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Black metal is interesting in the sense that it can so easily be fused with other genres. Take, for example, At the Altar of the Horned God, whose debut Through Doors of Moonlight successfully melds the genre with darkwave, post-punk, and other gothic styles. Granted, a few decades ago this would be a verboten mix, but black metal's tabula rasa texture and atmosphere (read as: static, humming) works as a perfect foil to other equally as textured music. At the Altar of the Horned God's ritualistic ambiance, is singular, and on "Prayer I," which can be exclusively streamed below, does this religious atmosphere fully take hold. Listen to "Prayer I" and read a brief interview with project mastermind Heolstor below.

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What first inspired you to fuse elements of darkwave and black metal together?

My goal was to create hypnotic, trance-inducing music, and both styles have the capacity to do so, if done correctly. Both are dark and emotional styles of music and it's not difficult to create a common thread between them. I'm certainly not the first one doing so, but I think I managed to fuse them in a unique, personal way, or at least I hope so.

Through Doors of Moonlight has an otherworldly, trance-inducing character to it -- is it meant to be psychedelic and mind-altering?

Yes, the goal is to take the listener into an aural journey back in time, to recreate the atmosphere that the mystery religions of old had, with the use of modern instruments and sensibilities but appealing to the same atavistic aspects of nature in man. I want the listener to shed their human consciousness if only for a moment, and to submerge themselves into the archetypical forest, throwing themselves at the feet of the Horned One.

The references to Pan (among other gods) found throughout the album (and in your band's name) are obvious, but what it means is much more obscured. Is this album meant to celebrate music in the same sense that "Horned God" represents it?

The album is meant to be a mystical prayer to the archetype of the Horned God, who manifests as Pan, Cernunnos and many other deities. I see it as the avatar of untouched Nature, the representative of those hidden places of power that still exist only in the deepest of woods. It's a celebration of mankind's insignificance when compared to the raw spiritual energy of the forest, represented by the Horned One. My goal is not to appeal to a forlorn pagan past, but to the atavistic, primal mysticism that most cultures have lost nowadays. This is a search for the lost connection humanity had with the darker side of nature; the sensation of walking in the forest alone in the night, or exploring a deep cave, or climbing a solitary peak. My goal is to bring forth that small, little scared hairless ape inside all of us and show them the glory of the Horned One.

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At the Altar of the Horned God does not use social media.
Through Doors of Moonlight releases April 17th on I, Voidhanger Records.

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