‘Abhor needs to be listened to in a closed room, with candles lit, drinking the good wine…’
The Goat Tavern: First of all, congratulations on the last year’s 20th anniversary of Abhor. I guess it was extremely exciting time for you and your fans. This is quite a big achievement. How did you celebrate it? Any regrets or things you wish you have done differently as band?
Saevum: Thank you for the support offered to our cause. 20 years of sacrifices and dedication are not few and I think they are the evidence of the consistency and constancy that distinguish us from other futile bands. We celebrate in front of the fire, alternating music and occult practices to channeling the diabolical energy we need… It’s pure blood and wine, amen! The implementation in music of our Pact…
TGT: When you started the band two decades ago did you dare to think that you would be celebrating such anniversaries?
Saevum: When I started with Abhor I knew what I meant. Anyone gathering the congregation of Vinum Sabbati knows that he will not enter in a simple musical circle, but will be englobed in an esoteric reality from which it is extremely difficult to slip…
TGT: Looking at your discography, your passion for Occultism and Witchcraft is noticeable in each record. It almost feels like each album tells a different story and represents a different ritual. In my opinion you just can’t listen to one song, you have listen to the whole record to get the maximum pleasure. Is there a link between the lyrical and ritualistic concept on your albums? Could you tell us more about the rituals used in your lyrics?
Saevum: The only true connection from all Abhor’s albums is the magic-esoteric way that we summon from the 1995. During last years we were entering more into the fields of the ritualistic witchery and that is reflected in the music. Abhor needs to be listened to in a closed room, with candles lit, drinking the good wine… from the first minute to the end of the album. No fucking ignorant party!
TGT: Abhor’s new album, Ritualia Stramonium has been released last year. What does the title mean and what relation does it have to the artwork on this record? The front cover is very different to what you’ve used before, any reasons behind it? Who is responsible for creating it?
Kvasir: The Devil’s Snare (Stramonium) is a plant used both as analgesic in traditional medicine and as powerful hallucinogen and deliriant in ritualistic and shamanic contest. It is the herb used during the Sabbat; thus the title of the album can be read as The Sabbat Ritual. We wanted a more ‘catching’ front cover for this album but it’s difficult to find good ideas among the hundreds releases every month. So the better thing to do when you want something is… well I let your fantasy investigate where we took the picture for the album cover!
TGT: Ritualia Stramonium grabs your attention from the first riffs of Between Flames and Moon. The strong presence of the bass guitar and the mid-tempo pace is set throughout the whole record. I really like the thick sound as it stands out and makes your sound original and interesting. Can you explain the writing process for this record and can we expect similar sound on the next album?
Ulfhedhnir: I am glad you liked the sound. We are totally satisfied with sound we got on these recordings too. Probably the best of what we’ve done in the last 20 years. What to say… Probably after hours of experimenting and practicing we learned to use the recording equipment rightly resulting in being able to capture the same atmosphere we have on the rehearsal room. The writing process is entirely done by me and Saevum – we switched guitars and bass 50% and found out this was the best way to writing material. Both of us bring a draft of a song, a skeleton, and then we start working together on ideas and arrangement to get at the end what you called a thick sound and a heavy, sulphureous and esoteric atmosphere. Abhor is like a good aged vintage wine, the older the better, you can expect stronger than ever material in the future. Just give us the time we need; haste is a poor advisor.
Abhor – Ritualia Stamonium
TGT: Also, it is hard not to notice that on the Ritualia Stramonium instead of keyboards you’ve used real church organs. They create a dark ceremonial and funeral atmosphere that matches your music perfectly. Leonardo has done superb job on that. How did this idea come about? Will you continue to use church organs in the future?
Kvasir: it all started from a Saevum’s idea to simplify the keyboard approach we used on the previous recording and having just the real church organs instead. The idea sounded immediately good to me, the real problem was just to find a church where we could make the devil’s work undisturbed. To record the piano lines was a long process for us because there was no rehearsal in advance – working with Mr. Lonnerbach is all about improvising. Finally, we found an abandoned church, easily accessible near Adria where Leonardo has had the time to express himself in music.
TGT: The last song of Ritualia Stramonium is dedicated to your former band member Errans Infernorum who sadly passed away in 2014. Apparently he wrote his own requiem before dying. Was is hard to say goodbye to a friend and a band member?
Saevum: None of us is displeased with the decease of Errans Infernorum. He died in mysterious conditions and we caught him early. Fortunately, he wrote his requiem before… amen! I often hear Errans playing through the hands of Leonardo Lonnerbach…
TGT: For the last two records you have worked with Moribund Records. Their current roster includes few respectable names in the black metal underground like Avsky, Dodsferd and Wyrd. How does it feel to be part of such a big family? Are you looking to continue to work with them?
Ulfhedhnir: I didn’t know Odin/Moribund formerly; we’ve got friends from the day he picked our promo from the dozens he receives daily and called us asking if we were ready to sign a pact with the devil! It’s a good and honest label and we have the communication we need. Not asking for more right now. He’s into heavy and thrash metal as me indeed, so no place for wimps and posers here in the roster!!! In league with Satan!
TGT: There is one record in your catalogue that stands out from the rest, Vehementia. In my opinion it sounds like a tribute to the Norwegian black metal scene. It’s phenomenal from start to finish. It’s all full of hellish fire and anger. Can you cast your memory back and tell us more about this release?
Saevum: Many peolple think as you, for me it is ok, but nothing was calculated… Probably, in that moment our feeling were that. The title Vehementia represents very well what the music wants to communicate. A furious Abhor version! The only thing I would replace is the cover album, it’s horrible…
TGT: I was lucky to witness your live ritual at the Black Winter Fest last December. The festival line-up and your show left me speechless. What a great night to remember. Abhor doesn’t play live too often. Tell me how it feels to share the stage with names like Nocturnal Mortum, Acherontas or Ad Hominem? Any plans to play for the UK fans?
Ulfhedhnir: You were there man?! What a gig to remember, good bands all night long! Unfortunately we don’t play live so often because it takes too much time to rehearse with constancy and we are all busy with other projects outside Abhor. To be able to perform live monthly I should have only Abhor to take care of! It would be great to play in the UK indeed, somewhere in the future perhaps, so if some maniac out there is willing to book us, drop me a line…
Abhor – live at Black Winter Fest Photos: The Goat Tavern
TGT: Looking back at your career do you have the same musical inspirations now like you have had 20 years ago when starting the band? Where do you source your inspirations to continue writing music?
Kvasir: Things have unavoidably changed during the years. We feel older, in a way wiser and more mature. We take the time we need and think a lot about recordings, musical arrangements. It is a slow process that ends with the final strike when we feel ready! We have a more steady perspective reached with the years, like looking on things from above and being able to stir the devil’s wheels from a superior position. Inspirations? There’s no lack of it. Heavy metal runs in our veins and that keeps us forever going!
TGT: I’d like to thank you for taking your time to answer all these questions. Once again congratulations on your anniversary from The Goat Tavern team! We would like to wish you another fruitful 20 years to come. Do you have any last words for our readers?
Ulfhedhnir: Legione Occulta bless you, on all that summon us and understand us. To the others, may the Evil Spirit possess them flesh. Amen.