Austrian experimental black metal act Amestigon are back with a new record in Thier, this time focusing on more metaphysical and occult aspects of life, rather than the dark realities of the world focused on in the band’s previous record, Sun Of All Suns. I spoke with the band as they talked about the deeply religious and high magickal nature of the Ordo Liberorum Luporum and how it relates to the concept of the disc, as well as their foundation and the writing process. We also discussed the demiurge and the use of drugs both in and out of ritual.
Let’s talk a little about the formation of the band. How did you guys come together and what brought you to playing this kind of music?
Amestigon: We’ve had a stable lineup since ‘99, which means that we met somewhere around that year. Tharen was left as the only founding member of the band and he wanted to play black metal again. By that time we had known each other from a famous pub in Vienna and from several other metal-related occasions. So Tharen asked and Amestigon was resurrected and rose from the ashes. This implies of course, that we all could get along with each other quite well and this was because we all had quite a similar taste of music and quite a similar approach to life.
Tell me a little bit about the writing and recording process for the album.
Amestigon: We’ve played together now for more than fifteen years and during that time we’ve developed a strong writing and recording routine. We like to see our rehearsals as chemognostic rituals following a liturgic process. After the prearrangements we start to jam and while doing that, we create new riffs and we find new or different connections, which we try for songs in progress. Of course this is quite a laborious and time consuming way of writing songs, but we want them to sound monolithic.
Now let’s get to the interesting part of the interview. First of all, tell me what Thier means and why the term stuck out to you as a title for the record.
Amestigon: Thier is the one word to describe the essence of this album. It is an old way of writing the German word Tier which means animal or beast. Thier is the Egregore of the Ordo Liberorum Luporum, the Demiurge of a spiritual crystallization who emanates through chemognostic and/or sexmagical Hochpolung. Thier is also the architect of ourselves in a metaphysical way. So the album is a cosmogony of our inner self.
Considering that this is an occult work, exactly what kind of occult work is it? What is the purpose of the material here and what are you trying to put forth into being?
Amestigon: As stated above it deals with some of the doctrines of the order in that we along with some other brethren and sistren are gathered. There is no purpose such as proselytizing. We don’t want to convert people to our beliefs or to join our circle. The doctrines of the O.L.L. are syncretic and everyone listening to our music and reading our lyrics is invited to address all the influences and references one can find within the texts and dig deeper into the hidden teachings of the black flame. We just felt the need to incorporate our extra-musical field of activity especially after the comparatively “earthly” Sun of all Suns.
Let’s talk a little about the demiurge as well. As I’ve read, it is a being that apparently stole some of the clay from the original creation (if one is to believe in the creationist idea) and used it to make and manifest his own world. A rare religious sect (spawned from the Quakers of all people) believed that the world we lived in now was essentially his, and the only way to escape was by death, hence they would suffocate and poison each other. I’m not as well versed in the subject as others, so perhaps you could enlighten me more on this concept?
Amestigon: The concept of the demiurge experienced different interpretations as well as valuations from the platonic point of view to the various gnostic communities. He is commonly identified with Jahwe. On our album he is only addressed once, in the Praeparatio of the emanation ceremony. Thier on the other hand is, as aforementioned, the mercury descending demiurge of our lodge. He corresponds with the archetype Lucifer and thus the serpent itself, who gave us the consciousness (bewusstes Sein). If you take the dichotomy Descartes postulated, the demiurge Jahwe would stand for res extensa whereas Thier refers to res cogitans.
Let us talk about influences. What are some of the acts that helped to inspire the band and what first made you want to pick up an instrument?
Amestigon: We’re afraid that giving a profound answer to that question would go beyond the scope of this interview. We have many influences and sources of inspiration. Maybe our lowest common denominator would be the first time listening to heavy metal. A revelation, accompanied by bands like Iron Maiden, Accept and alike we will hardly ever forget. It was an initiation to a new way of living. As a black metal band of course we are rooted in early nineties black metal, but there are many more influences from the sixties to now and from heavy distorted riffs over techno beats to fragile folk arrangements. No limitations – all is fair.
According to Metal Archives, your lyrics do not only deal with occultism, but they also deal with drugs. Do you feel that drugs are necessary in occult practice and that one needs to be in a certain state of mind in order to commune with certain energies?
Amestigon: Without diving deep into Metal Archives now, our guess is that this reference comes from our last album Sun of all Suns. This album was very physical and dealt with violence, drugs and (the absence of) morals. On Thier, we are looking at the world from a metaphysical side. As far as the other other part of the question which relates drugs to chemicals, what we understand as a drug starts with alcohol (we could also mention sugar and caffeine) and ends with heroin. So we have legal and illegal substances as well as herbal and chemical substances. From this point of view we would not restrict the use of drugs to occult practice. Lots of rituals around the world use drugs as a social expression. Anyway, we promote the use of entheogen substances for some rituals to achieve certain spiritual experiences. The use of drugs is always a matter of set and setting. Individuals taking drugs have to have a good state of self-consciousness in order to find a magickal experience.
Will you be touring live for the album?
Amestigon: We’re sorry to say that we will not play live. From the current rehearsing line-up to a full live band we would need three more people and besides our jobs, we’re not willing to invest additional time and nerves to play live.
Lastly, what do you do when you’re not playing music? What other hobbies do you have? What are some things that you might recommend to others?
Amestigon: Do what thou wilt shall be our whole recommendation.
Thank you for answering my questions and for an absolutely intriguing album. I found the atmosphere punishing and vast, with a great sense of structure and purpose. (Eric May)
Amestigon: Thanks Eric! Very much appreciated!