An apt word to define the South-American metal scene is probably vast. It’s vicious in production, pulsating with talent, manifesting the original sound etc. In the recent years I did not notice any remarkable new black metal act hailing from Brazil, but there are a few great acts I sincerely respect and appreciate. Ain Sof Aur stand out when it comes to most of that 'bestial' black metal style. I can't really think of another band which sounds as destructive as them from the country.
Ain Sof Aur is a band that dealing with Vama Marga and Death Worship. It was conceived in 2006 as a medium of a destructive force against all creation. It an extension of each individual linked to their fraternity’s will. In 2012, they entered the studio to record their début album, “Atra Serpents”. The first manifestation of this luminaries seems not simple on the first listen, but reveals more layers with time. A sonic abomination of evil and death. This interview conducted by Ebby Sasi from Imhotep Webzine. Do a careful read to very profound answers by them. Ain Sof Aur are currently one of the promising bands emerging from the underground abyss of Brazil. Behold.
I) Greetings, probably this is my second interview with a band from Brazil. Before we get into the interview I want to know that older bands such as Mystifier, Headhunter D.C. Vulcano are still around as well but how is the scene in Brazil now, compared to the early years?
It depends on your concept of “scene”, what it stands for, etcetera. If the concept deals with an agglomerate of bands playing the same “genre” or type of music, or simply with people sharing interest of those bands’ music. For us it’s hard to stick to the standard perception of being another metal band reuniting with others for some drinks and headbanging.
Our Devotion lies beyond being true or proving to others what we do or what we don’t do. It’s plain indifference. We see a lot of people desperately needing self-approval, seeking acception in groups in this whole “scene” concept. Those people try to build an elitist “grimness” based on other people’s dogmas, thoughts, including other band’s actions and quotes, to educate themselves and pretend to play some sort of sharade. They usually call this RADICALISM and bless themselves with a status of being real, a materialistic individualism to nurture ego trips and self-delusions. So, if you think about what this whole scene you speak of really is, it mostly consists of people battling over status to hyper value their own ego, which isn't really our main interest in black metal.
Being distant, true to our ideals, free from the slavery of false individuality — i.e, having to prove oneself constantly for others, to name one of many aspects of it—, is our own reality. Answering your question, I could easily say that in the glorious times of those great bands you mentioned, people were actually concerned with the art being made and the ideology behind it. Today, I’d say people are concerned with acception and pretending to be harbingers of the past, when they have actually nothing to offer.
II) What do you think has been the most important impact of your band? Besides, do you think that makes your band unique in terms of approach music compared to other black metal bands in your country because I can’t think of another band which sounds destructive as AsA from Brazil?
It’s rather interesting to read about IMPACT, because we don’t actually think there’s been any. The art conceived has one sole purpose to represent Devotion and our repudiation of frail ideals that hinder men’s real ascension. Our goal isn't directed toward the human auction or metal concerts. Of course, we do play live, but no mundane credit actually interests us. To answer such question would be to, say, claim what we have that others don’t, and this kind of attitude I’ll leave to rockstars wannabes.
III) Since 2006, how do you see the band’s evolution during the last 6-7 years? Released two demos and a full length album, played a lot of gigs, what has changed, what hasn't?
A lot has happened since the band started, we experienced a lot in the musical field, as well as going through a lot of line-up changes (mostly bassists). 7 years is a great amount of time and, obviously, we got older; and being this entity a part of our lives, it was directly influenced by every individual’s personal experiences. So the music is now more mature than before, musicianship improved (a little, but it did) and so did many of our views within the black metal scene (to use this term from the first question). We are also changing our views on live performances, reducing them as much as possible. Good equipment is sincerely out of the question when dealing with producers and the amount of stress we usually get on the backstage when facing what we’ll have to use really affects the energy we desire to channel. It’s inefficient. So we only perform live when we are certain of at least sound coming out of amps, instead of them turning off out of a sudden, for example. The bands that are on stage with us, the purpose of the ceremony, also determine our participation on the event.
