The German Death / Black Metal band NECROS CHROSTOS is putting an end to their career after 20 years of dwelling in the international underground scene. Their new album “Domedon Doxomedon”, a very impressive piece of music consisting of three LPs / three CDs is their final work. As usual, we had an interesting conversation with frontman Mors Al Ra.
You stated long before you were going into the studio to record this new album that “Domedon Doxomedon” would be the final album of NECROS CHRISTOS. I was wondering why this is your last album and when exactly you made that decision?
“There were several reasons that led to the early decision of recording just three albums. First off, we never released an ordinary album, meaning that the effort to produce any of the three NECROS CHRISTOS records was incredibly high. We never wanted anything different, so no complaints here. But I knew from “Triune Impurity Rites” on, that three of those grand chapters would be fairly enough. Second, I sealed an oath once to release three albums with nine songs each to add fuel to the mystery of the crown of three times nine. This number has a certain holy meaning to me, having its importance rooted in Kabbalah mysticism. And third, some other bands would have been very smart by just releasing three albums with quality instead of six packed with mediocre boredom. Just imagine what would have happened if some of the bigger names would have called it quits with their third or fourth album instead of turning into a shadow of their own. This will never happen to NECROS CHRISTOS.”
In the society of today, I would say that “Domedon Doxomedon” is almost like a statement. I mean many people these days listen to music through Spotify or steaming services and often just pick the songs they like. And here you are with almost 2 hours of new music and a concept where you really have to sink your teeth in, in order to understand it all. An album which will probably keep you busy for months if you really want to take your time to experience it all as a serious listener.
“You are truly right my friend. “Domedon Doxomedon” is for sure a statement against the modern zeitgeist of music. A big middle finger to the music business in general and to all those who are searching for some kind of light and ‘easy’ entertainment. I hate how things are going these days. Everybody is just consuming blindly and if any song fails in the first two minutes, no one is willing to listen closely anymore. You know, back in the seventies, acts like YES or KING CRIMSON hit the charts with double albums and records which demanded the will and effort to be understood. I cannot stand these plastic productions anymore. I am not willing to accept any more compressed shit. I do not want to hear triggered drums. I am disgusted by ‘pay-to-play’ tours and concerts. And I hate magazines who just give bands the chance to be interviewed when their label is paying for advertisements. This has to be stopped, all of it!”
I can imagine that if you already know beforehand that this will be your final album, you also approach the whole songwriting in a different way. Maybe even in a sort of way that this must become sort of the ‘crown of your work’.
“Yes and no. We intended the whole album to be our opus magnum, that’s true. But we never let this thought become omnipresent while we were working on the songs. We never wrote any single note for the sake of others. We always did what we felt which had to be done and we always kept our integrity. If people can appreciate that, my reward has already been granted.”
You’ve stated in the past that living in Berlin – a city with a huge cultural and also musical history – has influenced your music in many ways. For example, while preparing for “Doom Of The Occult”, the middle-eastern approach came mostly due to the high amount of good and available musicians from different countries all living in Berlin. In February 2017, you were staying at the Blackstorm Studios in Basque Country (Spain) rehearsing and doing the pre-production of “Domedon Doxomedon”. Did most of the songwriting happen there and did that environment therefore influence the album? Or would you say that most of the songs came together in Berlin?
“Several reasons led to the decision to fly to Basque Country for some weeks. First off, our drummer Ivan Hernandez is of Basque origin. Second, Ekaitz Garmendia – one of his closest mates – owns a studio isolated in the mountains called Blackstorm Studios. Man, I tell you, this gentleman belongs to the best electric guitar players I have ever seen. When I heard him play, I was close to putting my instrument aside forever (laughs). He is also building his own amplifiers and it seems his talents are countless. We rehearsed our asses off there and wrote the final song ‘In Meditation On The Death Of Christ’ at Blackstorm. The rest of the songs were ready before we went for the trip though. And indeed, Berlin again left its shadows on the record. This city breathes odd things.”
