Deathcult is a Cruel Norwegian Black Metal Band by Skagg (Gaahlskag, ex-Gorgoroth), Hoest (Taake, Gorgoroth) and Thurzur (Gaahlskagg, ex-Taake).
This Is Black Metal Webzine had a talk with Skagg (Guitars, Vocals) about the story behind this project and their future plans!
This Is Black Metal: Hello Skagg and thanks for this interview. When and how was DEATHCULT created? DEATHCULT is a name that is also used by few other bands from the USA and Switzerland among others. Why did you choose it yourself too? Where does your fascination for the realm of death come from?
Skagg: I started writing Black Metal back in 1993, then under the name CEREMONIAL UNION and later SLAKT. We were rehearsing for a demo release with SLAKT in 1995 but luckily scrapped it as we had such a horrible singer at the time. I had by then become allied with Gaahl from TRELLDOM and decided to start some new projects with him instead, thus SIGFADER and GAAHLSKAGG were born. We recorded the «Sigfader’shevner» demo with SIGFADER and the «EroticFuneral» album with GAAHLSKAGG in 1999. In 2001 we went back to the studio to record the second GAAHLSKAGG album. And as we had recorded all the drums and guitars …a fucking lightning strikes the studio. No backup was created and everything we had done was lost. At the same time, Gaahl had become the new singer for GORGOROTH, (I also think he went to jail around this time) so everything just halted with the re-recordings. I moved to Bergen in 2005 and decided to go back to my previous project. I renamed the project DEATHCULT after reading a Sumerian text about the three death cults that secretly roam the earth. I was deeply fascinated by this and decided to do a trilogy named after the three cults. I have always been fascinated by death for as long as I can remember …I don’t feel calm amongst the living.
TIBM: You are all involved in other bands so do you consider DEATHCULT much more as a side-project in the first place? With 2 brothers in the band, does it make it more “special” and/or easier when it comes to the line-up and creating process? How did you meet with Hoest and does he actively take part in songwriting as well?
Skagg: DEATHCULT is my main project at the time, as I am determined to finish the trilogy. We just adopted a second guitar player in Lava from AMOK, so I guess you can call DEATHCULT a band now. My brother was the one who handled the drums on GAAHLSKAGG‘s “lightning strikes” album, so it was only natural for me to continue working with him. I guess you can say it is easier to work with him, as he knows me pretty well. I met Hoest right after I moved to Bergen. He had just released «Doedskvad» with TAAKE then, and I remember I was pretty impressed by it. We quickly became allies and he moved in with us at our home share where we had a rehearsal area in our living room. We were all living together; me, Hoest and Thurzur. So it was only natural for him to join DEATHCULT. Hoest does not actively take part in any songwriting, no. But he comes up with some crazy bass lines now and then. I mainly do the songwriting, but lately, Thurzur wrote some songs and one of them will be on the «Cult of the Dog» album.
TIBM: Can you explain the wait of 10 years between “Cult of the Dragon” and “Cult of the Goat”? You have announced a new album titled “Cult of the Dog”. What can you tell us about it at the moment?
Skagg: Haha not really, slow and lazy. Well, after the «Dragon» album me and Thurzur helped out Hoest with his TAAKE, doing a tour and some further live gigs. I then moved to Oslo, and Thurzur continued playing drums for TAAKE. It wasn’t before I moved back to Bergen several years later that we started to rehearse again for the «Goat» album. It also took us over a year in the studio because of sickness and death. We are currently rehearsing for the «Dog» album. The Dog concept stands for ferocity and violence in man.
TIBM: Also how did you come up with the idea to name all your albums “cult of…”? Do you want to create a kind of continuity or any other reasons? When I read your album’s titles “cult of the dragon”, “cult of the goat”, it makes me think that DEATHCULT summons the various incarnations of Satan. Can you develop further on the album’s concepts as well as your personal interest and definition of Satanism?
