With venom coursing its veins and a ravenous hunger to its invention and exploration, the self-titled album from Norway metallers Revelation’s Hammer is an enthralling expanse of compelling aural drama and rapacious antagonism, black metal at its more rapacious and provocative. A long time in emerging, the album is one of the startling high points of the year in metal so far and one we wanted to know much more about. Taking the opportunity to talk to its creator Accuser, we unveiled a long string of questions to explore more about his reason and intent on forming the project, the album and its long journey to finding its release, and much more.
Hi and many thanks for taking time to talk with us.
Reading the promo accompanying your debut album it is stated that Revelation’s Hammer emerged as not only a vehicle for your creativity musically but also to give a freedom to express your thoughts and passions. Could you expand on that for us?
Greetings Pete! First of all, thanks for your great interest in Revelation’s Hammer. The best way to express your true feelings regarding your surroundings or even visions of our chaotic world is in my opinion through something as simple (or insanely complex?) as music…At least if we think in terms of creativity and art. Clearly I don’t believe in this glorifying society of happiness where everyone is living in a fucking bubble gum valley, loving and praising each other every day. So when I write my art, I’ll search my soul for answers and strength instead of using time on a fictional God. It’s so much bullshit going on in our world, and my way of expressing my hatred against it all is through my music.
What were your inspirations musically and personally for the project?
I really don’t like to point out concrete sources for inspiration, or even analyse it…I think it’s really more relevant to focus on the result and its possible improvements rather than the progressing methodology. When I sit down with the guitar on my lap to create music, I don’t think of this or this band, or try to make a song similar to another band’s song…I do my own thing, in my own way…Focusing on the parts that immediately give something to your soul. Regarding personal inspirations I would rather say that the strong spirit of this band evolves from myself exploring my inner (ref: human) side. I believe there’s a hidden beast within every one of us.
You come from Sætre, a small town in Eastern Norway of course; did that setting make any distinct impacts on your thoughts and the atmospheric canvas for your startling sounds?
I guess everything is making an impact – really on a daily basis. As you form as a person every day, your creativity is developing based on your impressions, experiences and growing culture. Your ideas and passion gets stronger, and your own understanding of reality really affects you as an artist.
Was Revelation’s Hammer originally intended just as a solo project and if so when did you realise you needed to expand personnel?
I started the project on my own cause I didn’t know any musicians at that time that I wanted to work with. My original plan was to find full time members to the band ASAP, and personally only do the guitars on the album. About one year into the writing process, I met this drummer Bergh, and invited him to the line-up. Still, I was the only composing part of the band, and the only one really serious about it. I continued to look for other musicians while me and Bergh kept rehearsing…then, when I finished the writing of our first chapter in 2009, things didn’t go as planned with Bergh…We had a lot of complications and disagreements between us, and I finally told him to quit. So on I started to feel more interested in getting session members instead of permanent members to get involved. Myrvoll (NIDINGR) joined on session drums shortly after, and while we rehearsed for the first recording session, it got more and more obvious that I was going to play all the instruments except drums. Today, I feel slightly different about it. I really want to be able to do shows, and by that reason I want to gather three more musicians for future gigs. It’s not impossible that R.H will turn into a full band someday either, but then again, I really need to meet the right musicians before involving anyone into the inner circle.
You mentioned Myrvoll there, tell us how the link up with him, also the drummer of the excellent Nidingr, came about?
In fact, Myrvoll joined Revelation’s Hammer as a session drummer about two years before he got recruited by Nidingr. Their album “Greatest of Deceivers” got released seven months before R.H’s album, but was also recorded two years later. It was quite a coincidence that I met him actually. When I split up with Bergh in 2009, I needed a really good drummer ASAP, because the album was already about finished. It feels a bit like a coincidence, because I got introduced to him through a mutual friend of ours almost right after the split. Myrvoll was fortunately available at the time and really liked my music, so we figured out that we wanted to work together quite fast…
Was that the only aspect of your music you felt you needed or was able to bring in another’s craft and skill for?
As I mentioned a bit earlier, in the early days I really planned to get more musicians to play on the album to separate the roles a bit more…But I guess I finally realized the benefits about being my own boss? More time to focus and a whole less time on discussions. The whole revelation was also evolving more and more into an important part of my personal life, so at one point in the recording process I guess it felt kind of unnatural to bring in more people. But I did really try working with several vocalists and even went into studio with one of them, but the result just didn’t work. Maybe I’m hard to deal with cause I know how I want my music, I don’t know…But at one point, it was whole lot of easier to just decide that this was going to be a solo album with session and guest members only. I was already familiar with my own bass lines, so I just needed to figure out how I was going to do the vocals.
