Interview with Nornagest of Enthroned

Belgian blasphemers ENTHRONED are releasing their ninth full-length album, 'Obsidium' this following week and our contributor Patrick did an interview with band's vocalist/guitarist Nornagest. This chat first appeared on Patrick's own Winter Torment Zine and now he has given me the permission of posting it on my site as well. We're all in this together, aren't we?
Horns up.

Hails Nornagest, thank you for taking the time to fill out this interview. Please introduce yourself to the readers who might not be familiar with you or ENTHRONED.

I am Nornagest vocalist, lead guitar player and song writer of ENTHRONED. ENTHRONED has been performing black metal in the pure sense of the word for 20 years now and we are ready to release our 9th album 'Obsidium' on Agonia Records on April 10th in the US. (March 20th for the European version - ED)

When did you all first meet? When did you get the idea to form ENTHRONED? How would you describe ENTHRONED's music to the readers who have never heard it?

I met Cernunnos, the first drummer and founding member in 1992 at a SAMAEL/MORBID ANGEL show in Antwerp, Belgium. The band was formed in 1993, the goal was to create a band that would be the catalyst for the belief of its members using the most powerful kind of sound to carry its energies, and what is more powerful than extreme metal? ENTHRONED performs black metal, meaning that our music is the soundtrack for our lyrical concept, extreme and aggressive yet dark and full of variations, that's how I could describe it the best IMO.

ENTHRONED has been going strong in the black metal scene for nearly twenty years! When you started the band did you ever think you and the band would still be going this strong? What is it about ENTHRONED and the black metal scene that has kept you motivated for so long?

Ha! There's absolutely NOTHING about this scene that kept us doing what we do or been doing for almost two decades; our honesty towards ourselves would be more a factor. We never cared about anyone and from day one we didn't even thought we would have a label knocking to our door to give us a recording deal. Our thing was to do what we do for ourselves and if it would reach someone fine , else who cares? But things went in a very unexpected way, full of surprises and burdens and in a way made us what we are today as persons, it only gave us more comfort within our initial idea. ENTHRONED is a part of us as much as our arms, legs and dicks, so it will always be there as long as we are alive as it is something we do to first of all please ourselves, to fulfill some goals we have set for our own and which would be pretty hard to understand for most.

What is your opinion of the black metal scene today compared to say 20-25 years ago? Do you feel it has gotten too commercial? What does 'black metal' mean to you personally?

Black metal is to me satanic/occult message or concept with a metal background, to me bands such as BLASPHEMY, ROTTING CHRIST, DEATH SS, MERCYFUL FATE and MAYHEM are all black metal! They are as different as night and day but in my eyes they're all black metal. This style is different from others, as it is supposed to be with a strong personal message behind it linked with the Left Hand Path or Median Path belief of the persons who are performing it. The main differences in between the actual scene and the scene as we knew it 20-25 years ago is the accessibility and the flock of pretenders polluting this 'scene' and creating such a band only due to their likeness of other bands. But luckily , there is still some bands who are doing this for the good reasons and not just to show off or pretend to be something they are not.

The band recently released it's new CD 'Obsidium' through Agonia Records. How did you come in contact with the label? Are you happy with them so far?

I was in contact with Filip of Agonia since 1995, he has been a fan since the beginning of the band and knows our history, releases etc. by heart. He has always been very supportive even tho we were not signed on his label. After the demise of Regain Records, we had to start the search for a new record label and although we had big record companies contacting us and who were very interested, Agonia gave us the best deal, not necessarily money wise, not at all, but the rest was far more important, like our requests, support and most important; he knows ENTHRONED and how the band is suppose to be, so he never interfered within our decisions, he respected every single idea, imagery and message the band carries on, which to me is of the utter most importance.

How long did it take the band to write and record the songs for 'Obsidium'? How has the response been from the fans and the press?

'Obsidium' is the most and by far spontaneous album we ever did. All in all, it took us six month to compose and record the whole album. This album had to be done this way, we felt it within our guts. Where most bands would take years and months to work on some details etc. we just puked out what we had inside of us and believe me there was almost no compromise in between the members; we all went in the same direction and every time a new idea came up every one loved it as it was exactly what we all had in mind. The actual reactions have been tremendous, it would be cliché if I would say that it is our best album etc. but this time I do not say anything, fans and the press all seems to agree on this point.

