Sercifer 26.02.2023 326

Thy Darkened Shade Interview (Semjaza)

Thy Darkened Shade is a band that I have loved since “Eternvs Mos, Nex Ritvs” (2012), and from there I began to follow their lead for new productions because their vision of Black Metal is very strong at a general level, and in detail. contains high technical doses that place them in a very different environment from those depressive, atmospheric, and pop bands within Black Metal. So, when “Liber Lvcifer I: Khem Sedjet” (2014) comes out, it was in my player for a long time, so I was waiting for the new one after the tremendous first two albums, and I saw that they were active with Splits with various bands. but still was waiting to have a new production of the band. So almost 10 years later you have your third opus from this Greek band called “Liber Lvcifer II: Mahapralaya”. Therefore, Metallerium interviewed Semjaza, a founding member of the band since 1999.

Para leer la entrevista en español: Entrevista a Thy Darkened Shade

Metallerium: Welcome, Semjaza to Metallerium pages. It’s a great pleasure to talk with you about this new album, the band, and more things related to the metal world. Starting how have you been during these uncertain times? A pandemic, a war, and more things with the economy worldwide.

Thy Darkened Shade: As far as myself is concerned, I see every difficulty as a chance to grow and I mean every single difficulty, even the most painful ones. What doesn't kill me makes me stronger, and if it kills me, let's philosophize what lies beyond death then. It is my will to go closer to the source of all, free and eternal, the quest to eternity starts from below (here and now) and to the above (the spiritual plane).

As far as humanity is concerned, I see the shadow aspect growing stronger and stronger every day. What humanity represses becomes a shadow, whatever gets blindly boycotted carries a certain power. I don’t see people learning from it anytime soon. This is clear to me, from the simplest of things to the most complicated ones. People have been the victims of their own shadow selves since day one. The collective shadow is even more powerful, devouring every aspect of what humanity calls reality. 

Metallerium: The next question it’s a common one. Why are you almost delayed 10 years to release a new album? Is there a special reason for this delay?

Thy Darkened Shade: If you listen to our music carefully you will for sure understand that such releases need time and dedication. Me being 39 years old I have a lot of things to do in my everyday life. So, I focus on TDS only when I can give 100% of my full dedication, in spirit and in flesh. In this scene, bands feel pressure to do an album every one or two years. On the other hand, I feel the liberty to unleash music when I am sure that it has something to offer. Having deadlines in art is something I hate. I fully support freedom and having no freedom in doing things my own way with my art is opposing what I strongly believe in. I am crystal clear with this; I want my releases not only to be great but also to contribute something new to the genre each time and I view all of them as equally important. This album was really difficult to get fully done but finally, it is unleashed. We gained a lot of added experience due to it in all aspects of our art.   

Metallerium: You have in your discography 4 collaborations in Splits. Do you have any special taste in these formats? How does a band get considered to do joint work with Thy Darkened Shade? And maybe you have some that you prefer to forget because of the production or any other detail?

Thy Darkened Shade: Not sure if I understand this question fully. Growing up with BM in my heart I realised soon that there are plenty of killer releases. I adored demos, splits, eps, and full lengths equally. I had a hard time understanding how people ignored the less-known formats since there were tremendous masterpiece releases within the scene. I can’t live for instance without the Thorns, the Ved Buens Ende, the Master’s Hammer demos, or the Vlad Tepes/Belketre split, to name just a few. To collaborate with a band, we need to share a common ideology and believe that their work contributes to the BM genre as a whole. Every single release of TDS is taken care of to the point of total obsession. I am fully proud of everything we released; we will never release anything if we do not stand behind it.

Supreme and Immortal is the art of the Devil.  

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 Thy Darkened Shade’s career? How much did the feelings you have and the way you compose change compared to the times when you released “Eternvs Mos, Nex Ritvs” in 2012?

Thy Darkened Shade: I don’t care to think that Mahapralaya is our best album since every single release is equally holy and important. I also don’t see this as a career but as a lifework, which eventually will be death work. A career mindset is for rock stars, we are people who care about spiritual advancement, not a rock n roll li(f)e style. The vision for each release differs significantly, we contribute each time differently while retaining certain characteristics that define us.

