUL DOMAIN)
04. PHLEGETHON — «Into the Halls of Theory»
(taken from the 1990 demo NEUTRAL FOREST)
05. ANGUISH — «Condemned to Death»
(taken from the 1991 EP GROUND ABSORBS)
06. PURTENANCE AVULSION — «Inside the Crematory»
(taken from the 1991 self-titled demo)
07. MORDICUS — «Scriptural Cryptograms»
(taken from the 1991 demo GROWN UNDER SHADE OF SORROW)
08. INFERIA — «Innate Fit of Incise»
(taken from the 1992 demo CURIBLE ORPHEUS)
09. PUTRID — «Abhorrent Creation»
(taken from the 1991 demo EXHUMATION)
10. DEMILICH — «Two Independent Organisms -> One Suppurating Deformity»
11. ASTAROTH — «Malignant Ulcer»
(taken from the 1990 demo PROPHECY)
12. INTERMENT — «Developmental Defect»
(taken from the 1990 self-titled demo)
13. MENTICIDE — «Enforcer»
(taken from the 1991 EP ENFORCER)
14. NEPHRITIS — «Chain of Terror»
(taken from the 1990 demo OBEISANCE TO DEATH)


The Flyers Are Here...

...But where, o shovels and lanterns, are the things they so preciously try to illustrate? Somewhere in Estonia there is an Erki who knows. Perhaps next week he will have the mind to tell us.


Hell Written

100 articles, 617 sheets of paper, 440,307 words.
Quadrivium #6: “Hell” is now written.

Know that borderline cheesy yet strangely energising song
opening the
Cryptic album by the post-Swanö Edge of Sanity? This would be the occasion to play it.


Aphotic interview from Qvadrivivm #5 (2008)

Ambient Death

Interview: Kuronen

Sunday afternoon in everhell, date unknown. I flick a commercial music channel on and yawn at the perpetually smiling woman figure ranting some quarter-interesting anecdote about the latest hot American metal exports, Puddle of Mudd. Whilst looking for something worth a read at the book store, I saw this name kicking and screaming on the cover of Kerrang! or Metal Hammer magazine. Puddle of Mudd. What kind of name is that for a band? This is supposed to be metal, right? I think we have another name for it: detritus, or, less fancily, crap. Pretentious half-hearted corporate bogus shit.

Woody Allen once said that in perpetrating a revolution, there are two requirements: someone or something to revolt against and someone to actually show up and do the revolting. Here we have the object, Puddle of Mudd (and the American metal scene in general, bar a few individual exceptions). I wonder if Aphotic, from Green Bay, WI, USA, could be one of the bands eager for the barricades.

By hearing their music, a delightfully strong case of ‘ambient death’ (we’ll come to that later on), one is led to believe that the lives of Aphotic members Chad (vocals and bass), Steve (guitar and programming) and Keith (guitar and programming) don’t revolve round dogmas and ideologies the way they revolve round emotion and the self. So, their zeal for this utopian campaign against the American metal scene might have to be questioned. Nonetheless, when I drop the words ‘liberalism’ and ‘freedom of speech’ at Keith’s feet, he doesn’t have to think long to make something of them.

“I hate liberals,” he shoots, less sanguinely, “I hate all people for the most part. A lot of people seem lazy and expect things to be handed to them. There always seems to be a haze in my vision filled with hate over most things concerning other people and the state of life in general. It often extends into myself. I can’t be a philosopher in any sense. I try not to think too much about things I can’t control… or sometimes, even things I can. It often leads to thoughts of wasted time and energy that cannot be got back.”

‘Scuse moi? I thought Americans had it innate in them to keep to their pseudo-lively armour of positivism until eternity ends. This wash of truthfulness is a little difficult to take. Guess spelling effervescence can be a task to some of them, then.

“As far as that nu-metal shit goes, I can’t stand it, and as far as the word ‘extreme’ goes, it is most often a synonym for ‘fucking horseshit’,” Keith continues taking down the ducks.

From the underground’s point of view there is a deep savoir faire to Aphotic’s music, a certain ‘why, they must’ve been here for ages’. However, this doesn’t mean Aphotic are willing to suit themselves to every 16-year-old’s idea of what an underground metal band is all about. ‘Aphotic’ meaning the part of the ocean that is too deep to ever receive any sort of sunlight, I don’t think anyone misses the symbolism.

