INTERVIEW WITH BLACK METAL SPIRIT - FEBRUARY 11th 2023
Good evening, thank you very much for answering these questions, how is everything going in Adelaide?
Aaron - Adelaide is good at the moment. It is a cool mild summer so we have very mild weather. Usually there are fires here in summer, so it’s good not to have to worry about that. Our live music scene is absolutely amazing with live metal shows every weekend.
1. The band started around 2019, with only two members, Aaron and Gregor, what led you to create Lumen Ad Mortem? What does Lumen ad Mortem mean for you compared to other bands you are in? involved? Why did you choose the name Lumen ad Mortem and what does it refer to?
Aaron - After a hiatus in music output of a few years, we both had a talk one day about starting a new black metal project. The aim was to make traditional black metal with song structure and atmosphere as priorities in the project. With Lumen Ad Mortem we finally feel that we are making music only for ourselves, with emphasis on how it makes us feel. The name Lumen Ad Mortem means The Dying Light, which represents our feeling about black metal. The light should be extinguished. We don’t understand happy sounding black metal. Metal should be dark, visceral and unnerving and a good soundtrack to walking in a foggy forest in winter… and yes, we have fog and forests in Australia.
2. With this initial line-up you released a demo in 2019, after almost four years and the incorporation of Matt on drums, you give shape to your recently released first album “Upon the Edge of Darkness”, what did Matt's incorporation into your band mean? the drums at the time of defining and composing this first album? How has the composition and recording process of this first album been? What brands of instruments have you used for it?
Aaron - We have been massive fans of Matt since seeing him play with Damaged in the late 90’s, when we were starting out. He is one of the most respected extreme metal drummers in Australia and we are honored that he agreed to join Lumen Ad Mortem.
For the composition and recording, all the music was composed by me with demos developed over time and changes implemented after vocals are added. We all have home recording setups so we can record and send demos to each other. Matt is sponsored by Pearl and Zildjan and I used Ibanez guitars and bass, Mesa Boogie Mark V, Peavey 6505 amps, Neural DSP plugins and Quad Cortex and Arturia and Roland synth vsts, as well as vst orchestral libraries.
3. Your sound offers a black influenced by Scandinavian black sounds from the nineties, in what way has this second wave black been a direct influence for you when defining your sound? How would you describe the sound of the album for whom haven't heard it yet?
Aaron - I remember listening to Emperor’s “Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk” in 1997 and it melted my brain with the complex melodies, thunderous drums and other worldly orchestral and synth parts. We are also inspired by early Ulver, Darthrone, Immortal, Burzum, Summoning, Isengard, etc etc. I think our sound takes influence from these bands but combines it with a bit of movie soundtrack epic orchestral movements.
4. Continuing with the Scandinavian influences, your lyrics are somehow also related to Norse mythology. Is this theme a way to maintain coherence with the sound you offer? Who is in charge of writing the lyrics? The lyrics do they adapt to the music or vice versa?
Gregor - Aaron and myself have been quite fluid with adapting lyrics with music and vice versa. Yes, Norse mythology is one of my influences lyrically which features in 2 songs being Thought and Memory (huginn and muninn) and Within the Smoke (the norns of fate). Which ive had a long standing fascination with as well as the Icelandic sagas, Finnish Kalevala and Germanic / Slavic folklore.
The Voices from the Stream draws upon the Icelandic Saga of the Burning of Njal or Njal’s Saga, a tale that haunts the fascinating landscapes of Iceland. I can't suggest more strongly to anyone with an interest in such things than to read as many Icelandic Sagas as you can find, they are a great insight into those worlds.
Both Infinite Resonance and Ethereal seem to hover between myth and mine and Aarons past through the 90’s black metal awakenings. Holding them in reverence and marking our path towards whenever we are headed…
Narrow Paths was inspired by my 2017 trip to Norway, in particular hikes to Priekstollen and through the forests outside Lillehammer, it was a truly magical time in the lands of the north.
5. There is not much information about the process of recording, mixing and mastering the album. Have you taken care of this whole process or, on the contrary, have you resorted to a studio or professional?
Gregor - We chose wisely to employ Patrick Pages - Oliver to record the drums and assist me with vocals and. I am a professional live audio engineer as well, so this process is familiar with me but recording is an entirely different beast. But I love this shit!
I have my own opinions especially regarding recording drums that aligned with Matt's opinions as well. The main one was to not do any drum replacing or triggering and to retain Matt’s performance as we all believe it should be. To keep that real performance and movement within the songs and to capture it with analog gear and compression straight to tape and fucking commit to it.
