Hi there. Congratulations to your great new album. Please describe the reactions to the CD so far.
Thanx. People have gotten rashes and erections by listening to the album, I’ve been told! Neah, actually the response so far has been positive to almost overwhelming, so we are satisfied with what the listeners seem to think of the album.
Do you care for the opinion of your fans, the press and people in general? Or is it just you and your music?
To some extent it’s nice to get good feedback from the fans, press etc. but in the end it’s my/our satisfaction with the music that is most important.
Some of our readers may never have heard about you. Please give us a short briefing in the band's biography.
Well then they can shove a banana up their ass and eat it afterwards while reading this:
It was I, Trondr Nefas (vocals, lead guitars) and Enzifer (rythm guitars) who started this fuck-machine back in ’92. We released 2 demos in ’94 and ’95. Early ’96 we got a record deal with the German label No Colours and recorded our debut album “Arma Christi” the same year. The follow-up came in ’98 entitled “Massive Terrestrial Strike”. After that we changed label to Flesh For Beast who also started a collaboration with Agonia Records. We released the albums “Atomkinder” in 2001 and “Through Thick Fog ‘till Death” in 2003. After that, Flesh For Beast retired so our 5th album “Goatcraft Torment” got released in 2006 through Agonia Records. Shortly after, a 15-year anniversary album called “The Eternal Eclipse” was also released with a lot of rarities and a large photo booklet which “describes” the band throughout the years. All of these records are available on LP and the “Rise Of The Monument” demo was released as a picture LP in 2005(?) plus some 7” and shit all through Agonia Records. This demo (“Rise Of The Monument”) is also newly released on CD with bonus live tracks through Folter Records. Ok and over to the new album, during the year 2007 we considered changing our record label, we just thought it was about time to try something new and it was a lot of back and forth with several labels but we decided for Season Of Mist since they seemed to have a good offer for us. Most of the songs and lyrics of “Ikonoklast” were written approximately 2 years ahead of its release, but because of a lot of shit happening in the band at that time which is sorted out now (don’t want to go into details), the recording process was delayed; finally everything was finished 27th February 2009. Hurray!
Was there a moment when you realized that “Ikonoklast” would become something special?
I don’t know if it has become something special for our listeners, but for me it’s a very personal and special album and I knew we had good songs to record when we entered the studio but things can of course go wrong during a recording and many albums have probably suffered from a poor production and didn’t come out as good as one would hope to. But as soon as we had put on all the layers of guitars and bass upon the drums and just did some rough mixes to listen to before we went on with the rest of the shit, I started to realize that this album was going to be a special one for my taste.
Let's talk about your new CD. What are the differences between your last records and "Ikonoklast” in your opinion?
The production is more massive and it’s more elaborated than our previous album, but all in all I think this album, musically speaking, is actually a perfect combination of all our previous albums. No drastic changes, just a natural progression as we always try to achieve.
What are the reasons for these differences?
Given what I answered on the previous question, I’d say none...
My favourite song is "Cut Their Tongue Shut Their Prayer". Can you tell us something about this song and its history?
Actually that’s a song that Enzifer wrote both music and lyrics for, except the guitar solo which I composed and played. It’s his frustration and anger towards all types of religion in general and all the shit that comes with it. I think you can just hear the aggression in the riffs which, along with the lyrics, make a harsh statement of his fury.
And what about “Astral Projection To Rabid Hell"?
This is one of my songs, a song that might seem simplistic but which I actually put a lot of effort into. It starts off with a weird, disharmonic but catchy riff and from there on way out into the song you can clearly hear my inspiration from Celtic Frost but far from being a rip off; and as you can hear, at the end, all hell breaks loose with a furious riff and insane blast beats. Musically, I find this song very varied and it’s actually one of my favourite own compositions throughout time. The lyrics on the other hand are extremely satanic but very primitive and I think they fit the song very well.
Which one is your favourite song from the album and why?
A hard question to answer since I’m very pleased with every song on it, but as you can see in the answer above, “Astral Projection...” with the reason already told, but I also have a soft spot for “Holocaust In Utopia” because it’s the most complex song on the album, actually a very weird manner of putting the riffs together, but in a funny way it just sounds right; it’s a very dark and disharmonic and pretty fast song most of the time, but with a lot of variety in beat changes. The lyrics to the song are also very deep and grim.
How and why did you choose the album cover? Is there a further meaning behind it?
It was a lot of back and forth but we had decided that the title of the album would be “Ikonoklast” and therefore we chose to have some sort of religious symbol falling apart. We gave the assignment to a close friend of ours, who we refer to as R.M and he made several layout suggestions for us and what we ended up with was of course the one we felt fit the title best.
Are there some lyrics that are special to you? Tell us something about them.
For me it must be the lyrics of the song ”Kniven Rider Dypt I Natt” because it’s about the early days of the Norwegian Black Metal scene which brings a lot of nostalgia to me, it’s also a very personal lyric since every line in it is self-experienced and self-inflicted.
Where do you get your inspirations from?
