Interview with Byron (Vocals)
Interview conducted by Sargon the Terrible
Date online: April 6, 2003
For the better part of a decade have Bal-Sagoth been spreading their unique brand of black war metal across the earth. From the debut "A Black Moon Broods Over Lemuria" to the most recent "Atlantis Ascendant", they have delivered high-quality metal unlike anything else. From the grim northern fastness where he holds sway did Lord Byron communicate to us some of his wisdom, and some small bits of lore regarding the future of the all-powerful Bal-Sagoth!
Hail and well met! We shall ask our questions:
Paul: Verily do the faithful await the next epic lay of the saga, how doth recording proceed upon the great work?
Byron: Work on the long awaited sixth opus progresses well. We are still in the writing phase and do not plan to record until the summer. I have had extensive meetings with Mr. Jonathan to ensure that the musical compositions refelect the very dark and sinister thematic and lyrical essence of the new chapter. It is my intention to make the new album hearken back in many ways to our earlier material, whilst still reflecting the nature of the more recent output. Synergy is the key. Fans of all five Bal-Sagoth albums thus far will find something on the new opus to both thrill and excite them.
Paul: Some fools and infidels have implied that the great Bal-Sagoth have become stagnant, how do you respond to these insulting wags?
Byron: Such criticism is of course wholly baseless and devoid of any truth. Over the years we have crafted our own style and sound, and we will not deviate from that intrinsic essence. Bands who drastically alter their sound and style from album to album have always vexed me, and fans of Bal-Sagoth can rest assured that we will never forsake the basis and true nature of our art. If that sounds like stagnation to some, then to the pit with their scurrilous souls!
Paul: How will the new testament expand upon the vision of Bal-Sagoth?
Byron: All the Bal-Sagoth albums are part of the same grand saga, a saga which encompasses the entire vista of creation from the beginnings of the universe to the cataclysmic end of all there is. They are allegorical tales of ancient kingdoms, epic battles, distant worlds, dark sorcery, diabloical demons, rogue gods, and incredible journeys beyond the parameters of humanity to spheres of existence unparalleled in the annals of the cosmos. Some of the previous stories will be continued on the new album, and there will also be several all new tales. The sixth album is the final chapter of the Second Trilogy, and as such is something of a climax to the saga thus far. The Bal-Sagoth saga is truly immeasurable and there are countless stories yet to be told, but whether or not those stories continue in the previously recognized medium beyond the sixth album remains to be seen.
Paul: Truly has Bal-Sagoth traveled far in their conquest of the earth, how fared the last excursion, and were the masses prepared to bow before thee?
Byron: The reponse we receive on tours and at gigs is always great. Sometimes, particularly on large festival tours, many of those in the crowd are somewhat unfamiliar with our work, but the vast majority leave feeling enlightened and filled with resolve to check out our back catalog. We have a true die hard fan base across the world, and when these guys attend a show, the true fervour and passion of our Legions is truly felt! Even when deluded promoters and even other bands attempt to curtail our might for their own selfish and base reasons, we always transcend such pettiness and deliver true avant-garde baroque black metal unto the seething masses. It is a fearsome thing to behold when the chosen ones of Bal-Sagoth fandom assemble in numbers at a show... it certainly demonstrates the dedication and passion that so many people have for this band.
Paul: Long have we who hail Bal-Sagoth awaited word of other works set within the world evoked through thy music. Stories bound in folios and illustrated we have hoped for, also materials for gaming, what word of these?
Byron: These projects are still going ahead, and should be reaching some form of completion later this year. Preliminary artwork by our artist Martin Hanford is amazing, and these projects will indeed be something special. Additionally, the idea of a computer RPG set within the world of the lyrics is still being considered by several parties, so that too may yet become a reality. At any rate, graphic novels and prose stories set within the Bal-Sagoth lyrical universe will definitely appear at some point in the not too distant future!
Paul: Long have my warriors yearned to know: what manner of blade dost the Lord Byron wield, and what be its name?
