It’s been a long time coming, and with the recent release of their album Via Negativa, the time was right to interview one of USBM’s finest Satanic bands, TERATISM. There is no doubt that TERATISM stands behind their music and what they believe in. These guys truly mean it! Shedding light on the forgotten ideas of what black metal was really about in the first place, and providing insight on their new album, their recording rituals and their invoking live performances. I must say, never has a band shined so brightly from the ashes of Hell.

Sioux: Greetings and congratulations on the release of Via Negativa. This album is truly an amazing Satanic display of black metal. Tell us about the album and are you satisfied with the way it turned out?
Thank you for the compliments. Yes, I am satisfied. The presentation reflects perfectly the nature of the recorded work. The only complaint that I would have, and it is indeed a small complaint, is the time it took to be released. Having said that, I am indeed proud of what we accomplished.

Sioux: 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?
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.

Sioux: 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?
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 Via Negativa.

Sioux: 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.

Sioux: 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.

Sioux: Black Metal music has seen many transitions since it began, what makes you want to keep it going?
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.

Sioux: 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?
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.

Sioux: 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.

Sioux: 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!

Sioux: I thank you for your time and I leave any final words to you.
Thank you for the interview. I hope that it does not tarnish your reputation.


7/2010 © Sioux Mullins  • Teratism