IV) Atra Serpents is the début album which was released in 2012. It’s an essential record for sure but you may not offer much in the way of originality, but the intensity of the band is laudable. This is not an album to dissect and analyse as I said before the album is generic but acceptable in many ways but my question is that were you simply compelled to create dark hymns of your own design?
Like you stated, it’s not an album to dissect and analyse, simply because it was intended to be an experience, a spiritual immersion in the lawless Chaos that emanates from this first record. I personally don’t get reviews and analysis for black metal, which is something to be felt, something abstract that deals with inner emotions, projections and energies. So, we weren't compelled to create something plastic, or manipulated to sound grim or evil, that’s simply the work of our Devotion. The work of who we are. Atra Serpens is a destructive force of the cosmic boundaries between man and God, representing a denial of the Evangelium. It is a flirt with Death’s essence. Its intensity is felt only by those who actually understand what we aim for. Others will just stick with originality, creativity and mundane labels to describe feeling and energies that are not to be named or spoken of.
V) Atra Serepns is beautifully portrayed for its most part but were there any things that you tried to do but failed on Atra Serpens? Besides, what does this album most represent? Care to elaborate on what influences AsA, both on a musical and thematic level?
We've had many frustrations with the professionals who were supposed to help us, whom in the end turned out to really ruin many of our expectations. Atra Serpens is a low budget album in many ways, but it was everything we could afford at the time. The energy invested was in its purest form, BLACK and deadly, like venom was spew out of mouths toward existence. Still, apart from the flaws — especially in the booklet print, thanks to the company responsible for pressing it —, the result came out to be pretty reasonable, considering the circumstances it was conceived under. Atra Serpens deals with a process of man's spiritual evolution. The title 'black serpent' means, briefly, what is considered to be an abomination by right handed path religion's standards. The use of theology and philosophical views may corroborate what we say on an inverted perspective. An existence that will or have reached apotheosis through Death. This album marks only the beginning of the journey toward that goal, as a metaphor to our own initiation.
VI) ‘Celestial Moral’ offers an intensely impassioned performance of raw and morbid black metal, filled with chaotic melodies and raw vocal lines and ‘Marduk-Apla-Iddina-II’ is perilous as the intense guitar riffs to the forceful vocal delivery and straight forward drums. How hard it was to develop those dense song structures patterns for the highly intricate music?
Like I stated, our compositions (to put a name to those manifestations) are conceived by who we are, the result of each individual linked to our Fraternity. We did not strive to make a sonic manifestation, it’s a natural consequences of like-minded individuals set up together. Usually, lyrics and incantations are the basis for guitar, drums and bass compositions, since they’ll follow the general idea behind it and what kind of energies we want to invoke in the proper way. "Marduk-Apla-Iddina-II" came out after a one year old hiatus we were forced to take when we lost two major members who moved to another city. It was S.A.’s first assault, a presentation and reminder of what Ain Sof Aur was spawned for.
VII) And how do the other members' contributions both lyrically and musically fit accordingly to your expectations?
Ain Sof Aur art is the result of a group work. Even though I write the lyrics, concepts, other members play a major role in giving life to those concepts. So I would not say I have MY expectations, but WE hold it as a Fraternity, linked to the qliphotic forces that are behind each composition of ours. Our art is one, not only a mass of sound baptised under the label METAL. Its visual art, music and philosophies behind it. It is rather impossible to attribute one aspect of it to certain egoistic side such as individual expectations.
VIII) “Resquiessence in Abscess” is very fast-paced and straight-forward, this features more possessed vocals and pure chaos. I loved this one. Can you explain how much of this album directly reflects your own knowledge? Don’t you think that transformation of knowledge in to music makes uniqueness in the composition? Any personal bonding moments you care to share?
