This is an interview I made with the American Black metal band Averse Sefira while I was doing my A-levels in the UK circa 1997/98. During this time they released a demo called Blasphomet Sin Abset. I had the demo tape, it was pro printed, but I made the mistake of giving it to my good friend Imran aka tikuih, in otherwords, its gone - along with my tape of Pilgrims' Perfume Garden and other tapes I forgot.
They've gone on to become one of America's premier BM bands and have toured the US & Europe with the like of Incantation, Nile & Absu.
* How's the history of Averse Sefira? Any new stuff coming out from the A.S camp? Averse Sefira is such a distinctive name, what does it mean?
* How was the reaction to the demo? Are you satisfied with it? If it were done again, what would you change?
*WSD*: So far, the demo is getting a startling amount of positive attention. People seem to be impressed that we are an American Black Metal band and yet we still manage to approach the music the "right" way. That is, we don't cut any corners regarding our music or presentation. This genre is more competitive than ever, and to do anything less than our very best would guarantee that we'd get ignored. As I recorded and produced this demo myself, I am very proud of it. We had very limited recording resources, and we've been praised repeatedly about the recording quality itself, so for this first release I am satisfied. If we did it again, we'd do it at a professional studio, which is what will happen on the next outing.
* What are the lyrics about? Are they important? Who does them?
*SAN*: Yes, the lyrics are very important. For us, since we're working from an overarching concept, the lyrics form each song tell a certain facet of a greater story. Not too many bands are doing that these days, and it is somewhat dismaying as sometimes the music itself is not enough. Out of the ten songs we have, I've written seven and Wrath has written three.
* What do you think of Deicide? Do you think they're really extreme in promoting the 'Anti-Christ' thing? Do you support them?
*WSD*: Deicide is one our common favorite bands. They have been since their debut. I think the music is definitely extreme, and Glen Benton's lyrics are effectively inflammatory, but I see on the new material that they are taking a more sociological viewpoint in attacking Christianity, which is fine. However, I think the lyrics on "Deicide" and "Legion" had a cinematic quality that is missing on the last two releases. They are indeed an influence, and we support what they do for the most part.
*SAN*: Of course Deicide is an extreme band, and they do well as a stardard bearer for anti-Christian thought. Whether or not anyone else believes that Glen Benton is a Satanist, he certainly does, and he's getting paid to put out albums. But as Wrath said, he's exploring other avenues for expressing his beliefs. Wrath and I have begun the "We Like Legion" society, as so many people, including Deicide themselves, have dismissed that album outright.
* How's the scene is Texas now? Is there any new bands/zines that really deserve any attention? Who are 'death of millions'?
*WSD* The Texas scene is sparse, particularly for Black Metal. As far as bands playing out and building reputations, there is Imprecation from Houston, and they've been around for a few years now. A newer band that we are good friends with is Thornspawn from San Antonio. They've been around about a year and a half. They're good- kind of a cross between old Mayhem and Darkthrone. As far as zines go, I'm relatively unimpressed with the few I've seen around here. Not too many people do them now that the overall Texas scene has dissolved appreciably. Death of Millions is a band here in Austin. They are also our friends, and arguably the best Death Metal band in Texas right now. They are very professional, and we have played with them on a few occasions, probably more in the future.
*SAN*: It seems that the scene here, like anywhere else, is a relative thing. Almost every band interview I read has them saying that their scenesucks, that there aren't enough clubs to play, and that no one comes out to shows.
* What is your opinion of absu? Is Averse Sefira influenced by them? Are you in contact with Proscriptor?
*WSD*: Originally, I was only marginally interested in Absu. They just didn't impress me as much as I wanted. However, I really like the new album, and I was completely blown away by their performance at the Milwaukee Metalfest last summer! Sanguine has always liked them. He's met Proscriptor before through some common friends, and we both met Shaftiel and Equitant in Milwaukee. They don't really influence us, since we're taking different approaches to the music. They are definitely paving the way for American Black Metal, to be sure.
*SAN*: I have always liked Absu and good bands from Texas on principal, but I'm more wholeheartedly supporting them since the new album came out and they played the Metalfest. They have always had interesting artistic ideas. We've met all four of them at various times, and it would be nice to establish more solid contacts with them. Musically, they are not an influence.
* Now a lot of bands are into early 80's metal like Venom, Bathory etc. Do you think it is a good move, going back to the roots of metal? Do you think the music is progressing or moving back?
*WSD*: I think that reflecting influences from that era is good, because it's good music, but it's important to keep innovating and trying to do things differently. Otherwise, the music becomes redundant and homogenous. In my opinion, metal music is actually bridging the gap between the old and the new styles very effectively. Bands like Absu, Dodheim's Gard, and Usurper are letting the old influences show in new and interesting ways. I don't, however, like bands that purposely act brainless and obnoxious and blatantly copy older bands just because it's easier than being creative. Those are joke bands as far as I'm concerned.
