The generally boring month of January isn’t too boring for 2012 in the realm of things metallic. To wet your extreme black metal whistle, we have an interview with PA based black metal band Pact, who are unleashing their debut album on the last day of January via the always evil Moribund Cult. Back to the metalness of January, as far as touring/worldwide bands, SLC hosts Krieg, YOB, Ghost (with the killer Blood Ceremony as support) and if you’re into that sort of thing, Stolen Babies plays the same night as Ghost at Kilby something for the non 21+ folks to check out. Also on tap this week are reviews of the mentioned Pact album as well as Thy Catafalque and our weekly event rundown.
Tuesday Jan. 17, check out the notorious Mobile Death Camp with Dethblo, Huldra (playing SLUG’s February localized showcase) and Blood Purge at Burt’s. A whopping 5 bones gets you in, tunes at 9 p.m.
Also at Burt’s the following day, kick off your shoes for hump day Metal Karaoke with The Jerminator. No cover to get in and laugh or ogle some folks singing metal tunes or take on the mic yourself.
Just a friendly black metal reminder: next weekend, the longstanding and notorious USBM band Krieg plays an exclusive show in Salt Lake City at Bar Deluxe Saturday Jan. 21. Check next week’s Napalm Flesh for an interview with the man behind the band: Imperial. Krieg plays with locals Blood Purge, Winterlore and the debut performance of Odium Totus. Tickets are $7 and available at Raunch.
Interview with Pact
SLUG: I did the usual Google internet searches to get any tidbits of knowledge on Pact. Your album is officially released on Jan. 31 courtesy the Moribund Cult, but the label is tight lipped in saying much about the band. For myself, this brings up a bit more intrigue than usual. Is there a reason behind the current lack of information on Pact?
Pact: We are still a new band, and on top of that we are more concerned with the formations of our music than self-promoting.
SLUG: To be cliché and slap on the obligatory “history” question, some sleuthing dug up (and correct me if I’m wrong) members of Pact have been associated with Tunnels of Typhon and Aiwass—both bands definitely lingering in the underground. How do the aforementioned projects differ from Pact?
Pact: We have all played in many different extreme metal bands which have no relation to this one. In Aiwass and Tunnels of Typhoon, however, multiple members of this band were included. Aiwass was really an earlier incarnation of this band before we had really come into our own, musically speaking—much simpler and watered down riffs. The one album that was released had much less production and really sounds little like Pact. Tunnels of Typhoon has no production value whatsoever besides panning tracks and turning volume levels up and down. It is somewhat of a primitive and raw experiment with Hag taking a turn on drums instead of vocals (while still in charge of lyrics and concepts) and Wretch does the vocals in a much more distorted style.
SLUG: First impressions from music generally are huge in the realm of being associated with “press” and music “journalism.” I’m bombarded every day by new music and new bands being pushed by labels and PR. When I listened to The Dragon Lineage of Satan, it was a hellacious and horrifically welcome hello and big slap in the face. It didn’t really make me scream “this is USBM!” It felt and still feels raw and in a sense closely influenced and related to the stuff black metal purists worship, but also it has its own sound. The production lends itself perfectly to the intensity of what you’re doing. What would you say was the big driving force going through the bands mind during the creation of the debut album?
Pact: We really weren’t thinking really far into it. We all had ideas in mind of things we wanted to do on guitar, drums and lyrics/vocals. We didn't stand in each other’s way at all really, and this is just how it all came out.
SLUG: The fact that bands are classified by the region they come from is a severe annoyance of mine—I don’t think where you come from these days defines the art you create at all. From past experience with other bands and now press reactions coming in for Pact, how do you think the reactions are in comparison with what you are actually trying to accomplish?
Pact: We’re really just not concerned with how people might view us. The absence of anything like us around didn't stop us from doing what we wanted to do, and on a larger scale now that we’re at this point, we don't care what others opinions are of where things should or shouldn't be happening.
SLUG: The packaging of albums, especially with everything being digital these days, is more and more becoming a lost art. Moribund is releasing the album in CD format. Do you have any desire to try to get the album out in a vinyl format?
Pact: Vinyl and even tapes still attract a sect of listeners, so if that happened it would be fine with us. A physical album also adds a whole visual aspect that you don't get from just listening to stuff on the computer.
SLUG: On that same subject the album was “self-produced.” Was it recorded by digital or analog means? Does the band have a preference?
Pact: It was really a mix of both. We don't have endless means at our disposal, so we just work with what we have.
SLUG: More and more artists considered independent are self-producing— I prefer this more than thinking some external source not related to the creation of the music is actually tinkering with the sound of the album. It takes a great deal of work, and overall sound is and always will be a crucial part albums, especially now. What was the hardest part of the album’s production?
Pact: Like I said before, we don't really have the greatest of equipment, but T, who is the main producer of Pact, spent lots of time getting the sound where we wanted, while kind of self teaching ourselves new things as we went through it. When long spans of time occur between different recording sessions it can become hard to keep a consistent sound, especially on the vocals.
SLUG: Has your studio “Nuclear Funeral” produced any other bands?
Pact: Never anything that was outside of our own projects. We built the rooms ourselves, and bought our own equipment, so this was really just for us.
