I’ve listened to enough black metal in my life that I assumed I’d pretty much heard it all in terms of ‘Satanic’ music. Granted, a lot black metal bands tend to be a bit cartoonish in the way they present their Satanic images (*cough* Dimmu Borgir *cough*), but there are also plenty of trve believers out there making genuinely malevolent-sounding music. Even so, I rarely find any of it to be all that unsettling, though there are a few musicians I’d probably not want to go out with for a couple of beers.
Russian ‘Diabolical Ritual Ambient’ duo Corona Barathri, however, are a whole other matter. To call what they do unsettling is actually selling them short – there’s something so legitimately dark and foreboding at the heart of their music that it fucks with my head, and not always in a good way. For example, I was listening to the Diabolical Path compilation on headphones, and something about the track “Temple Of Ahriya Mainyus” was so thoroughly upsetting that it took me close to an hour to calm back down after I turned it off.
The forthcoming Nox Mali, which Grey Matter Noise Production will be releasing in very limited CD and cassette editions (only 25 copies of each, minus the one cassette I already ordered) on July 13 (preorder here), doesn’t have anything on it quite as disturbing as “Temple Of Ahriya Mainyus.” Even so, the dark soundscapes, unidentifiable instrumentation, and ritualistic Latin chanting across its four lengthy tracks still make me want to lay salt across all possible entry points to my bedroom – you know, just in case. In other words, it’s utterly enthralling, even if I don’t quite have the nerves to listen to it all that often.
Corona Barathri’s Affectvs and Kein–along with recently departed Lamia Culta, whose vocals still appear on Nox Mali–are obviously quite adept at performing their blasphemous alchemy. I was fortunate enough to be able to chat with the duo about their music and anti-theistic beliefs.
Indy Metal Vault: So first off, thanks for the interview. Corona Barathri isn’t the sort of band that I generally interview – I tend to cover mostly black metal, but there’s a definite overlap between ‘diabolical ritual ambient’ and the kind of black metal I generally prefer– so I’m looking forward to delving into Nox Mali and a few other topics. Before we get into any of that, though, I’m guessing that there’s probably a significant portion of our readership that isn’t familiar with ritual ambient (I’ll save the ‘diabolical’ part for later) as a genre. For those who haven’t yet delved into it, can you describe it a bit?
Affectvs: Diabolical Ritual Ambient is Ars Diaboli, the Infernal process dynamics, the Call and the Awakening of Evil in man. Every track is a Dark heart’s response that sounds a hymn to the Highest One in Darkness.
It is the connection between man and the Devil. In every opus we try to expand the cognition of aspects of Diabolus and to express it through spiritual Diabolism, sinister atmosphere, ritualistic formulas and invocations to specific aspects of the Evil Force.
IMV: I like to do some research before I write interview questions, but I haven’t been able to find much about Corona Barathri online aside from your Facebook and Bandcamp pages – one interview from last year with a blog called This is Darkness and that’s pretty much it. From what I’ve been able to gather, the project started in 2015 with a demo called Ars Magna Atra that was released under the name AFFECTVS, and has grown considerably from there. Your Bandcamp page lists 25 separate releases: full albums, collaborations, splits, and compilations. That’s a lot of music in a relatively short span of time. Has it all been created over the last couple of years? Or do you have an archive of material that you draw from? A bit of both?
Affectvs: Yes, it is true that the occult project Corona Barathri was founded in the end of 2016, but before that there was the Affectvs & Lamia Culta collaboration. We released two works under that name –Homines Sacerrimi and Blessing from the Darkness.
After that we decided that our Covenant should have the joint name Corona Barathri (Latin: The Crown of the Abyss – the union of all Dark souls devoted to the Evil) and Kein (Sol Mortuus), another great artist, joined us.
Over the last two years we’ve been working hard. We have made splits and tracks featuring such artists like Sodomic Baptism, Melek-Tha, Michael W. Ford (Akhtya), Edgar Kerval (Emme Ya), Antelogos, KHASHM, etc.
IMV: I ordinarily ask bands about their creative process, but I get the feeling that wouldn’t be the right way to phrase it for Corona Barathri. Instead, let me ask it this way: when recording your music, how active do you feel you are as participants in the process? Do you feel like you’re actually creating it, or are you channeling it from somewhere else and acting as the vessels through which it takes shape? How much of it is actually created in a ritualistic setting, as opposed to pieced together in a studio?