Mostly from old-school Heavy, Thrash, Speed, Death and Black Metal, especially from the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal bands and the old South American extreme Metal scene and of course the early 90’s Norwegian Black Metal movement. I also get a lot of inspiration when I’m out hiking and on my fishing trips in the woods and mountains; solitude gives me a lot of inspiration.
What about the recording process of your new album? Any stories or curiosities to report?
Well, the recording was done during winter time and some of the days we slept in the studio and a crappy thing was that the pluming there had frozen so we had no fucking water, so every time we needed water we either got it from the supermarket or from the river that streams passed the studio so it was me and Enzifer who were spending most of the time in the studio and sometimes got bored so one night when we got drunk, we just needed to do something wild so Enzifer challenged me in the middle of the night to take a swim in the river in -10oC and so I did. The thing was that when we told the rest of the guys about this when they came the next day, they didn’t believe it, so I just had to jump in the river again but this time sober...just to prove it. But the funny thing is that I actually started liking it so now I do it as often as I have the possibility.
Another thing that came more spontaneously was the piano outro. We were just mesmerized by the sound of this old western piano from 1890 that they had recently gotten in the studio and Enzifer had this riff which we didn’t have room for in any of the songs and one of the days I and him were just playing this riff on our guitars in the studio and while we were doing that I came up with some more tunes so at the end I had added two more different “lines” to this riff. After that we started playing around with the piano to this part and found out that we could actually make something really cool out of this so we decided to call L.F.F from bands such as Wobbler, In Lingua Mortua, Angst Skvadron etc. since he is a genius when it comes to keyboards and vintage instruments in general; and so he came to the studio and the three of us started composing together what in the end L.F.F played and which became the outro of the album.
How would you describe your own music?
True Norwegian Black Metal.
How do you create your sound? Which equipment do you use?
During the last years and the last albums we have been using the same studio every time and from each album the recording is saved on the hard disk so we just go on from where we left it at the last album; that way we get to keep our unique Urgehal sound just with a slight adjustment or improvement. On this album, as on the 3 last ones, we have used Jackson Kelly guitars, Ibanez bass and different kinds of drum kits. The amps that we use on the guitars are a mix of Engl Powerball and Marshall JCM 800. The bass we have recorded one through the mixing table and another one through the Marshall JCM 800 and so on...
Please tell us something about the process of songwriting.
The way I write music is very different from song to song. Most of the time the music just comes to me naturally, I never sit down and decide that “now I’m going to make a song”, instead, I let the song come to me and the way it comes is usually while I’m just sitting, rehearsing and jamming by myself and other songs can just pop out in my head while I’m out walking especially in the nature for some reason.
What are your musical influences?
Same as where I get my inspiration from, but I can admit that I have bands that have influenced me over the years; the most important ones are Iron Maiden, Voivod, old Sepultura, old Slayer, Bathory, Celtic Frost, Megadeth, Sodom, Kreator, Venom, early Burzum, Dark Throne, the 2 first Mayhem albums, Acheron, Bolt Thrower, old Death, Motörhead, old Morbid Angel, Sadus, Morgoth, Obituary etc.
We'd like to know something about your background in making music. How did you learn to play, what are your experiences and which musicians are your main technical influence?
I learnt to play guitar from my uncle back in 1989 and in 1990 we had music lessons at school until 1992 and I played acoustic guitar there. But I got myself my own electric guitar in 1991 (before that I had only borrowed my uncle’s guitar) and apart from what I learnt from my uncle and from school, I’m all self-taught.
The actual guitarist that made me want to start playing guitar and which still is one of my big influences is Dave Murray from Iron Maiden, other guitarists are Dave Mustaine, Marty Friedman, Chuck Schuldiner, Ralph Santolla, James Murphy, Steve Howe.
Please name some lately released CDs that you like to listen to at home.
I’m sad for my own sake at least, but I think there’s mostly shit within Metal that’s been released recently, so the newer albums that come to mind that I like aren’t all of them that new anymore but nevertheless there are some albums that i’m going to try to be open-minded and not extremely strict about. So first up here are some “newer” releases which I really like:
I was blown away by the great sound and atmosphere from the new Iron Maiden live album Flight666, Jex Thoth – “Jex Thoth”, Diskord – “Doomscapes” , Orcustus – “Orcustus”, Elektrozombiez – the split with Hellborm Messiah, Voivod – “Infini”, Obituary – “Xecutioner’s Return”, Death Breath – “Stinking Up The Night” and their EP “Let It Stink”, Aura Noir – “Hades Rise”, Virus – “The Black Flux”, Adorior – “Author Of Incest”, Wobbler – “Afterglow” (prog-rock), and here are some bands that at least didn’t disappoint me and were pretty good: Deicide – “Till Death Do Us Part”, Benediction – “Killing Music”, AC/DC – “Black Ice”, Taake – “Taake”, Deathcult – “Cult Of The Dragon”, Dark Throne – “Dark Thrones & Black Flags”, Spearhead – “Decrowning The Irenarch” (and by the way the upcoming album seems to become a fuckin’ brilliant one), Krypt – “Preludes To Death”, MEW – “No More Stories Are Told Today I’m Sorry They Washed Away/ No More Stories The World Is Grey I’m Tired Let’s Wash Away” (progressive pop-rock).
