It was a random happening how I got in touch with the band Battle Dagorath. After a short chat with vocalist-guitarist Sorcerer Battle it was obvious who would be the subject of our next interview. The end result is much longer and more complex than what I had expected. Please take your time to go through the whole article to get an overall view what Battle Dagorath really is all about. Trust us, it is worth it.
The name ‘Battle Dagorath’ is taken from the fictional world of J. R. R. Tolkien. What does it represent for you and the band?
It’s an animalistic cry from within the futility. It’s the dark side of human nature that you can’t escape. The prevailing human weakness and failure that will inevitably destroy you. It represents the finality of our existence. All your dreams and all your desires blurred by the shadow of death.
Your musical approach to the genre is quite unusual. What inspired your work?
We like to view music from a surreal perspective. Although we use the rudiments and the foundation of black metal. What we do is shape it into something more distant and something more ominous than the normal bands. For us music is spirituality. It’s in some ways like a road map through a great mystery. The impositions of life motivate us, the music is a manifestation of this, it’s pure escapism, pure transcendence. It’s the blood that is pumping through our veins and the dreams that emanate from strange unknown places.
Since the first release Christoph Ziegler aka Vinterriket from Germany has been responsible for composing the symphonic and ambient parts of Battle Dagorath. How did the idea come to collaborate with him?
It just happened quite naturally. I asked Chris to help us and he agreed, since then we have worked together and I’m glad for this.
The current line-up is quite international as far as I know. How difficult is to overcome problems such as rehearsal, recordings or even sharing ideas?
Me & ShadowVoid will write the structures and start to build the pieces, then things get thrown back and forth thru mail and sometimes things develop spontaneously from simple experimentation. On the last album, Radok (Lorn) lived here with me for some time and we were able to really lock in and focus, so the attitude is generally “whatever it takes” to get it done. If I’m not getting things done, I’m not too much of a nice person, so better to just get to work and close out stupid distraction of life. Now we are starting to work on the next album and figuring out a new strategy once again. It’s not a traditional “band” in any sense, it’s more of a collection of “mastermind” type personalities, so this works to our advantage.
Have you ever played live? Do you think the aura and spirit of Battle Dagorath would be more difficult to revive with the same result during a show than on the albums?
It’s maybe better to preserve some level of privacy and secrecy to the band, because outside humanistic forces can likely disturb the true message of the music. I don’t want it to be tainted by this ridiculous stuff, I would rather vanish into oblivion than compromise this aesthetic. The aura of Battle Dagorath would never be understood in a live concert. Although in my eyes this is reality, in the eyes of the norm, we are a fantasy and it shall probably remain this way.
Your lyrics have never been published. Could you describe broadly your basic lyrical subjects?
The lyrics are like a rewinding of your subconscious, they are very twisted and surreal. It would be something cool to share the lyrics in a special way like with a vinyl release.
After the first album the band moved into a more ambient direction and the forthcoming two albums sound completely different than the raw Eternal Throne. What influences caused these changes?
The first album was recorded in a proper studio and lots of the sound was compromised in the process. We dealt more with the outside world on this album and the results show, this is the way that Battle Dagorath is viewed through the ”normal” perspective. But if left to my own devices I can’t help it, I want things more fucked up sounding, more distant and generally I prefer to turn things upside down and inside out, sort of speak. So after the first album and the lesson learned with it, this is where me and the new members found our own way to be the masters of our own soul and it continues to evolve.
Your last album Cursed Storm of Ages was released in 2013 and it has a great potential. In my opinion this release is the highest and coldest peak of your existence. What kind of feedbacks have you received so far? What were the reactions from the fans?
The idea is always the spark that get’s it going, but being able to execute the idea is the real journey. The life of the song is only during the time that we are creating it, it’s almost coming to life, then when it’s recorded and finished, it’s like the life has ended now. Every time someone listens to it this is like a funeral or a resurrection to the song. I think it’s evident that we continue fine tuning our sound and this is the only reason to continue to make music. We don’t have anything else to prove, so everything comes from the self. Art is a complete sacrifice of anything normal, we pay with our own money and sacrifice to make our thoughts public and so other spoiled consumers can have the opportunity to criticize whatever they think, but that’s never important to us. Mostly we have received great responses! For us it’s always cool to receive some appreciation from others, just as long as it’s for the right reasons.
Cursed Storm of Ages was released on double disc format. Is it due to the extreme length (nearly 2 hours) or is there a concept/story behind it? While listening to the albums after each other I felt a slight difference in their atmosphere.
Yeah it’s due to the length of the material. We didn’t want to try to condense anything, it worked out in a way that each disc displays a different side of the group, and this is how it should be, there is always two sides to everything.
Battle Dagorath represents a very special subspecies of black metal which shows very far beyond from the origins of black metal. How ’extreme’ could an already extreme genre or band become or how far could you go in this genre?
This is somewhat of a clusterfuck of a question but I will try here. Our vision may have strict parameters and within that maybe we can explore whatever we want. For example, for us guitars are a major priority. Being that me and ShadowVoid write all the foundation on guitars, guitars are our first love and this will always be the case. But also there is a deep love of experimentation which without this we are incomplete, so we venture off and find that place and then once we are there then ok, let’s put our flag up here, this is where we came to be and where we are. I can’t speak for others and I don’t care where they want to go, just go your own way! I hear other bands and some particular things may annoy my own sensibilities or I may find something of my own to enjoy. Personally speaking, lately I hear an over-abundance of ”choir” keyboard sounding bands, this is way too heavenly sounding for me, like going to some church or something. And in general, the over-use of synths, which is hiding the fact that the guitar playing should be developed more. After all, black metal is a genre that is defined most by the guitars. But then I will hear something new like Basarabian Hills and think, yes this is a good way of using synths, so maybe it’s just the way the other bands did it that was not pleasing to me. I remember when I first heard Mysticum and thought, yes I like this fucked up sound! And then next there were a bunch of clones of this sound. These things will never change. So I don’t really know if anything is going more ”extreme”, it’s just different combinations of the same elements.
What are your plans for the future? Will you be able to outdo the previous achievements?
We’ve now begun writing the next one. If our will is to be, then of course we will outdo the previous ones. This next album will probably kill us because there is nothing else left for us now. I can say that we are probably pushing from both ends on the newer material, so you’ll notice the range of material is expanding further on the next one.
The last question is rhetorical. What can save the human race?
The paradox of living in a large metropolis is that within such a vast amount of humans is where you will find yourself most alone, and most isolated. Life has always been a collection of bad experiences that continues to build as the years roll by. Even now I am still being stabbed in the back and lied to by people that I made the mistake to trust in. Every time I expose myself to the outside world I remember why I will always prefer the comforts of loneliness and my isolation.
My suspicions of people continue to grow but from this I learn and gain strength! This is the sacrifice that this music takes, because without it then we become lame and redundant like the others. The human race will collapse on itself like so many other times, technology will provide the impetus. People choose to ignore it, but we can all see it coming. Only death will save the human race.
Thank you for taking time to answer our questions.
Thanks for your support Laszlo! And for providing us with some intelligent questions beyond the norm.