I first heard of Funeral Throne via Myspace, listening to the track “Summoning”. It's infernal opening preludes slow depressive metal, and it really caught my attention. The second release on Cold Spring's BM sub label Satanus Rex, Funeral Throne's first long player is due for release soon(ish), and I was struck as I was when I heard SR's first release, Jotunspor's “Gleipnirs Smeider”. Throne's sound is very different, but like Jotunspor, they haven't been afraid to experiment and remain true to their individual metal sound. Morgul and I caught up recently,so here it is,infernally yours...
Heathen Harvest: Can you tell us about Funeral Throne? Where did you meet, how did the band start?
The three of us met when we were auditioning for a Death/Doom band. That band was originally a five-piece but for a number of reasons it did not work out. Then the three of us later realised that we shared an interest in Black Metal so we decided to form a band on our own, thus Funeral Throne was spawned. That was around 2004 and since then we have tried out a number of second-guitarists and vocalists but to no avail. We decided to stick as a three-piece because we found that we gelled better that way.
HH: What had the 3 of you been doing prior to forming the band? What do you do outside of Funeral Throne?
We pretty much exist like everyone else, you know, doing the boring ‘human’ shit.
HH: Your Myspace page lists your influences as Black Metal, Nietzsche, and Satan.
- Can you list 3 of your favourite black metal bands/artists and tell us why they move you?
We all have a number of influences or ‘favourite bands’ so to list them all would probably take a while and it would be pretty meaningless, ultimately. We all have varied tastes and opinions on the subject of Black Metal but suffice it to say that we know what we like and we know what we don’t like within Black Metal.
- What is the most profound statement, in your opinion, that Nietzsche has made and why?
I think for us it’s his concept of the ‘Ubermensch’ or the ‘Overman’ that attracts us to him. The idea of an unrepressed existence where you work towards finding the ultimate plane of being is quite appealing to us and we believe that this idea can be applied to what we wish to achieve. I think all three of us take different meanings from his work. It is true to say that we don’t all hold the same beliefs within Funeral Throne but it works and we welcome each other’s influences rather than having them become an obstacle. We follow our own paths.
- Consider Satan: Archetype, adversary or just an all-around bad guy? Who or what is Satan to you?
That’s quite a tough and abstract question. Like I said, all three of us hold differing beliefs and this is true of the concept of Satan. I can only speak for myself and I think ‘adversary’ is a good way to sum up what I feel regarding the subject, also, to me, ‘Satan’ is a divine source of enlightenment because it promotes freedom. I do not wish to go in to it too deeply because I believe that people should walk their own path and I do not care about influencing others at this time.
HH: What do you think Black Metal has to offer a/ heavy metal music specifically, and b/ contemporary music generally?
It acts as an outlet for those who wish not to conform to the typical sound and ideals of metal music in general, but who instead wish to delve into a more in-depth form of music where philosophical and theological beliefs can be aired. With this said though, Black Metal requires a certain breed of person and I do not believe that just anyone can create it.
Black Metal can be as sophisticated as you like but it can also be the rawest thing ever to be created, it’s all about personal opinion. Black Metal offers an attitude and ideals that you don’t get with any other genre of music today.
HH: What are your musical influences apart from bm?
We all listen to a number of different genres of music ranging from other forms of Metal to acoustic or ambient, for instance, but we are also influenced by life and the experiences that come with it. The very depths of the human psyche are always an influence as we like to push ourselves and experience the ‘darker side’ of life, simply because that’s what appeals to us as individuals. Speaking personally, you can keep people’s ideas of what happiness and fun is. I prefer depression and violence and depravity, to me that’s what is truly ‘fun’.
As well as this there is also art, film, history, literature etc… all of which help to set the foundations for what we consider as influences.
HH: “Nihil Sine Diabolus” follows a stellar 1st release for Satanas Rex (Gleipnirs Smeider). What can we expect when the Cd is released?
We received copies of the Jotunspor album when signing to Satanas Rex and it is a good album but one must remember that we are not Jotunspor. Our album is different, I would consider it to be Black Metal of course, but where ‘Gleipnirs…’ is very much a dirge and is very dirty throughout, we have moments of melody, for want of a better word, which we mix with the more traditional Black Metal sound. I think that the album may not be to everyone’s taste simply because it hasn’t got a ‘block’ sound by which I mean you can hear from the material that we are influenced by a great many things other than just Black Metal. No song is the same which is something we wanted to achieve because it sounds more chaotic that way.
The album has slow moments as well as typically blasting moments and no subject is the same in the songs. Some are more like stories whereas others explain about times in our lives that we felt were particularly poignant, also, one of the songs is an ode to the first of the Strong, namely the Vikings, the song being ‘From the Frozen North’. This song was never really intended as a live track because it’s simply there to illustrate our more Viking/Black Metal influences. On the surface the song is about Norse warriors and battles which is really not a subject that we want to take further but if you read in to it you see that it’s about the power of the will, the concept of the strong crushing the weak etc. and the Viking element is merely a metaphor for that. I believe that the track reflects how we have grown as a band but it’s not really what we want to be known for. Our new material is different thematically and reflects more of what we want to touch upon.
