Interview with Raum (guitar/vocals) and Megiddo(drums, back-up vocals)
Interview conducted by Barbara Williams (Crowley)
Date online: April 13, 2003
Hails Raum, Megiddo, Lecher!!! How are you guys doing? Staying out of trouble???
We're rehearsing, drinking, hoarding metal albums. The usual!
Thanks for a copy of your CDs. Pyre kicks ass! When will we be able to purchase a copy of Behold a Pale Horse?
Well, two more tracks still must be recorded, and the layout, the artwork, and the mastering still must be done (not to mention the pressing), so it will still be quite a while yet. Hopefully by late summer(?)
Could you tell us a little about the album title and the lyrical concept for this album?
"The Pale Horse" concept was touched upon in the previous release Luciferian Dark Age, in the song "Midwinter's Anguish." It is a metaphor for Death, a consistent theme in PYRE's lyrical visions. Death is seen as the ultimate savior for a life of suffering on Earth. It truly is the only thing that is real. Musically, I always want to have a feel of desolation and violence in PYRE's music, and this fits lyrical themes of death perfectly.
How is Behold a Pale Horse different from Luciferian Dark Age?
The new material is much in the same vein as LDA, but with a more grating guitar sound. The fast parts are more punishing; the slow parts, more melancholic.
You did a rendition of "En Vind av Sorg", a Darkthrone song. What inspired you to do this and how did you tackle the lyrics?
Darkthrone is the ultimate Black Metal band with many killer classic albums under their belts. As an ode to the Norwegian gods, we covered this mighty anthem. The lyrical pattern itself was quite tricky, taking me quite a bit of listening to pick it out. It also took a while to emulate the proper pronunciation of the Norwegian lyrics.
Who came up with the name? Why Pyre?
Being that PYRE is inexorably connected with themes of death, it was only fitting to use this name. "As thrones of monarchs to dust did turn, jewels and iron in pyres burned."
All of you are in Reign of Terror, a death metal band. What would you say is the greatest pleasure or challenge when you sit down to write for Pyre?
Although PYRE is comprised of two members of Reign of Terror, musically they must be seen as entirely different entities. While Reign of Terror is a battering ram of brute unholy force, PYRE delves more into darkness and occult atmosphere. The challenge (and pleasure) in both bands is to write songs of exceeding quality.
How do you get the inspiration for your writing?
Inspiration can come from multiple sources whether it be overcast weather, dark literature, or films/books on the Middle Ages. Inspiration from gods of Black Metal also undoubtedly seep into our subconscious, I'm sure.
How do you see yourself as part of the black metal scene?
Although promos of Luciferian Dark Age were sent around the world for review (and subsequently spread in Europe via the split LP), PYRE still remains largely unknown. We desire to affiliate with die-hards of the Black Cult, but really don't need acceptance or fame from the scene.
Love your pics for Pyre. Is it an experience for you to put make-up on for Pyre? Is there any particular look or message your make-up is to convey or is it just to get the "black metal" look?
Well, for glam black metal (Mystic Circle, CoF, etc), it is considered make-up, but for us, it is called corpse paint. We take this aspect very seriously. Not only is it in the classic tradition of the masters of the genre (Hellhammer, Bathory, etc), it is also the ultimate expression of the dark side of one's soul.
What would you say is the most prominent instrument in Pyre?
There is no real prominent instrument in the band; they are all essential.
Are you self-taught or had you taken formal lessons?
I had rudimentary training, but learned the style of metal on my own. Megiddo is self-taught.
How would you describe your style of vocals? Did you have any role models?
I've heard my vocals compared to Pete Helmkamp and Nocturno Culto, both of which I am a huge admirer.
You had struggled quite a bit because of line-up changes earlier, but then came out triumphantly (actually, like a whirl-wind.) To what would you say can you contribute this success?
A mixture of luck and blessing from the Master.
How did you get signed with Black Blood Productions? Are you satisfied?
My good friend Velnias from Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult had been approached by Black Blood to do a split. Velnias suggested DNS and PYRE, and fortunately, B.B. agreed. I am extremely pleased with Black Blood's work. Giorgio truly understands Black Metal, and has spread the LP to distros all around Europe. It now looks like hell released the new material, at least on vinyl format.
You have had a pretty good and quite positive press reception. How do you feel about your success?
It's been great for us because it draws the like-minded to our fold.
You have a couple of songs on Mp3.com. Will you be offering any more?
Yes, a new track will be posted soon.
Do you think you're attracting new fans or are you pretty much catering to the ones who have been with you from the beginning?
