Azaghal is a band that I listened to for a long time, it was never a band that caught my attention with their first productions like “Mustamaa” (1999) or “Helvetin yhdeksän piiriä” (1999), where their idea was basic and primitive compared to many other expressions of Finnish Black Metal those years. So, it was very difficult to see the personality of the band, that's why I stopped listening to them a long time ago, but after more than 20 years of listening to them, I have their 12th studio album called “Alttarimme on luista tehty” on the speakers. , which presents me with a very different face from what happened at the end of the 90s, because now you have a band much more inclined to Swedish Death Metal, with Black Metal overtones in very few parts and a notorious Roll idea in many of the parts. songs. For this reason, Metallerium interviewed Narqath, the founding musician of the band.
Para leer la entrevista en español: Entrevista a Azaghal
Metallerium: Welcome to Metallerium pages, Narqath, it is a pleasure to talk with you about the band, this new album, and more things related to the metal world. We begin, ¿How have you been during these crazy times? First a pandemic, now a war in Europe. Who knows what will happen in the next couple of years, perhaps a meteor will hit us and America save us, zombie apocalypse, etc.
Azaghal: Yeah, it’s been a crazy few years. Went directly from being on a gig in Scotland to being locked up in southern Finland, and couldn't even cross the border here for more than 50km. The crazy thing is we were supposed to fly to Wuhan and start a tour there that very week, The situation in between Ukraine and Russia is surreal. All I have to say is Slava Ukraina.
Metallerium: Related to this topic, was this new album composed and recorded during the pandemic? or was it before?
Azaghal: It really didn't have much effect, I work at my own pace. The songs come when they come.
Metallerium: Seeing how old the band is and with their discography since your two albums in 1999. It took you 1, 2, or even 3 years to present a new album. But this new album "Alttarimme on luista tehty" had a difference of 5 years. Therefore, what were the reasons for the band to delay the release of this new album?
Azaghal: Life, life gets in the way. Children, work. Life. It was easier to be black metal 24/7 when you are 20. at 45 you are consumed with the realities of life. You need to pay the rent, loans, and shit, and if you want to keep your art pure, you don't make black metal for a living
Metallerium: The band within its 12 albums, always had a mixture of languages between English, Finnish, etc. What are the reasons for the band to switch between languages? Are there specific reasons for doing so?
Azaghal: it’s always been 90% Finnish, at least that. Our original vocalist didn't want to sing in English. We tried a few songs in English with a new singer but quickly decided that Finnish works better for us. You can sing about flowers and unicorns and it already sounds brutal and evil in Finnish so why not. But if you are interested in the lyrics, it's nowadays fairly easy to translate them. Which I hope people do.
Metallerium: Talking about the subject of living influences and feeling what happens internally and externally for the musician. Many musicians say that they don't have a direction when writing music and are carried away by the feelings they have at the moment. So, for you, how do the parts of producing an album connect with the sensations of it? Could we say that music is a concept of thinking and not thinking?
Azaghal: I usually have an idea of what I am set out to do. But it often changes along the way. But shortly, no I am not like that. I start out to do something quite specific and end up somewhere there or at least near it heh. Difficult/impossible to describe.
Metallerium: As you may know very recently, Satanic Warmaster came to Latin America to promote their new album, but the Mexican government canceled their event there, alleging that the band was neo-Nazi and promoted hatred. But I know Lauri and he doesn't have that point of view in his lyrics and I read his lyrics and not. So, how do you see this issue of prohibitions in the world towards artists? And why do many critics or fans associate neo-Nazi themes with Finnish Black Metal bands? What is your opinion?
Azaghal: it's nonsense. Even if there are right-wing ideologies who cares, artists freedom. Black metal is extreme in its very core. So if you can't handle extreme ideologies stay in pop.
Metallerium: Talking about the history of the band and the musical changes that have happened since "Mustamaa" (1999) and up to this "Alttarimme on luista tehty". Do you think these 12 albums show all the desired facets of Azaghal? And were all these changes a planned process or was it nI main natural?
Azaghal: it's just me. No reason in looking back to the glory days of the 90s. I mainly aim to create music and lyrics that please me these days. Well, like always before. I have never cared if it's popular or if other people like it. It's music for me. If you like it, great, if not. Fuck off, I don't care.
Metallerium: Why do you think metal fans over 40 years old are always going back in time when it comes to musical tastes? I mean, it is obvious that all our jewels were published in those times. So ¿What moves you to continue making music? especially with this new album knowing that there are many fans over 40 years old we resist new bands and new releases.
Azaghal: well, kinda what I said in the previous answer. Do music for yourself. Everything has already been done.
Metallerium: I know every album is special for you and for most bands the last album is always their best effort. So, let me ask What does this album mean in Azaghal’s career? How much did the feelings you have and the way you compose change compared to the times when you released “Mustamaa” in 1999?
Azaghal: Mustamaa was of course special, was great to hold our first vinyl in our hands. But this album is a new beginning. I was ready to stop the band, then a new singer, returning guitarist in Ruho, and a new bass player. It's like a new band and we are going to reach for pathways untrodden and who knows where we end up. But more will come
Metallerium: A detail that I mentioned about the Finnish lyrics of this new album "Alttarimme on luista tehty". It can be complicated for people who listen to this style. Because it is not a language open to everyone and most ppl understand English. How do you see this topic? What do you think of the artistic limitations of many artists in front of a fan base that wants to understand their favorite bands but cannot because of the language?
Azaghal: well, I think of the Finnish language as more of another instrument, it's brutal, and gives a very own feeling to the music. Translate if needed, we are not your parents. Use your own brain and think for yourself.
Metallerium: We’re very close to ending this interview Narqath, for that reason. What are the future plans for this new album? Latin Tour, North American tour, European Tour, who knows?
Azaghal: we are leaving for a European tour in a few weeks. Beyond that no idea yet.
Metallerium: Well, Narqath, the sad time arrives at this interview. I hope you enjoy this interview like me. Congratulations on the new album. Perhaps you wanna add something to your Latin American fans and Metallerium followers.
Azaghal: Slava Ukraina.