IO vs. Necros Christos: The Final (?) Interview
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Interview with Mors Dalos Ra
Few self-proclaimed “occult” bands - black metal or otherwise - walk the walk as well as they talk the talk. Just like it’s probably best not to believe everything your Christian fundie grandmama tells you about sex, it’s prudent to remember that not every live performance counts as a “ritual,” and that not every band with a few esoteric symbols scattered willy-nilly across their album covers really knows what they’re saying. As anyone who’s spent more than a few moments with their enigmatic death metal sorcery (whether on Triune Impurity Rites, Doom of the Occult, or one of their myriad splits and demos) or anticipated their upcoming third album, Domedon Doxomedon, should surely cop onto, Necros Christos are not among these lot. If anything, band helmsman Mors Dalos Ra and his compatriots are in a league of their own.
This piece was a long time coming. I first contacted Mors about this interview last February, and over the following seven or so months, spent loads of time talking to him and his bandmates, explored the catacombs beneath a medieval church and touched the hand of a mummified Crusader alongside them in Dublin, and saw them play in two different countries – Ireland and the Netherlands – all the while getting antsier and antsier about seeing the results. Mors took his time, though, insisting that it would be worth the wait. As always, he was right.
Bringing Ankit Sinha, who writes for Heathen Harvest and hosts the “Infernal Dominion” show on Brutal Existence Radio, into the mix was a pivotal decision, as his insights and questions proved invaluable. The collaborative nature of this piece and the sheer amount of thought and care that Mors took in crafting his answers are reason enough to make this one feel special. However, as he reveals further down, this is special in its own right as well, for being one of the very last – if not last, full stop – interview that Necros Christos will ever give. It is their premature impure burial. Doom of Nekros . . . death of Christos.
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Kim Kelly: As a longtime student of theology, mythology, the occult, and the esoteric, you’ve clearly gained a deep understanding of and I daresay appreciation for the religious rites and theories of a great many other cultures; your tributes range from Hathor to Kali, touch upon Christianity and Judaism, reference ancient Middle Eastern tomes, hail the lord of Hell and whisper of voodoo. Cultivating such a close relationship with the words of the dead and the magical must have had some effect on your personal belief systems; can you shed some light on that? Do you put faith into any of the religions and dogmas you invoke, or simply regard them as worthy areas of study and respect? For you, what comes after Death - an afterlife, a rotting, a nothingness?
All is One; and One is All. That should be the fundamental thought of my spiritual studies, although my belief is a complex tangle consisting of many systems, fragments, ideas.
I agree with the main three concepts of “Ari” Isaak Luria (1534 -1572) regarding his mystical states named Zimzum (the self chosen exile of Ain Soph eternal to create), Shevirath ha-Kelim (the breaking of the vessels while not being able to stand the supernatural light of Ain Soph; the mystical fall of Adam Qadmon) and Tiqqun (the new aeon, recreation). Ah, and yes, I indeed feel a certain connection with parts in Hinduism and old Persian, Zoroastrian worship. Concerning Christology, I must seriously admit that I'm a follower of many thoughts according to ancient Christian Gnosis as well as Sethian Gnosticism. It might shock people to the bone, but I do, for real, believe in Christos, but seriously not as the Church does “see him”.
While speaking about that complex tangle of mine, this man has indeed walked the earth, the sands and plains of unfruitfulness and desolation. He was a prophet, anointed by the all-existing light and will of Ain Soph and by far not the only son/soul of God, nor was he without failure. But he knew about the source of all sources and he spoke in many tongues. Politics were omnipresent though, even in ancient Galilee and Palestine and so his words were unheard and fear about His presence conquered the hearts of the nonbelievers. His inner nature, his real nature, was set free while being crucified; what the disgusting Church made out of it is another, truly sad story. That's about Christos within me, and within the name of The Temple. Necros translates as “dead”, but it also represents the ancient lord of all lords of evil, waiting and wailing in dimensions unknown. The End-Entity lurking in the shadows to deceive us and getting stronger by every “sin” we create. What do I mean with “sin”? Not the ordinary type of Christian thinking, we simply do not hear His word anymore. Have we ever heard it though? Actually once, when only the “Aleph” did intonate, vibrated from Mount Sinai and send fear into the hearts of His people. Since the “all-souls-containing” pool of primordial Adam Qadmon broke in millions of pieces (Shevirath ha-Kelim), we're damned to multiple, sheer endless soul incorporation until we shall be able to re-enter His chambers of light. We haven't been blessed and touched by His light since ages, and now, at present times, we have to feel His darkness. We all shall see the supernatural light of Ain Soph clothed in abysmal darkness when the time has come . . . soon, I tell you.
