Lörd Matzigkeitus is clearly the kind of dude who likes to keep busy. some of our loyal Vault Hunters may know him as the vocalist for The Projectionist, whose most recent split with Féretro we premiered back in late January. Others may know him from kickass South Korean/Canadian kvlt black/death band Thy Sepulchral Moon. He’s also an accomplished poet, and Chapel of Astaroth, his latest collection of blackened verse, was recently released by Appalachian Noise Records (order here), bundled with a spoken word CD entitled Temporary wherein LM reads selections from the book with musical accompaniment.
If that weren’t enough, Lörd Matzigkeitus’s most recent musical project (for the moment, anyway) is The Black Sorcery, whose debut full-length …And the Beast Spake Death from Above will be released on May 25 on digital/cassette from Krucyator Productions, and fans of bestial black/war metal should definitely be awaiting this one with bated breath.
To be blunt: …And the Beast Spake Death from Above is 30 of the most skull-fuckingly brutal minutes of metal you’re likely to hear this year, and Lörd Matzigkeitus’s may well give the most violently unhinged vocal performance of his stunningly prolific career. He seriously sounds like about four different people, occasionally all at the same time. For example, consider …And the Beast Spake Death from Above‘s opening track “Ancient Dialects of Winds,” which we’re streaming here today at the Vault. it does more damage in its 3:22 run time than a lot of bands do on an entire album. Riffs, drums, instrument tones, vocals – they’re all working in tandem to accomplish one single, simple goal: aural annihilation.
Lörd Matzigkeitus was good enough to answer a few questions about Chapel of Astaroth, The Black Sorcery, and pretty much everything he’s up to creatively while 44,000 ft. in the air between Toronto and Edmonton. Give it a read after you check out “Ancient Dialects to Winds” below.
Indy Metal Vault: So first off, thanks for agreeing to answer a few questions. It’s not often that I get to talk poetry in one of these interviews, so I’m excited about being able to do something different. Before we dive into either your latest book Chapel of Astarothor The Black Sorcery’s forthcoming album …And the Beast Spake Death from Above, I want to start by asking about this ‘True Projectionist of Todendorf’ that you mention so frequently. Your band The Projectionist is named after him, he’s one of the people Chapel of Astarothis dedicated to, and he’s a character in the “Visits from the Night-Hag” cycle that opens the book. I haven’t been able to find any other information about this individual, though, aside from a post on The Projectionist’s Facebook page on what would have been his 94th birthday – there’s nothing about a projectionist named George Howard anywhere online. Who was this person?
Lörd Matzigkeitus: He was my Grandfather. George Howard was a British soldier stationed in Germany after the war, he met and fell in love with a German woman named Ria and ran a cinema in a small military-run town called Todendorf. He and I were very close, to the point where he died in my arms, and much of my life since has been in the interest of honoring him in whatever ways I’m able.
IMV: So you’re both a poet and a lyricist, though not everyone would necessarily make a distinction between those two things. Do you consider them two distinct forms of creative expression? Having read both Chapel of Astaroth, which includes some song lyrics, and seen the lyrics to …And the Beast Spake, I can see some common elements between the two. What I’m curious about, though, is whether you approach the writing of each differently – do you have a mental switch of some sort that you flip from ‘lyricist mode’ to ‘poet mode’ and vice-versa?
LM: My approach is rather unorthodox in terms of writing lyrics. I write without ever having a thought to what I’ll do with it, in a blank free verse that has no regard for phrasing as would be in a song. I usually generate a fair body of material over a year, between 130-180 pieces on average, and when it comes to working on an album I choose poetic themes that suit the vision/intent of that particular project and essentially force the poem to fit the music.
I almost never write something intentionally to use as lyrics, the Visits from the NightHag and Stench of Amalthia concept albums excluded. The only divide I would say that exists is in the content itself. Many pieces that end up not being used for albums are either too personal or don’t align with any of the bands I front. That being said, everything goes into my books, personal or not.
IMV: There are two things in particular that I find striking about your poetry. The first is the way you juxtapose what I guess could be called classical poetic diction with contemporary imagery and themes. The best example of what I mean is “Cleansed Doors of Perception (a fluid travel of keys),” which uses very Keats- or Shelley-esque language in what reads like an extended computer-based metaphor. Not only is there a line of binary code in the poem, but there also seems to be a reference to a circuit board (“A golden mechanized garden/Lush in her gears”) and the fantastic image “A sultry void impersonating prime directives.” The form and content don’t quite match, but you make it work anyway. What’s your background – have you ever formally studied creative writing? Where does that use of language come from? It makes me wonder if you studied British Romanticism at university.
LM: Hah! I’m fond of that metaphor as well, the sharp contrast between a cold calculating machine and the way one would wax poetic about the curves of a beautiful woman seem so diametrically opposed.
I have studied English Literature my whole life, some in classrooms, most in dark solitude. My father was hyper-literate, and books being strewn across the house were common. He fancied sword & sorcery fantasy novels and the like. I stole the complete works of Shakespeare at ten and had it hidden in my room until I’d read it all.
