Lately I have really been immersed in music that takes me somewhere. A picture of sound that swirls and shakes me. Something where I don’t focus on the words or melody but drown myself in the image from 1000 miles away. Trying to see it all. Here is some of what is taking me there.
Stoneburner – (Beauty Is Terror) I feel like watching this project from Steven Archer is like seeing a blacksmith always sharpening a blade with a whetstone. Each album just keeps getting cleaner and sharper. You really can see the sound itself gain more technique and mastery with every release. It builds on itself and takes new shapes. In particular the vocals on this album are both more of an instrument but also crisper and more distinct.
Beauty Is Terror – Title track slams hard out the gate. I’m hit first by the construction. The efficiency of every sound there. Nothing overpowers or takes away. Keep yourself from fucking up. The cymbal crash sounds seem to strike at just the right moment to feel like the sound is cooking but the tempo is in reality a steady medium groove. This song feels like the early moments of an origin story. Someone just coming into their power in defiance.
Are You There The Way I’m Here – This his me like a concrete brick sledge hammer. It’s so different from everything Stoneburner. It’s smooth, sleek, sexy, it’s almost like Peter Gabriel doing triphop industrial. Again I love the connected story of this record. It isn’t so much the lyrics as the natural progression of each songs sound. Two stars synchronized across the black.
London – I love when songs are places. When you hear a song and are immediately been to a place you have been. Wet old brick walkways in a dark city full of tight alleys. The doubled vocals here, one electric and buzzing. Another chanting and organic to make a glorious effect. This song is a reflection, both the puddles on the street and the way it leaves you thinking about actions.
I know I often gush about Steven’s work, but I really believe this is the best music I have ever heard him produce to date. Take my recommendation and buy it. You won’t be sorry.
Carrion – (Testament Ov The Exiled) If Stoneburner was a hero’s journey rising then Testament ov The Exiled is the hidden horror lurking in that alley. It drones and stalks, but with the smoothness of a predator you never see. Whispering to you. Just the quick glimpses of Flashing yellow eyes in slashing distortion. It’s the atmosphere that builds the horror here. Like an old Vincent Price movie that never needed to show you the monster to scare you. This is music to test your bravery against. Light a single candle. step outside the comfort of your door, and test the strength of your courage.
eHpH – (Infrared) – This is a turbulent time, you can taste it in the air. Division and fear are everywhere in the soul of America. This album takes that tension and spins it into thread. Weaving a tapestry. Heavy use of samples and thick pad sounds. Who says you can’t dance and think at the same time. This is a sound hungry for revolution. Fernando’s vocals come from behind a distorted shadow but ring clear. The fighters of freedom wear masks and carry an axe. I love challenge and FLA dance beats.
The definition of Carrion is “the decaying flesh of dead animals” and morbid as I am that immediately peaks my interest. Enter the world of Carrion and subsequently the worlds of Swansect, FTMOB, and Missfit Toys.
HH: First off, feel free to introduce yourself and give us a quick summary of your artistic work and vision.
C: While names are inherently meaningless for this instance we can use the moniker Hide Beliya`al. My work and vision is one and the same as, in my opinion at least, is of absolute necessity. In more direct terms however I could describe it as an expression of my experience on earth in every which way.
HH: So you’re an extremely prolific artist with 4 active projects currently: Carrion, Swansect, From The Mouth Ov Belial, and Missfit Toys. Do you ever experience burn out? What keeps you inspired?
C: I guess I do in short bursts but I usually don`t let it stop me if there is work to be done. As for what keeps me inspired, this is what I`ve done my entire adult and teenage existence, it`s literally the only way of life I know so it`s quite a natural state of being at this point in time. I suppose I have a wound overflowing with various substances, I can`t stop it as I`m not in control here. As far as MissFit Toys goes it`s my first time being in a full on band with other people in a long while and it`s not something I would do if it wasn`t for me finding some sense of value in both the outcome of it as well as the people I surround myself with. I also like that it enables me to take a small step back and not have to be the one leading it at all times, I originally started out as a bass player so I never purposely went for the frontman role but through the years found myself there regardless. MissFit Toys also lets me explore a side of industrial I generally have very little interest in beyond that band in particular. It`s the only band I currently perform shows with, at least that was the plan until the horsemen arrived.
HH: What first compelled you to dedicate yourself so fully to your art? Can you talk a little bit about your song writing process?