Do you still watch other bands play? Have there been some shows lately that impressed you?
I rarely go to concerts anymore since I get to see so many bands when I’m out playing especially at festivals and the fact that I have seen almost every possible band which I wanted to see and most of them were in their glory days. The two last gigs/concerts that I really enjoyed were Electrozombiez and the latest ZZ-Top tour, both in Romania, but the concerts that have made an eternal impact on me in the last years were of course the Iron Maiden “The Early Days” pt. 1 and 2 in Norway. After those two shows I almost feel like I don’t need to go to a concert anymore.
What makes the difference between URGEHAL and other Black Metal bands?
The fact that Urgehal has got balls and that my woman fucks me way better than any woman/groupie of any other Black Metal bands around! Seriously, OK, I’m not all joking he he, but Urgehal has been around for almost 18 years and we have never whimped out and that being said, even though I’ve been dissing the Metal scene of today, I see there’s light at the end of the tunnel. On purpose, I don’t keep track of the Metal scene of today (because it mostly stinks!) but there are bands that may blossom into something good in the near future in the Black Metal scene. The most promising bands in my eyes are Diskord (although that’s Death Metal), Koldbrann, Sarkom, Svarttjern, (probably a couple of other bands as well, sorry for not remembering)
We'd like to know something about the underground in your hometown. Are you still in touch? And if so: Where do you hang out? Are there some yet unknown bands that you like?
Yeah, I’m still in touch with what I will say is probably one of the last true underground movements in the Black Metal scene in Norway, being the alcoholised, fucked-up, don’t-give-a-damn, and will-bite-your-nose-off gang – HØNEFOSS MILITSEN (we are hated by many and loved by few, but definitely feared by the most). Hønefoss Militsen was started (without this name of course, it just came along over the years) by two different “mafias” which in the early 90’s hated the guts out of each other but who a few years later joined forces and became friends and band mates for life. We have grown in numbers since that time and besides my woman and my nearest family, these are the people that I respect and love the most, people who I would give my life for. We either hang out at the local bar in Hønefoss called Lloyd’s, but most of the time we just drink ourselves stupid at different home parties within the gang. The best part is when we go to the woods with beer, food, metal and fishing gear and have a party out there! That’s the place where it really happens (I’m sorry for the wildlife while we’re partying those days...but we respect Nature and always clean up afterwards).
Bands that are unknown are a bit hard to tell because we are talking about underground Metal here. Some of them I have mentioned above but then I would like to promote some of my other Bands besides Urgehal which should be checked out (like it or fuck it!):
1. Angst Skvadron – Psychedelic/ Progressive Rock/Metal
2. Beastcraft – pure fucking ugliest Black Metal ever
3. Endezzma – Progressive Psychedelic Black Metal
4. Vulture Lord – Death/Thrash/Black Metal
5. Bloodsworn – Extreme Industrial Death/Black Metal (old recording)
How important is it for you to play live on stage?
I hate touring (like over two weeks) because, being a misanthrope, it goes on my nerves badly. That being said, festivals are OK to play, but I prefer mini-tours with 2-4 gigs because then the alcohol and drugs don’t consume me and I can do good shows and at the same time get out all of my interiorized aggression.
Are there still some bands that you would die to play with?
Please tell us something about further Live activities.
We’re going to promote this album throughout Winter, Spring and some festivals during Summer, we’ll probably start off with a release party in our hometown in the end of January and what I remember now two gigs in the Netherlands ( 13th and 14th of February) and maybe something in Czech Republic (about 26th February?). We’ve also been offered to go on tour with Satyricon and Gorgoroth, but we decided not to do them; we also have a tour that we could join in with Taake and some other bands as a festival tour for two weeks, but we’ll see about that one because we want to do our own tour as headlining band again since we feel it’s the right time to do it now. We’ll also probably do some mini-tours from February to July in Norway and Europe (and maybe try to do something in Central/South America), because I’m planning to do a one year trip in the mountains in Norway, purely living out of what Nature provides me with and what my own back can carry, in total solitude (this will probably be filmed and released on DVD later).
Still three questions to go. What do you think of Metal web magazines?
I miss the old primitive underground magazines and I still prefer real magazines so I have something in my hand...cause my dick is in my woman’s hand you see...and the fact that I’m a collector when it comes to Metal-related items. The internet has come to stay though so there’s nothing to do about that anyway, and as I said, I prefer paper but I’ve also had some good laughs in front of the computer reading Metal webzines.
Is there something that you have never been asked but always have been eager to say?
YES! Have I ever shat my bed while being a grownup? And the answer is: YES! Some days ago I had diarrhea and woke up in the morning while I thought I was farting but to my despair I had an ominous feeling that something was very wrong, and yep, when I turned around there was a river of shit on the sheet.
We are looking forward seeing you in Germany. Best wishes to you all. Any last words?
It’s been a while since we’ve toured Germany now, we’ve only done some festivals lately, so we’re with you, looking forward to fuck up Germany once again.
Thanx for the interview and if you have diarrhea remember to emty your stomach before going to bed. Hail Satanas!