Affectvs: Our Art is an essential part of the Dark Path. We live and work in different cities so we’ve worked out a system of coordination. First, we make a concept and create ritual formulas, mantras and hymns in co-authorship with a witch from the Luna Atra/Exsecramentum circle. She makes an invaluable contribution to the ritual’s structure. Second, we perform meditative and ritualistic practices, like callings, blood offerings, mystical experiences.
After that comes the creation of atmosphere, composition of sound elements, adding of ritualistic vocals, and mixing. Then I send mixed material to Kein. He adds a layer of live ritualistic instruments and makes the final mastering.
Kein: Music is a form of mystical communication. And if we find common ground on sound forms, then it turns out that our actions have the same vector. And if they have the same vector, it means they are coordinated and will lead us to our goals.
IMV: Let’s talk a bit about Nox Mali. According to your Bandcamp, it was written on the ‘eve of the Great Sabbath.’ In my understanding, that’s the Saturday before the Christian Easter – when it’s believed that Christ descended into Hell, broke down the gates, and led the souls held captive there to Heaven (also called the Harrowing of Hell). I’m guessing that’s where the Nox Mali title comes from – the ‘bad night’ being a perversion of the Great Sabbath. I won’t ask why you chose that night for the ritual, because that seems fairly self-explanatory. I am curious, though, as to what influence (if any) the date of a ritual has on the energies present during that ritual. Do most of your rituals coincide with major dates on the liturgical calendar, or are you able to hold them whenever?
Affectvs: In fact, Nox Mali (The Night Of Evil) is not related to religious beliefs.
In our tradition, The Night of Evil (Samhain) is one of the key Nights in the year cycle. It is the Great Sabbath. It is the border between the spiritual and the material world. It is the time when the Dark forces rage.
In the future, we’ll try to compose key tracks focusing on the witch’s holidays and cult days.
Magnus Hostis homini et dei – Satanas!
IMV: I’m not sure if you’ll answer this question, but I’m going to ask it anyway: how do you prepare for one of these rituals? I’ve interviewed a couple of other bands that also take a ritualistic approach to creating music. Some of the Mystískaos collective’s projects involve entheogenic/drug-induced rituals. I’ve also talked to a Portuguese band called Death. Void. Terror. that describe entering an unconscious state wherein they clear their minds of all human thought and give themselves over to an entity they call the Great Monolith. What sort of mindset are you in at the start of these rituals? Is it the same every time?
Affectvs: Sometimes, it takes much time to compose ritualistic music. A ritual, consisting of calling to the Force, a blood offering, and a meditation during which come images and elements suitable for composition, is performed during the night. It’s very hard to explain in terms of flesh language. After the night ritual experience is grasped, the work on atmosphere and ritualistic speeches starts. All work is built on a spiritual level, on emotions.
Kein: Music composition is ritual itself. It’s about entering another world and sometimes being in the state of unrestrained creation. It’s hard to tell, human language is too weak and helpless to describe it.
It’s like your inner self, your true essence goes for a hunt for something immortal. And goes for eternity.
IMV: Even though you call it an EP, Nox Mali is nearly 60 minutes worth of music. Are the four tracks on Nox Mali presented as they were recorded during the ritual, or are they excerpted from longer pieces? What instruments did you have available to work with during the ritual?
Affectvs: Initially, we planned to record only one track, “Nox Mali,” for our single and release it on Bandcamp on the Samhain Night. However, it turned out that we could add some more tracks to it and release it as EP. In 2018 we decided to release this work on the Grey Matter Productions (USA) label, and “Patera Gloriae Diaboli” was recorded in collaboration with Antelogos from France. So Nox Mali turned out to become a full album.
For now, I use only vocals.
Kein: I use different sources of sounds when recording music. Among these are percussion instruments (such as timbrel, tambourine, gongs, bells, shakers, etc), as well as guitars, mandolin, topshur, flute, harp and, of course, synth keyboards and vocals.
