TERATISM is mysterious and little is really known about the
history, can you expand on the origins of the band from the
beginning up to the present?
Murder: This is always my least favorite question in interviews.
We have answered the question of our origins many times before,
and those answers can be found on the Internet through various
sources. I think there is some value in being enigmatic or mysterious
as you put it. The original core of TERATISM begins and
ends with Wrath and myself.
He and I have been friends since we were teenagers, when we
began our musical careers. Over the years we have gone through
various members, but I think that we have found our destined
formation with our current line-up. In all honesty our newest
member would be Domitian, and he has already put in 2 years,
so it' safe to say that we have been stable for a while now.
If you want more detailed information, I would suggest Metal-Archives,
as they seem to have remained current on our evolution.
Via Negativa is quite a step forward from Pure Unadulterated
Hate. Everything just seems tighter from songwriting to
arrangements, is there anything that would attribute to this?
Murder: Pure Unadulterated Hate was recorded
in January of 2006. Via Negativa was recorded
in June of 2006. So between the months of January and June we
wrote what was to become Via Negativa, with the
exception of the tracks Necrofuge and I Am the Darkness,
which were 2 of the tracks featured on our split with Bahimiron,
that we re-recorded. The track Satanos Thronos Esti from
Via Negativa was actually written the week before
we entered the studio chamber and the arrangement was decided
as we recorded it, to sight an example of the timing. In all
honesty I can't recall much of the writing process. I think
a truer statement would be that we didn't so much write the
material as it was more or less channeled through us. It all
seemed to come together quite naturally and cohesively. As if
we were being guided along a predetermined path. So, I would
say that Satan's will should be attributed to the nature of
You have an abundance of material that has yet to be released,
why has it been on hold and can one anticipate it to sound in
the vein of Via Negativa or will it go even further beyond?
Gilles de Rais: TERATISM is an unusual band in that
no two albums sound alike in terms of their production, the
performances, and even the compositions. In large part I attribute
this to our magic. At least as long as I’ve been recording
the band, our albums have been designed at the production level
as ritual engines which involve what you might expect: formal
group ceremonies of consecration and culmination, as well as
recording and mixing by candlelight, or in total darkness, in
a ritual setting where the air is magically charged by the use
of specific incenses corresponding to planets and constellations
and our selection of days and hours. These are techniques common
to recording black metal among the sincerest bands in the subgenre.
It goes further than that, however, as the recording studio
itself was designed so that the interior dimensions are a square
footage which corresponds to a magical power number, and it
rests on a land parcel whose acreage hits another demonic power
number. The soffit walls of the control room are permanent altars
dedicated to the two primal fallen archangels Samyaza and Belial,
with various smaller altars within each dedicated to specific
purposes relevant to the production, and to generate a continuous
sense of ethos and mood. Behind the control room is the studio’s
occult library. A floor-to-ceiling array of shelves holding
about a thousand books to which we constantly refer for structure
and inspiration for everything from song lyrics to when to begin
recording each night, to recreational reading to keep us focused
and in the right frame of mind. Going further, we utilize strategies
such as careful geometric placement of microphones and amps
which intend to invoke sigils and create EVP phenomenon through
subtle use of frequency interference patterns at specific places
on the sound spectrum, to the use of sensory deprivation techniques
to capture vocal performances in a pitch-black, sound-insulated
vocal booth. This continues all the way down to the digital
level, at which we apply principles of magical architecture
to structure the mix matrix, whereby reverbs, delays and other
effects are programmed using arrays of carefully patterned and
automated demonological power numbers. Panning and EQ are used
to place instruments in conceptual space relative to each other
following geometrical patterns which evoke the sigils of demon
princes. The net effect is that each album is a separate meticulously
planned ritual machine, a spell continually being cast every
time it spins in a CD player or is decoded from an MP3 file,
and an expression of what we believe is the essence of black
metal, which is Satanism, the purest form of ceremonial left-hand-path
occultism. Our next EP, La Bas, sounds just as
unique as our other works, and the formative philosophical ethos
behind our upcoming full-length album is different still, so
I do not expect this trend to be broken any time soon.
