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Interview

King ov Hell Discusses Ov Hell, Former Gorgoroth Mate Gaahl's Return and the Concept of God Seed

God Seed releases its debut album “I Begin” on October 23, 2012. The said album took three years to create. The band planted its divine seed in 2009, shortly after a tumultuous court battle over the name of their former band, Gorgoroth. Gaahl and King ov Hell, ex-members of the legendary Norwegian black metal group, could not use the name sake, so they came up with the concept for God Seed. Unfortunately, shortly after forming the band, Gaahl announced his retirement.

King ov Hell recruited other recognized musicians in the Norwegian Black Metal scene such as Ice Dale from Enslaved and Shagrath of Dimmu Borgir to create a new group dubbed from his own namesake—Ov Hell. Gaahl returned to the music world just a year later and rejoined King ov Hell in the reformation of God Seed. Gorgoroth fans will revel in the album’s carnal approach, Gaahl’s infernal voices and organic sound. The album’s keyboards create enchanting sound scapes in the vain of Dimmu Borgir, while relating a ‘70s rock sound akin to Deep Purple.

Bassist and founding God Seed member, King ov Hell, spoke with Metal Underground.com on the phone about merging these disparate styles on “I Begin.” Even though King preferred to keep the lyrical and conceptual portion of his art a secret, he released a couple of clues to unlock a portion of his sonic “labyrinth.”

Darren Cowan (Rex_84): God Seed started in 2009, after you left Gorgoroth. Did you write some of the songs for “I Begin,” during that period?

King ov Hell: Parts of it. I started writing it in 2009. We recorded everything in 2011.

Cowan: What is going on with Ov Hell? Is that project something you’re still doing or has it dissolved into God Seed?

King: Those are two separate bands, but Ov Hell has turned out to be a studio band with me and Shagrath. We might do something in the future, but right now there are no plans for it. All of my energy and focus right now is on God Seed.

Cowan: When did Gaahl come back from his retirement in 2009? Did he decide to come back a couple of years later?

King: Yeah, he retired. He needed some quiet and solitude. He just needed a little break. I continued working. I’ve had a constant dialogue with Gaahl. Just now, he got the fire back. These were pretty much the sounds I grew up with in the ‘70s—Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and so forth. It’s a combination of two soundscapes. The black metal and the ‘70s music create a hybrid, a God Seed. That’s the way you can look at it.

Cowan: It has the vibe of the ‘70s, but there wasn’t anything that dark back then.

King: Probably not, but it’s where I drew my inspiration from. It’s very hard because God Seed is God Seed. Hopefully, we come across as a band that is unique. It inferences the ‘70s. We’re not thinking in terms of genre or anything like that. We use metal music as a platform to express ideas, symbolism and lyrical content.

Cowan: Your guitar tones express a semi-industrial tone. It’s like hearing a black metal guitar from the future.

King: It’s not like that. It’s an opening of sound scapes. We base this on our thoughts. Gaahl and I wanted to take the music we created earlier a step further. We wanted an organic sound, but still well-produced. We were also trying to create a sense of unbalance. That’s the thing with our black metal, conserving is one thing and there also an imbalance. We are all about chaos. We are rooted in chaos and unbalance. The unbalance, hopefully, makes people think.

Cowan: How does your album cover fit into this concept? It depicts a dark, grey-scaled sky with a brick-lined hole on the bottom of the picture.

King: That hole is a labyrinth. It symbolizes chaos or organized chaos. The rest of the picture is linked to the themes of the album. It is linked to Norse mythology. Everything is well though out. There are lots of hidden messages. I don’t want to explain it too much because too much explaining takes away the listener’s ability to think. I’m really against bands putting out videos on YouTube containing their lyrics. They are destroying the art.

Cowan: Some of your songs were written in a different language, possibly Norwegian. Why did you pen “Hinstar Daga” and “Aldrandre Tre” in Norwegian?

King: “Aldrandre Tre” is the aging tree. That’s the nickname for Yggdrasil, The World Tree. Some songs had to be expressed in our native tongue. Some are in English.

Cowan: Did you write those songs in Norwegian to better convey your Norse heritage?

King: I didn’t write that song. You would have to ask Gaahl. That’s the thing about me and Gaahl: We are very different persons, but we’re rooted in the same thing, chaos. Our differences bind us together more than our similarities. There is tension created through different ways of thinking. That is God Seed!

Cowan: Opposing forces create the world.

King: Exactly. That is what fuels the fire between us. It creates the music and the concept of God Seed.

Cowan: Your members all have experience in other Norwegian black metal bands. Tell us more about your lineup.

King: Sir is the bassist of Trelldom. That’s a band he has together with Gaahl. Sir also took part in some lives shows we did with Gorgoroth. Kenneth Kapstad, our drummer, plays in Motorpsycho. He’s also a jazz drummer. All of these members were very handy when it came to learning God Seed. We wanted a very organic sound, a little out of the box and rooted in ‘70s music. That was our approach. That’s why we used all of the keys and electronic aspects.

Cowan: When you wrote the album, did you write most of the music? Did Gaahl write most of the lyrics?

King: Gaahl wrote all of the lyrics. I wrote most of the music. I wrote most of the music before anyone was involved. (Unintelligible member) of Dimmu Borgir helped with the keyboard arrangements to get that ‘70s vibe. “Bloodline” contains vocals from my son, his breathing. That is also why it’s called “Bloodline.” I wanted some of my blood on this record, so to speak.

Cowan: “Bloodlines” is a great song. There are many cool vocal patterns. “Lit” is another song with creative vocals.

King: “Lit” (Litr) is a figure from Norse mythology. It’s a very pure and honest song. Musically, I’ve used a trilogy. I’ve used a few elements to combine albums. “Lit” is also in the “Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam” album by Gorgoroth on a song called “Sign of an Open Eye.” On Ov Hell there is a song called “Ghosting.” Those three songs are like a trilogy. The elements are quite similar. There is the same carnal atmosphere.

Cowan: What’s next for God Seed?

King: We are going on a European tour with Cradle of Filth on the 7th of November. It goes almost until Christmas. We tour with Cradle of Filth in 2008, I think. Since then, I’ve started a band called Temple of the Black Moon with Dani Filth. I view them as friends of the band. Musically and artistically we are very different. There is Cradle of Filth and then there is God Seed.

Rex_84's avatar

An avid metal head for over twenty years, Darren Cowan has written for several metal publications and attended concerts throughout various regions of the U.S.

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1 Comment on "God Seed's King ov Hell Comments on 'I Begin'"

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1. Wiebelhaus writes:

What a rollercoaster ride, seems like everything he sets up is awesome, dominates dark metal for a short time and then *poof* it dissipates like dark cosmic moon dust, floats around the nether for a time then reanimates itself and bursts out from the pits of hell to dominate christian pestilence and then implodes again. Hopefully they stick with this project for awhile.

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