Wrath and Victor formed the black metal band in 1995. The band's very first gig lead to a contract with the upstart Woodcut Records of which a former band-mate was the owner. Just prior to the recording of the debut the band's guitarist left and was replaced by Michael. The debut was released by Woodcut and the band opened for Emperor. Nuclear Blast licensed the debut and the band recorded a MCD called Babalon Patralx De Telocvovim. This EP was bought by Avantgarde and the band signed directly to the Italian label.
In the meanwhile, Generis was out of the door. Grief replaced him and Omega Telecvovim was released. Avantgarde dropped the band and a tour with Behemoth and Deicide was cancelled. Three members left the band. 2001 brought some delays, but there were reports of new songs being written. Some of the band's lyrics were written in, what else, Enochian.
The band reappeared six years later with a new album and signed to Woodcut Records. It now featured new drummer Bolton and guitarist Mathias. In the meanwhile, the band had appeared on a three-way split-CD with O and Black Dawn in 2005. NEF.VI.LIM the new album by Enochian Crescent was released worldwide in May of 2010 by Woodcut Records. The band was Wrath - vocals, Viktor - guitar and vocals, Bolton - drums, Tunturituuli - bass and Vilhelm - guitar.
ENOCHIAN CRESCENT – BLACK CHURCH – WOODCUT
Enochian Crescent is not dead. Black Church – or The Black Church Psalmbook according to my copy – is the band’s return album after years of inactivity and it seems to give as much importance to the band’s Satanic imagery as to the music.
The music first: Black Church starts furiously with massive speed and a raging rhythmic fervour. The harmonic guitars from hell are accompanied by deviant verbal jabs delivered via a variety of vocal forms. The opening song, Tatan, is quite destructive, although the album is stylistically more mixed than the track would indicate. The song Thousand Shadows is downright groovy with a couple of blues bars included. It has a considerably slower than average interlude, although it is still impossible to imagine the band attracting any attention from the mainstream given the offensive nature of the material. Three minutes into The Imperfect Vision, for instance, the band kicks in a sound that could either be hell’s bells or a massive racket of a bass guitar. This is followed by impressively manic riffing that is both splendid and demented.
The music is heavy enough on its own, but it is singer Sister Wrath who is the star of this show. The man takes black metal larynx to a whole different level of evil, albeit with a little help from the vocal overdubs and backing screams. The oft-overdubbed vocals and chants are akin to a Satanic sermon put to (admittedly well versed) Enochian verse and vicious music. Complementing the beefy riffs are plenty of provocative lyrics.
Enochian Crescent is probably beyond comparison, but fans of Nifelheim, Impaled Nazarene or old Mayhem will feel the Enochian fog surging all around. – Ali “The Metallian”
It is self-evident that Enochian Crescent is a fascinating group. The Finnish black metal band has the possessed music, literate occult lyrics and sensational imagery to make it compelling. Still, when the knight of Metallian Towers Ali "The Metallian" spoke to guitarist Victor upon release of Black Church, the Finn was able to further elaborate why his band deserves a higher degree of awareness and a bigger profile within the black metal community. There is something about Enochian Crescent. - 16.06.2006
VICTOR: In the year 2000, when we released our last album, we did several interviews in North America. I don't think our label then, Avantgarde Music, had distribution there so we are quite obscure in North America. You are the first to do an interview with us there for this release. Europe is far away and, for us, it is more about the music than promotion so what can you do?
METALLIAN: In that case, let us talk about the album. The new release is called Black Church, but my copy says The Black Church Psalmbook on its cover. Can you explain the discrepancy?
VICTOR: Well, you got the promotional version. That version only has the CD booklet, which is called The Black Church Psalmbook. It is, in essence, the book of psalms for the 'Black Church.' The record company has only provided journalists with the booklet and not the actual cover.
METALLIAN: Aside from a split-MCD two years ago Enochian Crescent was absent from the scene for six years. What transpired in the intervening years?
VICTOR: We weren't on a hiatus. A few things happened at the same time. Around the year 2,000 when Avantgarde Music of Italy released our second full-length album, Omega Telecvovim, something happened with the label's owners. We were on really good terms with them, but in 2,000 they stopped promoting us and cut away. We were supposed to go on a European tour with Deicide and Behemoth and that fell through. We started talking with them, and since both parties were unhappy, we parted ways. We terminated the contract. At the same time, several of our members had had it with the music business and quit. As you can guess, without a recording contract and three members gone it became a new start. Only the vocalist, Wrath, and I were left. We got a new line-up running and have become tight together. It is something of a trademark for us and you can only achieve it through intensive rehearsing. We rehearsed and rehearsed and rehearsed and played gigs in Finland. We were also composing new songs. That is the reason behind the absence.
METALLIAN: What were some of the reasons the label gave for being unhappy with Enochian Crescent?
