Under the name Black Witchery, vocalist/bassist Impurath and his horde have been offering up some of the most aggressive, brutal and primitive black metal on the American scene since 1999. This month, the group reconfigured their lineup with a new man on guitar. They continue to play one-off shows and fests across the country, including one coming up August 31 at St. Vitus in Brooklyn and the now sold out Cathedral of the Black Goat Metal Festival September 20-21) in Chicago.
Black Witchery holds nothing back in performance, putting forth a total aural and visual onslaught of unrelenting rhythms, pounding bass and uncompromising riffs punctuated by occasional murderous solos all draped in an aura of misery and darkness. Songs are simple, but not simplistic, with highly structured, albeit repetitive, progressions.
Other black metal bands spin webs of melodic atmosphere, while Black Witchery’s atmosphere emerges as it hammers your brain into submission with an iron fist of rage. The growling vocals spew forth in synchrony with the drums, as the bass and guitar mirror one another in chugging harmony.
Black Witchery is not a band for everyone, not even every black metal fan, but listening to one of their albums or watching them live could leave you a changed person. They are among the harshest sounding bands that I enjoy. I find something new every time I listen to one of their studio recordings, and live performances are always captivating and strangely hypnotic.
I was able to catch up with Impurath shortly after their recent personnel change. The group’s long-time guitarist, Tregenda, was moving on, in what I determined from talking with Impurath to be a mutual and amicable decision among members (so shut down the rumor mill). Axe duties have been passed on to multi-instrumentalist Alal’Xhaasztur from Nyogthaeblisz, Hellvetron and Nexul, hereby appropriately referred to as A.X., who will perform at the NY show this weekend.
In our email exchange, Impurath discusses these changes, the state of black metal and what’s coming up for Black Witchery. Here is the result of our email Q & A:
Tell me about the current lineup.
Black Witchery’s current lineup is myself, Impurath – Bass and Malicious voice of SATAN, Vaz- Death hammer apocalypse, and A.X of Nyogthaeblisz/Hellvetron/Nexul, who has recently joined as blood axe domination. I would also recommend those other bands of A.X., as they are some of the best and darkest black/death chaos created on U.S. soil for many years. Also Perdition Temple and Amputator (Canada/USA) are worth a mention and are a fist in the face of the pathetic black metal scene of today. Also, Vaz is currently death hammer maniac for Blasphemy.
What are your current recording plans? Any new records in the works? And for what label?
We will release a split with REVENGE and a live and rehearsal LP/CD on Nuclear War Now! productions as the next strikes of BLACK WITCHERY.
Why is it important for your band members to maintain some level of anonymity?
The very essence of the word Occult is the answer to that question. Anonymity is important for any band if there is any honor within them. I detest most pathetic vermin who exist on this planet and only associate myself with a few individuals with whom we have had contact for years.
Would BW want to do an extended tour? And if so, with whom would you like to play?
Blasphemy , Revenge, Antediluvian, Nyogthaeblisz, Hellvetron, Archgoat, Ride for Revenge, Drowned, Immolation, Negative Plane, Blasphemous Witchcraft, Denial of God, Sadomator, etc. Any bands for whom we share a great respect and that I would like to witness repeatedly.
I notice that the band’s sound has remained consistently raw and primitive from album to album. How do you maintain this? And why do you choose to do so?
Our aim is to make each release as extreme as possible.
Lyrically, how has the band evolved over time? What themes or topics remain important to you?
Lyrics are always based on darkness, evil and blasphemous hatred, desecration, rituals, etc.
What is your opinion of American black metal? How do you feel about the state of black metal in general worldwide?
I don’t care about it. We continue on our path and ignore the external factors.
What are some American black metal bands you respect/admire?
Nyogthaeblisz, Hellvetron, Negative Plane, Nexul, and Black Funeral to name a couple of the best ones.
Who are your favorite groups to listen to?
The ones I mentioned above and many others like Antediluvian, Impetuous Ritual, Disma, Portal, Demonomancy (Italy) , old Beherit, Black Feast (Finland), Sect Pig, Pseudogod, etc.
What do you hope that people experience when they see your live show?
Pain and horror, fear, disharmony, chaos, intimidation….
How did you become a musician?
I’m not a musician but a vessel for the voice of SATAN.
What was the first band you remember listening to that got you excited about music? About metal?
Mercyful Fate Melissa and Seven Churches Possessed, Bathory, Celtic frost , etc
What are all the instruments you can play?
Tell me about your song writing process.
Usually envisioned in mind first…
Is there anything else you think people should know about Black Witchery?
Expect no mercy on the next BLACK WITCHERY releases…
Here are two previous posts written about Black Witchery for Metallomusikum.com