SLUG: Is Pact at all particular in the gear you use to play and record? There’s a lot of things in that aspect that if you’re seeking out a particular sound you need to have the right tools…
Pact: Of course it has to be tested before we would include anything, but we don't have to have this or that.
SLUG: The song titles on the album lend a little bit less to the cliché or typical black metal (Satanic and Occult) songs. I don’t want to ask too much about the lyrical content, but the title suggests a general theme—is there a concept or theme around The Dragon Lineage of Satan, or did the lyrical influence come from a myriad of sources?
Pact: These lyrics take on many different meanings dependent upon the powers of discernment within the listener.
SLUG: I find hints and whispers of war type black and some death metal stuff in some of the songs. Any nods or influences from bands like Conqueror, Angelcorpse, Revenge (all bands I hold in high regard)?
Pact: I think if you'd look at all of our record collections they'd be so different it would be hard to really list a few bands as our general influence.
SLUG: Going back to the subject of song lyrics, will they be published with the CD or are listeners/fans going to have to figure them out for themselves?
Pact: The lyrics aren't printed in the booklet, but they are pretty up front in the mix and very decipherable.
SLUG: There’s a hefty amount of what I would consider dissonant sounds on the album, comparable to some of what Blut Aus Nord has done in the past or like what Portal does, but not nearly as extreme as either of those artists. When the riffs were churning from your brains what were the nagging things going on in your head?
Pact: More members would have to be added to Pact's live performances to bring out the complete Pact guitar sound, as the dissonance you hear comes from layers of guitars that are added in the studio to specific parts.
SLUG: Is the outro on “Into Heaven’s Night” a sample from something or was it a creation of the band? Atmospherically, it’s terrific and placed in a good spot as far as the flow of the record.
Pact: This came from a variety of different sounds that were tracked together and then manipulated.
SLUG: Who did the cover art for the album? Obviously this thing isn’t going to be readily available at fucking Wal-mart, but that’s besides the point.
Pact: The concept was thought of by Hag and was drawn by someone close to the band instead of hiring an outside source.
SLUG: Going off the cover art, some might give it a chuckle, but sexuality is a huge aspect of Satanism— at least in my understanding. How big of a role does the cover art play in the entire package of the album?
Pact: The painting is a take off the fifteenth card of the atu, which governs a pathway from the pillar of mercy into the pillar of balance. Our representation coincides with lyrical themes of independence.
SLUG: In the metal world as well as theological world Satanism has so many different directions and thoughts. So to be blunt, what is Satanism to Pact?
Pact: Satan is referred to symbolically representing utmost individuality.
The Dragon Lineage of Satan
Pact = Bathory + Inquisition + Blasphemy + Mayhem
Christ! Well, Christ has no place here - leave it to the Moribund Cult to unearth this trio of musicians or dealers of hate, pain and the occult’s debut album. There’s not very much light by way of information on Pact running rampant on the information overload-stupid-highway. The less you know about the creation, the demon spawn that created it the more intriguing Pact’s The Dragon Lineage of Satan is. There is a sense of safety in the modern age - music that used to scare the living shit out of people even metal fans and it’s extreme partner black metal have become desensitized. Unfortunately it takes much to move the cynics. For a moment, throw out the terms kult, necro and true - remember all music comes from someplace else before it - it come from the urge to create something and make humanity derive some sort of feeling. The Dragon Lineage of Satan is beyond dismal it’s a ritual to call the dead to action and a firm reminder that humanity is imploding on itself. Pact do not diminish or abandon the elder blackened gods - but in a year touted much about apocalyptic fantasies and real fear building Pact have a place and it’s scary shit. Dissonance is an understatement for this debut offering break this record down into the tones it emanates from whatever auditory device you use to play hate - I mean music - and that device will weep a tangible form of hatred - but only for a mere moment before it’s thrust to leave your psyche piece it together. Pact offer a battle cry for those that have not forgotten what black metal is supposed to be this is a beast not to consume but be consumed by. -Bryer Wharton
Season of Mist
Thy Catafalque = Samael + Unexpect + Primordial
Going into Rengeteg I was completely blind - no expectations no hopes to be dashed - only a set of ten songs to either burst my brain or leave it without those brilliant little electrical impulses that make that hunk of goo in your head work absent. The album literally and sonically deconstructs itself from a noxious angry beast intent on grabbing you’re jugular thrashing it to no end then that same hand that ravished that soft spot between your head and your body in some bizarre twist of fate or just apologetic fashion starts to rub your back which somehow ends with only subtle warning turning your thoughts into an abysmal rage. What the rage portion of Thy Catafalque offers is a trickery and honest bombastic take on established guitar tones and making them askew enough to sound familiar but also completely distant. Tamas Kati’s vocals run rampant exercising demons to serenading angels. As the music progresses traditional folk elements get a dose of weird atmospheric and simultaneously genuinely pleasing electronic elements mixed with string compositions and other melodies to leave you trying to figure out what instruments are being used. Rengeteg is an assault and sensory feast that offers metallic morsels of so called “avant-garde metal,” when its through with you it feels more like you just got kicked in the nuts but covered with sweet kisses to the face. -Bryer Wharton