NOCTURNUS is a name that certainly does not need to be presented to anyone. Mike Browning stood at the birth of MORBID ANGEL with whom he recorded some demos and a real "Abominations of Desolation" debut. In NOCTURNUS he recorded the first two albums, and their next steps part away. So, among other things, he formed NOCTURNUS AD band, which was later renamed to AFTER DEATH and now he returned to the old name. This year they made "Paradox" debut, which actually followed the most cult "The Key" album and they certainly wiped one's eyes . Probably no one expected such a sophisticated and killer material, Mike clearly showed he can still stir up the right energies as he did in the old days. Another surprise may be the label they subscribed to, so Canadian Profound Lore Records. They have many of the current underground aces such as. IMPETUOUS RITUAL, DISMA, DIOCLETIAN, or CRUCIAMENTUM. Since Mike has great knowledge of occult topics, I directed the questions here. The names of some of the new songs like The Bandar Sign or Aeon of the Ancient Ones suggest something , so let's dive into the abyss.
Why did you choose "Paradox" as the title of the debut? Does it represent any concept behind this album?
The album itself is a Paradox, being that it takes place after The Key, but it just came out this year. A Grandfather Paradox is involving time travel and how inconsistencies emerge through changing the past. So Paradox was a title that has several meanings having to do with several different aspects of the album.
How did you actually get to occultism? What are the traps of practical magic?
My mom had some old witchcraft books that I started checking out when I was pretty young and then I found out about The Necronomicon and the Satanic Bible and the more I read, the more I wanted to find new and interesting stuff to read. Today I have about 800 books, mostly on the occult, Egypt and sci-fi and horror. The biggest trap in Magick is your own ego.
Do you believe every person is actually a transmitter of frequencies that affect the surrounding events? Does one need to change the state of consciousness in order to gain deeper knowledge, wisdom?
Science has proven that we are a bunch of vibrating particles and everything has its own vibrational state. And yes you can change your vibrational state in several different ways, meditation, breathing exercises, certain asanas and drugs all can change your vibrational state, to a higher vibrational rate. I believe there are entities all around us, but they are of a much higher vibrational state, so we can’t see them until we raise our vibrational rate to match theirs.
Did LSD experiments help you in a sense? What did you learn from them?
Most hallucigenic types of substances are just raising your vibrational rate, so therefore you can see and converse with these entities on their vibrational level, they coexist with us always but unless you can alter your state to match theirs, you will not know they are even all around you. You can learn whatever you desire from these altered states.
In some sense, NILE have something to do with your creation. Do you meet Karl Sanders? What is your attitude to his band and lyrics?
I have met Karl several times and love the Nile stuff, he has always been very cool to me, but we have never had the chance to have a good talk about these types of things. Even though we have similar interests, our bands are completely different. Karl usually writes more of historical type events and things with Ancient Egypt, whereas I usually write either occult or sci-fi events like The Key and Paradox that are based in Ancient Egypt. But yeah Nile is an awesome band.
Which aspects are you trying to incorporate into music so that it's interesting for you or fans and they want to play it again? Do you have a precisely designed concept, or you just let yourself be guided by intuition?
I never write for my fans, I write about things that I find personally interesting and if the people enjoy it too, then that makes it even better. I have always wanted to continue The Key story, that is why Empire of The Sands fades out, because I wanted to fade back in on Thresholds and that never happened, so it is something I have always wanted to continue with. In After Death we always played songs from The Key and although it took a while, the stars had to align and the time to do it just felt right. But with the songs themselves, some of it was precisely designed, but some of it just pops into my head like a whole story. Usually a song title will come to me and when it does the whole story of what I want to write about comes to me and then I piece it together to fit the music. I always write they lyrics after the music is completed so that I can fit it all together so I know that I can sing and play drums to it.
This interview happened accidentally to our 9th issue, while the final track of your debut is Number 9. Why do you think number 9 is so important in magic?
