NAER MATARON - SKOTOS AENAON - BLACK LOTUS
Lest there were doubts, the corpse paint, the shrouded moon and the pentagram gracing the cover assure us of Naer Mataron¹s black metal affiliation. The Greek duo is clearly inspired by the early escapades of their domestic scene and rarely does anything that early Necromantia or Rotting Christ did not realize. The superior and screeched vocals are interspersed with inferior spoken segments and the tempo ranges from mid to fast-paced. There is nothing here that can be classified as bad per se, rather Naer Mataron stick with what has come before and will surely come again. It¹s just that fans would be hard-pressed to pick up Skotos Aenaon (eternal darkness) if they have yet to complete their Darkthrone collection.
NAER MATARON - RIVER AT DASH SCALDING - BLACK LOTUS
Naer Mataron would very much like to inhabit the same plane as Immortal or Satyricon, - after all look at the band's image - but the Greek trio is not quite there yet. The label boasts of "the fastest drummer in (sic) the continent" and other superlatives, but try as they might the band soon relapses into the old Greek black metal sound comprised of slower riffs, simpler rhythms and generally mundane structures. A good example of that is track seven Ancestor - Worship. Not that the fact was a mystery. Zeus and Hercules are no strangers to Naer Mataron's lyrics (and perhaps even rehearsal space?). These facts are pertinent because the band has seemingly gone out of its way to write better songs, play tighter, come up with more exciting riffs and dress it all up with a better sound and production value. In other words, River At Dash Scalding is the band's best effort to date. Yet, the act is probably an album or two away from challenging its Scandinavian counterparts. - Ali "The Metallian"
NAER MATARON – DISCIPLINE MANIFESTO – BLACK LOTUS
The Greek band Naer Mataron has been showing steady progression with each of its previous albums so it would not have been difficult to predict that Discipline Manifesto, the band’s latest full-length, would have turned out so well. The Metallian prophecy having turned out correctly, it is also worth pointing out that the band members’ count has also been showing steady progression. Discipline Manifesto features a full stable of four people within its line-up.
With an image crossing Dark Funeral and Impaled Nazarene and a sound mixing Dissection and Gorgoroth and Darkthrone the band’s influences (Nordic) and allegiance (pure and raw black metal) are clear. Past an intro the quartet indulges in heads-down black metal with songs like Blessing Of Sin, The Day Is Breaking and Last Man Against Time. Vocal savagery, serious brutality and incessant riffing pile on with no regard for the listener’s sensibility or the band’s origins for that matter. The Last Loyal is downright ferocious, The Day Is Breaking is slower and more melodious, although hardly accessible, Land Of Dreams the one disappointment given its weaker and desperate-sounding vocals and the best is kept for last where Last Man Against Time recounts the brilliance of Dissection with its harmonic and dynamic reflective evil.
Naer Mataron is at the apex of Greek metal now. Fans of the Scandinavian black metal bands will not be left wanting. – Ali “The Metallian”
Morpheas of Naer Mataron is the kind of interview partner of which
writers dream. He answers the questions posed without political
considerations or diplomatic evasion, has the requisite articulation
and just happens to garner enough sedition within to make the chat
stimulating and fascinating. It does help that the album at hand,
Discipline Manifesto, also happens to be a hell of a blasphemy with
musical prowess to match. Time for Ali "The Metallian" to take a call
from the singer and guitarist who completes the Greek act alongside
bassist Kaiadas, drummer Warhead and Satanic noise monger Nordvargr.
METALLIAN: Morpheas, listening to songs like Blessing Of Sin or Last
Man Against Time it soon becomes clear that despite your origin Naer
Mataron is a breed apart. Do you intentionally work on being
MORPHEAS: We have been a band for more than a decade, actually twelve
years, and we have always been heavy, but the new album separates us
even more from the Greek scene. We did half the recordings in Norway,
which helped us sound even more like the Norwegian bands. I think it
is actually normal to have this sound during the current era. We
always wanted to be separated from the Greek scene. We are Greeks,
but we don't appreciate the Greek sound. That is my point-of-view and
I don't know if the other members agree. I am more into the harsh
style of black metal; not the melodic sounds. We have very limited
friends in the Greek scene and with don't hang out with the Greek
bands. We keep ourselves outside the Greek scene party. We never
liked the attitude, I sound very mean when I say this but it is true,
and the way the scene here worked. We were into the Scandinavian way
METALLIAN: Are you also in other bands and, if so, in which style
does that band play?