Also, as you know from our private conversations, being spellbound by the words of Jim Morrison at a very young age made me seek out his literary influences. Among them Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Nietzsche and Blake. While one could argue his style is a garish hodge-podge of his inspirations, his cool, fluid transitions between established poetic traditions and (then) modern vernacular really grab me. I am also fluent in French, which broadens my appreciation of Rimbaud and Baudelaire.
My family is British and has been concentrically based there since the 1100s, so studying archaic English is a passion of mine. It feels…familiar to me. If I were to trip over a goldmine, I’d likely go back to University to study something foolish to do with language, just for the pleasure of reading.
IMV: I also see quite a few allusions to Shakespeare in your poems. For example, the setting for at least part of “Visits from the Night-Hag” is The Globe, which was a theatre in London closely associated with the Bard. “Blitzkrieg Craft” uses the phrase “I bite my thumb at thee,” which I’m guessing is a reference to Romeo and Juliet. There’s a poem later in the book called “To consult Yorick,” which comes from Hamlet. How big an influence is Shakespeare on your writing? What other influences do you draw from besides Shakespeare, literary or otherwise, in your poems?
LM: I hadn’t considered my references to Shakespeare until you pointed it out, truth be told. Some of my allusions result from it seeming to be the most identifiable source when explaining something. “I bite my thumb at thee!” has to be the most contemptuous uttering in all of literature! I’ve actually done it (bitten my thumb at someone). I’d venture to say if you’re that cross at someone less interested in literature than you, it won’t have the desired effect. Come to think of it, on my new concept album I entitled a song “Perfumes,” which does reference Lady MacBeth. I’d say very few writers in history have been so flawlessly brilliant as Shakespeare, and I welcome the chance to champion his works.
The Globe Theatre where “Visits from the NightHag” takes place was actually the name of the cinema in Todendorf my grandfather ran. So that would fall under a pleasant coincidence.
I find I gravitate towards the works of great Canadian WWI poet Wilfred Owen in my writings, particularly for black metal as he had a very distinctive way of being at once extremely visceral and emotional/sincere.
Mainly, what influences me is strange events, fleeting moments or the rabbit hole of my mind. Most often I’ll concoct elaborate scenarios of thought and try to pen them down, so as not to be lost.
IMV: How much do you think about audience when you write poetry? What I mean here is…okay, you and I have chatted before about my own background as a poet and creative writing instructor, and I’ve long believed that readers get out of my poetry what they’re willing to put into reading my poetry, if that makes any sense. They either find meaning in it based on the experiences they bring to their reading of it, or they get nothing out if it. What are your thoughts on the subject? You told the site Breathing the Core recently that “we make music to suit ourselves. If no one likes it, I’m fine with that because we make albums as a catharsis and a need to create for personal satisfaction.” Do you feel the same way about your poetry, or is there something you home readers will get from your work?
LM: I intentionally write in a very coded, secretive way to please myself. A sort of unending stream of inside jokes that aren’t funny. I think poetry is the most subjective and abstract form of literature, and I revel in pushing it where it shouldn’t go. Almost none of my pieces are intended for an audience, but if I may elaborate on my statement about catharsis, I’m a very deeply suicidal man that battles it with every breath and letting the spell escape seems to, at the very least, grasp at permanence.
If people get something out of reading my works, that’s fine, though I’ve met only one or two who actually got my intended meaning. Do I strive to be felt/understood? No. The beauty of poetry is that, despite every mind being in a movie of its own, you may find something lurking inside the words that evokes an endless possibility of stimulus.
IMV: I’d like to transition now into talking about …And the Beast Spake Death from Above. When I asked you to send me the lyrics, you suggested that I might be surprised by their content since they’re not the usual sort of war metal fare. You were absolutely right about that – compared to Blasphemy, Black Witchery, or Archgoat, these lyrics are very different. There’s usually a major Satanic component to war metal, but I don’t see any of that in the lyrics of …And the Beast Spake. Instead, there’s seems to be numerous references to terrorism and/or the War on Terror. Assuming I’m interpreting them correctly, what made you decide to take this approach on the album?
LM: The lyrics on …And the Beast are quite diverse and a lot more Satanic than a more blatant delivery. King Diamond writes in the same manner. While he rarely says something overtly Satanic on his albums, Satanic virtue and philosophies are rampant throughout. All of these songs are told from the rebellious spirit of individualism that underlines true Satanism. An applied, modern form of it, similar to Ayn Rand’s objectivism. I challenge anyone to find a book more Satanic than Atlas Shrugged.
Only “Traitor Bomb Threat” is specifically about terrorism, or rather, retaliation against it. “Seizures” is about the seizures I deal with due to my severe hypoglycemia, one in particular where I temporarily died. I wanted to capture how it felt to be truly dead, because few get to experience that and tell of it.