This song deals with the remains of the essence of the divine failure of Creation in men, or he who is realizing a whole new perception of existence in a metaphysical point of view. It'd be, in a certain way, a stigmata originated from the spears/swords of Death and its Holiness moulding a new form of abomination. No personal bonding moments to speak of. This manifesto is but one side of the monument we strived to build. And yes, I agree that the transmutation of practice and true beliefs into music imbues it with power and forces that the ordinary crowd cannot experience. Atra Serpens is a mark of what Ain Sof Aur actually is the worship of Death and the immersion in the Nightside of existence.
IX) No matter how brilliant the music is, if the lyrics simply suck, the whole impression suffers methinks. Tell us about the lyrics portrayed on Atra Serpens, in a more personal and philosophical way?
In general, the whole booklet is a complete concept of what Atra Serpens really is — apart from the whole idea that this album is to be felt, it is an abstract insight that might be difficult to name or explain. The booklet itself is the actual philosophy behind it, questioning the Gospel of Creation and abandoning it as a frailty of such faith is portrayed. In order to achieve higher states of consciousness one should actually acknowledge what is actually being denied, why and what for. Only them one is ready to choose what Path to follow and which goal will be pursued. Atra Serpens is the first step, a symbol to acceptance of Spiritual Death and the beginning of the journey for apotheosis.
X) Ain Sof Aur are a rather black metal act which emphasis raw sound with much élan. The album is elevated to such a barbaric level. Is it important to you to keep that aspect?
No, as this would compromise the whole concept of making art imbued with power and essence. To manipulate something is to cut loose the sincerity behind it and maculate the ideals that are behind the art. Hence, to us, it is important to keep the essence of what we want to create and the message behind it; this will be carved on the song structure, be it brutal or slow.
XI) What other bands do you feel share the same ideals and principles of Ain Sof Aur?
It is rather difficult to speak on behalf of other individuals, but we salute and hail bands that are in conspiracy with Death and Chaos, namely the almighty Ofermod, Mortuus, Deathspell Omega, Saturnalia Temple, Teitanblood, Antinomian, Obscure Anachronism, Vulturine and many others.
XII) Being one album old band, how difficult was it to find a distributing label for your début album? Besides, how the deal with Desgraça Records did come along?
Rather hard, since we are widely unknown and that’s not a bad thing. Our art reaches the individuals, not the opposite. So no one would burn their hands for us, so our art remained quite ignored for some time. Outside of Brazil was even harder, mostly because many labels demanded demo sounds in LP or tape, which is quite hard to make around here. We’d need a label for that, at best.So we depended on MP3 to show people, and being a band from Brazil, we were majorly ignored most of the time. Then we got a proposition from Desgraça Records to split the costs for pressing the discs and we ended up doing that. We are very grateful for "Andrêy" for encouraging us to keep our black flames burning as he believed in what we did when no one else did. So there’d be no Atra Serpens now if not for his efforts. Unfortunately, he decided to end his activities and we are labelless at the time.
XIII) You are constructing songs for the next release already. Will it show a more mature side of AsA? And are there any unreleased tracks that you might release in the future?
Atra Serpens was conceived on 2010, even though it was released in 2012. So there’s an abyss of 4 years between each work, even though it’s been 2 years after we began fully working with our next release. Thus, indeed will it feature a mature side of Ain Sof Aur, though with a few changes in the line-up since the first album, being this new work very Death Metal oriented.
XIV) Can you throw some light on your view of black metal as there are some bands that they don’t enjoy to have contacts with people and never do band mail nor any kind of promotion because they believe that internet has a negative influence on black metal?
Black metal is a manifestation of individualism in a sense, although not the material individualism that symbolizes ego trips and superficial satisfactions. I speak of one’s inner emotions, feelings, energies that can only be manifested through this form of music in an aggressive or introspective way. Also, it’s a powerful medium to the dark forces that are to be channelled with our music.
XV) Are you involved in other bands to explore your artistic excellency? The interview ends here.
No, not at all. Ain Sof Aur is the sole work of the people behind it. Thank you for the opportunity to chat a little and for the interest in our art.
Salve a Luz de Lúcifer e a Serpente de Fogo.