Photo by Cerulean Empire
What first began as a small New Zealand doom project has slowly evolved into something far more devious, as sections of black metal and goth now rear their ugly heads into the beautiful beast known as Morning Star Rise. I spoke with Marko Pavlovic (Guitars/Vocals) as he entertained several subjects relating to the record, the concept of Lucifer, the antichrist, satanic influence in the media and his thoughts on Type O Negative’s swansong. Was it really a joke on Catholicism, or something far more?
The band first began as doom/stoner metal, but now seems to have adapted slight elements of gothic and even black metal. Why did you decide to change your sound in this fashion?
It really was a case of natural progression. I started writing the music for The House of Capricorn almost fifteen years ago; we recorded our first album in 2008, and it wasn’t released until 2010. By the time this happened, a lot of the doom/stoner elements had begun to transform into more overtly dark material. “Claws of Fog” was the last song we put together for Sign of the Cloven Hoof and looking back objectively I think that song in particular foreshadows In the Devil’s Days – where we started to bring the more goth and black metal elements to the forefront – relatively well.
How did you get together and what made you want to play this style of music? Was it made as an overall adoration to Lucifer?
O, I wish I could claim such a grandiose coming together of minds. In reality, we were all involved with the extreme metal scene here in Auckland. I put together a demo after asking Rothwell to play drums for it (he soon after joined permanently), which VK from Vassafor helped me out with mixing. Following that demos release, Scott and Ami joined out of interest as we all knew each other and we progressed from there.
Tell me a little bit about Lucifer – and I’m not talking about the Milton or LeVay ideas of him, I’m more interested in what you find in him that most appeals to you.
I’ve always been extremely interested in the omnipresence of the Devil. I’m interested in His infinite breadth of manifestations in events, individuals, and their actions. I guess some people would call it “free will”.
Tell me about the recording process. Where was Morning Star Rise recorded and how long did that take? Are you satisfied with the final product?
We tracked everything over a few weekends in August/September of 2013 at a few different places here in Auckland. As always Jamie (Ulcerate) engineered everything (and operated as a producer of sorts). I think we completed everything in five days total.
For mixing and mastering we sent it off to Francis Caste at Studio Sainte-Marthe in Paris. Reason: Francis recorded and mixed Arkhon Infaustus – Orthodoxyn, and Orthodoxyn is the best. In the end, I most definitely am satisfied with it.
Lyrically, the entire album seems to focus on the worship and adoration of Lucifer. Would you consider yourself a Luciferian in that instance?
This could be a pitfall of a question, because “Luciferian” means very different things to different people. But for all intents and purposes and with the way you’ve framed it with the precursor, if someone was to call me a “Luciferian” off the back of Morning Star Rise I’d have a hard time arguing with them.
As the tale is told, Lucifer rebelled against Yahweh and was thrown into hell. But what I’ve never understood about the tale, is why the angel rebelled in the first place. If this “God” is so powerful, then wouldn’t he have been able to prevent the angel from rebelling with a mere breath? Surely, we humans aren’t being told the whole story. Secondly, if this “God” was so powerful, then why didn’t he just create an exact replica of the universe in a mere matter of seconds, with no detail changed in any way, shape or form? Both of these instances lead me to believe that the “God” so many think is omnipotent, isn’t quite so powerful after all.
It’s a reasonable inquiry… I guess a theologian would argue that it was all part of the plan… maybe because Original Sin needed to occur. Otherwise, we’d be fucked for justifications, right?
I’m sure that you’ve stumbled upon a website or an article or two that claim there are Satanic images in pop music videos and in the imagery of pop music as part of some scheme to convert the youth into Luciferianism and Satanism. What are your thoughts on this?
If only that was true. I do love the idea of subliminal influence and that kind of subversion in mainstream media, but unfortunately I’m pretty sure the only people propagating this argument are stressed out Christians with teenage kids.
So how do you feel about the idea of an antichrist? Is this a person that you think is coming soon, sort of like a savior? Would you embrace the rule of this person?
If it happens, you can bet it’s going to be forehead or right hand.
There is no doubt that Type O Negative is a huge influence on Morning Star Rise. But what are your thoughts on the supposed final album Dead Again, where Peter Steele had supposedly found religion? Do you believe that the man actually may have become religious, or do you think that he was simply mocking the whole idea?
(Laughs) What a solid question. You know, I really was never sure. With the legacy he had, it was very possible that it was all a joke. To this day, I still think it could have been. I don’t know any of the Type O Negative guys, nor do I want to ask anyone else who knew him. I have thought about it and discussed it with friends a lot, though!
I actually really like that record. But I would. As far as I’m concerned they were the greatest band of all time. If that record really is legitimately Catholic, I’m not offended by it; I don’t often look to music to seek religious guidance or align religiously with the artist. It was still jam packed with sharp wit and chromatic runs — everything you’d want from Type O Negative.
What do you gentlemen do when you’re not playing music?
We all work day jobs in various industries. Alas, life in New Zealand is tough with no money.
What are your top five favourite records of all time and what are most influential to the band?
I’m sorry, the Type O Negative and Babylon Whores ones revolve depending on the day/month and I don’t want to allocate two slots for each. At the same time, I would say these albums are the most influential to the songs I write too.
Type O Negative – World Coming Down / October Rust
Babylon Whores – King Fear / Death of the West
Mortuus – De Contemplanda Morte; De Reverencie Laboribus Ac Adorations
Mayhem – De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas
Craft – Terror Propaganda
Finally, do you think that Lucifer will make the world a better place? Or do you feel that he will destroy everything in order to rebuild a new world? Secondly, what are your thoughts on the Islamic version of Lucifer, Iblis?
I’m hoping for the second option. As for “Iblis”, the presentation is a little different, but it’s the thought that counts.
Thanks for making an incredible album. This is really one of the best I’ve heard all year. – Eric
Thanks to you, Eric! Really glad you enjoy it!