It has been months since the release of TEITANBLOOD’s debut LP, “Seven Chalices” and I still find myself returning to it regularly. With every listen and every glimpse of the accompanying artwork, new elements emerge and mysteries are revealed. There has been no shortage of opinions expressed about this album. Irrespective of the endless regurgitation of nonsense that constitutes the majority of these opinions, it must be acknowledged that few bands have been capable of generating such an intense anticipation of their debut LP based solely on the release of a demo and a few tracks on split EPs. Yet, that is exactly what TEITANBLOOD did. This well-deserved anticipation fragmented into lavish praise or seething rejection by most listeners in the wake of the release of “Seven Chalices” but all that is irrelevant to the band whose two members prefer, instead, to focus upon their work. TEITANBLOOD’s music is an articulate blasphemy. Labyrinthine disorientation overcomes the listener at times, at other instants focused animosity. Every element is put into place with intent and the effect is an overwhelming cascade of death. Pools of blood boil as trumpets herald the return of the anti-christ. Although a relentless flurry of activity has fallen upon TEITANBLOOD’s guitarist and vocalist, Nsk, since the release of the album, he took time to answer this interview.
Although I am quite sure you are tired of reciting these facts for various interviews, for the sake of those unfamiliar with your history can you describe the various forces and fates that led to the birth of TEITANBLOOD?
"There are no particular reasons for the creation of the band, rather than playing some morbid and downtuned Black / Death Metal primitivism back in 2003. We released one demo tape + 2 split EPs so far. Drummer position was replaced and we recorded our debut album: "Seven Chalices". Guitar player left and now the band stands as a duo."
Many still herald the demo as your finest work. I suspect that you may disagree with that assertion. What aspects of the demo do you think are meritorious and what elements did you consciously set out to improve in the releases that have followed? Was the demo recorded in a studio?
"No, nothing has been recorded in a studio. I think the demo is more mediocre than the material that was produced afterwards, but it’s also easier to digest because of its simplicity and raw monotony, and perhaps that’s the reason why it has better acceptance by some people. It’s all about taste I guess. I think we achieved in providing the foundations of a pitch black atmosphere and transmitting rather demonic and sinister vibrations, but it lacked of the crushing, sadistic and oppressive intent that we developed throughout the next releases."
Even at the time that TEITANBLOOD released its demo, there was already speculation of TEITANBLOOD’s imminent impact on the underground Metal scene. What do you think set TEITANBLOOD apart from other bands even at the time when you had only released one demo?
"The scene back then (2002-2003) was rather crowded with bands trying to acquire the same great reputation as WATAIN deservedly gained (attaching themselves to the huge influence that Noevdia bands and first releases unleashed), and bands with rather pointless and frustrated perspectives with their depressed, misanthropic and antihuman “feelings”. In an underground and demo-tape context, I can remember very well that there were released on a reasonably similar timeline the Necros Christos, Goat Molestör and Proclamation demos alongside ours, which I objectively believe that raised back the interest to underground cruel, bestial and obscure Metal darkness. Not that we were the ultimate revelation, but we successfully appeared in the right moment at the right place and manage to create some attention."
Following upon the praise generated by the demo, TEITANBLOOD released two split EPs. One with Proclamation and the other with Necros Christos. Were there specific reasons TEITANBLOOD elected to work with these bands or was these collaborations merely a product of chance? Were the tracks recorded for the splits done at the same recording session?
"No, each recording happened in different sessions. Both splits were intended with those bands because of the close relation that I have with them, let alone the high praise and respect I profuse."
I mentioned Proclamation earlier which is another highly regarded band in the Spanish Metal scene and one which has been connected with TEITANBLOOD somewhat in the past. Are there other bands in Spain that you feel are following in the same spirit as TEITANBLOOD? Is there a scene worth mentioning in Spain at this time?
"I’ve not been aware of what’s going on in the local scene since years. I have a good relation to some guys that play in bands, but I don’t think they have much to do with Teitanblood in concept and style."
Has TEITANBLOOD performed live? If so, what do you try to evoke in your live performance beyond that which can be achieved through the recordings? If you have not performed live, is there a reason?
