Nornagest Explains New Enthroned Album "Sovereigns"
The Belgian black metal masters are back! Following 2012's "Obsidium," Enthroned has released new dark opus "Sovereigns," out now via Agonia Records. This latest Satanic incantation bears artwork painted by guitarist Neraath, featuring the addition of blood and "other tissues" from the band members.
Frontman Nornagest recently checked in with Metalunderground.com for an interview detailing the creation of "Sovereigns," the album's lyrics, his favorite beer, and joining fellow Belgian outfit Goat Torment, which can all be read below.
xFiruath: Let's start with the new album “Sovereigns” – when were these tracks written, and where did recording take place?
Nornagest: “Sovereigns” was recorded in our own recording studio, the Blackout Studio, in Brussels and produced by our bass player Phorgath. The album was written end of 2013 and beginning of 2014.
xFiruath: What's going on with this album as far as lyrical and musical themes?
Nornagest: Our concept is turning generally around the occult/Satanism in what is it in its pure sense without any exaggeration or fantasy added to it like most black metal does. We have some traces of hermetic philosophies as well as Typhonian depending who or what experiences we went through and to which experience the lyrics are referring to. The concept of “Sovereigns” is kind of complex to get especially for someone who is not into the occult, Satanism, Goetia etc. Even then some might interpret it as fiction or simply misunderstand them in the core of their true essence, but it is absolutely not the case.
We are dealing here with another perspective upon things, until now our lyrics were based upon us, how we see things, deal with them, learn from them and what we learn from them. In this chapter, we see all those things from “their” point of view, these views being interpreted regarding the experiences we had with some of those entities or someone of undoubted reliable source had with one or more of them. Eight of them are given the pen, if I can say it like this, on “Sovereigns.” The title doesn’t mean that we see them as our rulers or our sovereigns, but as the monarchs in their own domain, field and attributes. “Sovereigns” could as well be interpreted as our sovereignty upon our own career, not upon other bands etc. that would be rather arrogant and ridiculous, not that I consider myself lower than anyone else but after 21 years of existence we conquered many adversities, time and fate itself, so it can also be seen that way.
xFiruath: Tell me about the killer cover artwork – who put that together and how does it connect to the album?
Nornagest: Neraath, our guitar player painted the artwork, it is painted on canvas using the techniques of old and for the most part natural elements and also blood from the members and other tissues for textures. The artwork is directly linked to the lyrical content of course and represents the entities involved within the content, some with their usual features, others with less known attributes but of course representative of what they stands for. The whole movement of the painting is drowned within the idea of their point of view, so unrelated to our plane of existence, from the atmosphere that engulf its vision that is.
xFiruath: For you, how does this album compare to the previous full-length release, and are there any major shifts in sound?
Nornagest: There were many different points; we used different kinds of amps and guitars to get the sound we wanted. Also, we down tuned our instruments for the composition process and retuned them in our usual tuning for the recording, just to test as an experiment, which, believe it or not, gave a totally different perspective on the overall sound of these tracks. The fact that we also have now three studio guitar players changes a lot of things and leaves more space to create atmospheres which we are able now to recreate live with only two guitars, but I’m not sure we would have been able to achieve this with the traditional “two guitars” formation. All these little details gave us another perspective both within the approach and creation of “Sovereigns.”
xFiruath: Will there be a special edition or box set version of the album, and what will be included?
Nornagest: There is a limited edition box set which is coming out, which includes a different version of the album, a flag, patch and other things. There also will be two different version of the vinyl with a splatter edition and the normal black jewel LP.
xFiruath: Where is Enthroned headed as far as tour dates or festival appearances in the near future?
Nornagest: Enthroned has, at the moment a South American tour, some dates in the U.S., some festivals planed in America, Czech Republic, Holland, the U.K. and Germany. We are working on a central and Brazilian tour for the fall and some more dates across Europe. We had a proposal for Japan and Asia but this is only at the dealing point still.
xFiruath: Is Enthroned active in your local music scene, and what's happening in metal in your area of Belgium?
Nornagest: We play once or twice a year in Belgium, not more, just because we want to make it a special event and not a habit, but we are also involved in different ways, like through our studio, Blackout Multimedia, we record bands, take care of some artwork for them when asked, organize some concerts and we will start to organize tours. We are collaborating with A Thousand Lost Civilisations now and organized our first tour with One Tail One Head/Mgla/Svartidaudi. The Belgian metal scene has good bands from every point of view but also really bad ones, like everywhere of course, but as the saying says; “you are not a prophet in your own country” which is kind of true. Except a few exceptions, Belgians do not support as they should their own bands, but in the mean time who cares?
xFiruath: A Chile performance was just canceled – what happened with that show and will the band be headed there in the future?
Nornagest: Of what we heard, the problem came from the Chilean government which is actually taxing really hard the promoters who want to bring international bands, and the same is occurring in Ecuador for example or Costa Rica and Cuba. So the tax fee was just too high for some organizers, others said it was no problem and waited too long to book the plane tickets which got out of price regarding their budget...
xFiruath: Are the Enthroned guys drinkers, and if so, what's your preferred beer to relax with after a show?
Nornagest: We are not hard pissed drunk drinkers but we like our beer, for my part I always appreciate a good Grimbergen Blond or a Triple Karmeliet.
xFiruath: I see you just joined another band full time – how did that come about and how do you balance the time between the two acts?
Nornagest: Some years ago, I got a diagnostic from several specialists with chronicle tendinitis, so I can’t perform guitar live anymore for a long period of time, which with Enthroned is a big problem. So I just kept playing guitar for the composition and recording as I can take a break whenever I need to and this usually happens after a few days playing nonstop. So it was a bit strange if I would appear at one show with my guitar and the next day not and so on. When Goat Torment asked me if I wanted to help them out for some single shows I immediately accepted, I missed too much the fact to play guitar live. Afterwards, they asked me to join as a permanent member as Goat Torment is not doing extensive tours, it shouldn’t be a problem. Finding the balance was not easy at first, but well, these guys are rehearsing not too far from my home and we see each other quite often as we are all old friends so things are easier than if it would be with another band.
xFiruath: Do the other members of Enthroned have any active projects with upcoming releases or shows?
Nornagest: Everyone in Enthroned is active in other projects; Menthor plays with Lvcifyre and just release a new killer album “Svn Eater” which is, in my personal opinion, a slap in the face, pure occult death metal all the way. Neraath & Phorgath are involved with Emptiness, an original death/black band with some bizarre touches which I can hardly describe as it is probably one of the most original things I’ve heard in ages. They’re gonna release a new album “Nothing but the Whole” in May through dark Descent records, definitely to check out! And we have ZarZax who has The Reckoning, which has been quite inactive for a while but might just record another album in the upcoming months.
xFiruath: What sort of bands do the Enthroned members listen to these days?
Nornagest: Everything and nothing. We are very eclectic individuals, our musical preferences vary from Blasphemy and Beherit to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, to Dead Can Dance and Bestial Warlust or Adorior... it depends, as I always said, there is only two kind of music to me: the one I like and the one I do not!
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