IMV: I want to switch gears now and talk about Corona Barathri’s ideology. The band members are from Russia and the Ukraine. I have no idea how old any of you are, though, so I don’t know if you grew up before or after the fall of the USSR. As a result, I don’t know your early experiences with theology were like – was the State trying to eradicate religion, or was the Russian Orthodox Church regaining influence? Is there anything specific you can point to in terms of what caused you to reject any version of ‘God’ in favor of the left-hand path’?
Affectvs: I was born in 1985 and never was into any religion. I have been showing interest in the occult since my teenage years and since mid-2000s I consciously follow the Iter Ignis. Everything that has a piece of Light and God is alien to me.
I live solely in the name of the Dark Essence.
Kein: I’ve been a witness to many epochs in the history of this country. That of total atheism too – I used to attend scientific atheism course in the college in the 80s. I was born and raised in an atheistic country. Some even used to say that this country is the country of the victorious Satanism.
Nowadays, the Judeo-Christian scum has much influence in this country. They occupy buildings and territories, influence the legislative process, etc. They try to infiltrate every social and state structure, every educational institution. They even managed to pass a new blasphemy law against insulting religious beliefs (sure, it’s only about insulting Christian beliefs).
Organized Christian religion has huge material resources and criminal tax-free businesses.
IMV: I’m hesitant to ask you directly about your specific anti-theistic beliefs, since I don’t want to inadvertently ask something disrespectful. However, since there are so many different schools of Satanistic and/or Luciferian thought, I (and I’m sure our readers) would like to better understand the ideological basis of your rituals. If someone asked you for a reading list to help in understanding your beliefs, what would you tell that person to read?
Affectvs: Our tradition is Orthodox Diabolical Path. We prefer old school. Among materials that can be found on the Internet, I would recommend to reading the work of Valentin Scavr – AMSG (Vox Inferni Press), as well as the works of Swedish TOTBL and books by A friend and colleague of ours, Michael W.Ford, who has done much historical and scientific research on how to grasp one or the other aspect of the Diabolus.
IMV: I’ve seen that you recently parted ways with Fosco Culto/Lamia Culta, and it doesn’t appear to have been a pleasant split. Since it’s her art that adorns the cover of Nox Mali, are those still her vocals on the EP as well? Do you intend to replace her, or will you stay a two-piece with only male vocals for the foreseeable future?
Affectvs: Unfortunately, Lamia Culta Left the project recently due to ideological motives. We are going to release some albums featuring her this year because material has already been recorded. From now on, the project has got a new format and we’ll continue to work and bring the Black Flame. Currently, official members of Corona Barathriare Affectvs (darkest soundscapes, ritual vocals) and Kein (ritual instruments, vocals, mastering). We also collaborate with Infernvs (ritual vocals) and Ayzen Kaoz (from the black metal band Nahemoth/guitars). Soon, we’ll record some ritual tracks in collaboration with a great artist from Belgium – Hekte Zaren(witches vocals).
IMV: As near as I can tell, Nox Mali will be your first recording to be released on cassette. How did you end up hooking up with Grey Matter Noise for that release?
Affectvs: Yes, this is our first recording to be released on cassette. Grey Matter Productions (USA) contacted me AT the end of 2017 and proposed to release our Nox Mal iEP. We agreed and decided to add some tracks to it.
IMV: What’s next for Corona Barathri? You have a couple more releases in the works for this year, correct? Do you have any plans to play live at all?
Affectvs: We have two splits planned for this year – Corona Barathri & Paranoia Inducta –Atra Mors (feat. Aesthetic Meat Front) and Corona Barathri & Black Seas Of Infinity –Castellum Spiritus Obscuri (feat. New Risen Throne).
And I have already begun working on our first full album release for one of the biggest international Dark scene labels. More details to come soon.
On live performances – can’t say anything for now.
Kein: One thing that we do not plan in any way is live sessions. I have got too much of those in the last century. They consume too much energy.
IMV: Thanks again for being willing to answer a few questions. I like to leave the last word to the artists – is there anything else you’d like to add?
Affectvs: We thank Indy Metal Vault for your support.
Keep Black Fire Burning!
Honor Satan with your shed blood, evil word and evil deeds!
One Heart – One Essence.
Iter Ignis – Iter Daemonis,