MORPHEAS: I am a bassist in a Norwegian band called Aptorian Demon,
which is a new act. The style of the band is sick black metal. When I
joined the band I was amazed because I couldn't find a comparison to
them. What they do is totally new. The riffs are amazing. They offer
something new and different. The rest of the band, the founding
members, are all formerly of Keep Of Kalessin. We just released a 7"
EP on Aftermath Music called Angst, Jammer Og Fortvilelse. Two more
EPs will be released in the new year in order to complete a trilogy.
In about a year from now we will release a first full-length album.
In the last three years I lived in Norway for a while. I am also
going there soon. Naer Mataron is my only other band and my first one
You are probably referring to the Greek bands like Thou Art Lord,
Necromantia, Horrified and Varathron which have members of other
groups. The members of those bands have been close friends for a long
time. They start projects. The Greek black metal scene was small
with only 100 individuals and they were all close. They even had to
bring some members from other countries.
METALLIAN: One of the prime rules of heavy metal is that most bands
deteriorate with time. You are one of the few that is going against
MORPHEAS: It is normal for us to become better and tighter. With each
album we concentrate even more on what we want to sound like. This is
how we really feel about black metal. We have been doing this for
twelve years and we have never received any money for what we are
doing with Naer Mataron. We all have regular jobs. We are into this
because we love black metal and feel like playing it. Our love and
passion for black metal makes us concentrate on how we want to sound.
We are old-fashioned. I think with every new album we sound more like
an old band. Our music is not 2005!
METALLIAN: You re-signed to Black Lotus prior to the current album.
Does that imply a basic satisfaction with the label?
MORPHEAS: Black Lotus made us a new offer that was very good. I
believe after so many years of working with them there is a strong
friendship between the band and the label. The members of Naer
Mataron didn't want to stress or worry about other labels. We are
signed to a label that is five kilometres away from our homes. It
makes us feel more secure. If I signed with a label that is from the
United States, for example, I would not be able to see what they are
doing exactly and how they are promoting the band.
At least, we are the only extreme black metal band on the label. If I
compare Naer Mataron with the others on Black Lotus I am very
satisfied with the way the label looks after the band.
METALLIAN: You touched upon the members of the band. It seems to me
that the members' count in Naer Mataron has been steadily increasing
with each album.
MORPHEAS: The founding members of the band are Kaiadas and I. Warhead
joined us on drums beginning from the River At Dash Scalding album.
We now have a Swedish member, Nordvargr. He is creating the noise
parts. From this album and on Naer Mataron is a four-piece band.
There is a strong sense of individuality, but as the years go on we
become more like family. We are very good friends and we work the
Nordvargr has his own band too. It is an industrial black metal band.
He is also in MZ.412 and several other projects. We communicate all
the time. When I need parts from him I tell him what I want, the
concept and he creates the parts which could be described as the
soundtracks for that concept.
METALLIAN: Often when a band has a member dedicated to creating
'effects' that group's music is useless and silly. Yours seem to work
MORPHEAS: All the parts he creates are just preludes for the
following songs. They prepare you for what will follow. They are not
about keyboards solo, they are noisy parts and manipulated to sound
weird and extreme. They fit the rest of the material. It is like the
essence of Naer Mataron without notes.
METALLIAN: Looking at the current release, what does the title refer
MORPHEAS: It is really simple actually, The title explains to you
that you have to do certain things to try to reach perfection. If you
follow the rules you will be able to do it and accomplish those
things that you imagined. If you don't follow all the rules then you
will simply fail and possibly die and rot. That is the manifesto.
The album is a concept in a way. The whole thing has to do with
Christianity amongst humans. The album explains that Christianity has
directed mankind into rottenness. In order to prevent this you have
to follow some rules. If you don't obey the rules of the game you
will be lead to ignorance and you will act and be a sheep. For
example, when you do nothing regarding your ambitions and you don't
do anything for your own personal satisfaction or pleasures in
society you become a part of what a Christianized society wants you
to be. If you don't do anything about it then you are following their
rules and the rest of the members of the society will not listen to
any other point-of-view either then this is a society of sheep that
is without good judgment and lacks a good opposition. That is what
Naer Mataron wants to prevent.
METALLIAN: How effectual are endeavours such as yours? The United
States, for instance, is fast going the other direction becoming The
Christian Republic Of America.
MORPHEAS: The Greek society has always been into the Greek Orthodox
miserable way of life. I believe that if you come to Greece after a
month or two you will find yourself very surprised at the church's
influence on the television, magazines, newspapers and so on. They
can even destroy the government. They are very powerful. It is very
miserable to see how old people start saying prayers when something
bad happens. The new generation is more liberated, but people who are
older are very religious. I believe that the Greek church has much
that is rotten inside.
