At long last, Norwegian black metal vanguard TORTORUM return with "Rotten. Dead. Forgotten.". It's been two years since the release of the band's critically acclaimed second album, Katabasis. Bloodied but unbowed, the trio saw fit to record an all-new mini-album.
Skyggen answer some questions that I asked.
BRS – I want to thank you for answer these questions. The band was formed in 2010. What was the main reason to start this band and what is the major differences between this band and the others, where the members play?
Skyggen - Thank you for your interest. TORTORUM was formed to praise and channel the Dark, Satanic energies that are integral part of our spirits and personalities. This is also our way to express some strong feelings and emotions like love, hate, yearning, pain or lust…and turn them into what TORTORUM sounds like. This is, and always will be, the main reason of forming this band. To me, TORTORUM is something exceptional, both on musical and spiritual level, so I won't even try to compare it to any other bands I am or was involved in.
BRS – You are one of the 3 guitarists in the band but now you play the drums too. You play drums just in studio or will play drums on gigs?
Skyggen - I deliver rhythms for this band in live situations too. But it doesn't stop me from writing most of the music, which I still do.
BRS – Andreas Fosse Salbu joined the band this year. Since the band already had two guitarists why recruit another? What Andreas brought to the band?
Skyggen - With all respect, but it was never a goal for us to be another Iron Maiden you know. It's quite simple - after a lot of turbulence and stress with finding a suitable drummer for TORTORUM, I simply got tired with the situation and decided to take care of business myself. That being said, we simply needed someone who could deliver a 6-string blasphemies on a high quality level, and AFS seemed to be a perfect choice. He injected some of his pure young blood and brought extreme passion to this band.
BRS – The new EP, “Rotten. Dead. Forgotten.” released in October last year, it’s slower than the two full-lengths that preceded. Was this planned or did it come out of the rehearsal room?
Skyggen - We never sit and calculate, think much of the BPM's or whatever when we write our music. It just comes out the way it does naturally. This EP was meant to explore different territories than the previous materials and we felt this is the right path (or should I say left?) to go. It came out the way it did and we're very happy with the result. In other words, the goal has been achieved. I should probably mention that the musical evolution is another important factor in this band. Stagnation would mean death for this band.
BRS – What is the meaning of the title?
Skyggen - Best to bring some words of Barghest himself here:
Barghest - “Rotten Dead Forgotten just refers to themes in the EP. I have a sexuospiritual perversion surrounding decay and the deceased in general. (It's ok, I'm getting help...). But the act of dying is something everyone should learn and embrace. Everything taboo hides something that we are afraid of. Death is taboo. And fear is ecstatic.
This is why I enjoy my own fear as well as the fear in someone else's eyes when I am engaging in certain practices. Rotten Dead Forgotten refers to many things, also to old ways of living and thinking, and old ways of seeing and interpreting things. In this sense death is the symbol of the highest good and the highest beauty towards self knowledge and self mastery, and all things that don't serve the Will should be allowed to rot too, to die, and be forgotten. Forgetting is a powerful technique in magick. And decay too is part of the alchemical process.”
BRS – Tell me your vision of the Norwegian black metal scene nowadays?
Skyggen - I'm not that much interested in today's scene(s) in general to be 100% honest with you. Today's Norwegian scene is probably a scene like many others – with some great acts and not-so-great ones. As we all know, the golden age of Norwegian black metal was definitely in the (early) 90's, but luckily, you can still find some serious bands and individuals who take things 100% seriously.
BRS – The “Black Mantra Mysteries” song, ends with several letters of the alphabet. What’s the meaning of that?
Skyggen - This song ends with some very personal incantations which we didn't want to share with the public. Let's keep it that way.
BRS – The band signed with the German label World Terror Committee since the beginning. This is the best label for the band?
Skyggen - I used to work with several other labels on different occasions in the past and I have to admit that WTC is by far the most honest and serious of all of them. It's an honour for us to be part of this label.
BRS – Tortorum has been playing live regularly. The members have regular jobs or the band is 100% dedicated to music?
Skyggen - Yes, we have to spend quite some time a week at some more (or less) fucked up places to earn our livings. TORTORUM is not (and will probably never be) a source of financial income, so yes, we wouldn't be able to survive without having regular jobs. This band is not that active live either, so we manage to combine it with the usual, everyday's bullshit so to speak.
BRS – When do you think to release a new Tortorum full-length?
Skyggen - Hard to say. We didn't start to make any concrete plans for it yet. The only thing I can say is that we write quite some riffs these days and the ideas are there, but it's still a long way to go...
BRS – What are the inspirations for this band and which bands inspire you the most?
Skyggen - You can find inspirations everyday and everywhere. It can be everything and nothing. I try to focus on hard, strong feelings and experiences I gain. Long (alone) walks in the nature are something special to me. This dark path we've chosen to walk, brings a lot of ideas and inspirations as well. The...things we practice, or even think of. This is pure MAGICK to me.
Speaking of music, I'd say I try not to focus much on metal music when I compose. I prefer to listen to a lot of classical music or movie soundracks for example and I find it way more inspiring. Or stuff like Diamanda Galas, some tribal, ritual music, ambient etc.
Anyways, it's of course hard to escape the charm of the Old Gods like Bathory, Hellhammer/Celtic Frost, Dissection, Beherit, Burzum, Darkthrone, Mayhem, Emperor, Tormentor, Sepultura, Sarcofago, Kat etc...