Aethyrick is a Finnish Black Metal band formed by Gall and Exile on the winter solstice 2016.
Aethyrick’s medium is Black Metal and their locale Finland, but over the course of two visionary albums for The Sinister Flame, 2018’s Praxis and 2020’s Gnosis, the duo have defiantly etched a unique headspace all their own. Bountifully brimming with magick and mysticism simultaneously aeons-old and strikingly modern, the band’s first two albums served as cornerstones for how to honorably uphold traditional all-caps BLACK METAL and feed it with feverish creativity. Put another way, Aethyrick didn’t abandon language altogether; rather, they spoke their own enrapturing dialect.
On January 22nd, 2021, The Sinister Flame is proud to present Aethyrick’s highly anticipated third album, Apotheosis, on CD and vinyl LP formats.
This Is Black Metal Webzine found Exile and talked with him about their New “Apotheosis“, and their future plans!
This Is Black Metal: Hail, guys. First of all, how are you and how are you passing these difficult times?
Exile: Things are quite fine. To be honest, the past year hasn’t been that difficult over here. I know it has been a nightmare for a lot of people, but in my case, it’s been almost neutral– or even positive in some respect as I’ve been working from home almost the entire time, which is not how things are in a normal setting. I am not socially that active and I live in a house in the countryside so recommended isolation and social distancing are not a problem at all for me.
TIBM: Would you like to tell us the reasons why the band was created and what led to choosing the name “Aethyrick”? What does it mean and what others do this word consists of?
Exile: The birth of this band was written in the stars, I feel as if we didn’t really have the option of not going ahead with the initial idea that popped in our heads after our discussions concerning both esotericism and our musical preferences. I’ve been playing Black Metal in different groups since the mid-nineties, but never before had I come across such like-mindedness and shared vision as in this instance. And so here we are.
“Aethyric” basically describes the quality of all that lies beyond our physical realm, the wonders that dwell in the world of spirit unwitnessed by the eye of clay. And yet it’s even more than that, it has a very broad meaning. This more uncommon spelling with the letter K at the end is our way to give a deep bow towards a certain tome we both hold in the highest regard as the word is lifted straight from its pages. When considering the central characteristics of our music, I think the name we chose couldn’t be more fitting as it hints at something that is ethereal, lingering, dream-like.
TIBM: How does the writing of the songs take place? Do you find yourself working on it in person or remotely, in a multimedia way? I assume the coronavirus situation has affected many bands and their way of working.
Exile: These exceptional circumstances have changed nothing for Aethyrick. We’ve never played a single note together, everything has taken place by sending ideas and sound files back and forth. And as boring as this might sound, this is easily the best way for us to work on our material. This way we can get things forward in the heat of the moment and without losing the inspiration gained then and there, which would not be possible if we just recorded loose ideas and went through them maybe a month later when we might have the chance to get together for a band rehearsal. We live in different cities and currently, neither of us has an access to a rehearsal place, so all that hassle behind organising that kind of face-to-face session would just be counterproductive for us. Not to mention the fact that it would be hard to try things out live as it all sounds very different when it’s just one guitar + drums.
TIBM: Personally, I consider your latest album as the apotheosis of your career so far, your best work overall. For your part, given the title chosen for it, do you share my opinion?
Exile: We do, yes. The spirit behind the compositions, and how we went about enfleshing it, isn’t that different from what dominated on our two previous albums, but something simply clicked much more profoundly this time around. And of course, this is how it should always be, the most recent work should be the band’s best so far.
Aethyrick – Gnosis (Full Album)
TIBM: I find the cover you have chosen to use for Apotheosis suggestive. I think it depicts a satyr shooting an arrow towards a constellation, illustrate meets precise meaning and the concept on which the album is based.
Exile: The main theme in this painting is the aspirant’s spirit ascending to the halls above. The arrow is a metaphor for the swift and straight road to the stars whereas the swirling incense pillars stand for the more winding and slower route. Regardless of the path taken, the destination is the same and in this context, it represents the culmination of the gnosis that has been reached via magical praxis. It is not the end of the journey, however, but rather a new milestone upon the ouroboric path of the witch. In order to grasp the whole meaning of the cover, it is also vital to note the central figure, a satyr that incorporates both the bestial and the divine, who gives the momentum to the arrow of the soul, as well as the two upturned skulls that give forth clouds of incense around him. I don’t want to explain all of the symbology too thoroughly, it’s good to leave some room for personal interpretation too.
TIBM: I was very impressed with all the tracks, especially “In Blood Wisdom” which starts with a typical Finnish Black Metal riff. Do you feel an active part of this current or do you feel more distant from it?
Exile: I don’t know if we sound typically Finnish or not, but sure, there are bound to be elements like that in our music because we haven’t been living in a vacuum. Pretty much everything in our personal album rotation influences us one way or another and we certainly don’t shun our fellow countrymen’s offerings. We do have several great bands here and more importantly some even greater individuals behind them – individuals who have a strong backbone and who live as they preach. For this reason, I suppose, I feel a certain kind of pride when calling our music Finnish Black Metal. However, there’s no way I could view our native “scene” as an all-encompassing fraternity where all members are worthy of respect and attention. Far from it. You know, an airhead is an airhead, it makes no difference if he also happens to be in a Black Metal band.
