Interview by Tarja Virmakari
Norwegian Black Metallers ENDEZZMA released their third album “The Archer, Fjord and the Thunder” on January 22nd via Dark Essence Records. With this album, Endezzma take a huge step forward in songwriting. Mixing the raw grimness of the early days of black metal with the epic grandeur of later bands, the album bridges the gap between the dark anthem and primitive aggression.
Just recently, Metal Shock Finland‘s Tarja Virmakari had a pleasure to talk with ENDEZZMA founder, priest and prophet, M. Shax, talking widely about their new album “The Archer, Fjord and the Thunder” and many more. Please read the chat below.
Hi M. Shax, and welcome to Metal Shock Finland! How are you doing and how has this 2021 started for you?
Hello Tarja. I’m doing fine thank you. The start of the year has been as good as it get. Feels good to finally have the album released after such a strange and troubled period. It feels like an eternity since we finalized the production. The response and the attention concerning the new album have been extraordinary, so we’re very satisfied with the situation. Even though it feels kind of weird and strange dropping a new album not being able to head out on tour and do festivals in support of it.
Let’s go back to 2005, when the band was formed. How were the scenes back then?
Looking back now I must say it feels like 5 years more than 15 or more! In my eyes the extreme metal scene and especially the Black Metal have been in a constant change over time. From being a pure underground riot wrapped into a musical revolution back in the early 90’s until todays more commercial oriented picture. Black metal in the start of the 90’s was a rather unique, fascinating, and dangerous time. Back then it was much about revolting against already set patterns, musical styles, and traditions, but also aside of the musical aspect revolt against society and the establishment as well. The acceptance of extreme metal from the global audience have made things a bit different, I guess. For us the main drive has always been to make music that we burn passionately for and express it with sincere energy and devotion. In that way we cruise forward with the same intentions in 2020 as back in 2005.
Please tell me about the band’s name ENDEZZMA, what does it mean and what is the story behind it?
I always liked operating with unique words and making up new words that have special meaning to our own philosophical world and platform. The word Endezzma is put together by some key-basic fundamental aspects. It’s a personal word dealing with the portal to death.
On January 22nd you unleashed your third effort “The Archer, Fjord and the Thunder” via Dark Essence Records. What can you tell us about its sound and songwriting process?
When it comes to the actual sound it’s a complex ride with a matter to get the point where all components and factors blend perfectly together. Mixing epic expressions with brutality. It’s particularly hard to blend grace with primitive aggression, but that’s also what’s make the process so challenging and intricate.
The final sound is essential and very important for us. We want to bring elements like atmosphere and grace into the mix but at the end of the day what is our absolute focus is to keep the energy and intensity at a high level. You got to get some demon-sweat on your back when you listening to a Endezzma album, that’s important, it must be tense and intense. We do what we do with an uttermost passionate devotion and the listener must get that vibe and energy through the speakers. We are very proud and satisfied with the new album and the work we put into it. And the value must always be that the listener should get a full package from the visuals and artwork to the philosophical thematic to the powerful soundscape, nothing is coincident, all details is though through and serve a purpose … Its solid wood…
When it comes to the songwriting process, we usually all together make a plan where we want to go with the album. Figuring out what kind of structure we want to achieve before we start. Working towards a goal. It’s mostly Malphas that start with riff ideas and making pre-productions with his ideas, then we send it around, back and forth, making changes and inputs. I make the lyrics and we later work and adapt the songs and lyrics to suit together, making the changes needed. When we get a sufficient result that we feel connect with our goals we bring it into the rehearsal-room and finalize the songs and add the final ideas and fills. This time around also Nihil, the other guitarist contributed to songs. It was really a band effort where everyone contributed with inputs and ideas. I think that’s the key answer to why it ended as good as it did.
The album was mixed and mastered at Necromorbus Studio Stockholm by the great producer Tore Stjerna. How was your collaboration with him, and what is his input to the album sound?
Tore knows the drill. He has obviously worked with his chare of bands up through the years and ages of metal and especially black metal so it’s easy to make preferences that he relates to an understand. The communication was simply outstanding and also his understanding in meeting our demands and desires sound-wise. He is also a drummer which gives him a good perception, depth, and insight in how to make a good drum sound that is both powerful with punch and sometime floats into the mix naturally without taking too much room and space. One of Stjerna’s first impression when he heard the recording was that we sounded like a “young Emperor but with a good drummer” , that was quit an interesting consideration , and maybe not that far from the truth in how we think and how pretentious we was according getting the right sound on this album.
In generaly, how your sound has changes in these past 16 years?
The music on the new album is maybe the most diverse and multi-layered material we have ever made and the most planned and worked through album we ever made. The traditional Endezzma roots is there but we have explored new territories music wise. This evolution has maybe added yet another epic and monumental layer to the expression. We still wanted to bring forth our pervious intense sound. Endezzma have an old school fundament and we are very aware of staying true to our core essence as well as develop our sound and music.