Does the band have any upcoming tours or shows in support of the album? If yes - where will the band be touring and playing?

We are working on a south American tour at the moment and we have some dates planned in the UK, Belgium and Romania. There might be a fest in Denver, Colorado for the summer. A European tour is in discussion as well as a North American one.

Over the years I am sure ENTHRONED has shared the stage with many great legendary and underground cult bands. Who have been some of your favorite bands to tour with? If you could set-up a 'dream' show/tour who would you love to tour with?

There are a few bands that we both musically and personally enjoyed to share stages with, the best moments were probably with bands like GORGOROTH (the real GORGOROTH that is), DESTROYER 666, USURPER, EMPEROR, SHINING, SADUS, ROTTING CHRIST, HELL MILITIA and ANTAEUS. Maybe doing some kind of festival tour with those same bands would be just utopia, especially on the personal, human point of view.

You play the guitars and perform the vocals duties in the band, at what age did you start playing guitars? Are you self-taught or did you take lessons in the beginning?

I started playing at the age of 13 and before that my first instrument was bass guitar. I am completely self-taught, to be honest I do not even know partitions, solfège or any pedagogical solmization, I just let my feelings flow or being puked through my guitar, this is the best way to express yourself I think.

Who are some of your influences/favorite guitarist? Do you play other instruments?

My influences are pretty vast; my first years as a guitar player were bath by the influences of guitar players such as Kerry King, Axel Rudi Pell, Jimmy Hendrix, Quorthon, Jeff Waters and Adrian Smith amongst others.
But the principal thing is that I always tried to do my own thing, which gave me hours of headache and serious nervous breakdown to be honest, but it was very rewarding. I also play bass, piano, keyboards, sistrum and the tubular bell.

You are also the vocalist for the band, when did you first become interested in singing? who are some of your favorite singers?

Before I joined ENTHRONED, I was the vocalist of every band I was involved with, so when our previous vocalist was removed from the line-up, the other members wanted me to take over the vocals.
For them it was only logical as I write all the lyrics and they loved my vocals, but then I really did not want to do that mainly due to the fact that I appreciated my position as lead guitarist and I didn't want to be the center of attention on stage, but well, when Phorgath was asked to join on bass he told me that the he would gladly accept at the condition that I would do the vocals, so I gave it a shot and after a while got use to it and actually appreciate the fact that I could give my lyrics the correct and right feeling into them. As for my favorite vocalists, few would be BM ones but Ihsahn (EMPEROR) and Attila (MAYHEM, SUNN O))), TORMENTOR) would be my stand outs. Else I really appreciate Nick Cave, Sivert Høyem (MADRUGADA), Lou Reed (VELVET UNDERGROUND era), Bruce Dickinson and Arno (Belgian artist) among others.

Do you do anything special to keep your throat/voice healthy when recording a release or on tour?

Yes, smoke and drink booze! Sometimes I just have to make a break of course, you can't just keep doing this on tour, but I've noticed that if I completely stopped smoking on tour it just got worse, just had to keep on smoking but in a 'reasonable' way.

Which usually comes first, the music or the lyrics of the song? What are some topics/subjects you all write about?

It depends really, for the previous album 'Pentagrammaton', the lyrics were written first and the whole work was to literally translate those lyrics into music, which is a titanic work. Else, it really depends of the song, but one side always influences the other, for example; If the music is written first, I'll write lyrics that matches, represent the emotions involved within the music and likewise is the lyrics are written first.
Our topics are always dealing with Satanism/Occultism in the pure sense of the word, no BM Satanism or gimmicks, we are dealing with what really lies behind the veil. On the three last albums, the concept is identical, each album is a follow up to the previous one, like three different volumes following the same concept and ideals. 'Tetra Karcist' is dealing with the reality of occultism how it is, without any gimmick nor supposition, how things are within the occult. 'Pentagrammaton' retrace experiences, real lived experiences through those doctrines and practices we talked about on 'Tetra Karcist', now with 'Obsidium' the concept deals with what we learned, the achievement we reached in one form or another through those experiences, all written in a way that only people who are actually within the occult circle can understand fully.

Well Nornagest, we have reached the end of interview. Do you have anything you would like to add before we end the interview?

Thanx for the interview and be sure to get our 9th album 'Obsidium'

Enthroned - Obsidium by Blackout Studio


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