Finally! Somebody whose answers are longer than one sentence! And I thought I was being haunted… anyway, ABSU released yet another great album called "Tara" very recently, proving once again that good Black Metal doesn’t necessarily has to come from Norway. Consequently, I simply had to send a number of questions to Proscriptor. Here is what he has to say…
How did you find out about Heavy Metal and later on about Black Metal, what was it like back then and do you still have the same feelings about our favorite kind of music?
"On this Earth and at the ages between two and three years old, I discovered KISS from my older brother, Paul (who was also a Heavy Metal guitarist in the early 1980s). I was so intrigued by this outfit in the middle 1970s (I still am to this day) and I knew that I wanted to be a percussionist, a drummer more or less. But, I still remember from back then, that Peter Criss was my least favorite member, as Ace was my most preferred out of the group. I was quite spellbound by Ace back then for his interests and admiration in magic(k), outer space, and astrology. These are some of my first memories in this existence today. Then, Paul began introducing myself to albums from bands such as BACHMAN-TURNER OVERDRIVE, VAN HALEN, SCORPIONS, POINT BLANK, HEAD EAST, JOURNEY, YES, KING CRIMSON, LED ZEPPELIN, BLACK SABBATH, RUSH, APRIL WINE, URIAH HEEP, UTOPIA, FLEETWOOD MAC, BLUE ÖYSTER CULT, AEROSMITH, THIN LIZZY, KANSAS, REO SPEEDWAGON, FOGHAT, and the list perpetually continues. But, it was not until he bought me a "best of" album from a legendary band from the USA called STYX. This actually lead to my fondness and devotion for Metal music and later when I was in transition of the age of 12 and 13, I discovered hallucinating drugs and substance, such as Indian peyote, angel dust, and especially LSD, which rapidly led to my interests into occult sciences, alchemical sciences, tracing back my ancestral attributions, and later SLAYER and KREATOR. This is what led me to my maniacal self and this is what led me to my interior self of the minds eye."
What does Black Metal mean to you, is it your favorite music style or is there more behind it?
"Black Metal to me is definitely a way of existence and a way to banish all things charming in today’s society. However, Black Metal to me is "mythological occult Metal", as I metaphysically believe that I am one of a past existence in the middle Glenorchy regions of Scotland. I would not say that Black Metal is my all time favorite musical fashion, but like I stated previously: "it is a way of this life."
Do you like playing live or do you rather prefer to be writing and recording songs? Will we get the chance of seeing ABSU performing live over here once again? What is an ABSU gig like, do you use any special effects or do you rather concentrate on the music?
"Sometimes, I do take pleasure in executing a live performance, but sometimes, I don’t. The only reason why we all don’t like performing live is the way a "specific" tour agency treats us, which is not appropriate at all. We were initially going to participate on a tour throughout October and November of this year with ENSLAVED, IMPALED NAZARENE, HOUWITSER, ARKHON INFAUSTUS and ANOREXIA NERVOSA, but it was cancelled due to absurd demands being obtained by the tour agency. So to be totally honest with thee, I am not exactly sure when we will tour Europe again. Hopefully, I can say that it shall be sometime next year. A typical ABSU performance is usually consisted of blood, wine, vermillon, steel, iron, leather, animal fur, alligator skin, sweat, hot lights, silver, glitter, smoke, fog, hate, more blood, deathly attitudes, and a slight amount of denim and leather! Kill! We feel the concentration of the music and performance is the most important aspect within our live performances, but image and appearance absolutely falls into second place."
Can you try to explain the lyrical contents of your new album "Tara" it’s a concept album, isn’t it?
"Tara", which can be defined as "the exalted, imperial hill in County Meath, Ireland where High Kings and tyrants once reigned in Celtic mythology, is the third and final development of a trilogy for ABSU. Metaphysically and conceptually continuing from "The Third Storm Of Cythraul" and "In The Eyes Of Ioldanach", it is our intent to recover three "stones of destiny: "Tara" (highest Primum Mobile), "Cythraul" (median Primum Mobile) and "Vitriol" (lowest / internal Primum Mobile). After psychologically visiting such realms, we can successfully complete our battle and alchemical schemes to reach three thrones on top of this hill. "Tara" is not only an album of "mythological occult Metal", but also an exhibition of Pagan antiquity. Our determination is to balance the juxtaposition between tyranny, puissance, Gnosticism, and magic(k), as the album is presented in a chronicled assembly dividing this exhibition into two phases: Ioldanach’s Pedagogy and The Cythraul Klan’s Scrutiny. Certain goals and objectives are finally accomplished with "Tara", through practices of our ancestral attributes (Scottish and Irish) and channeling divisions of pure magic(k) (Qabbalah) within our minds and souls. This is our interpretation of what "Tara" is all about and let me explain what each phase signifies for me:
"Ioldanach’s Pedagogy" Ioldanach, the All-craftsman of every god in Celtic legends, was also known as the "god of wisdom". His thoughts and teachings are what made us triumphantly courageous throughout this first phase of the album, implementing weaponry skills and frenzy-like war tactics.