I think new head bangers hear our stuff all the time. I'm confident that the strength our compositions will bring new maniacs to the fray and keep the ones we already have.
Who is your audience?
Hopefully, worshipers of The True Metal.
How do you see yourself as a role model to many young people who listen to and who get into your music?
The only way I hope to influence metal heads is to turn their attention to the bands that deserve respect. To turn worthy people from mainstream metal to more genuine acts in the underground is what's important. Most other people are fucking idiots and could vanish from the earth for all I care.
I would LOVE to see you guys play. Why have you chosen not to appear on stage? Will we, in the near future, be able to see Pyre perform as a band?
The primary reason we haven't played live is because the vast majority of people in this area don't understand what black metal is about. Why bring PYRE to the stage when some drunken mongoloid will be yelling for Megadeth covers? Playing live would have to be under the right circumstances.
Black metal is still a rather limited genre that generally doesn't attract large crowds. Do you think this is the fate of extreme music for all future?
I'd like to think that metal would gain more momentum in this country, but being generally pessimistic, I'm not sure it will happen. Most people are content to be drones listening to whatever the radio will give them. In the oft-used words of my brother Megiddo, "fuck people."
Just a few months ago I had heard some heavy criticism from a metal fan who finds that Black metal is no longer acceptable because of the satanic content most albums have and your website depicts an image of a burning church. As an atheist he sees this as a form of religion. What's your take on this?
As I hinted at earlier, it's alright if most metal fans don't Understand or like black metal because I want to distance myself from most of them. I don't need to explain or debate the concepts of black metal with anyone. Those who truly enjoy this style will embrace it.
How important do you think is CD art?
Art is a crucial element to reflect ones lyrics and music. It magnifies the atmosphere to an ultimate height.
Some guys in metal bands live about as normal as you may have it. Others decorate their homes metal. If I were to walk into your homes or room, would I know that you are in a metal band?
From the posters on my walls, you'd know that I'm a fanatic of old Slayer!
Outside of playing Metal, what kinds of things do you enjoy doing?
Drinking, collecting metal stuff, fucking, sleeping.
What kind of books do you read? Any good books you would like to mention?
I like good fiction (Tolkien of course, Terry Brooks, Dean Koontz, Michael Crichton, etc), as well as true account-type books of modern war.
Any collectors, hobbyist or connoisseurs of good booze among you?
Fuck, yes. Metal and drunken thrashing go hand in hand. If you've ever listened to Celtic Frost or Slayer while slamming hard liquor, you'll know what I mean for sure!!
Death and black metal lyrics are oftentimes inspired by movies and the like. What kinds of movies are on your list of favorites?
Conan the Barbarian is right near the top for both Megiddo and I. Such a grim and bloody film that is (and it spawned the greatest soundtrack ever!) This, alongside other action and horror classics like The Exorcist, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Saving Private Ryan, The Shining, Hellraiser, The Lord of the Rings, et al.
Who are your favorite black metal bands? What would I find in your CD collection?
As in all styles of music, no one beats the classics. My greatest inspirations are the Norwegian bands from 1990 to about 1997, so that would be Burzum, Darkthrone, Mayhem, Kvist, Enslaved, and just about any other act from that era. New bands that kill are Anaal Nathrakh, Godless North, Infernal (Sweden), Aeternus, Black Witchery, Wigrid, and on and on.
I noticed, Megiddo, that you at one time mentioned mostly death metal bands as your favorites. Now there are more black metal bands. Is Pyre to be accredited to that?
Megiddo: I'm not sure as to why you say this. . . as a matter of fact, I'm usually the one with the most eclectic tastes - one might even say, the most 'erratic' of tastes. I usually go from thrash to black-death, to doom, heavy metal, grind core and even crust. So I guess I would definitely have to say that Pyre or whatever band I'm jamming with at the time has no bearing on what I'm listening to at any given time...
What does the future hold for Pyre?
The immediate future for PYRE will see the final re-issue of Luciferian Dark Age on CD format. This will include two unmixed tracks from the upcoming full-length. We will record two more new songs to add to the seven we already have for Behold A Pale Horse, and we'll start on the lengthy process of getting it prepared for release. PYRE T-shirts will hopefully see the dark of day before long as well.
What advice would you give young bands and musicians?
Play whatever style comes most natural to you. Don't play metal if you're not really into it.
Any last words to fans?
The PYRE/Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult split LP is available from us for $13 (including a vinyl PYRE logo sticker). Look out for the re-issue of Luciferian Dark Age on CD.
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