Sercifer 21.06.2022 511

Lord Belial Interview (Niclas Pepa Green)

Lord Belial's “Rapture” is a fat record by another influential head in Black Metal. Where if you are not speechless with "Lux Luciferi", well I think you had no childhood and listened to New Metal in the 80s (laughs) and believed that they formed the extreme music of our times. So, the Swedes return with a mantle that categorically covers all its stages, and 14 years were necessary for this train to work correctly again. For this reason, we interviewed Niclas Pepa Green.


Si deseas leer la entrevista en español: Entrevista a Lord Belial


Metallerium: Welcome, Pepa to Metallerium pages. It’s a great pleasure to talk with you about Lord Belial, this new album “Rapture” and more things related to the metal world. Starting, how have you been during these crazy times? Cuz we’re ending a pandemic, now there is a war in Europe, and who knows what happen in the coming years, perhaps zombie apocalypse, alien invasion, or the machines will take the power ¿Who Knows? 😊


Lord Belial: we were kind of prisoners because of the COVID-19 situation. The frustration! We were allowed to travel 1,5 hours from our homes-which means that we were not really even allowed to go to the studio because it is a 4-hour drive! However, Sweden was not under such strict restrictions as the rest of Europe. I went traveling during the pandemic, I was in Naples, Amsterdam, and Frankfurt, on different occasions. Frankfurt had by far the worst restrictions! Armed guards at the mall, guards at restaurants, paperwork to sign before having a meal, etc. In Sweden, there was not much of a difference - a face mask was not mandatory and you could go to restaurants and the mall without any problem, however, all competitions and such were canceled + the government screamed at us all the time to not travel further than a 1,5-hour drive. Luckily, the rehearsal studio is only a 1-hour drive for me.


Metallerium: Talking about the history of the band I saw that you created the band in 1992 with Micke and Thomas, but then all decide to leave the band in 2009 as the first split-up of the band. Then you returned two times for gigs and other details y 2010 and 2013. But the last Lord Belial’s return was 2020 and brings us this new album “Rapture”.   Why did the band decide to split up in 2009? And why do you decide to return in 2022 with a new album and with these problems around the world?


Lord Belial: Life evolved around other matters and we followed for some time (wives, kids, work, and so on). Also, we stagnated a bit in the rehearsal room, we did not progress as fast as we wanted for some unknown reasons, rehearsing became a must, we had to do it to keep up and a must is not very exciting - it became stagnant. We were not hungry. But now, we are as hungry as we were when we did Enter The Moonlight Gate!


Metallerium: I remembered when I heard “Kiss the Goat (Sic Transit Gloria Mundi)” (1995). An album with a peculiar thing on it with more classic stuff in Black Metal where you introduced the sound of flute and the bass. Both are great at that time with a raw mix. What could you tell us about this amazing record? What song is one of your favorites of that album to play on a gig?


Lord Belial: As we started out, we did not want synthesizers in our music, we wanted the real instruments, that is why we used flute and cello. We played “Satan Divine” as a warm-up in the rehearsal room for many years until we laughed about it!


Metallerium: After two years of your first album “Enter the Moonlight Gate” (1997) came out and create a new way to do Black Metal and for me is one of the biggest stones in the Swedish black metal scene. But then you changed completely the sound with "Unholy Crusade" (1999) with more aggressive, faster, and savage elements that took you away from the sound of your first two albums. Tell me. Were these changes in Lord Belial's music intended? or was it a natural evolution of the music? 


Lord Belial: Unholy Crusade is by far the worst mix we have had, it is difficult to hear anything else than the bass and the drums, all the guitar work is lost, and I find that very frustrating. At that time, we were rather aggressive and wanted more attack and speed, but the outcome became something else, not at all what we were aiming at. The cover art also leaves something to wish for.


Metallerium: Lord Belial is a strong name for any kind of black metal band around the world. How did you come up with the idea of the name at the beginning? And can we say that all members in Lord Belial were Satanists at the beginning? 


Lord Belial: We read all these books about King Salomo and the 72 demons sealed in a bronze coffin, we studied the grimoire occult, etc, and thought it suited us with the Northern Prince - Belial. We did not participate at all in society around us for many years, we were in our own world, our own bubble, the “Lord Belial world” and we were very rebellious about everything for many years, we did not care about anything except for the band and rehearsing/playing live/writing new songs going into the studio.


Metallerium: Relating to the last question. What are you think about the bands around the world talking about the satan, devil, and demons as a trend in Black Metal style? Cuz now many people in the world see satanism as a religion and even they have churches, rules, and books around the world. Do you think that Satanism will be another religion like Christianity, Buddhism, etc?


Lord Belial: I think it already is another religion. And it is the opposite of what we have ever wanted. It is not supposed to be like that. It should be personal only, exclusively personal, or with a small group that no one has insight into.


