Swooping down on 2014’s black metal scene like a single-minded angel of death turning all before it into dust, The Deathtrip’s imminent debut album, Deep Drone Master, is about to prove itself one of the standout releases of the year.
A combination of grimly mesmerising, 90s-infused minimalism and visionary, psychedelic-overload vocals, it unites British guitarist Host with the protagonists behind one of the genre’s true landmark albums, 2001’s self-titled album by Thorns. With Thorns founder and general black metal legend Snorre Ruch behind the mixing desk and Aldrahn (also of avant-garde pioneers Dødheimsgard) on vocals, Deep Drone Master – released on November 14 via Svart Records – is a coruscating, visionary charge through the most turbulent outer realms of the cosmos, and not only do we have an exclusive stream of the album in its full, brain-gouging glory, we have an interview, conducted by Dayal Patterson, with Host and Aldrahn below. This is grisly true black metal supremacy, so strap yourself in and surrender to Deep Drone Master below!
Host hails from the UK and Aldrahn of course is Norwegian - how did this partnership first come about and has being based in different countries made things harder for the band?/o:p
Host: “I had made some songs years ago, more for myself at first, because I was tired of what was out there and wanted to bring about some older (black) magic. Aldrahn was looking for something to get his teeth into at the time, Kvohst (then of <code> & DHG) played him the songs and the union began. Being in different countries hasn’t been a problem. We don’t interfere with what each other is doing. No messing. I wrote some music, and Aldrahn interprets it with his lyrics and voice masterfully, with creativity and spontaneity.”/o:p
Deep Drone Master is not only a storming album, but the band’s first. How long were you working on the new opus and is The Deathtrip likely to continue as an occasional project or fulltime band?/o:p
Host: “Many of the songs have been around quite a while, and had not changed much since the early demos, just refined - bringing out the atmosphere and spirit of the song without diluting or destroying the essence of what made the demo versions work in the first place, which often happens. This album has been ongoing for years for various reasons, so even more rewarding that it is finally in the flesh. I consider it more a band than a project as there is a lot more written and to come.”/o:p
As well as featuring Aldrahn of Thorns fame (amongst many others) the new album also sees appearances by the elusive founder of the band Snorre Ruch and even bassist Jon T Wesseltoft. How did this come about and how was it working with Snorre? What do you feel he brought to the project and how did he steer the finished work?/o:p
Host: “Aldrahn was in contact with Snorre, I guess because they were working on new Thorns material, and Snorre heard some songs not long after we made early demo tracks, was greatly into the music and has been a big supporter ever since. We were honoured to involve him with the album, so asked if he would mix it. He also helped us with vocals recording, plus the intro. Jon must’ve heard those demo songs from Snorre and was also very much into what we were doing. Working with Snorre was great and smooth-going. He can be a meticulous worker with the details without taking away any of the ‘life’ and understood where we were heading, so we didn’t have to change or suggest much in the mixes, as long as it kept the atmosphere.”/o:p
Can you tell us about the concepts you are dealing with in your lyrics?/o:p
Aldrahn: “Yes I can. They’re reflections of my inside, my outside and my vast side, hehe.You know, when you write lyrics there ain’t always a safe ground to stand on, I mean I write what I think and feel and it can be quite elusive due to this because my visionary gateway when writing appears mainly from my subconsciousness. Thus interpreting them would be impossible in the sense of presenting a facet. But I think that’s what makes a good lyric, when the reader can interpret it the way she/he wants, then it becomes a lot more fascinating and at least I think it fits this kind of sound best that way. But surely there are obvious signs to it, and in general they deal with my perception of emotional and mental traumas, isolation, shame as well as pride, dogmatic slavery, freedom from the superficial world of human nature, the depths of pain, ideological contemplation and reflection… blah blah blah. And in the end the real concept (as you call it) is simply to create an atmosphere from my imagination, personal experiences, my past and present, thoughts and views.”/o:p
Your sound has a very contemporary edge to it but also gives a nod to the coldness of the early 00s Norwegian scene - perhaps no surprise given some of the people involved. Where would you say your main musical inspirations come from?/o:p
Host: “For me the starting point initially was some of the old 80s and early 90s black metal, but mainly developing and incorporating my own style into the riffs, layering and songs. To create something cold and hypnotic, keeping riffs to a minimum and repetitive so the listener has chance to ‘fall into’ the cycle and atmosphere of it all. Minimalistic drum patterns to try and keep a trance-like element and consistency throughout. Then the vocals assume control and take you on the trip beyond.”/o:p
ALD: “I get very inspired by listening to good old NWOBHM albums, so many nice twists and turns vocal-wise there, along with the rock’n’rollers of the 70s, and very much from listening to my self and the earlier things I’ve done I’d say.”/o:p
Check out The Deathtrip’s Facebook page here!
And pre-order Deep Drone Master here!