by R.S. Frost
Anti-cosmic invocations of Chaos from the Mediterranean.
Semjaza offers insight into his efforts behind THY DARKENED SHADE and why he envisages black metal to remain a tool which enables one to learn and express the Left-Hand Path and the lessons it holds.
- I am from Athens but I grew up in Crete, Hellas. I always remember listening to music. I naturally adored all true arts and I became immensely and 100% devoted to music. As far as metal is concerned, I started from a really early age with the classic bands, including IRON MAIDEN, KING DIAMOND, MERCYFUL FATE, MANOWAR, BATHORY, SLAYER, METALLICA etc. From then on I have been a metal fanatic and a music maniac.
This kind of music wasn't popular at that time in Crete, and therefore, while growing up and getting deeper into metal music, I had to defend myself in order to survive. People were hostile due to my metal outlook and for this reason, I had to stand my ground by fighting them back. Even the few metal people who were older than me didn't like newcomers; therefore I had to oppose them too.
I think that was actually great, it gave me a lot of strength from an early age. I learnt that conflicts are inspirational and make someone stronger. I still use wisely this inspiration to this day and I believe these experiences, even though destructive, shaped in a constructive way who I am.
Music shaped who I am 100% and opened a pneumatic dimension within me, for that I will be forever grateful. I cannot live without music or without creating music, it is within me and it is compulsory in order to expand my Self.
In 2013 Thy Darkened Shade released ‘Eternvs Mos, Nex Ritvs’ through German label WORLD TERROR COMMITTEE.
The release bio reads:
“ETERNVS MOS, NEX RITVS is the quest for inner excellence and operates as a perpetual curse to the cosmic scenario and the demiurge. The excellence will be achieved by the destruction of the karmic laws and the final resurrection in acausal forms. The Nexions are wide open for Chaos to flow.”
Being a man seemingly devoted to the Left-Hand Path and the ideals of Anti-cosmic Luciferianism, I am eager to know more about the banner of “Acausal necrosophic black metal” that your music exists under.
- I am following my own will and I've created my own way of LHP spiritualism through my Higher Self, and what I call The Order of Promethean Fyre. Anti-cosmic Luciferianism, as you put it, has certainly influenced my views and my practice but I expanded my true Self through my own pneumatic experiences. Acausal necrosophic black metal needs no further explanation apart from people to actually listen and experience what we offer as a band.
2014 saw the release of ‘Liber Lvcifer I: Khem Sedjet’, once again through WTC. I have been trying to compare this album to the first one, but this effort was on a whole other level. The musicianship on display throughout this album is technically immaculate. The songwriting is intricate and always interesting, the production is the perfect combination of organically driven (the drums in particular) and professionally polished (some of the cleanest bass in black metal to memory), and all of the guitar work is masterfully executed. All in all, it sounds as though the material on ‘Liber Lvcifer I’ is coming from a point far closer to the source.
- Thanks for the words. What I want to say is really rare for artists to state. I take as much time as I need for the releases and therefore, I would proudly say that after five years since the release of LL I don't want to change a single note on the album. Soon there will be the continuation of the TDS legacy.
The artwork for this album was once again handled by Vamperess Imperium, riddled with mantras and sigils emanating from, I can only assume, The Order of Promethean Fyre?
- Indeed we have a holy enosis and therefore it was through her vessel, and for the gods, that the artwork made flesh. We are always striving to express the otherworldly and I am more than proud to have her doing the Devil's work. I am always positively surprised and I worship what she offers to us.
Are these mantras and sigils throughout the album a way to maintain the flow of energy, chaos in constant motion if you will?
- I don't want to disclose anything concerning those mantras or sigils at this time. But sooner or later we will release a book concerning our views within the Order of Promethean Fyre.
Both of your albums seem to feature a trinity of creative components; music, lyrics and artwork that work together to encompass a singular and focused experience for the listener.
We can see trinities littered throughout time and human cultures and civilisations, is there an intention to present your work within such a structure?
- It is not done intentionally but it happens for a reason.
