This piece was written for and published by Absolute Underground Magazine in Canada - the new issue is out now, and is available for free all over Canada! Cheers to Mashruk for the interview.
Here's the text.
“Revelations From the Devil’s Tomb”
by Kim Kelly
The Canadian tradition of extreme metal brutality and iconoclastic personality is well-known and world-renowned, from Black Kronstadt to Blasphemy and many points in between. One of the newest but most potent additions to Edmonton’s already solid local lineup (stacked as it is with Revenge, Rites of Thy Degringolade, Axis of Advance, etc) comes via worlds away..from Dhaka, Bangladesh, to be exact. Vetis Monarch of Satanic black/death tyrants Weapon moved to Canada during his mid-teens and started the band in 2003; he temporarily moved back to Bangladesh for several years (during which he recorded the band’s infamous 'Within The Flesh of the Satanist' Demo tape and 'Violated Hejab' EP) then relocated once more to end up in Edmonton, where the band has been based and thriving since 2005. Weapon is now rounded out by The Disciple on drums, Kha Tumos (bass) and new addition Rom Surtr on guitar. Now, fresh off a North American tour with Marduk and 1349, and armed with brand-new album due out on Relapse Records within the next year, Vetis Monarch was kind enough to answer a few questions for Absolute Underground. Unleash hell.
Kim Kelly: 'Embers and Revelations' has been completed, and the only question that remains is, when will it be released?
Vetis Monarch: The album was initially slated to be released this September, but it's been moved back slightly due to some unforeseen, weak and douchebag behavior thrown our way from oceans across. If all works out according to our new plans, it should still be the fall of 2012. If not, then early 2013.
KK: Tell me a bit about the creation of this album. I know you worked very hard on perfecting the songs, and especially the lyrics. What can we expect to hear?
VM: We started work on this record over 2 years ago. Not necessarily with the goal of writing another album per se, we just started writing. Like most bands, we go through creative bursts and dry periods; unlike most bands, we throw away a ton of riffs that are not good enough.
The music and the lyrics get equal importance in Weapon. I can't say the lyrics get priority, because one without the other is useless, as far as we are concerned. Weapon has always had a very spiritual approach to this music, and that HAS to remain intact. Otherwise it's just a bunch of guys playing metal.
One one hand, 'Embers And Revelations' is a direct continuation of 'From The Devil's Tomb', in its scathing Death Metal fury. One the other hand, we've more incorporated 'atmospheric' and esoteric elements and concocted a very dark and mystical album.
KK: How did you refine and improve upon your songwriting and sound for this release? Your last record, ‘From The Devil’s Tomb,’ must have been a bitch to top.
VM: That it was, but what other option did we have? After an album like 'From The Devil's Tomb' is received the way it was, I had to get even more picky with the riffs I was showing to the W crew. NOT topping the last record was unfathomable. New material has to be better than everything that's ever been done in the past, or why even bother creating new songs? That being said, we just kept the focus on writing a juggernaut of a Black/Death metal record without constantly second-guessing ourselves and comparing ourselves to our past discography.
We refine ourselves internally and externally. There are levels of expectations to be met from each other and from ourselves. Our goal, however, is not to be the most tech / evil / whatever band around; Weapon is about writing the best songs.
KK: Tell me a bit about the subject matter on the album.
VM: Thematically / ideologically, Weapon will never stray from the course of Left Hand Path and Satanism. The occult and deathworship have been my lyrical foundation since the days of our first Demo, and thus it shall remain until the end of this band.
"Throne of disorder; in sulfur diadem, (our) Lord breathes on embers, grants revelations."
KK: You've made mention previously about growing up in Bangladesh and discovering the goddess Kali; how would you say your relationship with Kali led you towards Satanism? When it comes to your own beliefs, how do you reconcile the world of Kali with the concept of Satan?
VM: It was essentially exposure to a deity most powerful at a very young age. Too young to be able to comprehend what I was experiencing, but old enough for the 'damage' to be done. Kali was a forbidden element in my mostly Muslim surroundings, so naturally I was drawn to the Dark Mother if for nothing else, to rebel and defy the status quo; once I had passed through the gates, so to speak, I learned more about this deity of Death and saw the mirror image of Lilith, the consort of Satan. The rest, well... you know. Here we are.
Adversarial and illuminating figures go hand in hand in almost every mythological and religious tradition. When one really examines what it is that Satan encompasses, reconciliation of the world of Kali and the concept of Satan is just some brain cell friction away.
KK: What are your thoughts on metal bands (black metal or otherwise) who claim that Satan is unnecessary to create extreme metal? Is it a personal choice, or do you feel that that undercurrent of Satanic feeling is necessary in order to write a proper black metal record?
VM: Metal bands can sing about whatever the fuck they want. Lyrical matter is up to the band and I believe in freedom of speech. Black Metal, however, is Satan. That's non-negotiable. Lack of Satan means you do not play in a Black Metal band, regardless of how many Immortal riffs you've stolen or much panda makeup you've worn. Weather reports, national socialism, pagan fire dances and pretty flowers do not a Black Metal band make.
So to answer the first part of your question more articulately - if your band claims to be Black Metal but you do not worship the Devil, go fuck yourself.
KK: What is black metal in 2012? The term is such a blanket statement - theoretically, one could toss Blasphemy, Wolves in the Throne Room, Mayhem, One Tail One Head, and Drudkh in there, and even Weapon sometimes gets thrown in as well. Is a definition necessary anymore? Is a definition possible?
VM: I would never - theoretically or otherwise - utter Blasphemy, Root and Mayhem in the same breath with something as asinine as Wolves In The Throne Room. That would be like mentioning a fucktard like Adam Sandler to the work of Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and Clint Eastwood.
Weapon gets tossed in there and we have absolutely no problem with that, because we are still very much a Black Metal band in many ways. People often call us Death Metal, and that's fine too. Definition is necessary, and it is possible. It is necessary for the differentiating betwixt what's quality and what's vapid, what's original and what's contrived, and what's strong and what's weak. And no, not everything in world is subjective. Violence and fundamentalism are 2 very key ingredients in this music, and as long as Weapon is around, that will not change. Hail Satan.