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Interview: Climaxia of Melencolia Estatica

I never cared much for film. For whatever reason, it always made more sense for me to devour the written words, envisioning scenarios and painting landscapes with my mind’s eye rather than relying on someone else’s perspective. It took a visit to the Berlin Film Museum last November to shake me of that stubborn view, and for my companion’s insistence that I focus on one particular exhibit on one remarkable film to seal the deal. Fritz Lang’s 1927 masterwork Metropolis offers viewers a look deep into a jarring, dystopian world that still strikes a chord with those of us living in the aftermath of 1984. The similarities are impossible to ignore; a CCTV camera is pointed at the front of my house as I type. One only hopes that Lang’s vision of an industrialized, soulless future won’t prove to be quite as prescient as Metropolis threatens.

Climaxia, the main songwriter, composer, and founder of relatively obscure Italian black metallers Melencolia Estatica, is an ardent fan of Lang’s work. She found herself especially drawn to the iconic film in question, around which the band’s third and newest album, Hel, is based. It’s the band’s first release since 2008’s Letum (ATMF) and the first to feature new vocalist/lyricist Afthenktos alongside drummer Thorns and Climaxia’s guitars, bass, and vocal orchestrations. Begun as a one-woman project and gradually expanded to include outside influences, Melencolia Estatica remains Climaxia’s sole vision, and conjures up haunting, cold, adventurous black metal for the end of days.

Shortly after Temple of Torturous released the six-song LP, she answered a few questions for us about the band’s rebirth, the new album (stream a song below), and human damnation.

Could you please give me a bit of background on Melencolia Estatica? The project went on hiatus after 2008’s Letum; how did you come to revive it?

Many years have passed since I started to write material for M.E. My purpose was to create different, personal music inspired by my point of view on various topics and emotions, and trying to create something different compared to the music I was playing with Absentia Lunae in that period. The first release was a good start for M.E, lots of people gave their attention to that album and the good response gave me the opportunity to start working on Letum; it remains one of the best albums I have ever recorded. Letum was an important step for the project, a big step forward for the old M.E. that got very close to the result I was trying to achieve with Hel. Besides that, we did a couple gigs during the release of Letum that helped me to understand that Melencolia Estatica was the kind of project that worked best during gigs.

Vocalist/lyricist Afthenktos is a more recent addition to the band, after Solitudo’s departure. Has it been difficult getting comfortable with a new voice and new way of writing lyrics? How did he end up joining the band?

I’ve known Afthenktos for many years but we’ve only been working together for a couple of years. Our first collaboration was with the project Lintver, and the alchemy between us worked in such a positive way on the recordings that I wanted to extend our collaboration with M.E. The transition between two such differnt modes of singing has been been easy because Hel is distinguishable from previous music in many aspects of the composition and atmospherics; a change of voice was inevitable. Afthenktos gave a very important contribution in the writing of the lyrics that fully realized the initial idea I had in mind before the recording of Hel.

You’ve been involved in a couple other bands as well, notably Lintver and Absentia Lunae. Are you currently working on any material for those bands, or just focusing on Melencolia Estatica for now?

At the moment I’m focusing on the gigs with M.E., the idea would be to do another concert in 2013 in Italy or abroad. For sure I’ll take a break before starting work on the concept of the next album. Lintver is currently on standby, I would like reprint the CD with a more well-known label to raise awareness of this project to fans of black folk metal. With Absentia Lunae, we are in the process of recording.

A song stream and more of our interview with Climaxia is below…

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