How much do the supernatural elements and Satanism play into
your creativity as a band?
Gilles de Rais: We have just written about the occult nature
of our studio rituals in my answer to the last question, so
I will focus on our live rituals to answer this one: they also
involve culmination and consecration ceremonies, invocation
and blood rituals, as well as the use of satanic relics onstage,
as well as employing various means to not only channel what
Jon from Dissection called “The Satanic Current”
but to create and maintain a mood of openness in ourselves and
the audience to the spirit of Terror and Evil that embodies
good black metal. Vomitus Wrath wears an animal skull, flesh
still rotting off it, around his neck to continually drag him
back into a fractured state of consciousness so that the demons
have full sway. Murder plays with a full, reticulated spinal
column hanging around his neck. I wear a sensory deprivation
mask when I play bass live and my fretting arm is often crippled
by hanging a 20 pound inverted iron cross from a long black
chain to create a real sense of agony and physical despair when
I play; I can’t see my fret board and my mouth is sealed
so that I am unable to speak. By shutting down my senses, I
attempt to do the same thing that Wrath accomplishes, which
is to disappear and become a pure channel of nothing but the
spirit of black metal which is rooted in a deeply mystical,
demonological rich approach to Satanism. Of course, like many
other black metal bands, we also all deface ourselves with corpse
paint and robes, which has an effect on the way we are conveying
the music from magical space as well as setting the visual tone
of our performance for the audience.
Black Metal music has seen many transitions since it began,
what makes you want to keep it going?
Murder: I am leery of answering this question on account
of my personal view, that there is only one definitive style
of Black Metal. It is, and was always meant to be, the Devil's
music. Remove HIM from the equation and it is no longer Black
Metal, to me anyway.
I have no desire to evolve from that in any way at all. I have
no choice but to continue on his path. This is really all I
know or care to do. I would say I am cursed in that regard.
You've been involved with the black metal festival Conjuring
The Dark I and II, how did that come about and will we see it
again in the near future?
Murder: The Conjuring The Dark Festival is the brain-child
of Swordlord Productions and TERATISM. It was created
to be an outlet for the small community of people into Black
Metal in the upper Mid-West, to provide a chance for those unable
to travel to the coasts, where the USBM scene tends to congregate,
to witness some of these bands that are and have helped define
the nature of Black Metal.
Your live performances are extremely powerful and seem to invoke
a certain darkness that most bands can't accomplish even if
they tried. Do you try to reproduce this atmosphere in the studio
when recording as well?
V. Wrath: It's important that I first state that the "darkness"
you mention is very real. There is a logical explanation to
why most bands can't evoke or invoke it, and it begins with
the lack of sincerity to the Black Arts. Where the mockery of
white-light theism tends to be an acceptable avenue in black
metal, it doesn't necessarily constitute "substance".
In regards to reproducing said darkness, there exists a thin
line of separation between live rituals and recording sessions
as both functions possess unequivocal variables. Fundamentally,
both are directed to commune with demonic and sinister energies
and are therefore parallel in purpose, but a participant may
experience a different atmosphere in cosmology due to specific
attributes involved in either ceremony. Nonetheless, both these
endeavors are magickal workings that serve to open the gates
of hell and beckon the Adversary to manifest. The tactics of
ritual are many, and as Gilles de Rais has unveiled that subject
with much precision in his previous answers any further commentary
on my part would simply be redundant.
What’s next for TERATISM, any tours or side projects?
V. Wrath: More sonic devilry, darkness, and pandemonium,
which equates to additional releases and tours upon even blacker
horizons. No good deed goes unpunished!
I thank you for your time and I leave any final words to you.
Murder: Thank you for the interview. I hope that it does
not tarnish your reputation.