MALAKHIM from Všsterbotten in Sweden is more than just an interesting band for me. This is a fairly new name with formation in year 2016 and they has only presented the first "Demo I" demo '17 and the latest 'II' EP '19. Both materials are convincing, authentic, dirty, like a gaunt tomb from the late 16th century. Their approach to Black Metal has literally captivated me, not only because of the great playing skills or natural wildness they have overage, but mainly because of the gloomy and depressing atmosphere that is crucial to this unique genre. The band may resemble some of the pioneers of Dissection or Watain, but don't be discouraged by some copying or imitating patterns. The band has enough of its own ideas, peculiarities and authentic energy to create black charred thoughts craving the blood, the other side of life and thus manifest the next coming of evil. Their EP was released under great Iron Bonehead Productions, which will surely make the band even darker tomorrow. In the interview you can meet vocalist E who answered my questions.
Could you explain the name of the MALAKHIM band in more detail? I know it is derived from the Hebrew term. What does this name mean to you? Does it have a deeper meaning related to the band concept? The logo is amazing, it includes symbols and various details. Who is its author?
We opted for the name because we felt it was an appropriate moniker for the band, meaning both messenger and angel. Itís interested that as far as I can tell at least it speaks not of what kind of angel either. It felt right, and somehow also connects with my own firm belief that black metal is a mouthpiece for something sinister.
The logo was done by the exceptionally talented Sindre Foss Skancke, whom has also done a lot of intriguing artwork for some very good bands.
You come from Sweden and your music sounds like it. A mix of melody, darkness, speed, and other typical classic elements for bands from your country, especially from the 1990s. Have you already had a vision of how you will sound and where you are going, or you just let yourselves be guided by your own inner paths and when they formed you?
I donít think we ever decided on a special soundscape or style for the band. Some of the members have roots in that time period and have been active in bands since the early 90ies, so itís perhaps natural that this era is represented in their writing. I think now its easier to say that we have a clear view on our sound as weíve had a few years together as a band already, but at first, we didnít really know that either.
Your first demo was quite successful and sold out quickly. What do you attribute to it? As you know, there is a tremendous bunch of bands of different extreme genres and some bands are happy if someone buys their albums in mp3 format and in less quantity. Do you think youíve achieved elements in music that fans can appreciate? Do you believe in your own music and creativity? I know, every band says yes, but not everyone can sell out a demo in an extremely short timeÖ
I think we were all a bit surprised that it sold out so fast, and thinking about it now its difficult to attribute anything specific, but the combination of the music, the visual output by both Sindre Foss Skancke and Karmazid whom did the cover art. I also think in part word of mouth. The demo got attention quite fast, as we noticed when people started ordering. Doing the tape was also quite important to us as we wanted to do it proper somehow, and releasing it digitally only was never really an option though its hard to deny the importance of the digital platform today.
We write the music we would listen to ourselves, so yes, we certainly do believe in it.
EP "II" was released under great Iron Bonehead Productions, this material has completely grounded me and based on it I contacted you. How would you compare your music and the production of both your materials? From my point of view, I feel an even stronger step forward compared to the demo, and the atmosphere is strengthened even to the more monstrous form.
Thanks! I think the biggest step forward is that the material on I was written over a longer time span. A Thousand Burning Worlds was the first track we wrote together as a band, and it took quite some time to finalize the other two tracks that ended up on I.
After that material was released, II was composed faster and I would personally say that also contributes to making it sound more cohesive. Itís a fitting step forward and the songs are balanced with each other as they were crafted together.
What role does the atmosphere play for MALAKHIM? Itís definitely the most important element for any Black Metal band. Could you tell something more about your chemistry how you can thicken this element of music? It certainly comes from the composition and the feeling of the composer. Can you explain it?
I think its very important, all parts must fit. The music is one part of this, but production, artwork, presentation and in a live setting the visuals and the stage presence are key. I think its obvious on II that thereís a thread of moods in the songs in the way theyíre arranged on the EP, and that was a conscious decision as well to maintain a flow of the EP that stirs something in the listener.