"We have never performed live and we won’t: there’s not a live line-up, I prefer to arrange new stuff and work on new ideas instead of playing the same stuff all the time, and basically, I already fulfill what I try to accomplish the way we do now."
The Greek label Nuclear Winter recently released a CD entitled “Black Putrescence Of Evil” that compiles the demo and all of the tracks released on the split EPs. What prompted you to reissue this material and what generated your association with Nuclear Winter Records?
"Teitanblood became more and more known in underground circuits, and I had no more material to provide. Unlike some idiots have suggested, we’ve never intended to make our material limited. Upon the demand, I decided to send for free all the music material to whoever who would ask for it, by burning a CDR + photocopied cover + some flyers or stickers. I asked Anastasis to make those stickers, and when I told him about my intention about it he offered at once to do this release officially. I accepted under the condition of not limiting this release and putting it a convenient price, so, everyone who is interested in the music could have it accessible."
Many people describe TEITANBLOOD as bestial Black Death Metal. Others prefer to simply utilize the more general categorization of Death Metal. While we can probably all acknowledge the pointlessness of belaboring the nomenclature issue, can you describe at least the area of Metal to which you feel most closely akin?
"The point where Death Metal and Black Metal were not differenced."
One aspect of TEITANBLOOD that has always stood out for me is the archetypal elements present in TEITANBLOOD’s music. The most prominent influences on display in your music are those derived from the bands that established the foundations for Death and Black Metal. It seems that TEITANBLOOD prefers to draw on the well-established traditions within Metal and distill them into a pure and effective sound rather than generate a new sound altogether. IS this an accurate assessment?
"Yes it is."
Still, there is something unique that one hears when exposed to the music of TEITANBLOOD. Something emerges from this concoction of building blocks that sound unlike anything else. It is difficult to articulate it exactly, however. What, if anything, do you feel that TEITANBLOOD is contributing overall to the evolution of metal as a whole? Or are you simply making music and letting history decide what relevance TEITANBLOOD will ultimately have?
"I have not thought about such things. We’ve not evolved Metal, we just have just intentionally put some pieces together in a very gross and awry way."
Now, turning our attention to the new LP, how long did you work to create the excellent “Seven Chalices” LP?
"Earliest remembrance that I have are a couple of songs that were rehearsed with the old drummer in early 2006. Recordings started in November 2007, and the mixing and mastering was finished in March 2008. Artwork was finished in March 2009."
Do you feel that “Seven Chalices” is an extension of what you were working on with the demo and the split EPs? How do you see the album in the context of your earlier releases?
"Each release is a more evolved version of the previous one in all aspects. I think the album has its own context regardless own releases or any styles to fit."
Message boards and magazine reviewers have all taken stabs at trying to describe the content of “Seven Chalices”. Do you find that the majority of people weighing in on the impact of the album have properly understood it? (I know you even had some disagreements with my own assessment of “Seven Chalices” written for VFTD). What do you think makes “Seven Chalices” such a difficult record to accurately describe? Does it bother you when reviewers and fans seem to miss the point that you were striving for even if they still otherwise praise the recording overall?
“A narrator should not supply interpretations of his work; otherwise he would have not written a novel, which is a machine for generating interpretations.” Umberto Eco — Postscript to The Name of the Rose (1984). It’s impossible that I could make people to interpret the work the same way as I do, because my experience in creating it cannot be transmitted. I am none to judge other’s capacity to interpret or judge things, so, no, I’m not bothered at all for that. Difficult to describe? Mmmm, yeah well, there are some parts whose influences are incredibly evident, but then, if you try to strictly compare Teitanblood with that influence, or compare those influences among themselves, something weird comes out of that, and I think that’s really a good sign. Regardless of that, there’s a massive agreement in the filthy aura of sheer aggression and cruel darkness."
One line from the review written for the Left Hand Path zine struck me as particularly astute. The reviewer said that “Seven Chalices” was “devotional without pedantry”. Was this a conscious effort on your part to create an album that, while intended to be taken seriously, also strayed away from the often heavy-handed and overbearingly serious fixation on content that many of the other bands associated with labels like NoEvDia and Ajna may be accused of?