TIBM: Gall and Exile: two-stage names chosen on the basis of what factors?
Exile: We felt that it was necessary to re-baptise ourselves for this band – after all it has been something quite special to both of us since the moment of its inception. The deeper reasoning behind choosing these names is personal, but suffice it to say that both are terms/things that are strongly linked to our subject matter and the tradition that has become our spiritual home. And yet both are original “just” words that we have given further meaning by turning into names.
TIBM: More and more members of the bands adopt the look of the covered face in their aesthetics. Why did you make this choice and what meaning do you attribute to it?
Exile: We went with that approach because we wanted to fade out our human countenance completely and replace it with a kind of a tabula rasa of faces, a reflection of the white creative void. I’m personally all for corpsepaint in Black Metal, but that more traditional look didn’t serve our vision. We were fully aware that many bands had already taken the road of facecloths, and it was obvious that later on even more bands would, but it just felt right for us and it helped to strengthen the overall feeling we aim to reach with Aethyrick. That said, after Apotheosis was released and the album trilogy was thus concluded, we burnt the robes and facecloths we’ve used in our photos during this phase of the band’s existence. It’s time to shuffle the cards a bit.
Aethyrick – Praxis (Full Album)
TIBM: Your compositions are varied and well studied. To compose, do you draw inspiration from artists outside of Metal?
Exile: This would be the perfect opportunity to namedrop some classical composers in order to score intellectual points or maybe list a few unknown blues bands just to raise some eyebrows, but no, I’ll leave that for those who need that kind of image boost. I am of the opinion that nearly everything we listen to, or sometimes even just passively hear somewhere, influences our own musical expression in one form or another to varying extents, but as at least 80 percent of all that consists of Black Metal, it’s pretty evident where our aural inspiration and influences strike from. We do not strive for originality at any cost but neither do we embrace the generic and half-assed approach, which is to say that we’re not masters at our craft by any means, we have just learned over the years how to do things properly and, most importantly, what it is that we personally want the end result to sound like.
TIBM: Your themes deal with mysticism between occultism and Satanism. Given the Middle-Eastern graphic character of your logo, it makes me think that the mysticism you are dealing with is mainly of that type. Confirm?
Exile: Our esoteric concept is built on the foundation of so-called traditional witchcraft (not to be mixed up with the likes of Wicca and such). Though mainly rooted in British and North American witchcraft practices, this particular tree of knowledge thrives on Finnish soil as well because underneath the veils of locality and historical influences the essence of this winding path is indeed universal. It is a very hands-on type of sorcery, which employs magical dreams, plant magick, diverse ritual workings and so on, and it views the nature around us as something that is verily alive and populated with spirits of flora and fauna alike. So, no, the style of the logo doesn’t mirror our spiritual angle. It draws upon Arabic calligraphy, yes, but that’s basically as far as the connections go – and even that is in fact just another nod towards Andrew Chumbley’s work that displays that kind of style in some of the illustrations and sigils.
TIBM: What do you think of the Finnish Black Metal scene today and the Black Metal scene in general? Do you follow it?
Exile: I try to check out new albums and bands as often as I can, but it’s just impossible to keep up with everything when there are so goddamn many releases coming out. And the majority of them isn’t even interesting at all so quite a few worthy releases tend to fly under the radar because of this. Luckily I’ve managed to come across a satisfying amount of fresh releases that have really swept me off my feet. That’s always refreshing.
TIBM: Are there any bands that particularly influence you in the composition of your music? Recommend bands that you consider worthy of listening to “This Is Black Metal” readers.
Exile: Albums like In the Nightside Eclipse, Born of the Flickering, Pentagram and so forth are the ones that have influenced us the most, but there’s hardly any point in throwing these names around as some sort of suggestions and recommendations for the readers – or if there is, I am perplexed. As an example of a bit more recent source of great musical inspiration to us, I could name maybe Nasheim’s “SolensVemod”, an album which we both put on a golden pedestal. Still, not that obscure case that would need my endorsement, but there might be some people reading this who haven’t heard that excellent release, so there you go.
Aethyrick – The Trident-Bearer (Full Demo)
TIBM: Will there ever be the chance to see Aethyrick live, or do you want to keep the project only as a studio project? Restrictions to which concerts are currently subjected separately.
Exile: This remains to be seen. We have talked about it in the past, but nothing has been decided one way or the other. So, we are not fundamentally against the idea, and if the time is right and the location and other factors are favourable to our vision of what an Aethyrick gig should sound, look and feel like, then who knows, it might just happen. But don’t hold your breath because it may take years – or it might not happen at all.
TIBM: We have reached the conclusion, thanks for your cooperation. Conclude by explaining to readers the goals you have for your future activities.
Exile: We’re actually working on album number four already. We’ll start recording it in late May, but we’ll be proceeding without any haste so I don’t know when it will be finished. But I think no one is in any actual hurry to get yet another Aethyrick album anyway, hah.
Aethyrick – Apotheosis (Full Album)