Some of what’s on here is pure absolute rage, forced into a pseudo-eloquent package. There’s been great upheaval in my life and I am angry. I have a lot to be furious about. The Black Sorcery is perhaps the best among my projects at firing openly at the targets that plague me.
IMV: I’m also curious about how the lyrics relate to the album’s title and cover art. …And the Beast Spake Death from Above certainly sounds like a Satanic title, though ‘death from above’ also has strong military connotations in terms of dropping bombs on an enemy. The winged goat wielding the splintered cross on the cover scans pretty Satanic as well. Did you develop the album’s lyrical concept independently of those elements, or do they connect in some larger way that might not be readily apparent?
LM: The title actually directly relates to me. It’s at once an annunciation that I can/have become a monster and wish to wreak unspeakable harm upon anyone in my path. The phrase “death from above” is a double-entente referencing both terror/bombing/war and also my abnormal stature (I’m 6’8″)
Sang Ho Moon’s stark looking artwork boldly says everything I wanted to convey without a single wasted brush stroke. While more direct than the lyrical content, it’s there to recall the true barbarity of the music played by our band.
IMV: Your vocal approach on …And the Beast Spake Death from Above is pretty different from the norm as well. You use growls, shrieks, howls, and what almost sounds like pig squeals, with the occasional layering of more than one style. It sounds much more varied and considerably more extreme than what you do with either The Projectionist or Thy Sepulchral Moon, but that also seems appropriate since The Black Sorcery might be the most musically extreme project you’ve been involved in as well – the album is just fucking vicious from front to back. Did you feel like you had to step up your vocal approach to match the musical intensity?
LM: I find it strange that this keeps getting said about the album. I do spend my career trying to be as versatile a metal vocalist as I’m able, but on …And the Beast I went for what I felt was a clubbing, barbaric approach. The main voice is an inhaled guttural low, with a second high scream backing track as a sort of commentary. I emphasize a few key sections with a high inhaled shriek, but I’d say with The Projectionist there is a far broader range of what I’m capable of. I’ll use any array of spoken word, wolf howls, Silencer-esque screams, tortured narration and the full arsenal of voices.
I will say that at the time I recorded the voices for this record, I was working out of town and didn’t have my proper studio equipment with me. I was in a work camp and had to go out to my truck to use its sound deadening for road noise and recorded on a more primitive set up. I may do that for the second album, as I’m quite satisfied with the result. One thing to note that was a challenge: I did the backing vocals from memory as I did not have monitors feeding my headphones the main vocal track. So there’s an anarchy there you just can’t replicate.
IMV: How did you end up signing to Krucyator Productions (the label run by Loïc.F of Autokrator) for …And the Beast Spake Death from Above? The Black Sorcery is really an excellent fit for that roster.
LM: The Black Sorcery sent out a few promos to labels and the first one that really grabbed us was Hammer of Damnation, who are releasing it on CD at the same time, but my PR guy Zoheb introduced me to Loïc as someone we ought to be working with and he couldn’t have been more right. Loïc is a fantastic label runner and his band Autocrator is, in my opinion, one of the best death metal bands going today. Between them and Profane Order we are in truly savage company. I hope to do a split 7″ with both bands at some point soon.
I brokered our deal with Krucyator entirely in French, which was a pleasing exchange indeed. One of the best experiences I’ve had dealing with a label. Loïc passionately promotes his works, as I do. Excellent records go a lot further with the right backing.
IMV: In general, you’re a pretty prolific dude. In addition to …And the Beast Spake Death from Above, The Projectionist released a split with Féretro called Aliança das Chamas Negras back in January, your industrial noise project L.A.R.V.A.E. has a new album coming out, and Thy Sepulchral Moon has a split with Byyrth due out later this year as well. Is there anything else currently in the pipeline? Do you have any plans to tour with any of your bands?
LM: I keep irons in the fire constantly to keep me sane-ish. I need to, to survive.
Currently I’ve just finished the final mix on The Projectionist’s double concept album Visits from the NightHag and sent it to Destroyer at GetGrim Studios for mastering. It reads in a play format, similar to Emperor circa Nightside Eclipse performing works of King Diamond. Complete with guest voices (I can do almost any voice but I can’t sound female, haha), elaborate orchestrations and a funeral moan choir.
As well there is an absolutely savage new Diabolus Amator album entitled For the Fortress of Satan coming out through Lost Apparitions Productions in the next couple months. The production on this one is stellar, rivaling Dark Funeral, and Abyss just annihilates his drum kit on it.
Also planned is a debut (and likely final) full length album for Thy Sepulchral Moon, a debut full length for Galaxy Black, and Parageist has begun writing guitars for the next Projectionist concept album The Stench of Amalthia slated for late next year, for which I’ve already written the lyrics.
IMV: Thanks again for taking the time to answer some questions. I like to leave the final word to the artists – anything else you want to add?
LM: The musicians I work with are Supreme Overlords all. I can scream until I turn blue and drop dead, but without them I could not enjoy the level of infamy I now have afforded to me.
There are no villains, only obstacles to outrun and conquer.