“I’m glad that this could be brought up,” Keith states. “Aphotic isn’t ‘extreme’ metal. We don’t put on clown make up, we don’t grab goat nuts, we don’t wear gay fetish clothing, and we don’t sing about Satan or gore. We don’t play as fast as we can just for the sake of being fast, we don’t play as brutal as we can simply for the sake of being brutal. We dress the same to go to the grocery store as we do to go on stage. We write and play only the music that comes from us naturally.”

Naturally it may come from them, but that doesn’t mean Aphotic wouldn’t have mentors to look up to. As I wrote about the band’s second demo CD Under Veil of Dark, it is an expedition of melancholic yet forceful tunes not always that distant from one Swedish then-trio’s comeback album of 1996. It will in all likelihood strike a chord with the more sentient listeners who caught up with the outburst of atmospheric metal making cabin-high waves in Europe the latter part of the nineties. The deathy tactics and ephemeral tokens of diversity make for combustible listening and set Aphotic apart from their European counterparts. Yet more than an instance of blind coincidences and a random selection of previously unmixed musical ingredients, it is especially the focused style that forces one to lift an eyebrow and lend an ear for the American band.

But, as said, all this didn’t appear as a ‘road-to-Damascus’ sort of revelation in the heads of the three Americans. We could play the game Spot the Idol, but let’s give Keith the chance to rip these stitches open himself.

“One of my most important goals would be to have some of the guys in Opeth actually listen to Aphotic someday and say that it is good and unique and that it doesn’t sound like them much at all,” he says, bringing up another likely point of reference. But there’s more. Keith admits to never have listened to Bathory but he shares my enthusiasm for Rapture’s Futile.

“The debut album of Rapture is a great record but two that are just as good and even more grossly overlooked in my opinion are the two October Tide albums, Rain Without End and Grey Dawn. More people should own all three of these albums. They are some of the best that are out there.”

So we now have Opeth, Rapture and October Tide. But there’s still that first one missing. Before I know it, Keith’s got the remaining one off his chest.

“The relationship between Katatonia and Aphotic is deeper than just Steve and I listening to them a lot. When you really love a band’s music and you really connect to it on a personal level, I think that it seeps out of you when you are writing your own music. You might be on the same level as other people in some way or your styles might be similar, or you might have some of the same likes and dislikes concerning music. People can tell for the most part if you are consciously trying to sound like someone or if it is just influential.”

Now we have the names. We still need some methodology to latch on to.

“I don’t think that every man possesses an inbred artistic power. I think that most people don’t have anything original or artistic in them at all. I believe more in the idea that everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. I’m definitely not on any sort of ‘quest’ to be someone or to ‘find myself’ through my music. I already know myself too well. The music is something that I feel I have to do at this point in my life. A necessary release of what is inside of me if you will. You don’t have to be the best musician, as long as it is personal and unique.

“Our songwriting process is pretty much always the same. Steve and I come up with some guitar parts that create a mood or atmosphere and the rest of the song seems to flow out rapidly after that. Steve then programs the drums, we both arrange it, and I usually program the keyboards but Steve does help do some of the keyboards just like I help him think of drum beats once in a while. After that Chad learns the bass lines and writes the lyrics.”

So, what about this genre issue, huh? A lot of people are saying Aphotic play doom music, but the band use the term ‘ambient death’ themselves. If doom is Black Sabbath, Candlemass, early Trouble and Pentagram playing a festival at a church backyard with the supporting bell tolls and Lee Dorrian as the one-man audience, then I guess Aphotic are as much a Puddle of Mudd double as they are a doom band. But we all know Americans have a rather twisted view of doom metal, what with the guttural days of glory of Winter and all.

“I’m the one that coined us with the term ‘ambient death’,” Keith discloses. “I never thought of us as doom and I still don’t. People have different views on what doom is though. I think of doom as really slow bands like Disembowelment or Dusk. It doesn’t bother me though. People can call it what they want. It’s my music and I call it ambient death, and I will continue to do so. We are a mid-paced death metal band with a heavy emphasis on ambience and atmosphere… ambient death.”

