Vimur have been keeping the black metal flame burning in Atlanta for over a decade now. Fresh off the release of their latest opus Triumphant Master of Fates (Boris Records – order here) and a triumphant record release show at The Earl with Ectovoid, Enciffination. and Internment (where our Jeri was in attendance), I had a chance to talk with the band.
Indy Metal Vault: First off, thanks for the interview. So Vimur is from Atlanta, which is not exactly what I’d call a black metal city. Off the top of my head, I can only name one other black metal band from the ATL, and you actually share a couple of members: Hellgoat. Is there more of a black metal underground in Atlanta than outsiders may realize, or is it kind of a tough town for a band like Vimur?
Vimur: I wouldn’t say there is a large unknown black metal underground in Atlanta. Naturally, there are loyal followers scattered. However, it is not a tough town for us. We’ve been around for a while and we don’t play Atlanta frequently. When we do, there’s a reason for it. We’ve toured extensively and will continue to do so.
IMV: I always do a bit of research before I write interview questions, and one thing in particular jumped out at me. Black metal isn’t exactly a genre known for its bass players, but Kiehül actually plays a 7-string bass. Was that something that became an element of your sound by design or chance? How much does having that expanded lower range impact your songwriting process?
V: The addition of Kiehül Hesperos was monumental to Vimur’s songwriting process. His bass playing is unequaled in black metal. While technically proficient, his strength is in composition. Do not focus on the instrument but rather the work it performs. The 7-string instrument is imposing but there is a reason for every note. We abhor technicality for technicality’s sake. The active bass role is designed to augment the listening spectrum, attacking with fury from all angles, and thereby executing the “totality” concept in the texture of Vimur’s sound —all instruments at once racing towards the infinite.
IMV: Vimur’s history thus far has been one characterized by slow progression. Vaedis founded the band in 2006 as a solo project, but you didn’t release your first music until 2014. Since then, you’ve expanded into a full lineup, released the Exegesis EP in 2016, and just released your second full-length Triumphant Master of Fates. Since most of you are involved in multiple bands, how much of the pace of your releases has been out of a sense of deliberateness in the creation of your music, and how much of it is the result of you all just being incredibly busy?
V: A myriad of factors have determined our pace in releasing music. The actualization of Vimur was lengthy, and it occurred over various phases. We keep ourselves very busy but it’s possible we haven’t revealed our entire hand yet. It isn’t wise to start a war without raising an army and stockpiling weaponry.
IMV: I’ve had a chance to look at the lyrics for Triumphant Master of Fates, and I was happy to see that they aren’t the typical sort of Satanic fare that one expects from black metal. There’s still definitely an element of Luciferianism to them, but there’s a lot more going there as well. I want to ask a couple of things about the lyrics in particular and the themes of the album as a whole. The first has to do with the recurring image of spears – the lyrics to “Adversarial Impetus Ignition” contain a reference to the Spear of Longinus, the lyric sheet features an illustration of a pair of spears, and two of you are holding spears in the band photo as well. Based on the album’s lyrics, however, I’m guessing that the spear is more of a metaphor than something to be taken literally. What does that spear symbolize within the context of the album?
V: The spear is both literal and metaphoric. Metaphorically speaking, the spear represents piercing the veil of perception and “reality.” It is a weapon thrust upwards forever burning towards the infinite. It symbolizes the departure from Eden and a window into the beyond. This is most prevalent in our lyrics. It may be taken literally as well. The Spear of Longinus was the weapon that inflicted Jesus’s final wound during his crucifixion. This can and has been interpreted many ways. It is an undeniably powerful, mystical, and mysterious object. We see it as a symbol of pagan triumph.
IMV: As a follow up to that, how conceptual is Triumphant Master of Fates? Based on the lyrics and the overall ebb-and-flow of the album, I feel like there’s definitely some sort of narrative there.
V: The album as a whole is very conceptual and could be interpreted as a narrative. The narrative is as follows: personal gnosis leads to acknowledging the awesome grandiosity of the abyss. Perseverance ignites an internal fire, which then manifests conflict in the physical realm. Thus follows annihilation and the foundation of a new ascendance. This story exists within the micro and macro.
IMV: There’s something about “Sulphurous Hallucinations Manifest” that I find incredibly…I’m not sure whether to call it upsetting or unsettling, honestly. I think that stems largely from not being able to tell if it’s the sound of a rocket taking off or a bomb detonating. I’m starting to think it’s actually both – at some point, it switches. Are you willing to unpack what’s happening in that track?
V: Your question is best referred to Amon Demogorgon, who created it. I will say you are correct about some things but not others. What’s most important is how it made you feel. Clearly, it has served its purpose.
IMV: From a production standpoint, Triumphant Master of Fates sounds fantastic – really direct and all kinds of fucking aggressive. You recorded it at Georgia’s Deadsound Studios with Hellgoat’s Amon Demogorgon. What did your studio rigs look like? My guess would be that they were fairly straightforward as far as your pedal boards and the like.
V: Our studio rigs are very similar to our live rigs. We keep it old school and raw. We plug directly into our amps and let them rip. We don’t use many pedals or effects. We have no need for them. Occasionally a delay pedal might be used but quite sparingly. We believe in pushing boundaries while being firmly rooted in what we are. I use a Gibson Flying V with upgraded Avedissian pickups straight into a Peavy 5150. The tone is power and clarity, which is all I need. Australis uses a Gibson Flying V also with Avedissian pickups into an EVH 5150 III.
IMV: Dan Klein handled the mixing and mastering at Iron Hand Studio in Chicago. How involved were you in that process? Did you make the trek up to Chicago, or did you leave things in his very capable hands?
V: We didn’t feel the need to go to Chicago for the mixing and mastering of Triumphant Master of Fates. Dan is an expert so we trusted him. Naturally, myself and Kiehül Hesperos gave input but we’ve all known each other for years and Dan has seen Vimur live. He knows what we’re about and he has the skills to actualize the epic production.
IMV: Adam Burke’s cover art for Triumphant Master of Fates is really evocative, especially in terms of his use of color. How did you come to work with him? Did you give him much direction in terms of the cover concept?
V: I first became aware of his artwork from the cover of Horizonless by Loss. I was astounded by how natural his style was and how the concept was portrayed perfectly. I knew I wanted to work with him. I gave him quite a lot of direction in terms of the cover concept. Nevertheless, he added his own touch and executed it beyond my expectations.
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?
V: Regain your spiritual sovereignty!