Skagg: The idea was to name each album after the three death cults from the Sumerian text. Each album transcends from different emotion patterns, like the Dragon houses death and destruction, the Goat houses sex and lust, and the Dog houses hate and aggression. These are all aspects of humanity that keep helping it towards its own demise. For me DEATHCULT is just that, all the negative energy within man. And as long as the Devil serves as a negative entity for the humanum plaga, DEATHCULT serves Satan!
TIBM: You have released limited rehearsal tapes before each album. Is it a way to share your music faithful to underground tradition?
Skagg: Kind of, we planned this from the beginning. It is mostly for ourselves though, to remind us of all the hard work we lay down in rehearsing before each album. But also a sign, a warning that an album is coming…
TIBM: Correct me if I am wrong but it seems like you are not that much into promoting the band. Why? Do you think the most important must be the releases in themselves?
Skagg: I don’t care much for what people think of the band or our releases. All I care about is the enormous amount of negative energy I put down in every song I create. And this energy will eventually promote itself to the vile creatures out there anyway…
Deathcult – Cult of the Goat (Full Album)
TIBM: You are probably one of the very few Norwegian bands still playing in the early ’90s vein at the moment. How do you explain that this old-school style is not so present in your national scene nowadays? In such context, where do you situate DEATHCULT? How important is it for you to keep this sound alive?
Skagg: There are still bands and individuals keeping the old flame alive, but they may not be so revealing to others since clownery must be kept at a minimum level. As for myself, my mind is kind of stuck in the nineties, and I never did “evolve” into this more people-friendly pop music style anyway. DEATHCULT comes from the secret well …nothing is important!
TIBM: Inner Circle set standards and put Black Metal to another level, both musically and ideologically, back then. Do you see DEATHCULT as the heirs of this former spirit? Do you think it’s still relevant as a conception of Black Metal or was it much more the mirror of a particular chapter and time in Norwegian Black Metal history?
Skagg: Inner Circle regarding the Norwegian Black metal scene is a term created by the media. But I get what you mean. And yes, back then Black Metal was on another level. It was much more serious, secretive, a society within a society, etc. and had much more “intent”.
Today’s conceptions of Black Metal is more about the music and is of course less dangerous. But there is always someone who keeps the old flame burning. And the spirit of hate and contempt is probably higher than it ever was.
TIBM: The main influences in your music must be found in DARKTHRONE on their unholy trinity and the GORGOROTH 3 first albums if you ask me. Do you agree? What do these 2 specific bands have that make them so inspiring for you?
Skagg: Ah, DARKTHRONE holy DARKTHRONE, you can’t talk about Black Metal without mentioning DARKTHRONE. Yes, I remember the first time I heard «A Blaze in the Northern Sky». Never in my life had I heard something as cold, dark and grim. They just set the standard right there and then. And then came «Under a Funeral Moon» Well, you can’t get more Black Metal than that, can you? So, yes DARKTHRONE has been a major factor setting the right “mood” in my life.
GORGOROTH was from approximately the same place where I grew up. I remember I traded a bottle of beer for the «A Sorcery Written in Blood» demo with a classmate haha …and what a great demo that was. And then came their «Pentagram» album. Pure Black Acid the way only the early members could create. Great aura and just the right attitude.
Taake / Deathcult – Jaertegn (Full Split)
TIBM: Still about influences, we can hear some of BEHERIT “Drawing down the moon” era especially. A very unusual one (especially for a Norwegian band). I mean I know tons of Finnish bands being influenced by Norwegian bands but I think you are the only Norwegian one that praise them! It’s confirmed with the cover of “Black Arts” on your new split MLP with TAAKE. What can you tell us about the impact of BEHERIT on you? What about other old Finnish bands like IMPALED NAZARENE, ARCHGOAT, BARATHRUM…?