Doing this in a studio like Mixmasters was a dream come true, with a mic collection out of this world. Running all the drum shells through vintage Neve 1064’s, kicks going through UA 6176 and snares through Distressors. I could go on for pages about it…awesome stuff. Neumanns, Royers, Akg, Sennheiser 421’s, Josephson’s, AEA R88 and Beyers…
I recorded the vocals myself in the method Patto needed with a SM7B into a Distressor then a Fasto.
Aaron - guitars were recorded quad tracked through my Mesa Boogie Mark V and my friend Luke’s 6505 into the torpedo captor and IR’s for two of the tracks and Neural DSP Omega Granophyre and Archetype Nolly plugins for the other two, and bass was done with my Quad Cortex and an Avalon DI. The synths are a huge collection of Spitfire and Orchestral Tools libraries and vst’s from Arturia, Korg and Roland.
6. The artwork of the album has been done by Leoncio Harmr, how did the contact and subsequent work with him take place? What does this cover represent and how is it related to the content of the album?
Gregor - Aaron found Leoncio Harmr’s work online and we were both taken by the abstract majesty of his pieces,it actually reminded me a lot of Albert Turner's works. It was these works which have the ability to be perceived by the viewer in so many ways and convey a multitude of scenes and obscured visions that led us to contacting him.
I feel it conveys the album title very well, at the precipice of darkness and the death throws of exploding and decaying light
7. The Australian record label Bitter Loss Records has been in charge of editing the album. At what point did you decide to work with Bitter Loss? Are you satisfied with the work done by them in terms of editing and promotion?
Gregor - Rob and Bitter Loss Records are an amazing label and we are very satisfied with everything they have done for us. We are a new band and they are a relatively new Label, but it is all pointing in the right direction from here on out. They are happy with the response we’re receiving and were both working together with great cohesion.
Aaron - Rob is like the 4th core member of the band. He is really amazing and is helping so many bands put their name on the international metal map. Bitter Loss has an awesome roster of death, black, doom and thrash to check out.
8. Now that you have a stable line-up, are there any chances that you can offer a concert?
Aaron - We actually have a larger live line up which consists of the 3 core members plus an extra live guitarist, bass player and keyboardist. We have been rehearsing for months now and will be playing our first show on April 7th in Melbourne at Unholy Mass at the Bendigo Hotel, with a gig in our hometown of Adelaide the next weekend called The New Dead 12, which is on April 15th and includes Hexis (Denmark), Butcher ABC (Japan) plus 16 other Australian bands.
9. You come from Adelaide, how is the extreme metal scene in your city? What bands would you recommend from the emerging Australian black metal scene?
Aaron - Diabolic Rites, Mournful Congregation, Oath of Damnation, Freedom of Fear, Stargazer, Descend to Acheron.
Gregor - Adding to Aarons local list of Altars, Endless Loss, In The Burial, Christ Dismembered.
Emerging right now is Woewarden from Perth and I've been really getting into Lune..
10. How were your beginnings in music: first concerts you attended, first albums you bought? What event in your lives pushed you to want to be musicians?
Aaron - My first live concert was a punk and rock gig in around 1993 called “The gig for world peace” with a bunch of local and Australian punk and rock bands. Early metal shows for me were Pantera, and Big Day Out shows with rock and metal acts. When I first got into the underground metal scene it was bands like Darklord and Stargazer so a great beginning.
My musical background started at age 8 with Piano and guitar at age 10, starting with classical music which my father was obsessed with and guided me towards. The first album I owned was Hysteria by Def Leppard which I found in a creek on cassette in around 1991 before I had money to buy music for myself.
Gregor - The first album I bought was AC/DC fly on the wall on cassette in 1988.
I really wanted to be a musician after buying Metallica’s and Justice for all in the same year…the first cassette wore out and I had to get another copy First concert was Pantera 94 far beyond driven..
11. What album represents for you the essence of black metal? What last albums have you bought?
Gregor - just received Akhlys - Melinoe and the Dreaming I on vinyl.
Aaron -The last new album I bought was probably Crypt Crawler’s latest via our label Bitter Loss records. I’m also looking forward to a physical copy of Vahrzaw’s “In the Shadows of a Starlit Lake” also through Bitter Loss.
The essence of black metal for both of us would be Emperor’s “In the Nightside Eclipse”, Satyricon’s “Dark Medieval Times” and Ulver’s “Bergtatt”.
12. What immediate future plans do you have for Lumen ad Mortem after the release of the album?
Gregor - To play this album live in its entirety and have a bunch of cunts headbanging to it!
13. Thank you very much for taking the time to answer these questions for Black Metal Spirit, if you want to add something for the fans of Lumen ad Mortem this is the place. I hope the questions are to your liking.
Gregor - Thanks so much for your support, it really means a lot and we appreciate your interest in our music.
Aaron - Thanks Black Metal Spirit and all the legends who are enjoying Lumen Ad Mortem.