After more than a year spent without writing anything, I thought it was the right time to post something new on this website. And here’s an interview with the black metal force The Rite. This band was born in 2017 as a collaboration between Ustumallagam (well knows as singer of the danish horror maniacs Denial of God) and A.Th from Black Oath, but they’ve soon decided to bring Gabriel (Black Oath/Krossburst/Extirpation) on guitar and Priest G (Krossburst, Necro) on drums. After releasing a very good ep, The Brocken Fires, and a demo, The First Sin, this year they’ve released their first full length Liturgy of The Black, a very good exemple of black/doom that reminds me Hellhammer, early Death SS and Venom. I’ve decided to ask some questions to Ustumallagam, related also to Denial of God and to his passion for classic horror movies.
The Rite’s first full length, Liturgy of The Black, has been released one month ago and it’s a very good example of black metal in it’s primordial and most genuine way. Can you tell something about
the birth of the band and the composition of the record?
A.th of Black Oath, who has been a close friend since many years, asked me in 2017 if I’d be interested in creating a black/doom metal band with him and I agreed right away. He got together a group of Italians and started rehearsing and we started sending recordings back and forth between us. The first mini album “The Brocken Fires” came together rather fast actually and got the word out to the world and we played out first
show here in DK. Then we started working on the full length that we wanted maybe less slow, but heavier and more evil in all ways. When time was nigh I went to Italy to record the vocals and we also played a
second show together. The response so far to the album has been very positive from all around the world and I think this is due to The Rite doing something different yet traditional at the same time. The music is not
very technical, but catchy yet also very varied.
What is the main difference between the lyrics you wrote for Denial of God and the ones for The Rite?
The main difference is that the lyrics for Denial Of God are always based on horror in one way or another whereas the lyrics for The Rite probably cover more varied subjects. For example we have lyrics about witches, the afterlife, necromancy, devil worship, death rites, devotion to darkness etc. The lyrics for The Rite may also be a bit more simple too actually.
Do you have future plans for The Rite?
Sure. We are just about to start writing new material for some upcoming releases. Note that I use plural form here. The next two releases will be a split tape with Coven Of Impurity (Italy) on A.th’s label Cursed
Recordings Prod. and a split 7” EP with Bezwering (Holland) on my own Headkick Music label, so busy times ahead again. As for shows, nothing has been planned yet and probably nothing will happen on that front
before 2021 or so due to the pandemic.
As I previously asked about Liturgy of The Black, I’m asking you now the same question for Denial of God’s new album, The Hallow Mass. How long did it take to record and compose it? What do you think are the main differences between your other two full-lengths?
It was the most problematic recording ever because of health reasons and because the studio had to be moved to a new location. This also delayed it all a bit further of course, but yeah, there is 7 years between the two albums. We took again a long time to compose it, but we are not in a rush with these things and because we are all living far apart we can’t rehearse like twice a week like some do. We started recoding it in October 2018 and finished mixing it in February 2019. We were all battling with various illnesses in the studio that had just been put up on the night when we arrived, so everything was working against us, but we managed in the end and the result is awesome. The main difference to the two previous albums is probably that this time we had an even better vision of what we wanted and the songs were really well rehearsed. Everything was recorded analog on tape as always of course.
Since the pandemic forced you to delay the tour, what plans do you have now with DOG to promote the Hallow Mass?
Yes, the European tour to promote the album got flushed down the toilet due to the pandemic along with a lot of festival shows etc. All festivals have agreed to try again next year and most of the venues from the tour
seem interested to try again next year, so hopefully all the shows will still happen. Maybe not as a tour per se, but then just some shows here and there. The cancellation of all these shows in 2020 was some of the
worst that could happen to us now that we finally have a new album out.
DOG will turn 30 next year. The band was born in 1991 but the first full length came out in 2006, after having released many Eps. Why did it take so long to release the album?
Mainly due to lack of a stable line up but also because we are not in a rush with these things. The EPs featured songs that would not fit the album concept, so I think that is fair enough. It’s not a competition to
release the most stuff at the fastest pace even if some bands and labels tend to think so. Quality above quantity any time.