Metallerium: I remembered when Black Metal came out in the 90s all records were very raw and the philosophy of all bands was talking about the darkness, misanthropic, culture, and more. But now with the digital era, many bands have better sound, great production, and more things. Therefore, what is your opinion about the actual scene on the Black Metal with more technical, progressive, and depressive/pop staff on their rhythms?  Do you think these bands saturated and lost the essence of Black Metal? 


Lord Belial: We grew up in the pre-internet era, it was totally different - we had to write letters via the underground movement and we met other metalheads at parties before a show, during a show, and after a show. We had to listen to taped vinyl or the actual vinyl itself and then word of mouth spread via underground magazines. Today, it is spread globally with access to anyone, instantly. In that aspect, Black Metal has lost a lot of the mystique surrounding the genre in the early years. Like, going to Eastern Europe to play. Quite the adventure compared to clicking on a Spotify link! Many bands that have crappy production play their instruments really bad as well, yet for some bands that do not matter - they communicate a great vibe anyway. Then there are many bands that have a poor production and play poorly and they just suck. Then there are bands that play really well and have great products but they do not communicate a great vibe anyway! I guess it lies in the ears of the listener/eye of the beholder. There are so many bands right now. 


Metallerium: Usually when a band releases a new album. The band thinks that this new one is the best work for them as a cliche. But the counterproductive thing according to this is the feeling of these fans with the first album and usually many reviewers said that the first or second is the biggest stones and the incomparable jewels of the band. And I think as a fan of music as you are, you have these thoughts of your main influence bands metal, rock, jazz, etc. What is your opinion of this matter? Do you think the last album from Lord Belial is the best work until today? o perhaps you have one special album that no one thoughts.


Lord Belial: I think this album is a fresh restart for Lord Belial. We are very pleased with how the sound turned out. The mixing was complicated at first, we had grown used to the sound from the demo and the raw brutal sound from the recording session, but it was very interesting to find out that all three of us wanted the exact same thing! We all agreed on the levels - more choir here, less bass here, more attack in the rhythm guitars here, etc., etc, louder snare drum, etc. In the end, we were quite pleased with the outcome. We listened to the raw mix in different cars, a variety of different speakers, etc, and finally, we agreed that this is what it should sound like. We like the dynamics of going from full blast beats to midtempo with harmonies, going full blast again with exploding guitars like that, it creates dynamic and we all agree that dynamics is essential. If you blast for five minutes, it just becomes flat and you lose the idea of how fast it actually is + if you only go slow, or only midtempo, it becomes equally as boring. We did not try to sound like anything else, we just went for how we wanted it to sound now, no comparison, even though we kind of worked more like we did on Enter The Moonlight Gate.


Metallerium: After 30 years of existence with Lord Belial and with “Rapture” as your 9th Full-length. And perhaps is more than 30 years, cuz usually the bands start two or three years before the official year formation. Now you have more experience with a new record and sometimes the feeling changed over time. Therefore, how did you see the growth of Lord Belial through these 30 years? And does the feeling you had 30 years ago still there meanwhile you wait for the release of this new album?


Lord Belial: we have been around for 30 years and we have seen many bands come and go. It is very flattering that other black metal bands make cover versions of our songs these days, but it does not change the fact that we feel the same way we did 30 years ago, we really look forward to the release of this beast!

Metallerium: Talking about the new album "Rapture". If we compare all your records with this new one. Which are the biggest strengths that this new one has compared to the other productions?


Lord Belial: The rhythm guitars really chug! In unison with the drums, it becomes quite powerful, without becoming a mess. Working with Andy is a procedure that is described as a perfect fit. The man hears our ideas, he understands the riffs, solos, harmonies, and the final product and he brings new ideas to the table. He also hears immediately if something is off + he has a profound understanding of how to differentiate frequencies from each other so that e.g. the guitars meet up instead of colliding in frequency. Imagine parts where we have the full drum kit + four different rhythm guitars+two clean guitars+choir+strings+two harmony leads at the same time! Andy manages that situation with a smile and just makes a quick joke about something that makes us all laugh. That’s the kind of guy we need. Andy is truly one in a million, he gets us, and we get him.


Metallerium: We are very close to ending this interview Pepa. What are the future plans that the band has? Gigs, tours in Latin America, the US, videos upcoming, or ¡who knows?


Lord Belial: Yes, we have talked about doing a video and maybe a short tour in South America. We are working on new songs as well; we have seven new and an eighth in the making, but right now I guess we all just wait for the release of the album!


Metallerium: Well, Pepa, the sad time arrives at this interview I hope you enjoyed it like me, and thank you very much for your time. Congratulations on this amazing return and perhaps. Do you wanna add something to your Latin American fans and Metallerium readers?


Lord Belial: Thank you very much for the interview and the interest in Lord Belial!


Maybe a song-by-song walkthrough could end this if you want!


