I was recently graced with the opportunity to interview Nornagest—the frontman of Enthroned, a band that has been around since the early ’90s. I can still remember my first time listening to them. It was on the Burlington waterfront, and I had just bought 1997’s Towards The Skullthrone Of Satan on CD at Disc-Go-Round. It wasn’t my first time hearing black metal, but it was definitely the point where I said to myself: “Holy shit, this stuff is real.” None of the original members of Enthroned are in today’s lineup (Cernunnos, the founder and original drummer committed suicide prior to the album), but Towards The Skullthrone Of Satan was Nornagest’s first recording with the band. Though back then, he only held the role of guitarist and backup vocalist (the frontman was Lord Sabathan—and if I dare say, he sounded a bit like Frau Farbissina from the Austin Powers movies). Enthroned‘s latest album, Obsidium, will be released March 20, 2012. And here’s the fucking interview:
Breath Of Mozym: You’ve been with Enthroned for about almost two decades. How many interviews do you think you’ve done?
Nornagest: Too many haha! This is my 57th only regarding the Obsidium promotion.
What are some of the lyrical themes in Obsidium?
Obsidium is a part of a concept involving our two previous albums. You could compare it to a television series—each album is a new season of the tale. The concept can be then traced back to Tetra Karcist, which dealt with the reality of occultism—how things are within the occult—without gimmick. Pentagrammaton retraced the experiences which spurred from the doctrines and practices of Tetra Karcist. Now with Obsidium, the concept deals with what we learned and our achievements from those experiences—all written in a way that only people who are actually within the occult circle can understand fully.
In what ways do you think the band has matured since the debut?
First of all, I’ve been more severe when it comes to my band members: Everyone should agree with the belief system of Enthroned. This is the way to keep the band stable and to prevent emergence of weakness. Musically, we are deeply rooted in a tradition from which we have no intention of straying; although, some things can change a bit from time to time, which makes the band what it is. Of course we are coming up with new ideas and influences, principally from our own life experiences, but this doesn’t mean we would change our direction or concept. Through the years, I learned to see this band as a brotherhood where there is no place for betrayal or any kind of attitude that would put the essence of the band in danger.
Favorite Black Metal bands, both new and old?
Bathory, Hellhammer, Darkthrone, Impaled Nazarene, Archgoat, Beherit, Sarcofago, Funeral Mist, Necros Christos, Mgla, Blasphemy, Belial, Abruptum (old only), Mayhem, Morbid, Antaeus, Arkhon Infaustus, Demoncy, Bestial Warlust among others.
Are there any bands or genres you fervently dislike?
Everything without inspiration—insipid and without any spirit.
What are some of your non-metal and non-musical influences? Authors or philosophers perhaps?
I’m a very eclectic person. Sometimes that shocks fans, but shall I really care? Ha! I wouldn’t necessarily speak of influences, although what you are listening to often unconsciously influences in one way or another, but I really appreciate the music of artists or bands such as Madrugada, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, or Grinderman, Suicide Commando (Axis of Evil is a must!), Led Zepplin, Asteroid—but also lots of world music and classical works, such as Wagner, Berlioz, Dvorak and Stravinsky. As for literature or occultism, the classics of Aleister Crowley, Blavatsy and Samuel Lidell MacGregor Mathers are a must.
What do you appreciate most about this world and what disgusts you the most about it?
All and nothing. Everything is based on a point of view, situations, and education. One thing that I appreciate within this world would be its constant evolution through all those twists. The human race is an interesting subject of observance and I have a certain fascination for its own ability to destroy itself. One might say that he is disgusted by morons and the idiocy of most people, but even if I do agree, sometimes I love to observe such persons, as they are quite fascinating… in their very own way, haha!
What hobbies do you and your band mates have outside of the band?
We are much like everyone else… going out with friends, trips, some are painting like Neraath, other are playing World of Warcraft in their spare time (but we still have a life haha)… as I said, except the fact that we are deeply involved within occultism, we are pretty normal people.
What are your favorite films?
David Lynch movies, Begotten, historical movies, I like the humor in the Hellraiser movies, Shawn of the Dead.
Where are your favorite countries to tour and why?
Definitely South and Latin America, those people are real maniacs and really devoted. Russia, Ireland and France are pretty awesome as well.
What do you foresee in the future for Enthroned?
Working on the up coming tours, concerts and maybe a special release for our 20 years of existence.
Any closing comments? Life advice for the fans?
Thanks for the interview! And for the fans out there who would have the idea to start a black metal band: Don’t do it unless you have a sincere and honest reason to do so. There are enough gimmicks in this genre!