"This is a strange question to answer, because what the album features is something done intentionally, but no label deal was done when it was composed so, there were no bands to disassociate with. We just did our thing the way we knew we had to."
What prompted your decision to work with those labels? Musically it seems that TEITANBLOOD has little in common with the majority of bands on those labels’ rosters. What connection do you feel with those label and bands?
"Come on, look around other labels and establish a common musical or even ideological point between them… I see very few bands whom I feel I could have something in common with, but in this case, I’ve been in contact with the guys from Katharsis, Malign and Watain, for about a decade more or less, for example, let alone all the people in common we know. I’ve known C even from the EAL days in the late 90s, so I can tell you that I have quite a lengthy connection and good understanding with them. Regardless those personal connections, Dauthus, Noevdia and Ajna just offered me by far the best deal to release this record. As simple as that."
Have you been satisfied with the attention you have received from NoEvDia, Ajna, and Dauthus? Speaking of Dauthus, perhaps you can elaborate more about this mysterious label? What prompted him to emerge from a period of silence to help bring forth this LP?
"Dauthus didn’t just help to bring forth the LP, it’s all his initiative! About his reasons, you’d have to ask him… on the other hand Noevdia and Ajna’s attention has been more than excellent. I’m absolutely satisfied the way they’ve worked and got involved in this release."
One element of the release that has been consistently lauded is the artwork associated with it. What was your role in generating the art? How is it related to the music and how should one integrate the two?
"As I said, I’m not going to provide instructions about how to interpret the work… just get yourself into it. My role in the artwork has been conceptual, and each piece has been just like rehearsing each song… there’s a shitload of megabytes of correspondence and some good meetings around a beer throughout a handful of pubs across several places of Europe, discussing ideas, analyzing lyrics, and doing weird combinations. It’s really good to work with TK, not only he’s really sharp critic with what he does, but also because we lose control of our plans and something alien takes over all the place!"
Symbols abound within the music and artwork. What is the proper role of symbols in the music of TEITANBLOOD? How important is it for one to gain an understanding TEITANBLOOD’s placement and of symbols within its work? Is the mysteriousness surrounding the music part of the reason that many listeners seem to mischaracterize the album as a whole?
"Well, the music itself is another symbol too. I think that the understanding of some symbols in "Seven Chalices" does help to grow in the listener, but on the other hand, the discovering of all of them would make it to become more uninteresting, but I don’t expect anyone to become that obsessed, so I’m pretty sure that there’ll always remain some hidden and sinister limbs among the complexity and massive layers that built this colossus."
What decisions did you make to obtain the production sound you achieved on the LP? What did you do differently from the demo and the EP tracks to acquire this new sound?
"We just worked a bit more carefully rather than the old stuff, which basically were almost rehearsals, but the equipment used was the same."
You seem to have drawn upon a wide array of occult systems in the creation of “Seven Chalices”. Can you comment upon what role esoteric knowledge plays in the development of your music and lyrics?
"Well, the Occult became very convenient to deploy the concepts I wanted to put in the album due to its symbolism and ability of these to be incredibly open for interpretation, considering that I didn’t want to split lyrics and artwork yet include those on a single piece."
After such a grandiose debut, do you have any fear that future TEITANBLOOD releases will fail to live up to what you have already created?
"I am not afraid of that, but it’s true that the next release will be very demanding and exigent."
Are you personally satisfied with the musical results on “Seven Chalices"? Are you satisfied with the response you have received from the public?
"Yes. I admit that I expected a lesser reaction."
What is TEITANBLOOD currently working on? Do you anticipate any changes to the TEITANBLOOD sound on future releases?
"We have tried to give a different approach with each release, keeping the same solid and unique proposal. There are new songs already recorded, and I’m writing a MCD which will be a comeback to most atmospheric and ritual vibes of the demo days."
Do you have any final comments to make in order to close out this interview?
"Thanks for your interest. People are encouraged to get "Seven Chalices" from www.noevdia.com or www.theajnaoffensive.com or Black Putrescence… from www.myspace.com/nuclearwinterrecords."