VICTOR: No fucking idea! Italians have a volatile personality. I actually heard that the owners had certain personal problems. The guys burnt many bridges all around. I was surprised though that it also involved us. I had visited them and had become best buddies with them. Nowadays, we are in pretty decent situation again.
METALLIAN: Another question that arises from your earlier reply concerns the simultaneous departure of three members. Why would three people leave at the same time?
VICTOR: Another reason for their departure was that the band was based 450 kilometres north of where I now live. Rehearsals were difficult and when the record company situation occurred the guys were fed up. We had been playing in different bands for ten years at that point and they were frustrated and de-motivated. Funnily enough, all three of them are now playing in different bands again. They were on a long break.
METALLIAN: Isn't your current label owned by a former band-mate of yours from the Cartilage days?
VICTOR: That is true also. We are an inbred bunch, right?
METALLIAN: We'll get to that later. In the meantime, what sort of a deal do you have with Woodcut Records?
VICTOR: It is a really good one. When the label started in the '90s it was small, but nowadays they are a professional label here in Finland. They have also hired a guy in North America to do the promotion, which is a professional approach. They are pushing the band and sponsoring us to play gigs. They have about ten bands and we are their number one band. We are a big fish in a small pond now, rather than a small fish in a big pond as they say. We have a nice deal for two albums. We will issue another album through them in two years.
Of course, with this kind of music one can never hope to make a full-time job of it, it is too underground and too extreme for most people, so we don't have any pipe dreams about that. We just want to have artistic freedom and enough of a budget to make the album we want. So, this is the perfect situation for us.
METALLIAN: Enochian Crescent issued a low-key CD two years ago. What can you tell the readers about it?
VICTOR: That was a three-way split with the band O and Black Dawn. They are both from the region we originally came from. It was an idea we had for some time. It suited us because we had a new line-up and I wanted to see how the guys worked in the studio before we recorded a full-length. It was basically a small demo and a chance for us to get to know each other better. It was for the die-hard fans because it wasn't well produced. It is raw and done in one take. It has some novelty value, but I wouldn't recommend it as a first listen to Enochian Crescent.
METALLIAN: Speaking of inbreeding earlier, Black Dawn is the band of your singer,Wrath.
VICTOR: Black Dawn was the original band of Wrath. That band has been around since the late '80s. We met in 1995. We noticed we are pretty much on the same wavelength regarding how black metal should sound. Yeah, it is small circles where we come from.
METALLIAN: Back to the album at hand, Black Church seems to send a confusing message. While the album has an occult aura, an inverted cross and Satanic lyrics the band is named possibly in reference to an Old Testament book, the album quotes the book of Job and God.
VICTOR: Pretty interesting, right? When you look at the album and the inverted cross and it says The Black Church Psalmbook, what else can it be? A church has a regular psalm book, so of course a black church needs an inverted cross. If you read the quotation from Job and if you read the book of Job you will note that it is about Lucifer tormenting the poor old guy. God and Lucifer are having a major… in the Bible, as a whole, a lot of information was taken out in the Middle Ages. Nowadays you can look on the Internet and find the apocryphal writings. You can see the whole picture. For example, you can read that Christ and Lucifer are the same person. Christians have this small misinterpretation. Morning Star is also Lucifer, of course. The quotation we use talks about the fallen angels singing together. At the time, they were the nephilim. They were guardian angels sent down by God. Later God decided to punish them because they became too interested in man. God then unleashed flood upon the whole earth. We refer to this mythology.
We are neither a Christian band nor a Satanic band. We are very interested in the occult history however. We are practising occultists and have both academic and actual experience in the field. We take influences from a wide range, but since we play black metal we take the aggressive and the devilish side to represent our ideas. It has been important for the band from the start that we have a hidden, or occult, knowledge. That is the basis for all lyrics. There are directly blasphemous themes on all the albums, but the dominating theme has always been the occult. The Black Church has an ecclesial theme with every song being linked to the Christian mythology or its dark sides. The first two songs, Tatan and Tango Absinto, are about necromancy. Chalk Face is about The Christ/Lucifer thing. Thousand Shadows is about stalking. It is about the stalking of the Christians' souls. Ghost Of Saturn is about death and the passing of life. The Imperfect Vision is about demonic possession and paranoia. In the third part of the album, Hendekagrammaton is about entities within the self and within every one of us. For example, atoms have an emptiness inside, but what is within the emptiness? That is one interesting theorem. It is also complicated lyrics in that sense. There are many references to different writings in that song. Tridents Clash is about India in all its glory. It uses Shiva as a reference point. The lyrics are based on my travel to India. I was in India for a month to witness a ceremony. The lyrics describe what I saw. At one point there were thousands of people in the middle of the night and the whole atmosphere was something beyond words. The last song is black Church, which talks about the English architect Nicholas Hawksmoor. He designed these twisted churches, which still exist. It is an interesting story overall.