You have just released your outstanding self-titled debut album, a release it is fair to say that is an exhausting and thrilling confrontation of compelling aural drama and rapacious antagonism. The album’s recording was a prolonged experience from its first session in January of 2012, what held up its creation?
I guess you mean January 2010? You’re absolutely right. In fact it’s really ridiculous that it took us fucking 41 months from when we started to record until we actually got to release the album. But you know it was so many things that just didn’t work out and caused everything to get more and more delayed. It was different line up problems, troubles with availability of the people I wanted to work with, difficulties in getting hold of a decent studio to record the vocals, back and forward with the mixing and mastering results etc. Several unfortunate events caused a lot of bullshit.
Taking so long to emerge did it evolve further than you originally envisaged in sound and presence with that extra time to think about things?
I would at least say that it made me really conscious about what I was doing. Of course, each separate process was quite hardworking and exhausting in many ways, partly because of the total focus and dedication to the music. Even if I had a day off or didn’t really need to do anything regarding the project for a short period of time, I always found something to work on. I listened to the tapes over and over, and wrote a lot of notes for the next mixing or mastering session. Peter In de Betou actually started to master the album already in 2010, but I later realized I wasn’t satisfied with the first mixing result and then the whole process had to start all over. Hah! You know…I’m a man of perfection, and really wanted to make an album I was going to be able to stand for in the next ten or fifty years. I’m very much into details, push my own limits quite far and always make sure that I’m in control over the result.
As we talked of the band allows you to express your feelings and views on life and the world, so we can assume the album and songs are a deeply personal?
Yes, as I talked about in the introduction…Still, the exact motivation behind Revelation’s Hammer will remain untold. Everyone’s responsible for laying their own puzzle.
Do you think your songs will always come from personal seeds?
The only thing that I’m certain about is that my lyrics will continue to be based on different themes I either find interesting, engaging or even provoking. What the hell is the point with writing something you can’t relate to? That’s just meaningless, dumb and not interesting.
How do you generally create songs, what is your favoured process?
It really depends…But often, I find myself with the guitar on my lap, and instead of figuring out what to play; I let the music flow natural while I just play various themes. When I’ve found something to work on, I usually write it down, before I’ll test different assistant compositions with the other instruments (drums and bass). I usually arrange part for part with all instruments together. It’s important to hear how it all sound together, cause if one instrument sounds like shit, the whole song will sound like shit! In the final process, I add eventual final details; and maybe rearrange the whole composition in an attempt to improve its correlation. It’s a really hard process, but also a very giving one…
What is the core theme for the album and connecting songs?
A great keyword would be “ignorance”, but each of the songs has really their own core theme and tells their own individual story. The different themes can still happen to be connected to each other or share common values, but not necessarily. The six hymns represent the first part of a greater truth and a greater world. But since Revelation’s Hammer is not going to be revealed through this interview, I can’t say any more about it than that. Your delusions are often easier to handle than the truth!
The tracks on the album confront and provoke reactions in the listener emotionally and in thought, even with some in your native tongue which is testament to your potent songwriting and sounds. Did you aim for this rich effect within songs or was it something which was organically bred as tracks evolved?
First, I want to say that I truly appreciate opinions like that about our work. I think some of the best compliments you can give an artist is that they have succeeded in creating an emotionally or psychological disturbing effect with their work. Either shocked, or made someone feel terrible ill. It’s the same thing regarding the cinema industry…The really good movies are the ones that give you a true feeling. The feeling doesn’t need to be positive, and could easily have been that a piece of music caused you mental illness or insanity…Because then it clearly has really strong powers and will definitely be remembered. When you’re in the writing process I don’t think you’re able to aim at this concrete kind of art ideology… Because everything’s very subjective, and when you basically write music for your own mind, it’s even harder to be able to create something that causes other people reactions as for example sorrow or hatred.
There has been a wealth of releases utilising and exploring textures and layers within their sound recently but so often these are lost within one overwhelming aspect. Your album gives clarity and expression to all whilst seamlessly lying hand in hand with each other. How intensively do you have to work to achieve that success?
Personally, I appreciate both music and production that gives you the impression of being right in the middle of it. The concept of “less is more” doesn’t fit my song writing. So the result is probably a combination of my own way of composing music, and a lot of hours in the studio; Recording, mixing, mastering…You know, when you’re in the centre of a production like this, you really don’t think of all the effort you put in along the way. However, when you look back at everything, it sure was tough to get the result I had in mind. So I guess the answer to your question is “very intensively”?