Metallerium: In general, the album is quite diverse, from old black metal songs, melodic songs, heavy stuff, and more technic in all instruments. I like how somehow most of the songs come with challenging riffs and schemes. It is almost impossible not to concentrate on each one when we listen to most of these songs. How did you manage to achieve this technical stuff with old vibes in a such world that prefers all simple and single?

Thy Darkened Shade: True dedication to our cause, strict ritual practice, following our own will, listening to plenty of different genres of music and a crazy amount of music practice are just some of the ways we utilize to create our art. For sure, all the TDS releases need full concentration in order to be really grasped by the listener and full dedication by us. A lot of people want their easy listening music as they want their fast food. If you give them some simple melodies that can be composed in one second, offer them safe song structures, and create a clone band of bands that they’ve heard and loved before, they will get excited. We are here to totally destroy that sheep mentality with real substance and soulful music that stems from the higher self and lasts. Multiple listening sessions will reveal different elements each time since the number of details on each TDS track are enormous. A lot of bands within the BM scene prefer their recipe-ready BM since there is an audience for that. As soon as a band becomes known, plenty of sheep bands are willing to just copy-paste their sound and image. Now within the scene, we have Mgła clones everywhere, we used to have Darkthrone clones, Dissection clones, Rotting Christ clones, Deathspell Omega clones, Shining clones, etc. People are willing to praise clones because they are reminded of something they like.

We obviously all have our influences but copying and pasting is the ultimate BM sin. The true essence of BM lies in individual sound and vision. We grew up in a time in which each year we had completely different sounding and looking BM releases. BM was about contribution, coming up with something personal. Nowadays they copy-paste an old-school band and call it old-school BM. This is a new school BM mindset and is a disgrace to our tradition. Our own vision is contributing to the genre of BM, respecting old traditions, and at the same time expanding the genre and the traditions as a whole.

Metallerium: One aspect that I found very interesting is the presence of HG behind the drums. Did you think of other alternatives to record the drums? or was he the first option?  Who came up with the idea to work with him?

Thy Darkened Shade: I really know that his drumming fits the TDS sound very well. It is also rare that one can hear such drumming in a BM release, that’s another reason why I really like working with him. Therefore, it also contributes to the uniqueness of the TDS sound. We started working with HG by chance when we were about to record Liber Lvcifer I: Khem Sedjet. The session drummer we booked back then was unable to record the album at the very last minute due to other commitments. He then proposed to me the idea for HG to do it. He played "Revival Through Arcane Skins” to him and he really liked the track. Since then, we recorded three releases with HG: Khem Sedjet, Mahapralaya, and our split with Abigor, Nightbringer, and Mortuus.  

Metallerium: Relating to the last question. To have been working with HG for this new album was a great accomplishment for the band. But at the same is a challenging aspect to find a drummer live to play like him. Cuz for me is one of the last extreme metal drummers that has his personal touch and sound on the drums. How will you deal with this to play live? Do you have other options to use in gigs, tours, etc? Or will you work together with him on this aspect?

Thy Darkened Shade: We have been working with H.G. since Liber Lvcifer I: Khem Sedjet and for sure I agree that his style and playing are personal and basically killer, his contribution is valued. He understands easily the files that I sent him and he always nails the drumming patterns during the recording sessions. The plan is hopefully for HG to also record our next album Liber Lvcifer III. The truth is we’ve worked with several great drummers through the years. C.Docre and Maelstrom definitely deserve a mention here since they both contributed with killer drumming for TDS. Maelstrom recorded our first album and two tracks on two splits, while C. Docre recorded a track for one split and two covers: one King Diamond cover and one the Devil’s Blood. He also helped us with the pre-production of the drums that we sent to H.G. in order to record his parts. Now we are working with a very talented French drummer, CsR who is also a brother and a very devoted person as a whole. He will be playing at our forthcoming gigs; I assure you he sounds like hellfire and his style is extremely personal. I am sure he will also record for us in the future.

Metallerium: Listening more than 20 times to this "Liber Lvcifer II: Mahapralaya" a detail that is very marked is the technical stuff on drums, guitars, and bass. For that, which were your influences to create this new album? Cuz in some parts I heard the presence of Emperor in "Prometheus - The Discipline of Fire and Demise" (2001) and also how did you manage the balance between the technical stuff and black metal? Cuz sometimes is very difficult to maintain both.

