Embrace Of Thorns is a Greek ‘scourging’ black/death metal band formed in 1998. With four full-length albums and numerous demos & splits they are a strong presence in the underground scene. On January 6th 2017 they will appear in Thessaloniki, Greece at 8tball Club along with The Psalm, Necrochakal, and Ectoplasma.
You have been active as a band for almost 20 years now. How has the journey been so far? I am guessing not that easy, and do you feel that you have reached a desired goal as artists?
True, we’ll celebrate our 20th Jubilaeum in 2018.It’s insane to witness the band that I gave birth to, as a school kid achieving worldwide distribution, regularly playing live gigs and having released four full lengths and various other “smaller” releases. Of course there are highs and lows in a band’s course through time. But Determination is one of our strengths. We simply know no other ways than those we abide by. We are in it for the whole “package” …the entire underground black and death metal movement and subculture has been a paramount for us since the early 90ies. We have witnessed the birth, decline and rebirth of the scene several times and we actually are too disinterested to care about the natural cycles of this thing right now. In other words there is a vast difference between the current worldwide scene and “our scene”, the movement that we cherish and hold dear. I am talking about a life/death code and Ethos that still characterizes relatively few people in this scene. As for success… in our eyes we are successful. We have been singing the songs that we want, not the ones that the rest of the herd expects us to sing, for almost twenty years. What’s more to ask?
The black metal scene is quite popular in Greece. How do you perceive the genre as artists but also in combination with the specific environment- I am putting it this way to avoid the term “culture”- ?
The “environment” is not of our interest as it is characterized and has fallen prey for the most part to the same mundane “rules” that the rest of society follows. Simply put, it is so much ridden with “social media” and “hipster” bullshit that it hurts. Black metal is no longer a form of expression that inspires awe and terror, it is no longer anti-music, anti- corporate etc. This is of course understandable to a certain extent, as it is irreversible. We choose to support the elements in the scene that we deem worthy of support. Greece has always been fertile soil for Black metal and has given birth to a lot of praiseworthy bands as well as it has given birth to some clowns. We worship the former and abhor the existence of the latter…
According to the information that is given in your official Facebook page your manifestations continue “the tradition of the incarnated forms of darkness that declared war on the unsuspected feeble zealots almost three decades ago in the temple of black/death vortex”. Which are your main sources of inspiration regarding your lyrical themes and who is the main responsible of the lyrics?
Archfiend Devilpig has been writing the lyrics since day one and they deal with the Philosophy of Ascendance, the morbid ways to enlighten oneself and to get rid of the shackles and the rotten shell of human existence. There are also references to the Promethean/Luciferian element, Nihilism and misanthropy. The lyrics are supposed to be viewed as evocative and not as instructive as they mostly deal with personal views.
Yes we are the torchbearers of the elder Magic, the ones who still feed the fire first lit by bands like Venom, Hellhammer, Mercyful Fate & Bathory back in the early 80ies and that was later passed on to us by the second generation black metal bands.
Listening to your last two albums, ‘Praying For Absolution’ (2011, Nuclear War Now! Productions) and ‘Darkness Impenetrable’ (2015, Nuclear War Now! Productions), I notice that you follow the original forms of black/death metal. Which are your main musical influences and are you thinking to take a step further in the future (a more experimental turn)?
80ies heavy/speed/thrash/proto-death/first generation black metal, 90ies doom death, death and black metal. That’s all we need to get inspired by. We are never afraid to add some new ingredients to our formula, yet we will never stray from our creative core. We have a specific axis and a specific agenda whose elements we use depending on the atmosphere of each respective recording. But other than that we are a band that relies on spontaneity and gut instinct for the most part…
The band’s line-up remains the same through the years if I am correct. I also see that you all have been very active and busy with other projects as well. Are there still other side-projects to which the Embrace Of Thorns’ members contribute?
No, it doesn’t. The ‘Praying For Absolution’ line-up disintegrated before and after the ‘Darkness Impenetrable’ recordings due to a variety of reasons, with lack of time and scheduling problems being the main ones. Fallen Angel of Fornication (guitar) and Maelstrom (drums) have been with us for a while now and we recently hired a new bass player as well, a comrade who will probably solve a long-lasting problem. We had to part ways with Apostle who recorded the last full-length due to reasons similar to those already mentioned. The oldest members in the clan are Herald and I (Archfiend).
Other affiliated bands/projects include: Serpent Noir, Impure Worship,War Possession, Necrovorous. Maelstrom has also been part of an arsenal of great bands through the years …
Archfiend DevilPig (vocals, bass), runs the Kill Yourself Productions.
How do you see the local scene throughout the years? Is it evolving, and is there interesting material to look for?
Where there’s quantity there’s also quality, it doesn’t come in spades but oh well the scene is now better than it was in the early millennia. The scene is moving in circles as is everything in life. Right now it’s amidst a very interesting phase, I must say, especially the Athenian scene is one of the key players in the worldwide underground and while I’m not exactly boasting with pride about it, it is satisfactory to a certain extent to watch the scene grow.
On January 6th you will appear at 8ball Club in Thessaloniki (Baptized In Black Blood Fest.). Have you played before in this town? Are there significant differences comparing with the audience in Athens, and what do you expect from this live?
We have already played twice in Thessaloniki in support of ‘Atonement Ritual’ and ‘Praying For Absolution’ albums. But we haven’t played there for quite some time. The past shows were cool and the crowd was also good. We have lots of friends there and it’d be nice to see them all once more and to celebrate EVIL. The line-up of the fest is also very worthy. As for expectations, we have learnt not to have any but the venue we are going to play is good, so we expect to have an adequate sound…
When can we expect a new album from you?
Fifth album ‘Scorn Aesthetics’ is going to be out in early 2018.
Thank you for your time! Close this interview as you will!
Thanks for sending those questions, it is much appreciated … not in the mood for evil slogans tonight…