From Shadow to Flesh by Mutill
Nirnaeth delivers a fast, aggressive, epic and melancholic black/death metal since 2001. Thanks to its first two albums released on Great Dane Records ‘Thrown Athwart The Darkness’ in 2006, ‘Splendour of The Abyss’ in 2009 and a split vinyl with Azziard entitled ‘Dramatis Personae’ released on Kaotoxin label in 2016, Nirnaeth was able to play on a hundred dates, sharing the stage with bands such as Obituary, Rotting Christ, Inquisition, etc. Massive thanks to a new line-up since 2017, Nirnaeth was able to deepen its style and record its third album ‘From Shadow To Flesh’ Malpermesita Records 2018, a concept album dealing with depression and possession.
When we started Nirnaeth around 2000/2001 with Malaria we wanted to combine our most extreme influences under the banner of Black Metal. We are a huge fan of old school Metal, going from black and death to thrash and heavy. The departure of our first drummer had a very negative impact on the band’s career. It was very hard and long for us to find a (good) new drummer, that’s why there is so much time between our 2 first albums ‘Thrown Athwart The Darkness’ and ‘Splendour of The Abyss’, Great Dane Records and our third one ‘From Shadow To Flesh’ Malpermesita Records.
Vagorn joined us in 2015. At the time we wanted to make a release to celebrate its venue and we started to get in touch with Above Chaos for the first time, discussing an auto-production. Finally, we made a deal with Kaotoxin and released a split vinyl with Azziard ‘Dramatis Personae’. We were nicely surprised to see that the artwork was made by Above Chaos! Since then we are working with Above Chaos for our covers. After Dramatis Personae he made the astonishing cover and booklet of our third album ‘From Shadow To Flesh’ and the cover of our free EP ‘Across the Suffering’ which contains a song from each release we made.
‘From Shadow To Flesh’ is a very different album from what we did in ‘Thrown Athwart The Darkness’ and ‘Splendour of the Abyss’. When Vagorn (drums) joined the band he quickly suggested the idea of adding a second guitar. At this time 3 or 4 songs of the album were already composed so I tried to re-think those songs. I was sceptical at first but I was quickly very excited with these new arrangements as it gave me ways more possibilities in the composition… Plus it allowed us to consider each guitar as a character, which was incomplete adequation with the concept of ‘From Shadow To Flesh’.
This is why we are now a quintet. After a few auditions, Marbas (guitar) joined us and he was quickly integrated to be part of the recording process of this third album. We discussed a lot about the way to record it, and we decided to go for three different studios to achieve what we wanted in term of sound.
I am very satisfied with the result. Drums were recorded at Wavelight Factory / Psykron Studio (France) by Phil Reinhalter (from Putrid Offal). He understood immediately what we wanted and he offered us a great implication. The drums sound very organic. Aeternal Studio is Nirnaeth’s studio, this is where we recorded guitars, bass and vocals. We had all the time we needed to record so it was very comfortable. Finally, all mixing and mastering duties were in the hand of Déhà at Magnum Studio / Forbidden Frequencies Studio (Belgium). Déhà’s work was great too, he was very reactive to our feedbacks and he even did us the honour to record his voice on the track ‘Possession’.
‘From Shadow To Flesh’ is a concept album about depression and possession. Each song is strongly inspired by a book or a poem. For example ‘Dying of the day’ is inspired by E. Poe, ‘Cursed’ by S. Freud, ‘The Crater’ by P. Claudel, etc. I have connected and structured the different views of these authors to enriched the story I wanted to relate, there is in each of us an abyss, the gaping hole of our frustrations and remorses, that grows each time we contemplate it when our attention is not diverted. Within this crater, an entity can be born in the shadow and gradually becomes strong enough to conquer the mind and body of its host. ‘From Shadow To Flesh’ relates this experience from both points of views.
It turns out that ‘Thrown Athwart The Darkness’ was already relating a story but songs were not placed in the correct order intentionally. It was literally about access to hell by a man and his journey to get there. ‘Splendour of The Abyss’ was more personal. I used to expose my visions about humanity, my apostasy, an accident I got through, etc. There are so many things around me that can inspire me anytime. It can be a song, a movie, a book, a feeling, a pain, etc. so basically my own experiences and other pieces of art.
Metal, as a piece of ‘abnormal’ music and lifestyle, is dangerous for any religious or government organisation, it can open your mind. It starts with what you decide to listen to. At least, that’s how it was for me.
I have always been attracted to dark arts. Maybe that’s why I ended playing in a black metal band, I do consider some music as a dark art, and black metal is obviously one of those. Black metal is a spiritual exploration that leads to an exposition of our darkest feelings. When I compose for Nirnaeth it’s like a ritual. One cannot just play a partition when performing black metal, you must feel it, you have to abandon yourself in it. Art is one of the few havens to magic.
Interview by Alex Milazzo – Copyright 2019 © Heavy Music Artwork. All rights reserved.