"The Cythraul Klan’s Scrutiny" Ioldanach’s thoughts and teachings are also what made us victorious throughout this second phases as well. However, it was our responsibility to interpret our own battle and alchemical schemes in this second phase. We feel there is a constant exchange of souls taking place between three various realms: Tara, Cythraul, and Vitriol. Death in these realms conveys our inner selves and spirits to the apex of Tara, as well to the chasm of our glorious underworld: the Cythraul the Apzu."
Where do you draw your inspiration for both the lyrics as well as the music from in general and particularly for "Tara"? I mean, you can’t take a walk in the Norwegian woods and apart from that, ABSU sounds different anyway…
"With ABSU, we have already reached all goals with this band thus far, which we like to call the three "M’s": magic(k), mythology and mysticism. We have reached the goal of being a band like none other on planet Earth and I think it definitely shows with our music, minds, and ancestral attributions. As far as lyrical inspirations, I would have to say I am mainly influenced by motifs of the "Necronomicon", Sumerian / Mesopotamian mythology, Celtic mythology and legends, knighthood, ceremonial magick, gnosticism, alchemical sciences, numerology, Tarot, The Golden Dawn, weaponry, Thoth, Qabbalistic magick, and especially our ancestral roots ranging anywhere between the 9th to 16th century. It is fundamentally what ABSU is based upon, lyrically, and mainly the occult, let alone. Also, a web page I would like to recommend to all mortals out there who are striving on gaining knowledge and sheer power within their own minds’ eye would have to be one called "Digital Abyss". Some of my favorite bands and influences would have to be STYX, APRIL WINE, GENESIS, DESASTER, SIGH, AURA NOIR, KREATOR, SLAYER, BLACK OAK ARKANSAS, KANSAS, SWEET, FANCY, PAT BENATAR, KING CRIMSON, SOFT MACHINE, CARAVAN, URIAH HEEP, NAZARETH, BLUE ÖYSTER CULT, BLONDIE, GOLDEN EARRING, ALDO NOVA, AETERNUS, ENSLAVED, INFERNAL OAK, ROXY MUSIC, KISS, JEFFERSON AIRPLANE / STARSHIP, SCORPIONS, SODOM, NECRONOMICON, INCUBUS, NECROVORE, A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS (of which Proscriptor already covered the 80’s smash hit ‘I Ran’ – Frank), ELP, ELO, PLAYER, HOLY TOY, BEHERIT, IMPALED NAZARENE, MELECHESH, MAGMA, AXIS, APHRODITE’S CHILD, NECROMANTIA, MASTER’S HAMMER, EXCITER, OCCULT, FLEURITY, VED BUENS ENDE, BTO, MEFISTO, GRAND FUNK RAILROAD, TRAFFIC, YES, STILLWATER, LOVERBOY, MINOTAUR, SLAUGHTER, DARKNESS, TRAPEZE, JUDAS PRIEST, RAINBOW, DIO, ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND, CHARLIE DANIELS BAND, LIZZY BORDEN, BITCH, MOLLY HATCHET and the list goes on and on. Shaftiel is an immense MOTÖRHEAD, MANOWAR, KING DIAMOND and IRON MAIDEN fan (as well as myself of course) and Equitant is a huge DARKTHRONE, BATHORY and techno / elektronic musick follower as well. Enough said by me."
What about all these guest musicians on the new CD why and how did you make them contribute on "Tara"?