KK: Throughout your career, your lyrics and song titles have shown a particular interest in occult female figures, from Ereskigal to the Witch of Endor, Kali to Mary Magdalene, to the cursed Virgin herself. It’s interesting to see a band who worships Death spare so much time for the bearers of Life; is there any connection here, or am I reading into things too deeply?
Life and Death, just two words for the same process of entering a world in its own, the bearers of life are the bringers of death, isn't it so?
But hey, yes, you're right, the female aspect has been of great importance in my lyrics. I hardly can explain why, let's say that in my subjective point of view, women possess real might while being aesthetically gifted in comparison to men. Maybe that's a slight attempt of explaining my addiction of evil female characters amongst historical figures, demons and witches.
KK: You’ve mentioned elsewhere that your amateur archaeologist father exposed you to the sights and sounds of the ancient world at a very young age. Do you remember the first time you really paid attention to the Turkish and Arabian music you were hearing? What about it captured your interest, and how did you first start deciphering how to incorporate it into the heavy metal you discovered later? Do you have any old demo tapes lying around, filled with rudimentary scales and early riffs?
Yeah Kim, I indeed have those old tapes lying around, filled with some old riffs of mine, but most of them are damn shit anyway. I hardly can imagine the exact moment I really paid attention to Middle Eastern music, but it might not be exaggerated when saying, that I always was addicted to its depth, its sound and what it vibrated in my most inner self when hearing classical Turkish and Arabian music for the first time. My father got me around it, i.e. Turkey, in a time when tourism was in its early steps and not this massive business thing as it is by now. This must have been around 1984 I guess. I remember seeing a baglama/saz player on one of our first trips when I was a child and I stood there, watching his playing with absolute fascination. Today, I mostly consume classical Indian and Persian music and while hearing, I feel like coming home. Can't explain it much better.
KK: Your previous band, Drowned, has slowly but surely resurrected itself in the shadow of 2006’s flawless Viscera Terrae. Necros Christos undoubtedly takes up a lot of time and energy for you and Tlmnn Shepherd, but one hopes that you’ll be able to participate in the proceedings. Can you tell me a bit about what Drowned has planned for the coming year, and the coming album?
I sadly can't, sorry Kim. I had to get myself out of Drowned's activities, mostly due to my less time. As far as I know, Mister Shepherd and his new neophytes have several songs written and a full length isn't out of sight, that's the good news here. I told Tlmnn Shepherd many times, that I would be there if he needs a vocalist, but honestly, I would prefer if some of his musicians would take care of the vocal duties. I really would like to see Drowned playing live again, but as it won't be with me though, it shall obviously be better if one of his mates does the vocals on the recording . . . and live. This band deserves so much more recognition, let's hope they will come up with something new and outstanding very soon. The same goes for Red Abyss, the new band of former Drowned drummer Theby. I am seriously longing for a demo as I know this man breathes obscure Death Metal, as Tlmnn Shepherd has done for ages.
KK: It is hard to believe that Doom of the Occult is only your second full-length, but intriguing to chart the band’s progress from the Necromantic Doom demo up 'til now. The last decade has seen you truly hone your craft, and incorporate more and more of your atmospheric and occult influences into the compositions. Earlier releases focused predominantly on the desecration and blaspheming of Christ, but starting with Triune Impurity Rites, your lyrical focus seemed to shift into more esoteric realms and, musically speaking, ushered in a greater emphasis on unorthodox, exotic instrumentation and dynamics. What caused this shift? Was it the organic growth of a band approaching its zenith, or a conscious decision?