The name Dusk came up. According to Keith, there isn’t much worth to relive about the transformation from the late doom death legends Dusk to Aphotic. Aphotic didn’t start exactly the next day Dusk was dead.

“In a way it did but at the same time it didn’t,” the guitarist ponders. “Dusk was pretty much dead after Steve Crane left the band. Chad and I joined Dusk a while later. We recorded about six songs that never got released and then we basically just broke up for a multitude of reasons… too many to list, but to put it simply, we couldn’t all exist in the same room. More than a year later four out of five of us ended up trying to make it work again. I could tell right away that it wasn’t going to, so Steve and I contacted Chad, got rid of the other two guys from Dusk, and started Aphotic.”

At the moment the little mechanisms within the band seem to be functioning fluidly in cohesion.

“Generally I don’t have too many hesitations with major decisions. We all know where we want to go musically. At first when we started there might have been some, but now everything flows out naturally enough. I don’t think about it much. It just happens. If people like it, which I want them to, it’s great and wonderful, but I am not going to take any of their advice on what Aphotic should do, or change anything to make them happy. The only bad decision that I have made that I can think of right now would be recording that first release [Aphotic’s 2000 demo, simply entitled Aphotic] so quickly. I guess it would have been better to wait. Some of that stuff is really not passable to us anymore, but some is still good. And I wish I never had written “Livid Dread”. I fucking hate playing that song!”

Keith concludes the chat with a firm statement about the band’s mechanic undertones and future musical mapping. It is clear that machines in the shape of Genesis P-Orridge are not to take over this man’s mind.

“I never wanted to sound at all industrial, which can be hard when using programmed drums. I hate industrial sounding bands and music. Aphotic doesn’t sound at all industrial now, that’s for sure. We have a good direction that we are headed in. It’s more and more sounding like we are getting our niche. The death vocals that are on our first two releases will continue, but we will not be headed into the traditional death metal style at all. I draw influences outside of metal and like I said, we have found our sound and we will continue to grow. We do plan on being around for a while, but it is dependent on getting a record deal. I can’t see continuing if we don’t get signed off of three demo releases, and that third demo isn’t in our near future. We could record a full-length at any time now…”

For hell or high water, Aphotic did cause a ripple. Sadly, their third demo Stillness Grows grew old with little label interest. In 2005, Aphotic recorded an EP called Failure. Shortly after, they split up.


Dernière Volonté interview from Qvadrivivm #5 (2008)

“May God Keep You”

Interview: Arkadin

Dernière Volonté’s Le Feu Sacre was one of the more impressive releases I bought from last year. (Which year that was we won’t tell.) Very rarely does anything outside of metal, the area that I admit I am most familiar with, move me in such a way as Dernière Volonté; very rarely does anything paint such emotional landscapes in my mind. There is a sublimity to this project, a sensitivity in spite of the palpable austerity, the almost mechanical, martial rhythms, that gives it a very unique personality and depth. It is externally severe, but inwardly soft, deftly floating in the nexus in between. Possibly it is even neither, but rather… something else. I just find it very hard to communicate what I feel.

“First of all thanks for your compliments, it’s always a pleasure to hear!” Geoffroyd, Dernière Volonté’s chief composer, exclaims. “I do feel that Le Feu Sacre has this very particular sound that you so rightly describe. But whilst recording, I had no real knowledge of what was happening. This probably comes from the fact that I am always oscillating between dynamism and depression. Le Feu Sacre is really a testimony of the way I was feeling at the time (it was recorded between 1998 and 2000), words and music were written very spontaneously, and one can still hear that nowadays. I’m very content that you felt what you describe, indeed my ‘aim’ was to awaken new feelings in the listener, to incite him to see beyond the simple form I was presenting.”

As many are probably unaware of the project and its history, I ask Geoffroyd to update us on how things started. What prompted him, for example, to become active in recording music in the first place, and was Dernière Volonté the very first project he’s ever been involved in?

