Frost Like Ashes Guitarist Sebat Frost Explains His Stance On Unblack Metal
Christan "unblack" metal act Frost Like Ashes was recently covered in our Unearthing the Metal Underground column, which took a brief look at the band's lyrical themes. As a companion to that article, an editorial is now online delving deeper into the controversial subject of Christianity in black metal. To get better perspective on the issue, I sent out a questionnaire to both black and unblack metal bands asking for their thoughts on the subject.
The answers provided by guitarist Sebat Frost from Frost Like Ashes can be found after the jump. The band's music can be heard through the Unearthing the Metal Underground column, or through the Frost Like Ashes MySpace page.
Anyone interested in reading the other interviews in the series can check out the answers from Ophidian Forest, Plaag, Dehumanation, Frames, and Throne of Malediction on the anti-Christian side, Diamoth, Elgibbor, and Winter's Dawn on the pro-Christian side, and Nierty on more neutral ground.
xFiruath: What does black metal or extreme metal personally mean to you, either as a musical style or a philosophy?
Sebat Frost: I have been involved with playing extreme metal for over 20 years now (I was in an thrash band in 87). I love the music with a passion. I love it so much that after I became a believer in Christ the only logical thing to do was to continue making the music I love and do it for the glory of God instead. Now with Frost Like Ashes we always approached the music in a warlike manner. I always thought that black metal was quite warlike in nature, so I felt it was right to approach it in that way. Of course this is not meant to be a form of hatred towards people, instead it is just an artistic expression of what I believe to be a very real war. I believe in the spirit realm, I do believe that there is a God and a devil so our music is done in a way to reflect that. We also really have felt a need to be aggressive in this, which as a result can leave people thinking we are too intense as a Christian band and so forth.
xFiruath: Do you personally see a distinction between unblack metal bands and black metal bands? That is to say, do you think bands with religious members and religious lyrics should be categorized differently?
Sebat Frost: Well there is clearly a difference between the Christian and the Satanic, so if you view the music through the lyrics the obvious answer is yes I do see a distinction. But with that said, I think the words "black metal" can be used to describe a sound of music. So I would use the terms Christian, Satanic, Pagan or some other description if I wanted to talk about the nature of the words involved. Unblack is a great way of describing a music form that is safe to the Christian and antagonistic to the Satanist. While that makes it easy, it really does cause people to miss out on some good bands.
xFiruath: Although the first wave of black metal may not have originated there, there's no question that black metal saw its major awakening with Norwegian bands that either had anti-religious sentiments or had members who were themselves involved in anti-religious activities. Do you think that black metal can be separated from its beginnings without becoming something else entirely?
Sebat Frost: Change is inevitable, I already see bands coming out with different views etc. Just like every other genre we will have hybrids of style and philosophies. I am not bothered by it. I really enjoy many of the different bands out today that have been influenced by the origins of black metal. I guess since I don't really hold the ideology as important I am not bothered by the change. What I do want to see is the intensity, the passion felt to be conveyed in the future by these younger bands, and it almost seems to me that by rehashing the same ole they shoot themselves in the foot. We may need some change to keep the genre young and sounding fresh.
xFiruath: How do lyrics influence your decision to listen to a band? If you heard an amazing black metal band you loved, but later discovered the lyrics were anti-Christian, would you continue listening to them?
Sebat Frost: Lyrics do not phase me, I expect non-believers to act like non-believers. I expect black metal bands to have extreme view points. I love the art form and the music and will listen to it and I understand that 99% of the lyrics are quite anti-Christian . Now understand that I also believe much more than just art is happening while some bands play. I am talking on a spiritual level here, so I while I will listen to some bands, I am mindful of what else is going on in my life and adjust accordingly.
xFiruath: How would you feel about listening to a pro-Muslim black metal band with all Islamic members (or a pro-Jewish black metal band, or pro-Scientologist black metal band, or pro-Mormon black metal band, or so on...)?
Sebat Frost: I wouldn't really care one way another as long as they could play well.
xFiruath: Christian black metal is in a very interesting position, because it is just as likely to be criticized by fans of Satanic black metal as it is to be criticized by Christians who think black metal in general is evil. What would your response be to a Christian who prayed on the subject and found they had a sincere conviction that black metal was an absolutely evil tool of the devil?
Sebat Frost: Honestly I wouldn't respond with much now, though I used to try to discuss it with people. Now I just tell them to live by their convictions and to steer clear of us. I am not bothered by this and understand that not everyone sees eye to eye on things. I also understand that many people just cannot get over superstitions and a Hollywood based view of the devil. I have received a large quantity of these kind of emails through the years and have just decided not to even try and dialogue with these kinds of people anymore. I guess I am confident enough in the belief that God called me to do this and that I am trying to honor Him through it all that I don't really need to be taken down to an arguing stance any longer. And sadly that’s all those kind of discussions really end up causing, division and grumpiness. So I steer clear now. This also means that we have an extremely limited fan base, we cannot play it for the church and the Satanists want us dead...
xFiruath: After listening to a lot of Christian rock and metal bands, I've found they tend to segregate out based on lyrical content. How do you feel about Christian unblack metal bands using war and gore themed lyrics, such as about battles between angels and demons?How about lyrics dealing with the times God kills people (or commands others to kill people) during the Bible? Do you think unblack metal bands should only have positive and uplifting lyrics?
Sebat Frost: My band Frost Like Ashes has taken a pretty harsh stance lyrically and we did it as a conscience decision. But my band Old Man Frost will be doing worship lyrics and still remain in the black metal style. I am of the opinion that all kinds of lyrics are acceptable for Christians to use. I think each artist should approach the music in whatever manner they feel inspired and hopefully the result will be something that has some artistic integrity.
xFiruath: What Christian bands do you personally listen to, metal or otherwise?
Sebat Frost: Lately I have been listening to Diamoth, and Destroyer of Lie quite a bit lately.
xFiruath: What specifically in your life led you to either believe or disbelieve in ideas like God and the supernatural?
Sebat Frost: I had a supernatural encounter with God and came out of that a believer in God. Since then God has proven Himself to me time and time again in so many ways. The answers to prayer, the sheer miraculous has been overwhelming through the years. I am now more of a firm believer in the supernatural than ever, it’s actually funny to me that at one point I hated Christianity the way that I did.
xFiruath: What's going on with your band these days?
Sebat Frost: Since Frost Like Ashes is on hiatus, I have put together a band called Old Man Frost and we are working on an album now.
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