Legion - This song is about the frustration of being shackled in chains, be they mental or physical, still the same feeling. To not be able to do what you want because someone else says so - be it a dogma of religion or politics. It is about Legion from history as well, when a demon who is possessed by a multitude of demons is given the collective name of "Legion". It is a very fast and aggressive song, it is quite intense as well, you will probably feel that you need to breathe after it because you have held your breath while listening to it(!). Some short intense guitar leads drive the song forward, and then in the end it goes faster and faster, ending with a break and some feedback from a guitar and then the rhythm guitars + bass drums in unison, the end.


On a Throne of Souls - It is about the destruction of the world as we know it, “Kill the King” (Rainbow) sort of theme - join the dark side, plunge yourself into the everlasting fire, join the hordes of darkness against the light. This song has a chorus that appears twice, the first time with the chorus riff and Thomas’ vocals, the second time with a Pepa choir and Micke’s screams. There is a mid-part where a second chorus is played that goes “They shall cover the world in flames, The higher the flames, the greater the shadows, They shall bring me the heads of fallen kings, The higher the flames, the greater the shadows” where all three of us scream in the background, we call it “the choir of mental illness”!


Rapture of Belial - A hymn to Belial, finally the time for the antichrist to be unleashed, the entity is in ecstasy about it “Ecstasy and morbid lust, feel the Rapture of Belial”. The song begins with drums of doom and heavy slow-paced guitars that then continue to rise in intensity, along with double bass drums, and then it intensifies further with a harmony lead and blast beats + a disharmonic solo + even more drums of doom, then the drums and rhythm guitars follow tightly, moving into a death-metal sort of riff with darker vocals and then some twisted disharmonic chords, moving into a tempo-slow-down, and then back to the blast beats.


Destruction - This is a more old-school black metal song. The drums follow the guitars, it is a rather fast and aggressive song, but not blast-beat-fast. There is a chorus that goes “Life is tormented, Death is liberation, Destruction is all” this song was originally more than 7 minutes long! We shortened it in the mix to 3:48. It ends with a chaos solo.


Belie all gods - A clean guitar plays the harmony, backed by massive rhythm guitars and heavy-paced drums, a Georgian choir sings in the background. This is the most “progressive” song on the album, the chorus has some clean singing by Pepa and Micke in the background on the second and third time “The unholy trinity, slayer of gods, Faceless, fearless, dark shapes of perdition, Dressed in cloaks of burnt angel wings, We come to cleanse the earth”. Towards the end, there is a break and a new riff appears with a harmonic lead. The song ends with Micke exhorting us to “Belie all gods”.


Evil Incarnate - “In the deep murky chasm, only darkness dwells” If you don’t bang your head to this one, you need more beer. This is pure black metal, mid-paced yet forward-going. Towards the end, there is a slower part with an extinguished solo, then back to the chorus, and out.


Lux Luciferi - Explodes with energy and Thomas’ fantastic voice tells us about a salutation to Lucifer - the fallen angel of enlightenment. This is a very dynamic song, one minute in - there is the chorus. Super heavy, with Thomas’ scorching vocals “Let shine the luminous light from within the realm of the dead, The radiant light of the son of the dawn, Hail to, the fallen one, hail to the flame, The radiant light of the son of the dawn” backed by Pepa and Micke on “Hail to the Flame”. Background choirs and piano. Then the song explodes forward again, followed by a super-heavy riff that will put your speakers to the test. Then, a second chorus “Tu verus mundi lucifer”. The song ends with heavy drums, a harmonic lead, massive guitars, Thomas vocals, and choirs in the background, this is a really massive song.


Infinite Darkness and Death - This song begins with clean guitars followed by massive rhythm guitars and heavy drums, soon it explodes into blast beats, quickly followed by the chorus “The one we call our dark lord drains your temple of breath, Legions of war burning those of the light” that makes your hair stand up on your arms. It is followed by a speech by Thomas, exhorting us to crush all and kill all. The song ends with massive rhythm guitars, topped by clean guitars, and blast beats!


Alpha and Omega - This is a sort of reversed salutation to the most common religions of our time, “I deny your beliefs, I deny your gods and prophets” It explodes with double bass drums, massive rhythm guitars, topped by a clean guitar, into a really cool downward going marking, into a pre-chorus with mid-tempo drums, and then by the markings with the clean guitars, Mr. Andy La Roque makes a guest appearance. In the end, we talked about fading it, but we just cut it and it became really cool.


Lamentations - This song begins with strings and clean guitar, then comes the rhythm guitars and drums, as it continues more and more guitars are added. It is a very beautiful song, with lots of emotions, a perfect way to end the album. In the middle, Thomas says “I called upon thy name, O Dark Lord, out of the lowest of dungeons, Thou have heard my voice; hide not thine ears at my breathing, my lamentations”. Then, as it goes on, there is a Georgian choir and then a beautiful solo.





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