I was also wondering how you even start preparing for an album like this? I mean, do you put together a sort of scheme divided in parts indicating which sort of emotion or musical part should come where? Or do you just write and – depending on the outcome – decide later on where comes what?
“It was all a big flow and it just developed. I worked on the concept since 2011 and it went through many stages until it became this massive three-altar piece. I never made any notes how a particular song had to sound. This was also undergone by a creative process which ripened throughout the years.”
How big would you say was the input of your 3 other bandmembers regarding the songwriting? Did they also present own ideas which you could use and fit your concept?
“Without my brothers, NECROS CHRISTOS would be nothing at all. I do write the music and the lyrics. But without these outstanding musicians, NECROS CHRISTOS would never sound as we sound. Especially Ivan and The Reverend gave a lot of input to the final arrangement of the songs. We achieved results which I never dared to dream of.”
I’ve listened to your music a lot throughout the years and I would dare to say that I can sort of ‘find my way’ in it and that I’m quite familiar with it. Nevertheless, songs like ‘The Heart Of King Solomon In Sorcery’ or the middle-part in ‘Seven Altars Burn In Sin’ is something that I’ve never heard you do before.
“You listened well my friend (laughs). Let me say both mentioned songs are amongst my favourites from the new album and both come up with some really strange parts for sure. I can only say that I am very proud of both. Especially the middle part of ‘Seven Altars…’ with its wonderful harmonies and the unbelievable solo of my sidekick The Reverend is one of the many highlights on “Domedon Doxomedon”.”
I would also say that “Domedon Doxomedon” is the album where there’s more than ever a certain balance between really hard / heavy parts and a more experimental side. Do you agree?
“It all came into being. Although I would not call it an experimental side. We just integrated certain new layers to the songs. “Domedon Doxomedon” is essentially and most definitely supreme Death Metal darkness which rules supreme.”
I have searched on the internet what “Domedon Doxomedon” actually means. And the only article I found was an article about the gospel of the Egyptians. In there, Domedon Doxomedon was referred to as the ‘aeon of the aeons’. But I was wondering what the title exactly stands for in the whole concept of this album and NECROS CHRISTOS more specificly?
“The term “Domedon Doxomedon” is a term stemming from the Coptic tractate “The Holy Book Of The Great Invisible Spirit”. It may mean ‘lord of the house, lord of glory’. But it essentially stands for a divine aeon to come, as well as the expanse where God abides. For me, it represents an abstract status of what was, what is and what is going to be. Let me quote: “Domedon Doxomedon appeared – the eternal realm of eternal realms – with thrones in it, powers around it and glories and incorruptions.”
“Domedon Doxomedon” exist of three albums / three parts. And it’s pretty obvious that they are closely connected to each other. But could you also see each of the three parts as something that could stand on its own?
“Yes, of course, although they form and unite as one. Every chapter can be seen separately and therefore also experienced that way. Every listener should feel free of picking up one of the three altars and give it several listens before changing to the next.”
“Domedon Doxomedon” is divided in three altars. Each altar consists of three songs, three temples and three gates. In an interview we did previously, you stated that you have been active in the field of the occult for more than twenty years. In the titles of the album you refer to places like Sooun, Damihyron, Arba-Hemon, Behet-Myron, Sulam and Dimitrijon just to name a few. I’m absolutely not even a little bit experienced in the field of the occult or really understand what this is exactly all about and I’m probably not the only one. Nevertheless, your music always manages to evoke a certain atmosphere while listening to it which is also satisfying in a way. But still, what would you say could you do as a listener in order to understand the depth of “Domedon Doxomedon” even more? Are there for example certain books or literature you could refer to?
“Actually, my first advice would be to read the booklet of “Domedon Doxomedon” carefully. This time, a lot of explanations are given to get a better glimpse of what is going on. As for the titles you’re referring to, those are the names of the nine gates. They do not denote places. The literature I could recommend is vast. Interested readers should check all works on Kabbalah by Gershom Scholem (which will definitely grant serious inspiration and analysis), all translations and works by Daniel C. Matt, as well as the main texts of the endless corpus of Kabbalah mysticism as i.e. the Sefer Ha-Sohar or the Sefer Bahir. As for ancient Christian gnosis, I would highly recommend “The Nag Hammadi Scriptures” edited by Marvin Meyer.”