I never witnessed my musical creation process being a conscious decision, from time to time, I got/get hit by inspiration and then it flows out of me. Just recently, I did compose a new Ra Al Dee song and it took only three days to finally get the piece done. With Ra Al Dee, we might get an outstanding offer to perform in 2013; if so, we simply have to record at least a mini album as the “demo” dates back to 2009.
Speaking about Necros Christos again, it's nearly the same writing process. I can't say why my compositions are always becoming longer, more obscure, indoctrinated strange rhythm patterns and getting darker yet more epic all the time. In the end, I seriously feel that it's not my decision. I know damn well that a lot of artists out of the Black/Death/occult Rock area say things like that, but I couldn't care less as I simply have to speak for myself, without telling advertising rumours.
KK: Speaking of atmosphere, this is one element that NC have always both treated as another instrument, and wielded as a deadly weapon. I know from our last interview that you conjured up the gorgeous acoustic interludes entirely by your own hand, and the hands of friends and comrades. It would be so easy to buy a Protools plug in and create a fake organ, but Necros Christos are not the kind of band to take the easy way out. Why is this authenticity, this painstaking attention to detail, so important to you? Do you feel that many bands today have gotten lazy, spoiled by technology, and happy to take shortcuts?
Yes, indeed that is the case, Kim. A greater amount of easy available technology serves some people/musicians well. Just imagine Rainbow or early Purple times and what an album as Doom of the Occult would have meant back then? Today, I sadly feel that not many people really appreciate the authentic way we go. Many bands (and even some that I really like) use a lot of samples while indeed sounding dark. But, what effort would they be forced to put into their records if technology wouldn't be on its actual state, eh? And then, im kol da ["with all of that" - Ed.] there's an album as Doom of the Occult, no non-authentic note, and who really cares?
KK: To veer into more technical territory for a moment: how do you achieve that crushing, otherworldly tone? What kind of gear and effects do you employ? A Necros Christos song is instantly identifiable on the guitar tone alone - there must be some kind of black magic at work.
Well, thanks a lot for your words, Kim, but regarding that we used different kind of gear through all of our recordings, the “secret” must be plain and simple as you've pointed it out; black magic is at hand . . . and it is beautiful.
It is our playing alone I guess. I can't and will not hide that we play really good equipment by now. As for myself, I got an endorsement deal with German company Hoyer and do play an Arrow (Flying V type) custom made model, incredible sound, no doubt about that. Raelin plays/endorses some really excellent cymbals from Samsun, but all of that just came after the release of Doom of the Occult, so you can't blame the equipment only.
Ankit Sinha: The conceptual/aesthetical emphasis on Doom of the Occult is astoundingly executed and it emanates a mystical atmosphere, which is marvelously enrapturing. While the album art is taken from John Martin's "The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah", the album booklet has a reference to the nine-branched candelabrum which Jewish people use for Hanukkah, thus giving the album an ancient feeling, and is definitely a visual medium to represent the nine esoteric death metal psalms which this mammoth album consists of. How would you describe this connection with the concept of Doom of the Occult?
As you said, Ankit, the new record is built over the 9-branched candelabrum that Jewish people use for Chanukka, although the content on this album should not be linked with that special event in Jewish history. The candelabrum works as an architectonic form with every Metal song representing one of the 9 flames of the Lord Necros Christos. Hearing those flames means bringing the entity to rise from its tomb. The first two flames, Baal of Ekron and Hathor of Dendera deal about ancient Gods and Idols out of Palestine and Egypt. Flame number three and four, represented by Necromantique Nun and Invoked from Carrion Slumber deal with the dark tale of the witch of En-Dor, which can be read in 1.Samuel 28, 7 – 13. The middle flame (light five) deals with the Indian trinity Kali, Shakti and Shiva while the flames 6 and 7, named Succumbed to Sarkum Phagum and Visceras of the Embalmed Deceased, are about the mouldering of flesh as it was witnessed in ancient Egypt. The last two flames, The Pharaonic Dead and Descending into the Kingly Tomba, deal with the sepulchres of the pharaonic kings.