“Derniere is my first project,” he affirms. “Before that there wasn’t much, just an experimental phase. I sometimes collaborate with other projects and I sometimes develop more ‘secret’ projects. In fact it took me a very long time to make my music somewhat known, almost four years. I started Dernière Volonté in 1994 with a very small amount of material and only started working on Obeir et Mourir in 1995 (first work, which came out as a double tape). This work was distributed only in 1998, and was limited to 120 copies on my own label (La Nouvelle Alliance), which I share and ‘run’ with Arnaud of I-C-K. It is only when my path crossed Hau Ruck!’s that my work started to be distributed in a better way. All the music in Dernière Volonté is done only by me, for I am the sole member of the project, but sometimes friends are invited to collaborate on a musical or graphical level. The advantage of being alone is that I depend on nobody and am therefore free to express myself in all liberty.”

What were some of the complexities of the Le Feu Sacre recording, the origin of the sound sources and the recording process? More importantly, the concept of this release, if there is one: was there something that led up to it? Personally, I sense some kind of definite ‘process’ that led to the crystallization of this release, a transition, an ‘overcoming’…

Le Feu Sacre took two years in the making,” says Geoffroyd. “I recorded a lot of material and I selected the best for Hau Ruck! The sounds were made with my equipment. I was looking more for spontaneity than at the technical side of things, seeing how limited it was. Maybe that’s what makes Le Feu Sacre so special, and you are right on insisting about the way it was recorded. I simply tried to make the best out of the material and bring out the purest of emotion, beyond the technicalities of the music.”

Although every track on Le Feu Sacre is of high quality, my two favorites are no doubt “Der Zorn Gottes” and “Marche Funebre”. Such mesmerizing, haunting pieces of music. They leave a true lasting impression on the listener, a specter that haunts one well beyond hearing them. I ask Geoffroyd to comment on each, separately, if possible, and to consider if there were any directly traceable sources of inspiration for each piece. What does he picture in mind when playing them to himself? And is it something he generally likes to do—go back to his own music? I know some musicians have a kind of horror of leisurely listening to their own music…

“Whatever I say on those titles will never embody the emotions it generated on the listeners,” Geoffroyd affirms in response to my question. “”Der Zorn Gottes” is for me the wrath of God upon Man and his destructive nature. One day will come when we will have to pay for the horrors perpetrated by our species.

“As for “Marche Funebre”,” he continues, “it is a compassionate procession of hope for our future destiny… I don’t remember what images I had in mind when I recorded these tracks and when I hear them I wonder how I was able to come up with them, seeing how poor my equipment was at the time! I usually listen to my work during the recording sessions. Otherwise, I try not to, as I only hear the things that I feel are ‘wrong’. I suppose that’s why some musicians don’t like listening to their stuff.”

It’s interesting that Dernière Volonté employs several languages in its lyrics: French, German and even English. I wonder where each is perceived best to fit, to what kind of atmosphere? Are certain languages more workable toward the communication of particular feelings than others? Personally, as a bilingual speaker myself (Russian and English), I tend to feel that way, as sometimes I have to dance around words in order to convey my emotions, in both languages really. Also, in conjunction, does it bother Geoffroyd at all that the world seems to be gravitating toward a universal language, mainly, English? From my own experience the French and German people tend to be very conservative in regard to the infiltration of alien languages in their culture, and certainly many Americans also. In fact, this sophistry probably applies on a universal scale… but what does the man think personally?

“It is clear that French will always be my favorite form of expression, which is natural as it is part of my life and culture. What I find pretty lame is the way some projects over-use the English language, as if that form of expression masked their incapacity to transmit an intelligible and audacious message. Now, I am not shut to other languages, and I find—for example—Novy Svet’s use of Spanish very original.”

The photographs that adorn the art of Le Feu Sacre are quite remarkable. I am curious of where they were taken, especially the heroic statue of the old man and the child, pictured on the cover. Such a remarkable design, conveying strength, wisdom, virtue… and there’s also an eerie, if not prophetic, quality to the image.

“The picture is a photograph of Arno Breker’s Saint Michael,” he answers. “The photography was just fit for the themes explored in Le Feu Sacre. The design was conceived by myself and Marquise Do, who worked well to obtain the nice result. The Sacred Fire is a symbol for our desire and will to act accordingly to our faith and ideas. It is also the power, the internal strength that guides and motivates us in our disillusioned lives. It is somewhat the equivalent of a divine energy.”

I’ve heard that a double-cassette set and two 7” EP’s have been recorded beside this album. Are these still available? Where can one obtain them, if so?