Byron: I have many swords, collected both from my years of experience in battle re-enactment societies, and from my sponsorship with Battle Orders Ltd. Over the years I have brandished many swords on stage, including the mighty Excalibur, the Conan sword, the Merlin sword, and the ensorcelled sword of Siegfried. I have also weilded a selection of axes and flails on stage. Event promoters and venue owners often get concerned for safety reasons when they see the weaponry, but cold hard steel always prevails! However, future trips overseas will most probably not feature as much weaponry due to the increased security concerns at airports these days. If anyone is interested in checking out and even purchasing any of the blades mentioned above, check out www.battleorders.co.uk
Paul: Of other thanes who worship the great sacred texts of Robert E Howard in their lyrics, art there any you find worthy, or must they be destroyed?
Byron: In truth, I have not encountered many other bands who are in any way inspired by the classic pulp fiction of such as R.E. Howard, H.P. Lovecraft and E.R. Burroughs, but I'm sure there must be a fair few other such bands out there.
Paul: What trobadours hast thou shared thy journeys with on your conquests?
Byron: We have played shows and embarked on tours with many other bands over the ten years of Bal-Sagoth's existence. Including: Emperor, Dark Funeral, Marduk, Mortician, Moonspell, Enthroned, Ancient, Vader, Amon Amarth, Sinister, Sabbat, Blind Guardian, Therion, and many others.
Paul: Long have we here upon the shores of the New World languished in darkness, is there aught chance you shall bless us with an invasion soon?
Byron: Several times we have been scheduled to invade the New World, and on every occasion we have been denied the required financial support from our label and/or the promoters, being told that "financial constraints" have prevented the campaign from happening. Having grown up in the northern expanses of the New World myself, a return visit is one of this band's priorities. We sincerely hope that with the release of the sixth album, we will finally be able to voyage across the vast ocean and bring the splendour of Britannic Battle Metal to our allies over there!
Paul: Dost thou prefer the pure creation of recording? Or the hot bloody madness of live performance?
Byron: When recording, the imagination is unfettered and the vista of potential creativity is truly without measure. Ideas can be realized and made flesh, and the art can be allowed free reign. With live performances, a band is often constrained by the realities and limitations of the live environment, but the dynamic energy and rampant barbarism of both the band and the crowd invariably balances things out. On stage, I try to add something of a theatrical element to the proceedings, with weaponry, masks, war-paint, etc... but sometimes I eschew the theatrical paraphenalia and just go on in normal black attire. At any rate, my ideal stage-show would involve multiple pyrotechnics, lasers, snow and fog machines, a cast of extras, etc. Perhaps one day the funds will become available to mount such an ambitious presentation.
Paul: Bestow for us a curse upon all false and feeble metal.
Byron: May the thralls of duplicity and those who indulge in treachery and falsehood be swept from the earth by the avenging sword of true arcane metal and dark avant-garde art! Those "nithings", the vile practitioners of "nithingsverk", are steeped in betrayal and may count themselves amongst the foe. Also, those who mindlessly follow the flow of trends and are oblivious to the myriad intricacies of genuine metal are worthless in mind and spirit, they are devoid of imagination and are not possessed of the integral ability to dream. When the legions of spiritual freedom rise up against the debauched masters of the world's three corrupt monotheistic religions, all the "nithings" shall be burned from creation by the all consuming fire of polytheistic truth.
Paul: Is there aught I have not broached that you wish to declaim? Deliver to us a proclaimation if so. BLODU OK JARNA!
Byron: Many thanks for this interview. For all the latest news on the band and the forthcoming sixth album, keep checking www.bal-sagoth.com Also, the last few copies of the award winning range of Bal-Sagoth t-shirts can be ordered from www.razamataz.co.uk now, before stocks are depleted! Also check out www.nuclearblast.de and www.cacophonous.com if you want to order any of the five Bal-Sagoth albums. Keep your blades sharp! Blodu Ok Jarna! IMPERIUS REX!!!!!!
|Other information about Bal-Sagoth on this site|
|Review: The Chthonic Chronicles|
|Review: Starfire Burning Upon the Ice-Veiled Throne of Ultima Thule|
|Review: Battle Magic|
|Review: A Black Moon Broods Over Lemuria|
|Review: The Power Cosmic|
|Review: Atlantis Ascendant|
|Review: The Chthonic Chronicles|
|Review: The Chthonic Chronicles|
|Review: Battle Magic|
|Review: Apocryphal Tales|
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