AS: Doom of the Occult's lyrical theme largely revolves around the mysteries and occult of the East, ancient Egypt and its rites of death and also a beautiful hymn carved in the name of the Hindu occult deity ''Kali'' on the hymn ''Doom of Kali Ma - Pyramid of Shakti Love - Flame of Master Shiva'' which interestingly contains many words in Hindi. My friend Kunal helped you with the translations, but I must also commend your dedicated effort in pronouncing the words clearly and distinctively. It would have sounded more amazing if any Indian instruments, especially the Sitar could have been incorporated within the song structure, though. Regarding the lyrics, were you influenced by Persona Navitae's 'The Manifestation of Kali in Universe as an Astrophysical Anomaly' while conjuring this hymn?
No, not really, I simply wrote what the spiritual concepts of Kali, Shakti Ma, and Shiva meant to me and let it translate by Kunal. I indeed phoned him many times to get the right pronunciation of the words, but I think it worked really well, yes.
The Sitar, what an unbelievable instrument, isn't it? In my worthless opinion, it is one of the most beautiful, if not THE most beautiful of all stringed instruments. Did you know that the Indian Veena is said to be created by Shiva himself? When hearing classical Indian music, I must say that ALL of it must have been created by Shiva himself as it can't get more complex, mind blowing and beautiful. My favourite album of the last few months is from the female Indian khyal master Kaushiki Chakrabarty. The “album” is called Pure and although a live recording, I never heard the Raag Madhuvanti in any greater perfection. Let me tell you that I simply adore musicians as Chakrabarty, Ustad Shahid Parvez, Nikhil Banerjee, Purbayan Chaterjee, Ali Akbar Khan, Girija Devi, Ustad Irshad Khan, Hessamoddin Seraj, Salar Aghili, just to name a few. Classical Indian and Persian music is definitely the absolute and main source of inspiration for me. By the way, I started to take Sitar lessons in autumn 2011.
I bought an incredible instrument which originally came from Varanasi and I found a great teacher/guru called Sebastian Dreyer, who dedicates his whole life and musical career to classical, North Indian music only. I just attended one of his concerts yesterday though, what an unbelievable master and musician he is. He will, of course, have his guest appearance on Domedon Doxomedon, the whole album will have a lot of Indian influences musical wise, you'll all see and hear in years to come, I promise.
AS: The Necros Christos opuses are represented as a ''mass'' with beautifully orchestrated ''Temples'' and ''Gates'' which introduce the main hymns. These instrumentals create a very majestic environment with a ritualistic demeanor, and makes Necros Christos stand apart from an average extreme metal band. I was especially blown away by the Eastern sounding acoustic ''Gates," which reminded me of your side project, Ra Al Dee Experience. What is the significance of this project's name, and what do you have in store for RADE? How did your most recent live performance, in Dublin, Ireland, go?
Yeah, I already talked a bit about Ra Al Dee`s future plans, just read above folks. The band's name is a simple mixture between both Ben's and my artist name(s), Ra and Dee, the “al” originally being the main article in Arabian though. Honestly, it obviously makes no real sense between our names, but I loved the sound of Ra Al Dee Experience, so we went with it since the beginning. You know, Ben and me, we already played little occasions here and there years and years ago, like at fests of my music schools for whom I work, even before we decided to go for a serious two piece.
The Dublin show was a great kick in the ass, it went so well and everyone seemed to be really into it, so we will definitely play more shows in a not so distant future. Imagine mostly Metal brethren and sisters sitting on the floor while two guys performing strange oriental music, priceless, if you ask me. I'm so damn thankful about everyone who was there and gave us such a nice feedback, so I really hope RADE has some kind of a slight yet successful future.
