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Nephrolith Vocalist Nerthag Discusses The Band's New Album "Xullux"

Nephrolith brings elements of thrash and heavy metal into their crippling black metal sound. Unlike a lot of traditional black metal acts, Nephrolith is not afraid of letting their melodic side show. Their recent album, “Xullux,” best suits this description. The band can get down to gritty and raw blackened vibes, yet are willing to incorporate wild solos and acoustic guitars in copious amounts. The band has a lot of potential, which should be interesting to watch evolve in the near future.

I had the chance to forward a few questions via email to vocalist Nerthag to get a clearer idea of the band and what they bring to the table. His answers are concise and short, avoiding rambling or going off on tangents; just an articulate musician who knows how to pick the right words.

Heavytothebone2: How would you describe Nephrolith’s sound?

Nephrolith’s sound highly incorporates melodies and other genres into the main genre of black metal. It is based on feelings of power, greatness and illumination.

Heavytothebone2: What is the meaning behind the title of the band’s debut, “Xullux”?

There is more than one meaning in the title and that was how it was intended. XUL and LUX are mirrored, yet the words mean something. Look them up.

Heavytothebone2: When writing lyrics, what topics inspire you?

Darkness, death, soul, existence, inexistence, and the essence of it all.

Heavytothebone2: What is your process behind writing lyrics? Do you have to be in a certain mood or environment to do it?

Yeah, the mood is the key. I think I haven’t written any of the lyrics in the light of the day. They were all written in the middle of the night, either just before going to sleep or right before falling asleep, being in a half-translucent state of mind. Lots of ideas spurred during my walks in the forest and were used later if they survived in my sub-consciousness.

Heavytothebone2: Did the band feel more confident going into the studio for “Xullux” compared with recording the demo “Vinsketh”?

Recording “Vinsketh” was a special experience for us, especially me. I was in charge of the recording, but with really no skill at all. It was my first time recording something, so I was skeptical until the very end. We even mixed the demo ourselves and I think the outcome is rather good considering the circumstances. For “Xullux,” we decided to trust the recording process to someone who will be objective to our creations. We had mixed feelings, whether there will be too much of outer influence on the record, but it turned out surprisingly well.

Heavytothebone2: What was the recording process like? Easy or difficult?

Well it sure wasn’t easy. We were in no actual hurry because we did not have to pay the studio per day or something like that. But we didn’t want it to take too much time, so we scheduled things ahead. So wanting to have everything down to perfection (us and the producer Domen Dyz Justin as well), there were some nerve-cracking moments, especially for the guitarists because Dyz is a veteran guitar player (ex-Negligence). Right before I had to record vocals, I caught a cold, which is usually no problem, but I wanted to get well asap so the vocals would be top notch.

The most exhausting part for us was after the recording though, because we had to listen to the recordings for a thousand times, figure out the sound combo that felt right and be there for the editing of the details.

Heavytothebone2: Growing up, what made you want to be a vocalist?

I never really intended to become one, though I always sang at home and practiced growling. I started Nephrolith as a drummer and later on decided that finding a good singer would be more of a problem than finding a drummer. So that’s exactly what I did and I found an awesome drummer Navtyr, while I had Isvaroth and Skargart trusting me that my vocals are sufficient. Fortunately I exceeded their expectations of my abilities.

Heavytothebone2: Was it hard for you to do the black metal style of singing at first?

I started singing while listening, so it kind of came gradually. I have no recollection of the first time I tried. I have been shouting at people for my whole life, so my vocal chords were basically used to it.

Heavytothebone2: Do you do anything to keep your voice in shape?

I drink shitloads of beer. Before the gig or recording, I eat some chips and drink Jägermeister or whiskey and I try not to overdo the amount of singing.

Heavytothebone2: How do you feel your vocals turned out on “Xullux”?

The deep vocals (“Xullux”) turned out unexpectedly great. We had no idea they are gonna be so powerful. Otherwise, the common vocals on the album turned out just as expected.

Heavytothebone2: Is there any room for improvement with your vocals?

Sure, there is always room for that. I am just experimenting with some different styles for our new release(s). With harsh vocals, I always intend to find the right melody, so that they aren’t monotone and they express more, sometimes power, sometimes grief etc.

Heavytothebone2: On future albums, do you see yourself changing anything about your vocals?

Yes. Nowadays, I am just looking into how to execute a great combo of half-growls, the combination of clean and growl vocals. This is where I am heading at the moment.

Heavytothebone2: Is the band playing any live shows in the near future?

A few local shows and then we head back to writing new material with full force. Our creativity went up recently, so we decided not to go on touring, but rather work on our new release.

Heavytothebone2: What makes a Nephrolith live show different from other band’s live shows?

The way we express ourselves on stage thorough music, outlook, stage preparation and delivery.

Heavytothebone2: What has been the band’s most memorable live show to date?

I guess at the end of 2010 in Subart Kranj. An underground place filled with people that thoroughly enjoyed the concert with us. There’s no number of people that can beat the energy given by some.

Heavytothebone2: When people see Nephrolith live, what do you want them to come away with after the show is over?

I don’t care much what they come away with after the show. I want them to feel the energy during the show.

Heavytothebone2: If you could tour with one band, past or present, who would it be and why?

Tough and thought provoking question. I have no dreams about which band I would love to tour with. I would gladly accept a tour with any band I deeply respect. Then there is the tour that might enable you to present music to bigger masses. Tough call.

I guess, if it does not have to be exactly genre complementary, I would go with Katatonia, because I never get sick of listening to them. But if I think genre-wise, I would say Borknagar, especially now that they have Simen Hestnæs back.

Heavytothebone2: Do you have any final thoughts?

Thanks for the interview and to those who read it. Cheers!

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