Hi guys, welcome on Aristocrazia Webzine. How are things over the Channel?
Aort: We are scattered to the four corners of the globe at present but life is as it should be.
You’ve been around for more than ten years now, but for those who still don’t know the band, would you care to introduce yourself?
Aort: Blutvial was formed around ten years ago by myself and Ewchymlaen. I was busy working with Code at the time and wanted an outlet for a more pure and barbaric approach to black metal so, knowing Ewchymlaen and his tastes, we talked about putting together a creation focused on the core principles of black metal as it was to us. To date, including our latest album, we have released two EPs and three full length albums of unadulterated blackness.
I’ve had the pleasure of listening to and reviewing your latest effort: I liked its style, definitely looking to the classics of the genre but still modern and personal. What are your main influences, both from the Nineties and, if there are any, from the current days?
Aort: Each of us in the band undoubtedly have specific acts that we hold close. I think highlighting specific bands or albums would move away from the core principle that we are creating music that reflects what black metal is to us, and that is an amalgam of influences, and more importantly, a mindset.
Mysteries Of Earth definitely shifted towards a proper black metal style, compared for example to your latest LP (although there are still some hybrid episodes like “Black Silence”). What’s the reason for that? Is it some sort of “black metal outlet” for Aort, aside from his other peculiar band Code?
Aort: I think Mysteries is definitely the coldest album we have created. Curses Thorns Blood probably was the most aggressive album we have released and one which strangely has the most variation through its running time. The new album is a much sharper and bleaker experience. I don’t think we set out to create an album that has a specific flavour, we just create the best music we can and then it is only upon reflection that the feel of the album becomes apparent.
Speaking personally, yes, Blutvial definitely is a great outlet for me to immerse myself in black metal without the need to create something “avant-garde”.
Despite it being one-hour long, the album flows easily and it’s easy to play it again over and over. Could you describe how Mysteries Of Earth came to be?
Aort: All Blutvial releases have been created in the same way. Ewchymlaen and myself create our songs in isolation and then share with each other to see what we feel will work best on each individual release. Once we have agreed which songs will feature on the album, they are then shared with the other band members to develop their parts. During the recording and mixing process, there is a lot of interaction to make sure that we are all content and that the release meets our expectations.
Looking at your lyrics, it’s clear that you have a special bond with nature, especially in its most obscure and bleak aspects. Usually we tend to associate black metal with cold and impenetrable Norwegian forests: how do you cultivate your relationship with nature in the South of England?
Ewchymlaen: Most of us, Aort and I certainly, do not live in the south of England anymore, but we each have our own relationship with nature. I have spent a lot of time getting to know and understand the natural environment and natural processes both because it’s become my profession and through academic study. I’ve also spent a bit of time out in it “nature” in different ways: athletic pursuits, idle wandering, deliberate identification of flora and habitats, these kinds of things. The more you surround yourself with something the better you come to know it, so this is the only way, really.
I was positively struck when I discovered that you included two poems among your lyrics, by Baudelaire and Rückert. This kind of literature resonates with me and it perfectly fits the mood of the album. Where does this more delicate aspect of Blutvial originate from?
Ewchymlaen: Poetry is something I use from time to time where I find it expresses something better than I feel I can. I’m not sure I see it as a more delicate aspect as, although its language is usually more intricate than we find in album lyrics, it can penetrate to the source of its subject with greater clarity. Poets are often less afraid of exploring themselves didactically and intuitively, so drawing from a deeper spring.
In the case of Rückert—and I only know him from Mahler’s use of his work—his reflections can describe elements we may be objectively blind to, but can affect us on subliminal levels. At times he paints the shadow behind the subject, to better illuminate the subject’s aura — the intangible which lends unique and irreplaceable character. It’s this kind of flair which I find indescribably compelling, especially when its subject is one that I feel bound to in some deep, obscure fashion.
Similarly, in the Baudelaire piece, “Obsession”, brushstrokes of abstract yet fastidious phrasing portray tiny portions of a worldview that’s enigmatic yet enlightening. In both cases I am, of course, referring to the translation as well, for an accurate and sensitive portrayal.
I also use poets themselves as inspiration, such as in beneath the moon. It starts off using the bleakness of R.S. Thomas’ style. I’ve been reading his work for nearly 20 years and some of it still ensnares my imagination like it did the first day. The latter half of the lyric is my imagining of a particular act that took place later in his life, so that’s a different kind of influence to simply using his work.
In the past, I’ve used pieces by poets such as D’Annunzio to iterate and animate our music. It’s about using something appropriate to a feeling I’m pursuing, or that I’ve previously experienced.
Next to the two elements analysed above, are there any other sources of inspiration, musically and lyrically?
Ewchymlaen: In contrast to the use of poetry, songs like black silence take an altogether more direct approach to delivering an idea — in an uncompromising manner. With a hammer. It’s stylistically appropriate on a song like this, where the floridity of poetry could jar against the music’s direction.
“Existential Rite” describes the interplay and conflict between a safe worldview and that which seeks into the unknown, the departure from the former being a step into the philosophical void. “Vaults Of Unrest” is, possibly contradictorily, borne out of an extended period of lyrical inadequacy, while “In Praise Of Noctula” was inspired by a certain nocturnal species while being directed towards others.
I tried to look for traces of live activity, but I couldn’t find anything. Should I dig deeper or the live aspect is something that doesn’t concern Blutvial?
Aort: I wouldn’t waste much time looking for evidence of live performances as there aren’t any. We can’t see how playing live would benefit Blutvial in any way so there are no signs of that decision being changed. Blutvial is best experienced in isolation, free from distraction and as far from another human as possible.
I know this could sound premature as the album came out a few months ago: are there any future plans for the band already? Or will you dedicate yourselves to your other projects?
Aort – We don’t have any timelines set, we never do… but I’m sure that the next release will start to come to fruition at sometime in the not too distant future. The well has far from run dry.
This is it, thank you for your time! I’ll leave you this space to say whatever you want to our readers.
Aort: Thank you to you for this interview and your considered questions. They are much appreciated. To your readers, please do support the wonderful Heidens Hart and get hold of a copy of Mysteries Of Earth for one hour of razor sharp – cold as ice black metal.