Dayal is a writer, photographer and designer. He began writing professionally in 2005, having previously created a self-published music journal entitled Crypt Magazine. Since that time he has contributed regularly to the likes of Record Collector, The Quietus, Terrorizer, Decibel, Classic Rock Presents... and, most prominently, Metal Hammer magazine, whom he has written for since 2006.
The newest full-length book in the Black Metal Cult series, following on the good work in "Black Metal: Evolution of the Cult" and "Black Metal: The Cult Never Dies Vol. One". Designed to be read as either a separate work or as part of the series and presented with a somewhat more old school aesthetic to the previous two tomes.
BRS – Hello Dayal and thanks again for one more time, answer my questions. You are releasing a new book soon and this time you called it “Into the Abyss”. What is the meaning of this title and why you didn’t called it “The Cult Never Dies – Vol. 2”?
Dayal - Well there is still going to be a book called "Black Metal: The Cult Never Dies Vol. Two" – but that’s going to be something quite different. Basically I came to the realisation that the three topics in Vol. One (Norway, Poland and depressive black metal) were too big to cover in one book, and I still had a lot of bands I wanted to talk to after finishing the last tome. But I also wanted each of the Cult Never Dies books to talk about a new set of subjects – and I had already started talking to Swedish, Finnish, American and war/bestial black metal bands for Vol. Two and Vol. Three – so I created "Into The Abyss" as a separate entity. I also wanted to experiment with a more candid/direct format, so this book is something of an experiment in that sense too and is written in a somewhat different way to the previous two books.
BRS – This is you’re third full-length book about Black Metal. Is this a work of a lifetime or it’s just a case study?
Dayal - That’s a question I’m asking myself too. Each book is basically self-contained and features the perspectives of a different set of artists – and for sure there are lots of interesting artists left to talk to in the black metal genre. So I think this series can extend to a fair number of books without repeating itself. On the other hand I don’t want to be a slave to the whole thing – if I (or the readership) stops enjoying them, or if I ever feel I don’t want to do it anymore or that I’m not maintaining (and hopefully increasing) the quality of output each time, I will step back from the project. But for now, I think each book has been better than the last (certainly better written), so it seems valid to continue with it.
BRS – For those who do not know you, you are a journalist, photographer, investigator and writer. Have you ever tried to play in or have a band?
Dayal - I actually studied music at one point and have been in a few unimportant bands, made recordings, played live, etc, but nothing that is particularly worth talking about. What is perhaps more interesting/odd/tragic is that I have been writing and recording tracks for a black metal project since 1996 but I seem to have some sort of psychological issue when it comes to actually putting them out there. Beyond a handful of musicians who played this material with me in various points, a few friends and a few ‘outside’ musicians whose opinions I valued, no one has heard this stuff. It could well be garbage, it’s hard to be objective at this point. And honestly, I have no time these days. But if I could find another skilled drummer I would consider finally recording them properly and releasing them in some form.
BRS – You’ve put a message on Facebook to say that you had written a story about a band with more than 3000 words and then the band did not let you put in the book. This happened more than once or only was it this time?
Dayal - More than 6000 words in fact! This was a very unusual case where certain members were unhappy with the opinions/comments given by their bandmates. Well, the good news is that this issue was finally sorted after much negotiations. This has only happened once - thankfully!
BRS – You are one of the greatest experts in the black metal scene. Can you tell me why do you love this metal subgenre and not other?
Dayal - Thank you for the kind words! To answer your question, I feel that black metal is the most varied and compelling of all metal subgenres, and I’m talking musically, culturally, artistically and historically now. The fact that new bands can come out with original sounds that are nonetheless indisputably black metal, even 30 years after bands like Bathory created the template, is remarkable. So this is probably the reason I continue to be drawn to it – I think it is very hard to get bored of black metal unless you are only listening to one particular strain of it.
But, having said that, I wouldn’t people to get the impression that this is the only form of metal or music that I appreciate – far from it, I listen to most genres of music to some degree. And actually I really want to write about some other forms of metal under the Cult Never Dies banner, so I think this is something that will happen before too long.
BRS – This book will be released as a standalone edition and as a box set, featuring a second (colour/gloss) book with over 100 pages of photos, a patch, art prints, a deluxe box and numbered illustrated certificate. You chose to do a special edition because you know that black metal fans are also collectors or because you yourself are?
Dayal - Yes and yes, but there’s a practical aspect to it as well, which is that I want to create a particular experience visually with the extra prints and the colour photos and so on, but I also realise that some people just want to read the main book and save a bit of money etc. So I create these two options. In a way I prefer if everyone buys the box set because you get this more immersive effect, but it should be a choice not something forced on people.
BRS – What new band, from the Norwegian black metal scene, you think that will be the next big thing?
Dayal - Hard to say what will come next but the Nidrosian thing still seems to have some force behind it, so I think bands like Vemod, Mare, One Tail, One Head and so on will continue to shine in the coming years.
BRS – In your first book, you talked to some members of the Norwegian black metal scene about the events that occur in the beginning of the 90’s but what your opinion about that?
Dayal - I think the first book (Black Metal: Evolution of the Cult) had to address these things and look at these historical events, because not only are they very interesting but they had a profound impact on black metal culture and the bands who came later. But I don’t want to talk endlessly about church burnings and so on, so, for me at least, Evolution says everything that needs to be said about that, and in the books that follow I can focus on other important matters relating to black metal and its practioners.
BRS – On your website you have many items that make salivate any fan but have you thought to release a CD or DVD with some of the bands that appear in your books?
Dayal - Yes and yes, but the practicalities present some challenges. Some outside parties - some very respectable ones I would say - have discussed possibilities of compilations and documentaries etc. But I’m increasingly protective about the whole project so I would need to know that these things would be done with the utmost care and not just for the sake of it.
BRS – In this book which was the band that gave you more enjoyment to interview?
Dayal - I can’t choose one, it’s like choosing a favourite child or something. I like the conversations where things get as indepth and honest as possible and where they interviewee is putting a lot of thought into their work and the discussion itself. 1349 was very interesting and revealing I think, Vemod was another memorable conversation. Forgotten Woods as well means a lot for a number of reasons. Trist, Tsjuder, Hypothermia, Loits, Mystifier… the list goes on.
BRS – Slayer magazine was like the Norwegian black metal bible. Was an inspiration to you or just a guide to know more about the scene?
Dayal - For sure this zine was one of the ones (alongside Petrified, Kill Yourself, Holocaust, etc etc) that meant a lot to myself and my friends back in the 90s and it was great to revisit it and see the issues we missed when Jon published his book. In terms of writing style though it was not an influence I don’t think, my approach was perhaps shaped elsewhere.
All books and merchandise available at cultneverdies.com