“None of these productions are available any more, and some have been sold out for some time now. Nonetheless, the double tape should be reissued as a double CD and 3LP. As for the 7”, I might do something about it, in order to stop the bids that rise to scandalous prices,” he says.

I imagine that such music demands certain special dimensions in a live venue, an atmosphere conducive to the proper communication of its power; perhaps even a visual display, an old black and white film in the background of the performance conveying ambiguous imagery, a close-up of a shard of grass, an abandoned alleyway, ruins in the thick of meadows, etc. I think of old Ingmar Bergman movies: rising, towering speakers, a cold, stoic austerity in the visuals. This is how I envision a Dernière Volonté performance… Tell me, Geoffroyd, has Dernière Volonté ever performed in a live setting?

“I have not yet had the time to work on a ‘live act’,” Geoffroyd confesses, “but the possibility is not excluded. A Hau Ruck! festival is deemed to be put up some time in the future, so that might be the occasion to present myself more alive than ever! It is clear that I will present Dernière Volonté in its most spontaneous and dynamic aspect, and what you describe is very interesting as it is in accordance with what I wish to develop. Time will tell, my friend!”

It’s interesting to find out what other kinds of bands would gather in support of such a festival. But, if the current climate and interest in neo-folk is any indication, I imagine it won’t be so difficult to fill an audience… Militaristic industrial music has definitely gained more attention in the press, and the world, in the last few years. How does Dernière Volonté look upon or fit into the mold of other bands in the ‘genre’, if the word can be excused? For example, the band Der Blutharsch has been very influential on many artists in the recent past, I know; also, Blood Axis, Death in June, Allerseelen. But this is nothing essentially ‘new’, and we all know this. Non, for example, has been creating such music years ago. But still… is such art more relevant today? I sometimes feel it is personally.

“This form of music is in fact a curious by-product of the original industrial music, even if it lacks cohesion as the concepts are not along the same lines anymore. I am not particularly interested in the ‘genre’. From your list I only feel drawn to Der Blutharsch, Non and Death in June. Der Blutharsch so because, before all, Albin is a friend and I have always been interested by his musical endeavors. Non/Boyd Rice is for me a living legend; he has experimented everything very intelligently: noise, experimental, militarist music and even pop. All his records are classics and I am still very impressed by his early work. I feel drawn to Death in June because for me they are a classical reference of the ‘cold wave’ of the 80’s. The strength of their records has been tragically decreasing, but it is always with great pleasure that I put their first records on my turntable,” he responds.

As nostalgia and sorrow, at least for myself, tend to be intimately linked, if we were to disengage ourselves from the past, to distance ourselves from prior ills and misfortunes, it would be possible then, some would argue, to lead a ‘better life’. But to desensitize oneself in such a way, to ablate all manners of guilt, in a manner of speaking, is it also to shallow the pool of one’s present?

“I’m not sure I get what your are precisely trying to articulate here… The past is an important experience that influences our perspectives and ways of living. I find it is important to keep this heritage and not to be totally desensitized to what has forged and will forge our minds.”

I leave Geoffroyd with one final question. Today we live in a time of strife, when all manners of civil, organized and even spiritual wars are taking place, on both a smaller and larger scale. I am speaking primarily of the undeveloped third world. This war and strife, is it ‘healthy’ in his mind? This is obviously a transitional period. Many of the acts and decisions taking place today will probably have a huge effect on the future of the race for generations to come. Does this discord parts of the world are in, this hostility displayed toward one another, does he think it is mankind’s ‘natural playground’, as it were? What is your own synopsis, your own antidotal philosophy to these questions?

“The period we are living in is not that alarming,” he asserts. “I sincerely believe that the more things change, the more they stay the same, everything is to be understood in cycles. For all the horror of war, it has always been a familiar element of man’s nature. If you think of all the things that you have observed in the world since you were able to analyze it, you will understand that men are not made to live together harmoniously. I have a tendency to think that one day we will pay for what we have done to the earth and all the species that inhabit it. I am Catholic and, in a way, I believe in the Final Judgment. For me this great cataclysm will announce the rebirth of a world that will be more Just, and a body and soul correlation with our environment. As for myself, I am just another wanderer in a world that I have not chosen and who will easily do without me once I’m gone… May God keep you.”