That was really just a scratch on each song. Now that I have explained a little about each song you can better link theses to the titles for each part, Our Life In Wormwood Christ, our Life In His Kingdom and our Life In Servitude. Many people have been asking about the album's three parts. I want to leave something more for people to discover for themselves. I don't want to spoil the listeners' imaginations.
METALLIAN: Having said that, would you say that there are three distinct themes on the album?
VICTOR: Yes. We have been around for 11 years and we have fans that contact us asking about our lyrics. I think it is nice when you have such fans that are touched enough by the music to want to find out more, buy books and more. That kind of a feedback justifies the music. When somebody becomes interested in the occult sciences it justifies our band, the music and lyrics. That is the best prize a musician can receive.
METALLIAN: What about the Enochian language? It was popularized by John Dee and Edward Kelley who claimed it was given to them by angels…
VICTOR: or claimed to be angels. That is under discussion.
METALLIAN: Did these individuals influence you and do you master the language?
VICTOR: Of course, you can tell that the Enochian mythos or system has had an influence on us just judging by the band name. It is a very powerful magic system. They adapted it to the Western esoteric tradition. Aleister Crowley, Ordo Templi Orientis, Golden Dawn and stuff like that you will find that they employ many Enochian traditions and knowledge. Good old Anton La Vey, the founder of the Church Of Satan, used Enochian in his rituals even though he claims his Satanism is not spiritual. It is a very interesting system. The origin of the whole system comes through Dee and Kelley. John Dee was a respected scientist in the 16th Century He was the court-ordained doctor for Queen Elizabeth and consulted her for astrological manners. He contacted spirits, but had no talent in crystal gazing so was contacted by Edward Kelley who was interested in Alchemy. He wanted to find a way to turn base metals into gold. These two had immediate chemistry. They came into contact with these so-called angelic beings and learnt the system letter by letter. They also retold stories, which do not correspond with the traditional Christina rituals. One theory is that the magical system is designed to bring apocalypse upon mankind. That is up to the believers. I am more pragmatic myself.
METALLIAN: What about the claim that the language is inspired by old Hebrew and Greek? Others have mentioned old Ethiopian is the father of Enochian.
VICTOR: No, that is not correct. No, no, linguists have subjected Enochian to studies and there are no direct links to any language. There are similar words, but they are not phonetically equal in meaning. It is not an invented language like Esperanto. Linguists have analysed that language, except it does not exist anywhere else.
METALLIAN: So would you say that you and Wrath speak and write the language?
VICTOR; We do, but of course at different levels. We have studied it since 1994 or 1995. My attention has been diverted recently and am growing rusty, but we are fluent with the words available. We have studied the tablets. Our newest member is the bassist Dr. Von Pfosforus who is the most advanced of all of us in Enochian and the occult sciences. He has a long background in them.
METALLIAN: How did you find a metal bass player with that description?
VICTOR: We found him through a friend. He has his own band as well.
METALLIAN: What are the chances that you will find and recruit a man like that whose beliefs and knowledge coincide with yours?
VICTOR: We did search for someone like that. It is a bloody needle in a haystack. Luckily, we had a mutual friend who introduced us. It is easy to find a capable bass player, but to find someone who is at the same level spiritually is difficult. We got lucky or guided by something else. If you start to think about how the pieces fall together then it is pretty mind-blowing.
METALLIAN: Turning our attention to the musical terms of the band, how would you describe your sound to the uninitiated?
VICTOR: I think we sound close to Enochian Crescent - aha! I don't think there is another band that sounds like us. We have a totally different way of writing the songs. I don't use the normal Western division of minor and major keys. If you are a musician you will wonder, "hey, what the fuck? These guys are breaking musical theory." It is intentional actually. The minor and major keys were introduced in the Middle Ages for church music so I don't want to have anything to do with those limitations. That sets us apart. Of course, that doesn't say much for the average listener, but it gives us that weird feeling in our music. No other band that I know of does the same thing. Perhaps the Impaled Nazarene comparison is good because they have this punk attitude that says 'fuck everything.' Perhaps attitude-wise that is a good comparison.
My original influence was Celtic Frost. If you listen to us and they there is not much of a common ground, but one thing they gave us is the unholy groove. That is their greatest gift, in my opinion. You can play dark music and have it grooving at the same time. It gives an amazing power, in my opinion. That is something that is lacking in modern music. Albums tend to be too produced nowadays. Another band that is important is Bathory. Under The Sign Of The Black Mark was the first truly dark album that struck a certain chord within me. I owned Venom's Black Metal before then, but that album was more like a good joke band. Bathory started the whole interest in darker shades of music. Another influential band is Sabbat from the UK. Their Dreamweaver album brought conceptual lyrics together with amazing music.
Enochian Crescent's Black Church is now ready and available through the usual underground outlets. The band's web presence is at http://www.enochian-crescent.com.