C: I never quite understood how some people could take something so fucking visceral as art and the creation of something out of nothing as merely a hobby. I suppose it`s a sign of the times we live in but I digress..There was never a moment where I made that concious decision, I always approached this with a sense of seriousness to it. Even way back when I started my first few bands I`d find myself in a situation where I took it “too seriously”. While others may not mind skipping a rehearsal in favour of some other activity I saw this as lack of dedication which eventually led me to abandoning the idea of working with others for a long time. My songwriting process is quite abstract as most creative processes tend to be. Lyrically I don`t feel like I`m writing them as much as I`m simply dictating, taking notes of the things I`m told and shown by something I couldn`t possibly pretend to understand. There`s definitely a spiritual element to the process.
HH: Does it hurt your vocal chords to scream like that?
C: Haha, not at all. Of course if it`s been a while I might need a few minutes before I`m there so to speak but it`s not a matter of pain. I have however ended up vomiting after recording but that`s more due to pushing it as much as possible for a prolonged period of time.
HH: When I think of Norway I cant help but think of corpse paint, music videos recorded in the dark forest, and indecipherable logos. Do you draw any influence from black metal in your work? Do the goth, metal, and other scenes overlap at all?
C: Where I currently live is what I imagine people see in their minds when they think of this place. I live in kind of a middle of nowhere place surrounded by trees. I do take alot from black metal yeah, I`m more inclined to listen to rock and metal than any industrial honestly. As far as scenes overlapping that would require a scene to exist in the first place which it doesn`t really in that sense although just in terms of the people I personally know who are, let`s say darkly inclined, yes that seems to be the case.
HH: Your work very often references Christian themes, e.g. heaven, crosses, salvation, sanctity, and fire. Were you raised religious? How do these themes play into your work?
C: I wasn`t raised as anything in particular but I`ve always had a natural pull towards the more spiritual aspects of existence. I grew up in a house I`ve later been told is built upon a viking graveyard in a tiny place just 20 minutes from where it`s said Christianity first came when arriving to Norway so perhaps that`s to blame? Religion, or spirituality rather does play a big part. Carrion is in its simplest form to be seen as a diary where each entry is a retelling of a direct experience or thoughts and feelings related to the topic at hand. I tend to prefer using a highly symbolic language, if one was to dive deep one might discover a thing or two, the veil is thin once you take a proper look. On a more mundane level however I`d like the listener to not be forced into thinking what the song is about, preferably you can find your own meaning, maybe something you could even relate to on some level. I am human after all and with that it`s no surprise things sneak in there, things we all experience such as heartbreak, joy etc
HH: You split time in between an isolated village in Norway and Southern Florida. Do the contradicting landscapes inform your work at all?
C:Not necesarilly in the way you might think. I`m not one of those people who needs a certain setting to write a certain kind of music. I`m perfectly able to write a Carrion song under the scorching Florida sun as I am in the foggy Norwegian woodlands.
HH: What does the future hold as far as your music goes and what can we expect from you in the near future?
C: The most recent event would be the release of the Carrion single “The Blood Ov Saints”. I do plan to follow it up with a second single called “Until The Reaper Comes”, which is one of the heaviest songs I`ve written and it feels like a good snapshot of how I feel regarding the current apocalypse. There is also an all modular album created under the moniker of From The Mouth Öv Belial, it`s mostly improvised instrumental pieces except for two tracks which has vocals done by the entity known as AGGRESS. I may or may not gather the results of the current writing sessions and release as an EP [or an album if there is enough material] though I`m rather hesitant about making any definite statements about it as I`d rather not say something now only to have it not happen. Fans of MissFit Toys may know this already but we do have a new album in works as well as a single”Blithe Din” which will hopefully be released soon along with remixes by variety of great artists.
Stream Carrion’s “The Blood Ov Saints” here:
facebook.com/officalcarrion instagram: @carrionkvlt personal IG: @Mordsengel officialcarrion.bandcamp.com fromthemouthovbelial.bandcamp.com
Concrete Doves opens with a relentless deathrock bass riff and then militant flash bang drums that trigger my panic response. Feels like getting followed into a dark alleyway and getting the shit kicked out of you by a malevolent spirit. Guitar and undead vocals devoid of any feelings fill out the mix and make for a very disorienting and visceral start to Swansect’s debut.
What follows the musical equivalent of running the gauntlet but the aggressors have razor blades, chunks of concrete, and live power lines. The album utilizes multiple “styles” (industrial, deathrock, sound collage, drone) but is held together by the thematic anxiety of the whole work. There is an overwhelming sense of impending tragedy only buffeted by small bursts of apathy in reference to the destiny of the human race.
The last track to me seems like a meditation on the futility of it all, a sort of peace despite all the destruction and devastation that we’re exposed to everyday, in real life and on the news. Peace stemming from the acknowledgment that some things are just out of our control.