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Valborg Summon Industrial Nightmares on “Alphakomet”

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Shifting time signatures and rich synthesizers underpin “Alphakomet,” the new track from Valborg’s upcoming new album Zentrum, but to get to them you first have to get through a wall of primitivist, almost industrial stomp and grind. This tonal juxtaposition, with a front half of a song feeling mechanical and harsh like your favorite punk-metal martial industrial heroes segueing into a cold and almost cosmic close that would feel at home with Blut Aus Nord as it would with Pinkish Black, underscores what Valborg do so well. In their own words (check out our interview with vocalist Jan Buckard below), it was more intuitive, sparked by the single purpose of needing an uptempo and heavy track, with those other elements falling naturally into place from gut instinct rather than deliberate placement.

This level of organic construction goes a long way. There is no slight to more cerebral compositional styles, such as the aforementioned Blut Aus Nord or the folks in Locrian, but it’s an altogether different and charming kind of thing to hear work as nuanced and layered as this having come from pure, well-honed instincts instead. In turn it also validates those progressive structures that underpin the track; they are clearly not a pretentious affect but instead an honest, pure, and direct expression of internal space and color. “Alphakomet” may not be the direct heavy metal ripper that many might imagine, but what it is instead is still remarkable: at turns heavy, mechanical, and celestial, expressing an inner rage that seems to spill out from the machine intestines of the modern city up, up, up, into the cold and silent stars.

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I hear a lot of non-metal atmospheric ideas on “Alphakomet” which coincide with a lot of similar moments across your discography. Do you happen to have any non-metal groups in mind when you are composing or who’s ideas you find inspirational?

Oh, that’s funny. Because for us “Alphakomet” is one of the metal attack tracks on the new album. Anyway, in our everyday lives we don’t listen to much metal at all, but we also don’t listen to music that could have inspired this track. I really can’t tell. “Alphakomet” was written in 30 minutes. There are a lot of songs which are written like that. [Me] sitting behind the drums, Christian getting into a crazy mood on guitar, like “this song must destroy everything” and Florian bicycling around in the nature.

Your sound has always played with industrial. Do you feel kinship to that label? If so, do you feel your group is more a metal or an industrial group in terms of ethos and your own intended direction for the group?

We keep things simple, so we are just a metal band. But we really like Al Jourgensen and Ministry. He is just a cool guy, creating cool music. So, we like industrial. But industrial is really something different than Valborg, don’t you think?

There is a gorgeous wall of synths with a descending bass line that closes out the song that feels almost more akin to something Emeralds might have done, one of the synth-heavy noise associated groups. Do you feel any kinship with groups like Emeralds or Pinkish Black? Where does your approach for using synths in that kind of rich, evocative, modernist way come from?

Never heard about those bands before. We just thought that the ending of the song had to be epic and it just evolved over time. There were some basic layers, then we had some lead guitar/ambient layers, then we had some new synth layers. The synths at the end of the song are really important, because those simple layers give a very personal, emotional edge to the song. It’s the moment when your mouth corners move down, with a nodding head, thinking “yes, this is the shit, you are right” and then you start to cry in hate-strength.

“Alphakomet” uses a similar juxtaposition of relatively simple and punkish Celtic Frost-style slashes of guitar against rich synths. What is it about this juxtaposition that draws you to it? Is there some mood or thought you are trying to achieve with it?

I really like it when outside people think so much about the music, that is simply created out of the guts. I don’t know a lot of people who plan everything ahead, and we never did it. It’s always the same: the things grow while you create it. Our experience is, when you plan such stuff, write everything down, it just turns out to be complete crap. We just start with a little thing and this starts to grow and evolve. But without thinking. When we add synths or vocals or guitar lines, the only thing that we know is, that we have to add something and that’s it. And most of the time we just start to record it and see what happens. Sorry for the disillusion.

Zentrum releases May 17th via Prophecy Productions.

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