by Andrew Wilhelm (Denver)
German black metal is usually associated with the tomfoolery of Nargaroth and countless NSBM clones, but Secrets of the Moon make one hell of an impression. Per black metal's standards, there's plenty of blasphemy to go around, but Secrets of the Moon avoid traditional constructs and inject their form of black metal with plenty of doom and clear production. And although they have no original members ala Napalm Death, that hasn't stopped the hellish momentum of this trio one bit.
I caught up with Secrets of the Moon's drummer, Thrawn, for a quick conversation during the band's Denver appearance on the Night Eternal Above America tour, also featuring Moonspell and Divine Heresy. We discussed American beer, the making of the band's new album, Privilegivm, and wankers trying to start fights in the pit.
How is the U.S. tour going so far?
So far, it's quite good. For us, it's the first time in the States. We had a couple of good shows in New York and Atlanta was good. We have already been in Canada; we played Montreal and Toronto. Detroit was a bit lame, but it doesn't matter. Everything has been going well so far, we have a good atmosphere on the bus with Moonspell because we are sharing a bus.
What are your initial impressions of the States?
We are quite surprised, it's so much different from back in Germany. I think the audience is better for us. After the shows, so many people are showing up wanting to talk to us and take pictures, even if people had never heard of our band before.
The tour was originally supposed to include Book of Black Earth and Samael, but both had to drop off. How did you take that?
We were looking forward to touring the States with Samael. When we got the bad news, it was very sad. But Divine Heresy, they are cool guys, we like them a lot.
They play a very different style of music from you guys, how does that go down with the audience?
I think it's going quite well. They always have people in the front. There's also a lot of people just showing up for them.
How are you liking the American beer over here?
(Laughs) Especially from Germany, that's a hard question. Most of the time, we are getting PBR, so this one [points to our Budweisers] is okay. Maybe you should work on that.
Have you ever had Miller High Life?
Yeah. I don't like it. (Laughs)
Not surprised. What was the making of the new album [Privilegivm] like?
It was a bit different. We had some very had times, especially two years ago, not because our only founding member [vocalist/bassist Daevas] left us, it really doesn't matter for us because he was never so much involved in the songwriting process. Since the second album, Carved in Stigmata Wounds, it was always sG, the vocalist [and guitarist], and me. We were always the motor of the band. But that was good for the band, I think, we're still good friends. For the whole songwriting process, all the things we wanted to...for all the visions to fulfill, it was just perfect. It was one of the best things to could have happened to the band.
Last summer, we were just sitting down and we were just sharing our ideas and just writing songs without wasting so much time in the rehearsal room. We just met each other and we had the feeling to write new songs. It was just a flowing process, it was just perfect. It was totally different way of songwriting for us, it's kind of a new chapter and new path for us. It's [Privilegivm's] the best album we can imagine for us.
My impression of the new album is that it's less black metal and more melodic. What led y'all toward that direction?
For us, it's 100% black metal, because it's black music that comes from our hearts, and for us it's the perfect black metal album. We have some melodies here and there, but we always had them in the previous albums. Now we some more doomy parts, we love doom a lot, it was a part of Secrets of the Moon. I don't know, I think it sounds more raw than the previous album. 100% black metal.
Where did the idea for the album cover come from?
Before this cover, we had the idea kind of a cross with snakes, but there was a problem with the copyright. There's a friend of ours, his name is Metastazis, he's a well-known black metal artist from France living in New York nowadays. He was doing photos for the last Taake album, also Gorgoroth. He came up with this idea with the apple. You got this apple - it's a daily fruit, you can see it everywhere. But this one is just black, grey, and there's this hole in this apple. It's not a bite, it's a hole. When you have the CD in your hands, you don't know what's inside of the apple. And the apple is the ultimate sin, and so for us, it's our personal inverted cross. It's pure blasphemy.
Are there any newer bands that you've been listening to lately?
At home, I only listen to old 70s music and 80s and 90s doom and drone bands. The only that I can recommend to all the people in the States is a Dutch band called The Devil's Blood. They're not black metal at all, but they have a black metal vibe. Also, a band from Sweden, Grand Magus, they combine doom metal with 80s-influenced metal.
I don't know if you saw it when y'all were playing, but there was this douchebag going around trying to start fights with people...
Yeah, here. He eventually got kicked out 3/4-s into your set...
I don't understand people like this. Metal should be a relaxed atmosphere, of course, when there's a black metal band playing on stage, you should just catch the atmosphere and share it with other people. Or maybe, you are just there alone and listening to the stuff, enjoy it. But starting fights...these people have to get kicked out.
Have y'all had any dumb hecklers at any of your shows?
No, nothing. That's never happened to us.
Do you have any last comments you want to make?
We really enjoy being in the States, and we hope to come back next year.
We hope y'all come back too.