You recently wrote a book, The Reel Ghoul, about horror movies, as you have a deep knowledge about old and forgotten films of the genre. What can you tell about the book? Have you also enjoyed some new horror movies of the last 5-10 years?
The Reel Ghoul is a book of reviews of horror movies written with the soul of a small fanzine. I put it out myself in fall 2019 and it has been received very well so far. It contains more than 700 reviews on more than 200 pages and simply covers everything that went into my player during a period of 3 years. I watched everything from big shitty Hollywood movies to small unknown SOV movies from the 80s. The response has been very positive this far and I am already writing a follow up for it. The next one will be entitled The Reel Ghoul: The Celluloid Addiction and I am already more than halfway with the writing so expect it out sometime in 2021. There will probably be fewer reviews this time, but much more in depth and interesting to read.
When I started writing the reviews for the first book I wasn’t aware yet they would end up in print, so I didn’t put as much effort in it as I do now. Wait and see. Until then The Reel Ghoul is still available. Simply look up
the Facebook page for further info on how to buy etc. Even if I’m not that impressed with nowadays’ horror films I have found some good stuff here and there the past 5-10 years such as Hagazussa, Possum, Midsommar, The Witch, The Bad Man, Color Out Of Space, Crazy Murder, Summer Of 84, Plank Face, Harvest Lake etc.
Is Tornado Zine still alive?
No, I put it in the grave some years ago already. I have always loved making a zine and would have loved to go on, but the interest in buying printed zines died down radically the past years and many bands seem to
think they don’t even need the support for some reason. For every issue I did, less and less bands bothered to respond even if they agreed to do interviews, which I think is both sad and arrogant. It also got harder and
harder to sell 500 copies every time, so I still have some copies left of issue 7 and 8 if anyone cares. Issue 9 was pretty much completed, but after several people who were supposed to help with the first pro printed issue fucked me over I simply quit. I lost the interest to support people and the stuff got very outdated too due to all this. It wasn’t an easy nor funny decision, but enough is enough. People nowadays love to say they are into UG zines until it comes to actually supporting them. Fuck off.
You’ve played an important role in the organization of Metal Magic festival in Denmark, Are you satisfied about it? What could be a good way to improve the festival?
I actually left the organization after the 2016 festival as I was dealing with a depression and needed some stuff off my shoulders. I still go to the fest every year of course and enjoy it to the fullest, but I’d wish they’d
move the festival back to the old location as that had a lot more spirit and personality. Also, unfortunately when festivals get more attention they also start attracting the wrong crowd sometimes and even if MMF is still a small niche festival, the past years has seen the first “Copenhell people” like we call them, who are nothing but posers and don’t seems to know any of the bands playing and just are there to get beyond wasted and jump into people. Very tedious.
How do you think Danish scene has changed during the years? Do you want to recommend some new bands?
The Danish scene is actually very active, but most of the bands for some odd reason think it’s enough just to play inside Denmark or maybe just have no clue how to organize themselves. There are a ton of shit bands,
but luckily also some worth mentioning such as Undergang, Altar Of Oblivion, Nortt, Deiquisitor, Woebegone Obscured, Shamash, Dead Void, Ascendency etc. Death metal seems to be the big hit here though and I
find a lot of the stuff just tends to sound the same.
One of the main influences for DOG and also for The Rite is Death SS (and Italian dark sound in general). How did you discover the band many years ago? What is your favorite Death SS (and Paul Chain) material?
I think my first run in with Death SS was in 1989 when I read about them in a German book called Matthias Herr’s Heavy Metal Lexikon vol. 1. It was pretty clear from the start that this just had to be good stuff with such an image and those covers, so I got a hold of their music as soon as I could and was not disappointed.
My favorite material by them will forever be the “In death of Steve Sylvester” album, but all their old stuff is great. As for Paul Chain I will always favor the “Detaching from Satan” EP and the A side of “Alkahest” (Can’t stand Lee Dorrian’s vocals on the B side tracks).