Thy Darkened Shade: Our main influence is the unconscious and everything that lurks within it: darkness, true light, the shadow, the glory of the Dark Gods, our Higher Selves, etc. Our main influence, therefore, isn’t musical but spiritual. As for musical influences, there are sure plenty, the whole work of Emperor before they reformed again definitely inspired us fully, they are one of my favorite bands ever. From Wrath of the Tyrant to Prometheus, splits and eps of course included. It is sad to see them performing those albums without any spirit these days. To mention all of our influences is for sure impossible and I guess everything that we adore but also what we hate influences us in one way or another.  

Metallerium: Talking about other aspects of the history of the band I saw that the band was born in 1999, but your first album was released in 2012. 13 years later. What happened to record the first album more than 10 years later?  Cuz at that time things were easier than in the 70s and 80s or early 90s in the metal world.

Thy Darkened Shade: Our main concern was always to reflect and to contribute with something new, to push BM forward. Remember back in the day we released  Eternvs Mos, Nex Ritvs a lot of bands were ripping off the killer roster of Noevdia or wanted to suicide by playing suicidal BM. What we offered was a Satanic Black/Thrash attack album which was fully “out of date” back then. Some of the ideas we had for TDS back in our early days were 100% killer quality and we might use them in the future, as we already used some. The unconscious can touch the vessel in unknown ways and some ideas were touched by the devilish one. However, for me, our vision was at a very early stage back then. I can reinterpret some of the early songs I composed from a much more spiritually advanced perspective now and I might do it someday. What happened with TDS is that as soon as I felt closer to my Higher Self, we started to release music.

Metallerium: Usually, the black metal scene worldwide has a common thought about staying away from the news, metal activity, bands, and the social world in the world.  Why the Black Metal scene has this common thought about staying away from the world?

Thy Darkened Shade: For me, each BM band needs to have a personal vision, if bands blindly follow what others did before them, they are nothing but sheep. Sheep behavior is so against the initial traditions of BM. So to answer your question if bands are chained by retarded mainstream label contracts, they become nothing but sheep of the mainstream mentality. And of course, for me, a BM band needs to be as close as possible to spiritual realities and not mundane ones.

Metallerium: How have you assumed the subject of digital promotion? I mean, you consider it a kind of contamination with respect to what you have always preached regarding that there are things that must be done in a traditional way. But at the same time, it is necessary to be part of this new digital era? or are they just tools that should be used and do not represent any threat to the old heavy metal cavalry that preaches slogans like only physical material rules?

Thy Darkened Shade: One should act according to one’s wishes and desires. I do use streaming services, and I do own digital files of various records. However, for me, nothing can be compared with owning the physical releases. I want lyrics, artwork, and the whole artistic vision in order to immerse myself in the arts. I also want high-quality equipment to listen to the music properly. I would also go back to the old days in the blink of an eye, I really missed certain aspects of those days.

Metallerium: I remember that a year ago the book “Rites of the Abyss” came out, a book dedicated to the history of the Black Metal scene in Greece. So, what do you think of this book? Does it have the full story or not?

Thy Darkened Shade: They contacted us to get included in that book but at that time we were fully focused on the recording of Liber Lvcifer II: Mahapralaya. During those times we did no interviews as we needed full dedication. I haven’t read or seen the book to comment further. The same guy just released a book along with Magus about Necromantia and I am looking forward to buying and reading that one!  

Metallerium: We’re very close to ending this interview Semjaza. For that, what are the future plans that the band has for this new album? Gigs, videos, tours in Europe, the US, or who knows in Latin America.

Thy Darkened Shade: We will do some selected gigs and we will tour too for Mahapralaya. But as always these will happen only when it will be relevant for us to do so. 

Metallerium: Well, Semjaza, a sad time to arrive at this interview. I hope you enjoy this one like me. Congratulations on the new album and perhaps you want to add something to your Latin American fans Metallerium followers.

Thy Darkened Shade: Follow no one but the inner flame that stems from the nameless father and mother.




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