Effigy of Nightmares by Carter Hicks
The name Valdrin comes from the protagonist of our lyrical mythos: Valdrin Ausadjur. I don’t remember exactly when I came up with that name, but I’m guessing it was around 2010 when I finished composing the music for what would become our debut album, Beyond The Forest. During that time, I also began conceiving the idea for the lyrical saga behind our music known as the Ausadjur Mythos. I was writing all of this music under the moniker of my previous band, Dawn of Wolves. During the summer of 2010, on the way back from the first show with a brand new lineup, I told everyone Dawn of Wolves was over, and we would be called Valdrin from now on.
At the time, I wasn’t aware that it is, in fact, an Albanian name that means something like “wave” or “river.” The name has no inherent meaning to me, but I also think that like any name, yours or mine, the meaning of that name depends on the legacy of its owner. The meaning will be apparent when all is said and done.
The title ‘Effigy of Nightmares’ basically means confronting a grotesque and terrifying image of your deepest fears. The images of such fears are created within the walls of Hospitium Mortis, a nightmare hospital that exists in a dimension beneath the underworld of the Orcus. In this lair, the antagonist of our mythos, Nex Animus, torturers his lower ranks of dissident gods by forcing them into metaphysical cell wards where the images of one’s essence are mirrored upon the seething walls. This procedure renders them like a patient of a spiritual lobotomy: utterly docile.
Effigy of Nightmares is essentially a short horror story within the context of the Ausadjur mythos. It is told from the point of view of a nameless narrator on a curated tour of Nex’s clandestine asylum. We channelled this story only as a means to display Nex’s supreme evil genius. It is not pertinent to the overall mythos.
In the early days, we got our inspiration from all kinds of 80s/90s and early 2000s black, death and thrash metal. It was mostly stuff like Bathory, Dissection, Windir, Mutiilation, Manes, Destruction, Mercyful Fate, amongst many others. On the other hand, we’ve always been equally inspired by soundtrack music such as the works of Nobuo Uematsu and even some classical stuff like the works of Modest Mussorgsky. I don’t believe I’m anything close to a soundtrack composer, but at best, I love making and listening to extreme music that has a unique sense of melody and an otherworldly feeling.
I don’t know if I decided to go for black metal; I think life simply took me to a place where it was almost inevitable. When I was young and started playing metal, I just wanted to play speed/thrash kind of stuff, and I never wanted to go beyond that. At a certain point, I just started relating more to bands like Bathory, Possessed and Sarcofago, and when I finally crossed over into listening to the 90s stuff, it just appealed to me on a much deeper level. The obscurity and darkness of the lyrics just made perfect sense to me and still do. I think the philosophy of black metal is contained within the music itself, and that’s the part that I’m worshipping.
The only focus of our lyrics is the Ausadjur Mythos, which we are over halfway done completing. The lyrics will remain focused on the dichotomy of the two opposing characters, Valdrin Ausadjur and Nex Animus. You could categorise us as being completely escapist and horror/fantasy orientated. That’s my prime philosophy in life, to escape through art or spiritual experience. If I could dive into a Hieronymus Bosch painting, I would.
The term dark arts is synonymous with the occult or the left-hand path. It can be as simple as using the images of the accuser, Satan, and as complex and philosophical as any other ideology or religion. I crossed the path into Satanism as a teenager but have since grown to no longer need any ideological definition of life. I don’t forget what I’ve learned, but I mainly regard it as a tool to enhance the style of art that I love. In other words, I’m more interested in the poetic occult-based lyrics of early Bathory and early Darkthrone than I am some band that’s trying to perform a ritual in front of me.