INTERVIEW: Carpathian Forest prepare for exclusive Maryland Deathfest show

Carpathian Forest embodies everything I love about black metal –grim but beautiful, atmospheric melodies, songs with misanthropic themes and socially biting, often disturbing lyrics. Yet the group couches this “strange old brew” of ideas into infectious rock and roll rhythms that make me want to get up and dance. They also are not afraid to add in unnerving audio samples and keyboards or include a cover song when the mood strikes. Weird? Of course. Disturbing? Sometimes. Awesome? Yes! Carpathian Forest perform Sunday, May 26 at the 2013 Maryland Deathfest, their first performance on U.S. soil.

Formed in Norway in 1990 by Roger “Nattefrost” Rasmussen and John Nordavind, the group established themselves as a powerful force in the second wave of black metal with two demos, an EP and their seminal full-length Black Shining Leather. In 2000, the group experienced a lineup change that has persisted to this day. Among the new members was bassist Daniel Vrangsinn.

Vrangsinn is among the most recognizable figures in black metal with an arresting image of him appearing in photographer Peter Beste’s book “True Norwegian Black Metal”. In the group’s infamous 2004 DVD, “We Are Going to Hollywood For This,” he performs on stage wearing little more than a leather S&M style harness. He cuts a striking and memorable profile with corpse paint streaming down his face and sweat pouring off of his bare shoulders.

Vrangsinn also founded and leads Misantrof, a not-for profit, anti-commercial experiment that releases music (ANTIRecords) and the written word (ANTIPublishing) for free and allows the artists to retain full right to their work. The organization is supported entirely by donations that go back to the artists. Founded on the principal that “without greed or corruption art is set free to remind mankind what it never can be,”  Misantrof is a noble effort and further evidence of his strong character.

Vrangsinn’s generosity seem as big as his physical stature, and he was kind enough to answer my basic questions, which follow. Daniel tells me that he and the rest of the CF crew will be attending the entire four days of MDF so be sure to be on the look out. Buy them some beer or some steamed crabs!

What will be the official lineup for Maryland Deathfest? 

Nattefrost – Vocal
Tchort – Guitar
Bloodpervertor – Guitar
Vrangsinn – Bass
Kobro – Drums
The line-up is the same Carpathian Forest you always get to see. No changes in the past decade.

What do you consider to be one of your band’s most essential recordings? And why?

The favorite album of mine is the first full length Black Shining Leather, but I do consider all the albums essential. Another of my favorites is Defending the Throne of Evil.
How does your band feel about playing Maryland Deathfest? What have you heard about this festival?

We are looking forward to this very much. We arrive a couple of days before our show to see other bands and meet US friends. 
What other bands playing MDF do you hope to see perform?

PENTAGRAM! I also hope to catch Venom, The Melvins, Bolt Thrower and many many more. 
Will you be doing other shows as part of your stop at MDF or is this appearance exclusive?
This is an exclusive concert. We won’t do any other U.S. shows
Will there be any unusual or special merchandize you will be selling while at MDF?

I don’t know yet

Is there anything else you hope to do while you are in Maryland? Eat crabs? Go to the Chesapeake Bay?

Hang out with friends, drink beer and watch concerts. Crab claws do sound tempting though.

Is there anything else you want people to know about your band?
We are slowly working on new material, and we hope to record a new album this year.

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