Nine being a magickal number comes from the Tree of Life and the 10 Sephiroth or Spheres. 9 of them are split into 3 triads, 2 formative and 1 spiritual and the 10th Sephiroth is above our understanding. But I wanted 9 songs on the album and until I write lyrics for a song, we just give them numbers, so this song was our 9th new song we were working on and we decided to make it an instrumental, so we just kept Number 9 as the title of it. I believe everything happens for a purpose.
As for the Necronomicon, could Lovecraft be inspired by the Egyptian Book of the Dead and the Tibetan Bardo Thodol? According to some sources, these are the only true Necronomicons.
They both are definitely true books of the dead, but I don’t believe they are the only ones out there. Although The Simon Necronomicon was written by 2 guys from New York, a good portion of it is from actual Sumerian wax cylinders, which was the form of “book” that they used in Sumeria and Babylonia back then. Lovecraft did have a quite large library of books available between his father and uncles collections, so he more than likely had these types of books at his disposal.
Does one need to prepare for the afterlife? The Egyptians believed if the soul went through Duat, it would acquire immortality. Can the soul actually be mortal?
I believe the soul is indestructible, it is a force or energy and not therefore necessarily a tangible thing that we can see or touch. The Egyptians believe it had two main parts, the Ba and the Ka. The Ba would basically stay around the area of the body or place of death and watch over it until the Ka comes back after it has found its next suitable host. The 2 then unite in a new form again.
In the book of Amduat there are two sphinxes, one with a woman's, the other with a man's head. Isn't it strange there is only one sphinx in Giza? It is also interesting to connect the human with the animal and at the same time the head is too small compared to the long body.
Yes, that is why I wanted The Cthulhu headed Sphinx in the artwork. There have been many speculations about the head of the Sphinx being smaller and not In proportion with the body and has more than likely been defaced and rebuilt. There could have been more than two as well, but I agree that there probably were two of these as an entranceway to something or to the Giza pyramid itself.
As we know, HP. Lovecraft avoided sleep in his youth, went to sleep late, because he was suffering from nightmares and perhaps Pavor nocturnus. A name as if created for your song. Such bad dreams bring a lot of emotions, which could definitely be transformed into art, whether in short stories or in Death / Black Metal. Why do you think some people have such scary dreams? Can you imagine writing a song on this subject? Have you ever been inspired by dreams for creation?
My problem is that I am a very light sleeper and wake up quite often, so I don't think I have slept for more than 4 hours without at least waking up once and because of that I rarely dream at all. I used to have more adventure type dreams all the time when I was younger, like I was always on some kind of a mission, I rarely had nightmares even when I did dream though.
Lovecraft had lots of health problems, so these things can bring on terrible dreams. I imagine if I had horrific dreams that it would give me ideas to put into songs. Sometimes I will wake up with an idea or a song title in my head and I have to make a note of it in my phone before I forget about it.
Choronzon, otherwise known as the Demon of Dispersion, or the Great Disintegrator, was described by Crowley as a temporary personification of the raving and inconsistent forces that occupy the Abyss. Crowley states that he and Victor Benjamin Neuburg performed the evocation of Choronzon in the Sahara Desert in December 1909. Do you think it can be based on truth?
Do I believe that it could have happened, most definitely. Crowley spoke in codes most of the time, he even had code names for the people that he worked with and knew.
After several days in a desert they were both no doubt having hallucinations, no one will ever know what really happened, maybe not even them themselves, but confronting Choronzon in any form is the same as confronting every demon you have at its highest level and trying to defeat them all at once in one massive cleansing of the self.
According to the information available, you have not recorded in the studio for several years. What was it like to go back to studio after a long time and revive the old spirit of Nocturnus? It was probably a bit different from "The Key" recording.
I have a converted garage into studio at my house, so it is air conditioned and soundproofed and we have a 12 track interface with ProTools and a Fostex 16 track and mics for the drums and everyone else can run direct and so we can record really any time we want to. We did a full 6 song demo with all of the new songs that we had at the time and used one of those 6 songs, Aeon of The Ancient Ones, then released it as a demo song and got the record deal from Profound Lore and so here we are!
Mike 21.6.2019 Storm
The Return of the Lost Key