METALLIAN: We now know that your album is a concept. Is the cover
artwork related to it. Why is there a cross depicted...
MORPHEAS: No, no, no there is no cross. Actually, there is a
blacksmith and his horse on the cover. The horse is carrying swords
and behind them is someone who was tortured and was hung because he
wasn't following the rules of war. He was tortured and left to rot in
the middle of nowhere. There are no crosses on the cover.
METALLIAN: Why the songs with above average lengths? A couple of
songs approach the ten-minute mark.
MORPHEAS: I believe that radio stations hate us (laughingly). We like
to compose music the way we feel like it. If we don't feel that is a
song is complete after five or six minutes then we won't stop and
keep going. We need to get the complete feeling that we want. This
might mean that a song is eight or nine minutes. We don't care. I
think that fans that buy albums and pay 15 or more dollars want to
listen to music without restrictions. That is what we are doing. We
are musicians who respect themselves and, after that, respect the
fans. We will never release an album with 25 or 30 minutes of music
because the radio stations want it like that or whatever. We have
ideas that need to get out. That is why the songs are longer. We have
to develop our ideas and make the songs complete in our eyes
METALLIAN: My favourite song, and therefore the best song on the
album, is Last Man Against Time. My least favourite, and therefore
the album's inferior cut, is Land Of Dreams.
MORPHEAS: Land Of Dreams is the song that Carl-Michael from Aura Noir
sings. Last Man Against Time is our most complicated song. It has a
variety of sounds, melodies and tempos. It is a song that is very
representative of what Naer Mataron is. It has all the elements that
were in all our previous albums. It represents the history of our
Land Of Dreams was especially composed for Carl-Michael. You could
say that it is influences by Ved Buens Ende and Ulver, where Carl-
Michael played, and arranged it for him. There is also another song
on the album where I don't do the vocals. Vicotnik of Ved Buens Ends
sings on Blessing Of Sin. That song is a very intense one.
METALLIAN: There are reports that you also issue live recordings or
independent releases by yourself in-between official full-lengths.
MORPHEAS: No, the demos were from the mid-'90s. We are always trying
to release our music on vinyl. We like vinyl. We are vinyl
worshippers. After talking with Black lotus I get the permission to
take our albums somewhere and have it released on vinyl. I now have
all the Naer Mataron albums on vinyl. There was no live album. We
never release a live album. We did release a compilation with some
unreleased stuff with some live music and video at the end.
METALLIAN: You seem to have definite ideas about the scene and the
sub-genre of black metal. In your opinion, what is the essence of
black metal and which song best typifies Naer Mataron?
MORPHEAS: The essence of black metal in my eyes is a revolt against
the modern society and its ways. It is a state of opposition to the
church, the politically correct and normal points-of-view. Black
metal is an expression of... it is words of darkness that produce light
inside a rotten society.
The quintessential song of ours is Iketis from the Skotos Aenaon
album (featuring the line, "black holes guide me to the Olympian
METALLIAN: If you could predict the future what will black metal
sound like in five years? Let this be a time capsule.
MORPHEAS: I believe that nothing will change. More bands may be...I
mean we have seen Satyricon changing in the last five years, we have
seen Ulver creating weird things that are not in touch with the metal
genre and I really don't know. I think there will be bands, which
will produce music the way black metal should sound like; there will
be bands doing weird stuff like Ulver and Mysticum. I don't think
that black metal will change that much. The main concept of the scene
will be the same. Black metal doesn't have the opportunity to change
that much. This is good for me. It will prevent the creation of
future crappy bands. Maybe the labels will be fed up with black metal
and will stop the commercialization of the music. Maybe the wanna-be
fans of black metal will not be into black metal.
METALLIAN: What is new and upcoming with Naer Mataron then?
MORPHEAS: We are writing new music for Naer Mataron right now,
although nothing is finished yet. The new one should be out a year
from now. Selbstmord Services will release discipline Manifesto as
double-vinyl. There are plans for concerts with Norway's Kampfar in
Belgium and more shows in the spring in The Netherlands with Zemial.
We are also releasing a split-EP with a death metal band from Spain
called Voice Of Hate. We are doing this for the cult feeling. They
are an ancient band.
METALLIAN: Morpheas, thank you for your time and the explanations.
MORPHEAS: You are welcome. I am glad that you like this album. I have
read your previous reviews of our albums and you finally like us!
It is not my pick to like or not like an album; rather it is the
band's work and it is aspirations to excellence that justifies an
opinion. Discipline Manifesto is as sure a bet as a Greek
archbishop's love for cash and gold and is available though Black
Lotus. More information on the band is to be had at www.naermataron.com.