When MY DYING BRIDE released their debut “As The Flowers Withers”, I translated all the Latin lyrics of the album into English as I really wanted to ‘get’ the album. Do you sometimes also experience that listeners put a lot of effort in it in order to ‘understand’ what NECROS CHRISTOS is all about?
“Sometimes. Especially on a lot of the recent interviews, many people asked me questions which were really profound. I had the feeling that they really understood what NECROS CHRISTOS is all about. You know, people often ask me the same… if it is somehow necessary to understand what NECROS CHRISTOS is based upon. And I always go for the same answer. Namely that if people are just picking up a book, doing research about some of the topics I revel in or if they simply start to read, this is more than I can ask for. No one has to understand the lyrics to like the our compositions. But if people use their capacities to explore our work even further, I am only grateful and honoured.”
Listening to music can be a very personal and almost transcending experience. Would you say that that is something that you also try to reach with “Domedon Doxomedon”? Is there certain music that manages to give you this sort of ‘transcending’ feeling?
“Hmm, I’m not sure about transcendence here, but I will tell you a short story (laughs). When I heard the chorus of ‘Evil Has No Boundaries’ for the first time when I was a teenager, it sent shivers down my spine. I got the feeling that I could take on the whole world. In addition to that, I was also swallowed by the immense darkness of the song. If we would be able to give the listener just a glimpse of the same feeling, our mission is fulfilled.”
The illustrations for “Domedon Doxomedon” were once again made by Manuel Tinnemans and Timo Ketola. What kind of hints did you give them in order to create the artwork for this album?
“Just as much as needed. Master Tinnemans came up with the great cross which you can see on the back cover. It contains letters in signs so to say as i.e. two omegas for the two O’s in NECROS CHRISTOS, two Hebrew ‘resh’ for the two R’s, the cross functions as the T and so on. It has a deep spiritual meaning and turned out to be damn amazing. Master Ketola took care of the nine sigils of the nine angels which you will find on the back cover of each of the three individual record sleeves. Also, he created one symbol which had utmost priority named ‘The Sword Of Moses’ which you will find in the booklet. Behold and see!”
I’ve noticed that you changed your name from Mors Dalos Ra into Mors Al Ra. Is there a deeper thought behind that?
“It’s more of a short story. First off – and to get a bit nerdy here – ‘Al’ is the main article in Arabian speech and enhances the Hebrew ‘Ra’ which follows. Second, both letters A / L are part within the demon ‘Dalos’ and therefore function as an abbreviation. And third, I love how it sounds (laughs).”
You are going to present the album live in Berlin on the 9th of June. You will play the whole album live on that evening. Will this be the only occasion where you will do that?
“So far, it really seems like that. We will skip a few parts just in order to keep the flow going. So we will have to put a few acoustic middle-parts aside. Regarding the length of the songs, I hope no one will be mad about this. We will most likely play two older tunes as well to satisfy all needs (laughs).”
You are already confirmed for several festivals like for example Way Of Darkness, California and Québec Deathfest and Kill-Town Deathfest. A lot of festivals and club gigs will probably be added to that list soon. I can image that you will still promote this album for quite some time. But will you put a definite end to NECROS CHRISTOS after all these gigs and festivals are done?
“Yes, we will. But only the Blessed Holy One knows when the time to end all things has come.”
In the infosheet of “Domedon Doxomedon”, you can read the following: ‘The album “Domedon Doxomedon” shall be NECROS CHRISTOS’ grandiose testament. The legacy of a band that never bowed to any trends, never compromised in their music, nor ever did things the easy way.’. It’s a powerful but also true statement.
“Well, the statement says it all I guess (laughs). I hope to see you all on the road. Thanks for the interview!”
Interview and live pics: Steven Willems