The album was as you said completed a couple of years ago, have you been tempted to continue adding or evolving things since or are you a person to say when something is done it is done?
From the first recordings in 2010 to the final mastering and my personal acceptance of the album in 2011 I continued to add elements and evolve the whole expression almost constantly. Looked for changes and improvements while I tried to get it 100% as the vision I had while writing the material. But after the final mastering in April 2011, I said to myself… This is it. Now it’s done. Finished. And it gave me a psychological effect that truly worked. I finally managed to accept the album, and said stop to future changes. When I listen to the album today, of course I’ll find sections I know that could have been performed better or done in a smarter way, but in my head I treat the album as something that belongs to my past, and chooses to not bother. If I wasn’t able to think of it like this, I would probably have worked on the album forever and no one would ever been able to hear Revelation’s Hammer.
The release was mastered by the legendary Peter In de Betou who you mentioned earlier, was it easy to persuade the man to bring his craft to the album?
I sent Peter an e-mail where I told him about the project. I wrote that Børge from Toproom was responsible for the mix and that he had recommended him to me to do the mastering. He responded in just a few hours and declared that he wanted to do this. I got kind of surprised by his positive response, because he seems to be a pretty busy man with an often full booked calendar. He actually started to work on the project only four days later.
What then held up its actual release after the studio work was finished and release mastered etc.?
The final mastering took place April 2011, and after that I spent very much time looking for a trustworthy label that I actually wanted to release our album through. This process took a lot more time than expected cause the interested labels either had their release schedule full for a long time or offered me contracts with terms I didn’t feel satisfied with. I believe the music industry is really hard these days, causing more and more bands to just release and print everything on their own. Still, I chose to keep looking and got in touch with Francesco from Italian Dark Metal label My Kingdom Music in November 2012 and signed a worldwide recording and distribution contract with him in March the following year. I guess one of the positive side effects of all the delays is that we seem to have generated a group of followers over the years, and it’s really amazing to see that many of our early followers is still hanging around as they did several years ago. Hopefully our album met their expectations when it finally got released.
What was it about My Kingdom Music which persuaded you they were the perfect vehicle for the album’s release?
We negotiated and communicated for almost five months, so we really got to know each other and understood what we both wanted. In fact, I’m really glad that we used a lot of time talking. I think it’s important to build trust with a partner you’re probably going to cooperate with for several years. I’m certain that an artist that basically signs everything he gets on paper really regrets it afterwards.
Tell us about the sensational artwork wrapping the release.
The artwork is put together by the Portuguese artist Ricardo Fernandes. I’m really happy with his result, and I think he did succeed in making really extraordinary art which symbolizes R.H’s vision of the world. We brainstormed several ideas and worked our way through several sketches to get to the final result. The cover art in front is really a collage built upon a careful selection of (anti)religious paintings. Ricardo’s friend Marcelo Rodrigues designed our logo…I think he’s primarily works as a tattoo artist in Portugal. And a Norwegian guy named Hans Jørgen Nygårdshaug inserted the lyrics and text to the booklet. The portraits is taken by Norwegian photographer Cecilie Molteberg and edited by myself.
How are things progressing towards the band performing live, have you anything in place to support the album live wise?
I’m definitely looking for live musicians, but haven’t any official information to share with you regarding this yet. You will be able to see our revelation live one day, but when really depends on how fast I’ll find the right kind of musicians to involve.
Such the gap between creating and releasing the album we assume you have more material or advanced ideas in the works for its successor. Anything you can reveal here and now?
Of course I have lots of ideas and thoughts around our next chapter, but it’s too early to reveal how the progress is going besides that everything is basically in a very early phase. But continue to follow our sites and I’m going to keep you all updated.
Once again thank you for sharing time and thoughts with us, and may we say all dark metal fans should check out Revelation’s Hammer band and album.
Any thoughts you would also like to leave us with?
Thank you Pete! Quite interesting interview and by far the longest I’ve ever accepted to respond to. Continue to spread our propaganda and keep fucking true to yourself. Blasphemy, fire, rebellion…This is just the beginning…
Buy our album at http://www.mykingdommusic.bigcartel.com !!!
Or order it directly from me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Share our official album trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bi7w3fv_WA8
Explore our revelation online:
Read the Revelation’s Hammer review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/06/05/revelations-hammer-self-titled/
The RingMaster Review 25/06/2013
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