In the photos you use ritual painting so typical for 90ís bands. Many consider it an old hat or a theater of posers. What role does painting have for you? Do you always use it for live performances?
I disagree with that statement; it was important to me back when I started discovering this music and it still is. It adds to the atmosphere in a way. Not all bands these days will use it, and maybe its not fitting for all bands to do so either, but I think its another part of it. We have no intention to consciously enter a stage without it.
In what ways do you get inspired? Is it all just a matter of mind, spirituality and instinct for you, or you visit strange mysterious places with negative vibrations, or you use ritual objects, darkness, candlelight, skulls, incense for deeper experience at writing process? Do you compose individually, or most of the material comes together in the rehearsal room?
Material is generally written individually and then brought to the rehearsal room, though weíve also worked on some stuff together in the rehearsal. My personal inspirations come from experiencing art in its various forms, whether this is the music created by others, reading literature, paintings. I canít really control when I get inspiration for the lyrical parts, itís usually just an idea that fixates somehow and then gets built upon whenever inspiration strikes. Iíve learned to note things down these days and will revisit them whenever the mood strikes. The energy surge after a good rehearsal is a fantastic inspiration, as is a long walk with music.
What other inspirations could you reveal? I mean the area of dreams, vision and maybe paranormal experiences. Have you ever experienced sleep disorders like nightmares, sleep paralysis, insomnia? And what about sleep deprivation? Have you ever tried to not sleep a few nights to achieve hallucinations as a source of creativity? Or do you have any other special techniques?
Nightmares, a bit of lucid dreaming now and then Ė absolutely. I also have periods where I cannot remember anything from the dreamscape, and periods where its very vivid and colorful. Is that inspiring? Sometimes, yes absolutely. Iíve never tried things like that, I think the best way to get inspired for me is taking a walk and disconnecting the mind from the everyday life for a while.
Has any of your songs come into being in more special circumstances than others? I mean, for example any special impulse, a strange period reflecting the atmosphere, or anything? Do you notice strange energies and circumstances while creating individual songs? Do you take songs individually or you consistently compose them as a material for your next recording?
Iíd say lyrically yes, some ideas come from dreamscapes, nightmares if we call it that. So far compositions have been spontaneous, and as for lyrics I hoard whatever ideas I have and once we finish a song, I will see what kind of mood fits the song and then start adding lyrics. A few lyrical ideas translate into riff ideas as well. I think some of the songs affect us, at least I feel a very different energy when we play them in the rehearsal or when we played them on stage. I disconnected quite a lot from myself at our debut gig, which was a not entirely comfortable feeling at first, but now I long for that again somehow. I know the others have similar experiences with some of our other tracks.
What does death symbolize to you? Is any way of religion interesting from that point of view for you? Have you had a personal death experience when you were on the edge of death? Do you think we are temporarily imprisoned in our reality as we understand it and everything else is more important, or just the opposite? Is death an inspiration for your work?
Death fascinates me. As a society we are today incredibly fascinated and afraid of death. I wonít say Iím not afraid of death either, I guess I will find out if I cross paths with it at some point, but its interesting how our cultures these days are still so fascinated by it. To me it symbolizes the possibility of something Ė something dies, something is created. Death certainly inspires me, along with the cultural fear of the Devil or His likeness.
Do you perceive your music as metaphysical? Can you write something more about it?
I think in some ways yes, there are some statements and proclamations done in the lyrics that are based on my own thoughts, experiences and visions. But isnít this also the nature of most art, that it seeks to answer or force the one experiencing to answer for themselves by asking a question or disrupting their own comfort?
What is the situation with writing some new material? Can you now determine what format it will be? How many things are in progress and how they different from your previous movement?
Weíre working on new material. Having done two Eps we feel that its time to present a full-length album. How that will differ from the previous materials? Lets speak of that once its finalized!
E 13.6.2019 Mortuary
He Who Devours