AS: I recently came to know that you have began working on the third and final Necros Christos opus entitled as Domedon Doxomedon. Now in my knowledge, Domedon Doxomedon is the manifestation of a 'god' according to the Egyptian Gnosticism, as found in the mysterious gospels of the Nag Hammadi library and it seems like a very intriguing topic to explore. How is the preparation for the album going on? Are we bound to experience more otherwordly and innovative ideas on this forthcoming onslaught?
As all of you might know by now, it shall indeed be the last album of Christos Necros. And I really want to have kind of a controversy to fade from the scene. Some people shall say “Yes, it is the final album because what could come afterwards?”. The rest might say things like “Well, finally, it is the last album and may we thank God for it, as it is sooo fucking strange and different from the beginning that the end was unavoidable”.
Got me my friends? Domedon Doxomedon is a Coptic/Greek term meaning lord of the house, lord of glory. It represents an aeon of the Supreme One to come, so let me quote: “Domedon Doxomedon appeared, the eternal realm of eternal realms, with thrones in it, powers around it, and glories and incorruptions.” (The Holy Book of the Great Invisible Spirit, Nag Hammadi Codices III, 2; IV, 2). The whole text is inappropriately called “Gospel of the Egyptians” since the late 1940s and unfortunately, a lot of translations bear this strange name. But the record in itself is shaping more and more; I've approximately 70% of the Metal songs written and more than a bunch of ideas for all the temples and gates. It will be our magnum opus nonetheless, featuring 9 temples, 9 songs and 9 gates.
AS: Yet another praiseworthy aspect of Necros Christos is the way you present your live rituals in a ceremonial style. While an average death and black metal band is loaded with bullet belts, chains, spikes and leather during live performances; Necros Christos has something uncanny to offer. The exotic ritualistic garment which you adorn on stage enhances the overall mystique of Necros Christos. Hence, I am very interested in getting enlightened about the development of NC's live aesthetic, especially that brilliant Middle Eastern-ish garb which you also sport in certain Ra Al Dee Experience pictures.
Ah yeah, that is a curious story, man. I once walked upon a big bazaar here in Berlin, where a lot of Turkish and Arabian people have their things to offer. I saw this incredible garment hanging there and asked the old woman behind the table “Where does it come from?” “From Turkey!”, she answered. And I said “Well, it is simply beautiful, how much is it?”, and she said “Three Euros.” I guess you can imagine that I did not bargain about the price but paid immediately. I just recently met an amazing guy from India who has his own little store in Berlin and I hope I can buy black kurtas from him for upcoming NC live performances. So you see Ankit, our presentation might not change back to bullet belts at all, haha.
AS: The ''9.9.9'' symbology (Darkness.Damnation.Death) expressed by you is a visually alluring concept and somehow, it explains the essence of reaching a higher plane of spiritual transcendence with material death. Death is not the end but the beginning of something grand; something which is beyond the realms of mortal understanding. Is this concept synonymous with some of the teachings of the Qabbalah Mysticism? Have you ever tried to achieve 'transcendence' through means of mediation or by performing any rituals?
Uh, this ritual kind of thing. I was asked that question very often and I will not answer fully to that, sorry. Just that: Yes, I did rituals. I even did a lot in my early twenties, some of 'em should better be never remembered again due to their horrible content.
In contrary, meditation, or call it “praying in a spiritual way” in my case, is something, which I try to do every day. I understand “darkness” as kind of an absence from Ain Soph eternal, the essence of all essences, so yes, indeed the ddd-999 symbology has serious links to Qabalah mysticism.
For those with an open heart, may you remember my words:
As for the flesh, the tomb betokens darkness.
For the soul, death betokens light.
The grand Necros Christos bestoweth its blessings unto you,
Thanks a lot for the incredible interview Kim and Ankit, the last one for years to come.
Be blessed and touched by His light,
mors dalos ra