Earlier this month Posthum released their third album The Black Northern Ritual, a cold atmospheric brand of Norwegian black metal. Currently they’re touring with Vreid around Europe and I got the chance to interview them at their London show:
Good evening and thank you for talking to Swirls of Noise, first off you’ve got your new album The Black Northern Ritual out, how do you feel about the outcome?
Really happy about it, really good sound and I think we’ve never sounded as good as on this one. And it’s so good to be on tour and playing some music from that album.
It’s got something of a repetitive hypnotic sound to it at points, is this something you were going for?
No, not really I think it’s less hypnotic now than on previous albums as they were a lot more ambient and had more repetitive parts, but I think this album has a lot of changes within the tracks compared to earlier. It’s more upfront, there are more thrash parts. At least compared to the Light’s Out album.
But other than that sound the vocals are really savage on this album, what are the lyrics about that inspire such passion?
It can be difficult to explain specifically as I wrote some of the lyrics about two years ago and it’s hard to remember what they are all album, but there’s an urge to just express myself and make it fit into the atmosphere of the music. I could probably try to explain it more (laughs)
the theme was more inward than the last album, more about struggling. This time around it’s more about what you see around yourself, what’s going on with society, what makes you shout.
Now you’ve got three albums out, how do you choose which songs you’re going to be playing live, is it difficult or can you decide easily?
We have the new album and the new songs, so we just split the setlist from the previous tours in two and added more new songs. We’re still playing Red, Sacrificed and Godless, from time to time, and Scarecrow. We rehearsed around twelve songs, including five of the tracks from the new album, and we try to play songs from each album – but given we have a new album out we think it’s a good idea to play a little bit more new stuff. For us as well it’s challenging to play the new stuff live, so it’s good for us. Being more thrashy it’s a lot more fun too, there’s more changes and more energy.
Being from Norway, you’re of course following a long line of important black metal artists, but who would you say are your main influences?
It’s a wide question. I think in the beginning I think it was a lot of early black metal, but also some classical as I used to play classical piano when I was younger. Other than that it’s a lot of old punk.
There’s a broad spectrum of music we listen to in daily life, like U2 (laughs) Not U2, not that!
Morten’s into Kiss and a lot of seventies rock and roll bands.
You’ve been playing shows with bands such as Vreid, Dark Fortress and Satyricon now, how has it been playing alongside such famous bands of the genre?
It’s been really good, we hadn’t been on a stage since before the Satyricon tour, so I think we’re doing a lot better, so it should probably be the other way around, we should maybe be going on a tour with Satyricon next year! It’s been inspirational to see bands who’ve been around for fifteen to twenty years and touring 3 or 4 times a year to see how they do stuff and just being a part of it. As a new band back in 2009 it was of course very inspiring and you learned a lot of stuff both technically and also the mental part – how to handle the stress and the waiting, the whole thing. But it’s really cool to go around with bands who’ve been touring for years and years.
So are there any recent artists you’ve been listening to lately, what’s been in the CD player?
JON: I can’t remember any-more, I haven’t listened to music since before the tour.
MARTIN: At least for me it’s been a period of heavy metal, 80’s stuff like Iron Maiden. I’ve never been into it much before but I’ve been listening to it a lot the last few years.
MORTEN: I’m really into a band called Poison Idea.
JON: But yeah, it’s been a lot of Iron Maiden, we’re getting old (laughs), slowing down.
Finally thanks for talking to us, what are your plans now past this tour?
There’s a tour supporting Obituary in January, and then maybe a small tour in March or April, then doing a few gigs in Norway for a few months. Then maybe a few festival shows maybe, and then trying to write some new stuff in 2015.
So if you could play at any festival what would you like to play?
JON: Any. (laughs) Any of them.
MORTEN: It would be really cool to play the Roskilde Festival because of the alternative lineup, not just Wacken or Brutal Assaultm but playing a small stage at a festival like Roskilde, just getting out to a new audience would be really cool. And a lot of people we’ve met after shows have asked us this so we hope so, we’ll see!
The Black Northern Ritual was released October 13th via Indie Recordings
Find Posthum on Facebook