This isn’t the first time I’ve written about Toronto’s Erythrite Throne on these virtual pages. I included Crystal Tears of the Immortal Witch in the first installment of our Dungeon Crawl column back at the beginning of February. Well…Wyrm, the lone individual behind the project, has been kind of busy since then. On April 1 he’ll release Vampyric Burial Shroud, his third new offering since that column was published. Unlike his previous three releases, this one goes back to the raw black metal sound of his first couple of albums.
We’re premiering one of those raw, blackened tracks here today at the Vault. “Blood of the Occultist” is one of the moodier songs on Vampyric Burial Shroud, combining a slow arpeggio and eerie atmosphere to chill-inducing effect. Check it out below, along with my conversation with Wyrm.
Indy Metal Vault: Hey, dude – first off, I want to thank you for the interview. And then I have a confession to make. I was stoked as hell when I saw that you had another new EP on the way already, but when you told me that Vampyric Burial Shroud was mostly black metal, my first thought was ‘fuck…why?’ Happily, my skepticism was entirely misplaced (uhh…sorry for doubting), and you have released black metal as Erythrite Throne in the past as well. So let me rephrase the question: why release a black metal EP under the Erythrite Throne name instead of calling it something else? It’s not like other DS artists don’t have multiple projects.
Wyrm: I appreciate you taking the time out for this interview and for listening to my music, thank you! The first two albums, We Sleep Forever in Decay and Fleeting Voices Under the Deathmoon’s Embrace, are both mostly BM. Both those albums are pretty intertwined with Dungeon Synth/Dark Ambient and Atmospheric Black Metal. Crystal Tears of the Immortal Witch was actually the first fully DS album I did, and it was only supposed to be an EP but I got really into it and ended up with two albums worth of material. I could have taken those and released them under a different, strictly DS project, but it’s all very connected for me. All of these songs have the same heart in them, so I’d rather keep it all coming from the perspective of Erythrite Throne.
IMV: Of course, I know the history of dungeon synth and understand the connection between DS and the Norwegian second wave, but I’m always interested to know what the artists themselves think about why there’s so much overlap between black metal and dungeon synth audiences. Which were you into first, and what drew you to the other?
W: I’ve been into black metal for years so that definitely came first for me. I’m into a lot of symphonic, medieval black metal, so DS was something I could get into really easily. I remember when I was first starting to explore DS and checking out some of the classics like Wongraven, Secret Stairways, and Mortiis for the first time, just the pure atmosphere this genre gives off is like nothing else.
IMV: Vampyric Burial Shroud, which is due out on April 1, is already going to be your fifth release of 2019. How on earth do you maintain that level of production? Are you basically constantly writing and/or recording?
W: I actually spend a huge amount of time working, and the majority of that time there is a lot of music stuff going through my head. It’s a constant thing for me, so any chance I get to go home, record and put those thoughts into the world, I do. I make my music pretty fast. Music is just something I love doing, it’s the only thing that lets me express myself the way I need so it’s something I like to do often.
IMV: One thing that I like about interviewing dungeon synth artists is that most of you are blank slates – the genre is still underground enough that there’s not a ton of information out there yet. So let’s go back to the beginning here: what’s your musical background, and how did you first get into making dungeon synth?
W: Music is something I’ve always been in love with. Since I was young, I’ve always loved collecting and listening to CDs, vinyl, and tapes. It’s always something I’ve wanted to do and release myself. About five or six years or so ago I was I in a pawn shop and decided to buy a pretty cheap synth they had, taught myself a few things, and just kind of went from there. Over the years I’ve been learning some different software, bought a few different synths, and I just experiment till I find a comfortable sound. I actually released a few different DS albums/EPs under different names the past few years but I’ve since taken them down. I was actually considering releasing some of those songs as demos for people to hear soon, or the ones I like enough, anyway.
IMV: I usually like to delve into an artist’s lyrical themes, but that’s not exactly the most productive line of inquiry for an artist who does a lot of instrumental material. That being said, there does seem to be some kind of thematic thread running through your releases, but I can’t quite put my finger on what it is – there’s obviously a vampiric element to it, given the title of the forthcoming release, but that only seems to be a part of it. Are you just sort of broadly drawing from various esoteric or mystical traditions in your songwriting, or is there a specific focus to it?
W: I’ve always been really into the dark past, medieval ages, and folklore, so that’s what mostly inspires Erythrite Throne. Witchcraft, the plague, vampires, demons, urban legends, it’s all stuff that I love to learn and read about, I try to incorporate it into my music. I want the music to give a sense of dread, anguish, sorrow, wonder, and just to evoke some sort of emotion from the listeners. There’s no specific focus as a whole besides darkness, but almost every album has a specific story.
IMV: Given how prolific you are, I’m guessing you’re pretty well DIY all the way in terms of your recording process. What does your setup look like – both in terms of your DAW and your musical gear?
W: I use a few different things depending on what I’m making, a lot of Ableton Live, GarageBand with a few different midi controllers. Musical gear would be a Yamaha MX49, Novation Mininova, MicroKorg, Korg Kaossilator Pro+. I consider myself pretty new to this and still learning.
IMV: Thus far, you’ve only released Erythrite Throne’s music in very limited capacities – mostly hand-dubbed editions of 13 tapes or nearly as limited runs of CDs. Why such small releases? Do you plan (or hope) to do wider releases in the future?
W: To be honest, I had the first releases of Crystal Tears and Obsidian Towers limited to 13 each because I didn’t think anybody would be into it. I was assuming I would just give a few copies to friends and family. I didn’t expect people from other parts of the world to want to have physical copies. I make this music as a form of therapy, to let emotion out, so the fact that people want to buy copies of it or even just listen to it honours me greatly. I appreciate everyone who has checked out my music. I would definitely like to do some bigger releases in the future, not huge but bigger than 13 for sure.
IMV: With the second Northeast Dungeon Siege coming up here soon, I’m sure a lot of DS artists are starting to think about what it might take to bring their music into a live setting. Have you considered gigging at all with Erythrite Throne?
W: I have for sure! I actually have a few friends willing to come play live with me for the BM type stuff. I would love to bring my DS into a live setting as well, and I’ve actually been thinking about that a lot recently so we’ll see what the future holds for that.
IMV: So what’s on the horizon for you after Vampyric Burial Shroud? Given your rate of productivity thus far in 2019, I’m guessing you have at least three more releases in the works already…
W: I do have a few! I’m also sitting on a lot of older stuff I haven’t released yet, so some of that might come soon. I have a new DS album in the works now and probably a few more EPs coming. I’ve been really wanting to do a split with another artist so I’m gonna look into that as well and see if anybody would be up for it. There’s just something really cool about splits and compilations, to hear different artists sounds on the same release is amazing.
IMV: Thanks again for being willing to answer a few questions. I like to leave the final word to the artists – anything else you want to add?
W: Thank you for the interview and for checking out my music. Thank you to everyone who’s checked it out, I appreciate it more than words can describe. Also a huge thanks to the Dungeon Synth Cult on Facebook, I’ve met a lot of good people there who have shared my music around greatly. It’s a group full of awesome people and amazing musicians. There’s going to be a lot more music coming from me soon! Vampyric Burial Shroud will be out April 1st with a limited run of 25 tapes.