On top of the two album releases, there is also the highly revered four-way conceptual split release alongside ABIGOR, NIGHTBRINGER and MORTUUS.
How did this joint releases come about?
- I am in close contact with TT from Abigor, a band that has inspired me and still continues to inspire me deeply. Therefore, this collaboration was done without any second thoughts. We approached the other two and we released the four-way split you speak about. It was a profound experience for us and a split release that we will always remember.
Semjaza is also involved in a number of other musical endeavours, both past and present. Previous efforts have seen Semjaza playing guitar with NADIWRATH and SHAARIMOTH amongst others.
Presently he is also the guitarist for Hellenic blasphemers ACRIMONIOUS. Where does one find the time and creative wellspring to keep up?
- It isn't really difficult for me to keep up since I breathe for the devil's music. I have plenty of unreleased albums that I will not use for Shade, not because these aren’t good, but because the music doesn't fit. Nadiwrath has disbanded, Shaarimoth will have a new album out sooner or later and I am also a main member of Acrimonious and CAVE. In general, I am composing a vast variety of music from progressive rock to dark neofolk, classical music, avant-garde rock, heavy, speed, thrash, death, black metal that one day may see the darkness of night.
In the booklet of both CD and LP versions of ‘Liber Lvcifer I’, one will find praise and dedication to none other than Jon Nödtveidt of DISSECTION fame. Do you consider Dissection a musical influence on Thy Darkened Shade, or on you as an individual at all?
- Dissection is one of my favourite bands since I was very young. They inspired my philosophy on spirituality and my way of composing music. They used to be one of the bands that took the spiritual side of their music very seriously. This attitude really had an impact on me. All of their albums have a special place in my heart, for different reasons each. I have immense respect for Jon.
These days more than ever it seems that, for some, black metal is just about the music and nothing else. For others, it is a declaration of rebellion and an allegiance to horn and hoof, oftentimes without paying too much attention to being able to actually play musical instruments. But for a diminishing number it is a bit of both, and at the same time something else completely.
Your artistic output could be seen as a way of expressing fondness for a genre defined by devotion and worship, whilst also providing an opportunity to continuously climb the ladder of self-realisation.
- I see it like that, black metal was never solely about just the music, and in my book, there is no black metal without strong spiritual and ideological convictions. People can call their music whatever they want but my black metal will always be about the relentless will to be Self-created and become like Him.
Given the ever-changing nature of chaos, music and the underground industry that peddles the combination of the two, have you noticed any obvious changes within the circles of black metal?
- I dislike most parts of the industry and how they are trying to shape something that is spiritual into business. However, not everything is pessimistic; I've found honest people within it and I am always trying to stay with those and ignore the others. As far as motivation is concerned, I take inspiration from the daemons within and without, below and above.
The procedure of creating our art is a completely memorable experience and gave me a lot of knowledge and theistic inspiration. Therefore, the motivation comes from a spiritual, and not a mundane, place.
I've noticed people getting older and becoming a lame version of their former great selves. I also notice a lot of sheep in wolfish clothing. I tend to focus on the things that affect me; hatred and disgust also inspire and therefore the fails of the old and new generation are provoking. In order to expand you have to transcend pain.
There are a lot of obstacles coming our way and it is great to see these obstacles giving more power than taking. It is our task to destroy the obstacles and rise anew.
What is on the horizon for your musical endeavours?
- Touring with both bands. Also, finalising the new Thy Darkened Shade album while looking forward to the new Acrimonious too.
Thank you for your time and insight into your work. I now invite you to offer any closing sentiments you may have.
- Thank you too, AMLG!
This interview is featured in the print edition of Inner Missive #2, alongside discussions with WOLCENSMEN, THE ANTICHRIST IMPERIUM, ART AS CATHARSIS, ALTARS, GRIFT, ALTARAGE, ADRIAN BAXTER, PRIMITIVE MAN, COSMIC PUTREFACTION, EMYN MUIL, GIGAN, BYRDI, SLUDGE, ULCERATE and ÖXXÖ XÖÖX.