"We used an Irish bagpiper by the name of Sir Don Shannon and David Harbour (ex-CHASTAIN / KING DIAMOND) for some small keyboard and piano parts. We also featured some guest vocalists to sing the backing parts on a couple of songs, including some comrades of mine by the names of Masthema Mazziqim and Ronnie Trent. Also, Ashmedi from MELECHESH appears on one track as well. The reason why I wanted to use the skills and talents of guest musicians is because ABSU has never approached this before. Since "Tara" is a conceptual opus, I wanted to use various voices and instrumentations to represent the various characters that are portrayed on "Tara" Itself. So to answer your question, yes, these guests did fulfill a specific role acting out as "characters", enchanted beings within the lyrical understanding. The bagpipe pieces on "Tara" and its recapitulation were composed and arranged by an Irish piper named Sir Don Shannon, who dwells here in Dallas. He had performed in front of many members of the British royal family for many years also. Anyway, a year ago I met him at our rehearsal studio while he was practicing with Denny Lane, a former member of Paul McCartney’s WINGS outfit. I explained to him the concept I had in mind for an intro and outro and he was quite intrigued with my anecdote, as well as my concept of "Tara". He wrote both pieces, recorded them in the studio, and the end results were absolutely awe-inspiring. The "Tara" intro has more of a skirmish, march-like feel to it (6/8), as it makes sense to introduce an album that prepares itself for a lesson in pure war. The reprise of "Tara" is despondent to our dead and mutilated enemies, but at the same time, quite triumphant. You can hear the difference and mood swing between the two pieces. The bagpipes, to me, are one of the most amazing instruments ever created and take such great talent to play them. And naturally, since we derive from Celtic ancestral bloodlines, it only makes sense to have such tones in this album."
Tara is going to be released on vinyl as well was this your idea or did Osmose come up with that? What do you think about the CD / LP controversy anyway?
"It has always been our idea to release LP versions of our releases and if it were my way, LPs would take over the music industry today – to make the bazaar more primitive."
On their last album "Adagio" John Perez from SOLITUDE AETURNUS thanks Proscriptor and Shaftiel what for and does this mean that there is a "new" Metal scene in Texas like in the 1980s with bands like SLAYER (from San Antonio), HELSTAR, etc.?
"Well, I just want to recognize vast Texan acts, such as RIGOR Fucking MORTIS, MORBID SCREAM, WATCHTOWER, THORNSPAWN, OF THE FALLEN, PANTEON, INFERNAL OAK, SCUM OF THE EARTH, DIVINE EVE, AZATHOTH, MAGUS, TALON, SEDITION, GHOULTOWN, ROLLER, DEVASTATION, ARCANE, HAVOC, MERCILESS ONSLAUGHT and especially NECROVORE. I wanted to list these bands excluding S.A. SLAYER, HELSTAR, and most importantly SOLITUDE AETERNUS."
Does this indicate that Metal might have a chance in the US in spite of acts such as KORN or LIMP BIZKIT? Are there any cool bands you can play with live in Texas and elsewhere?
"We hide out from mortals on this toilet planet called Earth. This is not imperative to the world and realms of ABSU at all!"
You’re with Osmose although bands like MAYHEM start record companies of their own did you ever think of taking care of everything on your own and why did you decide not to do so at the end of the day?
"No, I am actually a big part of Osmose Productions and our relationship with the label is astonishing. Now, I am actually running and operating the Public Relations office (with my wife Tiamatsu) here in the States." (I guess I can accept that… Ramon ; -))
By now ABSU are an already kind of "established" band although you probably all have to work in order to make a living. Do you think you can change this situation (maybe with "Tara") and become "big" do you want things to change or is ABSU only some kind of a special hobby? (blasphemous question, I know Ramon)
"All I have to say is one thing: ABSU is my living and I am living in an abyss not of this worldly impression."
Your website doesn’t give much information I guess it’s pretty new? Who is doing it for you and how much are you involved? What other features are you planning for your site?
"Our official website is www.absu.ws and it is updated at least every three to four weeks. It features everything one needs to know about the notorious Cythraul Klan of ABSU."
What can we expect from ABSU in the near future? What is your master plan?
"The master plan right now is to compose and arrange the new hymns for our next, self-titled album, which shall be called "Absu" and work on the drafts for a series of videos coming up in the near future."
Can you tell us a weird or funny story that happened to ABSU, maybe on the road, in the rehearsal room or such?
"The most whimsical tale I can tell you about ABSU is that we have not been able to seek a "permanent" member for the past nine years seriously."
Is there anything you would like to add / Last words?
"Yes, we are currently seeking a permanent lead guitarist and backing vocalist. If you think you have got the steel, spell and mightful power for ABSU, send your inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for this interview and keep burning the salvos of the ancient flame of the undersphere!!!"