*SAN*: Yes, a healthy appreciation for precedent is a good thing. The bands that are able to capture the spirit of the early 80s acts are helping to revitalize metal. I'm referring to bands like Angel Corpse, Sadistic Intent, and Vital Remains among others. That spirit is certainly one thing that is allowing the current Black Metal scene to flourish.
* Do you think in the near future that metal especially Black Metal will be like a mainstream type of music with all the bands emerging from all parts of the world? And with the violence that is parallel with the music that it would be banned in some countries?
*WSD* Black and Death Metal the way the established bands are doing it right now will never be mainstream. Sure, it can get a bigger audience, but unless the bands in question choose to change their style, image, or content to meet the status quo, they will never be accepted by the mainstream. Death Metal got pretty big for a while, but it never gained what I consider a mainstream standing. Sure, more people heard about it, but bands like Deicide will never appeal to the Top 40 types because they are simply too extreme and designed to only be enjoyed by a small portion of society. At least I think that's the case for the USA. As far as banning in other countries, that is already happening. Cradle of Filth is always involved in disputes over their shirts, bands get censored left and right, especially in Germany, but I don't think it's the violence so much as the offensive nature of some of these acts.
*SAN* No of course not. At this point will never get any more acceptance that Death Metal did circa 1993, but as we are painfully learning, these types of genres are cyclical in nature, and if we're lucky enough we might see a resurgence in popularity to the degree of Iron Maiden or Dio, perhaps. As far as it being banned, sure, in countries that are theologically based (ie the entire Western world) the ideas that Black and Death Metal bands present are not something that will go unchallenged. Complete censorship is unlikely, but some form or curtailment is also a possibility. But that mainly pertains to record stores and such refusing to carry such music.
* How about the internet? Is it moving metal into new dimensions or just mainstreaming it when everyone especially 'those of the unlight' see the homepages?
*SAN*: People using computers are the way things are going right now. Not every metal fan has a computer or internet capabilities, and not everyone with internet capabilities, no matter what music they listen to, will likely just stumble onto Death Metal or Black Metal sites. Saying that the internet will make Black Metal mainstream is like that the internet is going to make bestiality mainstream! The form of music we are producing is not for everyone, and therefore, not everyone will actively seek it out, even when it is available.
*WSD*: With Black Metal being such a global phenomenon, but yet still being relatively obscure, I think the internet is a powerful tool in helping those who seek it out find it much more effectively. I have contacts from various countries thanks to email, and I believe that our webpage has really gotten us the greatest amount of attention so far!
* What do you think of young teenagers listening to metal? Are they mere posers, or the new generation of Metallers? Should they listen to Metal? When did you start listening to metal?
*WSD*: To me, the only thing that makes you a poser is listening to this music for the wrong reasons. By that I mean listening to metal because it upsets parents and other authority figures, or because nobody else around listens to it. Some kids do that, but it's mostly stuff they know people have heard about, like Marilyn Manson. I get people looking at my Immortal shirts who say, "All right! KISS!" The point is that if you really like this music, then that's all the reason you need. Those kids who believe in it are essential to keeping the genre alive in the future. I myself started into metal when I was twelve or so, and here I am now doing my own band. So yes, it's fine for kids to listen to Metal as long as they don't simply use it as a shock value mechanism.
*SAN*: Given that I started fanatically listening to metal in the 5th or 6th grade, I would have to say that of course it's OK for kids to be listening to metal. For those of us who have made this type of music an ingrained and fundamental part of our lives, it's almost as if we have to treat this music like we were called to it. No matter how the internal factions perceive it, metal is not a trend. At certain point you realize that you're either metal, or you're not. Those of us that are will follow it indefinitely. Those that aren't will say cute things like, "Oh, yeah, I used to listen to Slayer." Although it is discouraging to see the current apathy that is going around amongst the younger fans.
* What does the future hold for Averse Sefira?
*WSD*: We're currently promoting this demo pretty agressively for a completely unknown band. Personally, I am interested in getting our name established in the collective scene. We are also talking with a few independant labels about officially releasing our full-length effort on CD. Outside of that, we are playing live, and we hope to continue doing that.
*SAN*: We'd like to do more live shows, hopefully playing again with Imprecation and Thronspawn, and perhaps Absu if they're interested. Wrapped up in my own ego, I don't see that a record contract is outside the realm of possibility, but I would be satisfied with being a cult band.
* Your closing dark words.......
*Sanguine & Wrath*: Thanks so far to all who have supported us by sending letters of praise or by buying our tape. We plan to live up to your expectations. Support derserving underground bands! Sorry if that isn't very dark.
Support this band!! What else can I say? They've released a cd entitled Homecomings' March released under their own label. Try and find it.They've got a homepage too!All correspondents to:
c/o Sam Spoor
PO Box 8166