Skagg: BEHERIT has been one of the, if not the most, important inspiration for me when it comes to demonic presence in music. The same guy who traded the «A Sorcerywritten in blood» demo also gave me the «The Oath of Black Blood» CD for free, because he hated it. Me on the other hand loved it and thought it was some of the most spooky shit I had ever heard in music. Then came the classic «Drawing Down The Moon» which to this day is my favourite album ever made. I also listened a lot to the early Impaled Nazarene albums. «Tol Cormpt Norz Norz Norz…» was insanely good. I don’t know why Norwegians don’t praise good old evil Finnish music…it might have something to do with old quarrels and misunderstandings I guess haha.
TIBM: You use the statement “Cruel Norwegian Black Metal”. In what ways does it differ from the typical “True Norwegian Black Metal” one that you could legitimately use as well?
Skagg: True Norwegian Black Metal was in the nineties. Cruel Norwegian Black Metal is the old flame with new intent…more sinister.
TIBM: On “Cult of the Dragon”, you only included 2 lyrics. What is the reason for that? Also, can you tell more about the lyrics of “Sieg heil Satan”? It sounds quite radical and explicit, especially by the nowadays political correct standards. Anyway, can we say that the Third Reich was one of the possible manifestations of Devil’s work and destructive evil?
Skagg: We only included two lyrics because things were quite a mess back then. We “lost” 3 of the lyrics because we had written them on several pieces of paper. So when I did the album design, I just picked two lyrics which were available. We corrected that with the vinyl release and put down every lyric for that one. Well…nearly every. We intently held back «Sieg Heil Satan». The song originally was called «Hail Satan» and is of course about praising the dark lord. But I think the title «Sieg Heil Satan» had such a provocative and glorious effect, so we went with that instead. The “politically correct” standards and easily offended humans are the reason for that. I think every political standard is a manifestation of destructive evil …all pigs must die!
DEATHCULT – CULT OF THE DRAGON – FULL ALBUM 2007
TIBM: Unlike many Norwegian bands, you don’t use your native language for lyrics. Do you think English fits better in the end? What about the choice of German title “Der Würger” on your new Split MLP release with TAAKE?
Skagg: We use English because we want our cursing and prayers to be heard and understood in most parts of this planet.
The German title “Der Würger” is the name of an airplane used in WW2. The song is about a battle wich took place where I grew up. 42 English airplanes attacked a German destroyer that had gone hiding in the Norwegian fjords. 12 German Wurgers intervened and together with the ship shot down 10 English planes. The Germans lost 5 planes. 14 Allied and 2 Germans died that day. The battle is called “Black Friday”, a term the English used for obvious reasons.
TIBM: A split release with TAAKE was a quite obvious, logical choice, I guess? Any other bands you would / could share a release with?
Skagg: Nope, not particularly fond of doing splits.
TIBM: DEATHCULT has a line up that could perform live. Do you plan live shows in the future or is it something that you don’t care about as DARKTHRONE for example? Do you think Black Metal works better when experienced in more “private” conditions?
Skagg: Not particularly fond of live shows either. But we have had some minor discussions about it. We might just do some limited live attacks when we finish the trilogy. But it has to be done right and for the right reasons. We are an Anti-Social Black Metal band and don’t just play for thee. It needs proper planning to invite pigs for slaughter.
TIBM: Can we say Norway is still a strong place for Black Metal in 2020? How do you look upon these 3 past decades of the Norwegian scene? What are the high and low, good and bad points in its history according to you?
Skagg: Strong as any other place I guess. Norway has had a special place in Black Metal history due to special events. I wish we could spark more of that in the future as well.
The bad point is of course that phony Black Metal has made it mainstream, and attracted all kinds of human trash.
Keep it real. Keep it dangerous. CRUEL NORWEGIAN BLACK METAL!
TIBM: So, what are your plans after the trilogy is completed? Does it mean the band will come to an end or are you going to start another conceptual era?
Skagg: No, we will not stop our activities. As I said, we might, just might, play some live attacks. I also have at least 14 old songs from the nineties that we may conceive into a double album. An EP and a Mini Album are also planned for. But before all that, the « bestial recordings » MC and a Maxi Single on 12 » vinyl is released before the «Dog» album.
TIBM: Thanks for your time!