HH: Tell us the story of how you came to work with Satanas Rex?
Well, a very brief explanation would be that a friend of ours who has been great with promotion in and around London and on forums etc. managed to get us heard by Maniac’s manager (Maniac being the former vocalist of Mayhem
) and luckily she really liked what we had to offer. From there she made Satanas Rex aware that we existed and they were interested in signing us.
HH: It has been remarked that black metal's only influence is black metal. What are you thoughts on this statement?
Only the very narrow minded would think this. Black Metal is of course an influence on what and how we write but it is by no means the only source of inspiration for writing Black Metal. You would be left with a very two-dimensional and boringly predictable sound if you were only influenced by that which has gone before because it’s all about personal expression and experimentation to us. Black Metal is freedom but there of course things that we wouldn’t do when writing Black Metal, like have a rap solo for instance, because that just wouldn’t work in my personal opinion.
HH: What would you list as your most and least favourite live experience and why?
The best experience we have had live I think would have to be playing with Hell Militia
. That was a great gig. They are definitely one of the only bands that deserve the title ‘Grim’! Getting the chance to play a show with members of Antaeus
, Arkhon Infaustus
etc… was fantastic.
The least enjoyable live experience would probably have to be travelling for six hours to play a gig in the back of a van with no seats and only a drum kit and amps to recline upon, that and the time we supported Cradle of Filth
HH: Walk us through the two preview tracks on your Myspace, “Summoning” and “Dark Moon Ritual”. How do you approach song-writing? How did these songs come into being? What are they about?
From the outset of the writing process we knew that we wanted to create an intro and an outro with a very similar sound. “Summoning” is the introduction to the album and the outro is called “The Release”. We wanted to create a sense of confinement so we created these two depressing pieces to act as musical book-ends, as it were, which push together the rest of the tracks and help create a sense of there being no escape. We didn’t want to use any lyrics in these two pieces which would create a really despondent aura from the very beginning of the album. Screams, low growls and chanting were used however, to really back up this idea of unease.
“Dark Moon Ritual” is very much a punchy opener after “Summoning”. We wanted to drag the listener straight into the chaos so this track is the first with vocals on the album. The vocals come in straight away as do the blastbeats which after a rather ‘doomy’ introduction force the listener to pay attention. It’s what I like to call an ‘aural kick in the balls’. This track is very much based around story telling as the lyrics concern the more ‘horror-movie’ idea of Satanic rituals and so on, which is something that inspires us to write.
We approach song-writing in a number of ways; we don’t have a set way of going about it. If we have an idea that we feel we can run with then we go for it but we do know, now at least, what we’re comfortable and not comfortable with because, like I mentioned before, there are certain things that we are going to stay away from in the future regarding lyrical themes and the like. This album, I feel, shows a band in its infancy; a band who is finding its feet, as it were, because some of the themes that we pick up on may not be the most original but it illustrates how we have grown as an entity. This is not to say that we aren’t proud of the album because of course we are, it’s more of a ‘watch this space’ kind of thing because the new material that we are writing is very much more refined and closer to what we want from the band as individuals now, whereas this album gives you an all round idea of what we are capable of.
HH: Did you produce this record yourselves, or did you work with a metal producer (for instance)? How was that as an experience?
We went in to the studio armed with a handful of money and some beer and we slogged it out to get the tracks finished. It was a very gruelling experience but it was also insightful considering we had never really experienced the recording process in that much detail before. We worked with a guy named Ajeet at Hellfire Studios
and he gave us the sound we wanted. He is very much in to Metal music, not particularly Black Metal, but we pointed him in the right direction regarding the sound and the feeling we wanted to evoke with each track.
HH: “Nihil Sine Diabolus” and “Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam” is the Latin script encircling the Funeral Throne logo. What do these phrases mean and by extension how do they relate to your music and your philosophy?
“Nihil…” translates roughly to ‘Nothing Without The Devil” and this is the title of our album. We decided upon this instantly because no sooner had we heard it we knew that it was perfect. It really sums up our individual feelings about both the style of music we play and how we work as people.
“Ad Majorem…” is a parody of the Latin “Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam” which is used to mean “For the greater glory of God” by the Jesuits. I will not go into any great detail because putting Satan in place of God is pretty self-explanatory. It of course means different things to each of us within the band and people will take from it what they will. What we do is for the glory of Satan, but is that to say that Satan is a deity or something within ourselves that we are enhancing? It all depends on people’s personal idea of what, or indeed, who Satan might be and thus we leave no concrete answers because we would prefer to connect to a wide range of people, who can take from our music what they want, rather than excluding them.
HH: What does the future hold for Funeral Throne? Ideally where would you like to see yourselves in a year? Five years?
As long as we have breath left in us I guess we will be devoted to death and Black Metal, so for the time being at least we are still writing as Funeral Throne with no intentions of stopping, but if it ever did come to an end I am sure that we would carry on spreading the pestilence in other black manifestations.