What are your musical influences?
I think I’m not able to point out an exact source of musical influence. All the members of the band have a genuine interest in music and we always listened to a lot of music across the genres. But the old school dark metal will always be burned into our core of course. When that is said Endezzma always operated without no boundaries when coming to the sonic expression. No musical limitation whatsoever. We are pushing the borders and bringing the old school expression into modern landscapes. I think that’s how music develop into healthy musically directions when you follow your heart with a touch of old instincts. You should never expect to get the obvious when you listen to a new Endezzma album.
The album title “The Archer, Fjord and the Thunder” is the 4th song in the album, why this choice?
It’s kind of a concept album since all the thematic is built around the same philosophy that is visualized through the album artwork, lyric and musical. The musically thematic and lyrics are connected and that’s why the songs are placed in a certain order on the album. We have earlier written much about death, and the meaning of death based on how you live, present yourself and our inner darkness. Through the album philosophical thematic we have created certain characters and placed them into a certain landscape and mythical setting. You have lot of energies talking and a huge symbolism that we invite the listeners to dive into. It’s like poetry, everyone will maybe sit back with a different reaction after they both read and listened…
The album coverart is very impressive, what can you tell me about it?
Thank you. Actually, the album cover got a lot of attention. The artwork is painted by a Serbian artist Stefan Todorovic and his Khaos Diktator agency. It’s a very special painting that we are very devoted and satisfied with, very describing, and capturing according to the lyrical and philosophical platform of the album. I had a very clear art direction concerning what we wanted from the artwork, but he added so much energy and depth in it. The painting, together with the title, tries to paint a picture as detailed as possible in the listener’s mind. The Archer, fjord and the thunder are 3 essential key words in the album’s philosophical agenda. The Archer is the main magus and the fjord is the passage and the thunder manifest the fire and the energy of this grand epic and mythical world of stellar darkness. It’s kind of a concept album since all the thematics are built around the same philosophy that is visualized through this above-mentioned elements and key words. We have earlier written much about death, and the meaning of death based on how you live, present yourself and our inner darkness. Through the album philosophical thematic we have created certain characters and placed them into a certain landscape and mythical setting. You have lot of energies talking and a huge symbolism that we invite the listeners to dive into. It’s like poetry, everyone will maybe sit back with a different reaction after they both read and listened…
We’re currently living some pretty weird times, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We all know how it has changed the music industry, and nobody knows if and when the live shows and tours can happen again, without restrictions. But despite it, how will you promote the album?
Since the album was just done and ready before the covid crisis hit we have planned a good and tidy drop with a promotion stretching out as much as possible. Luckily we all ready had video productions lined up and done right on time before the lock down, and that turned out to be a crucial thing according to the promotion when concerts and toured become impossible.
We have all together dropped 4 new music videos from the last year and until now.
Looking back to the band’s career, what are your highlights, so far?
It must be the new album. We really did a massive investment in The Archer, Fjord And The Thunder, both mentally and sonically. We are truly proud of the new album and how it turned out and we are looking forward to bring this beast of a album with its spectacle out on the road and up on the stages across the world.
What will happen in the ENDEZZMA -camp next, i.e. what are your plans for 2021?
We had so many plans for both last year and this year that now are floating and uncertain. But I hope we can soon see the end of this fucked up situation and start to practice what we preach again.
We have festivals and tours lined up all through Europe and even a cross the shores in US and the South America. We will tour as much we can with the new album.
If the situation doesn’t allow any travelling throughout the year we will again enter the studio to work and record the next new album again. No time to waste when the stellar darkness call ! Maybe we will have 2 new albums to promote until we are able to tour again, who knows ,….. but the Archer !
And now the word is yours, what is your message to our readers + your fans?
Thank you Tarja for your questions and time.
We are hungry and morbid sick to get out on the road playing The Archer Fjord And The Thunder for our fans and audience. Meanwhile check out the new album and get your mind and souls into the epic morbid world of the Archer and prepare yourself. See you out there soon!
‘The Archer Fjord And The Thunder’ Tracklist:
- The Awakening
- The Name of the Night is a Strong Tower
- Anomalious Abomination
- The Archer, Fjord and the Thunder
- Formless and Void
- Garden ov Heathen
- Wild Gloriour Death
- Open Your Eyes and Stab the Sight
- Arrows of Equilibrium
“The Archer, Fjord and the Thunder” was released the 22nd January 2021, via Dark Essence Records, and is available in Digipak CD, digital and LP formats, with an A2 poster included with the vinyl version.
Endezzma bandcamp: https://endezzma.bandcamp.com/releases
US webshop: https://darkessence.aisamerch.com/
Endezzma was formed in 2005 on the ashes of Dim Nagel by frontman M. Shax, the original lineup featured Urgehal’s late, and much lamented, Trondr Nefas. The band now consists of Morten Shax (vocals), Malphas (guitars), Nihil (guitars), Aske (bass) and Skriu (drums).