Yeah, the Finns! They know how to draw an audience to their Black Metal mayhem through their sheer ability to create a sound that refuses to remain within any boundaries of a true or classic Black Metal sound. They have created a movement, which is often laden with manic and chaotic riffs, obscure beats, aggressive vocals, and very dark themes. The Black Metal scene in Finland seems to thrive on these elements and when I think of all this, a band that springs to mind when it comes to zero fucks given Finnish style Black Metal is Sarastus. This Is Black Metal had the pleasure of speaking with Vardøger and Revenant of this two-piece Black Metal band to discuss all things extreme, strong and dark metal & their latest full length and EP releases from 2019.
This Is Black Metal: Hello guys, thank you for speaking with me for This Is Black Metal.
Formed in 2014, two lads hailing from Oulu, Finland came together to create Sarastus to provide our ears with an onslaught of full throttle, dark and penetrating Black Metal. How did Sarastus start and what was your initial vision for the direction of which Sarastus would move toward?
Vardøger: I started Sarastus back in 2014 when i got drained by perpetual intoxicated people and meaningless social interactions. I had no clear path of which i want my project to be heading to. I put a few riffs together and they later became the song “Hautakammio“. I really liked the sound of it so that’s how Sarastus came to be.
TIBM: Revisiting your 2015 demo, I – it’s hard not to notice that your start was a much more atmospheric one, and far more minimalistic in comparison to the sounds of later work, which to me resembles total war, with stunning and forewarning melodicism. How have Sarastus fans adapted to your progression into a far more smothering and indulgent heavy form of Black Metal as heard on your 2019 full-length release, ‘ Enter The Necropolis’.
Vardøger: I’m really surprised how well fans have responded to the “new” style considering the departure of the old vocalist and the change of overall sound.
TIBM: ‘Enter The Necropolis’ is intense blackness that carries that un-intentional emotive pull with it, and often feels nostalgic to early 90s Black Metal, but amplified. What are the themes of this album? And are these themes in line with the band’s way of life/belief’s or a means to magnify your art?
Revenant: Most lyrics are about visions of death and life beyond death. Inner hatred and the urge to burn down everything. Not worshipping anything or anyone but our great father Death. I think that’s the easiest way to describe the lyrical content on this record.
TIBM: Often Black Metal is derived from a deep connection to one’s surroundings and of course, earth & nature. Does this run true for Sarastus and if so how do your surroundings inspire you to write such devastatingly convicting lyrics? What is your process of gathering inspiration for lyrical content?
Revenant: Yes the surrounding is very important for me to get in motivation for writing lyrics. I am mostly surrounded by people (public trains and busses on my way to work) which really sickens me. So I mostly write my lyrics when I’m extremely pissed off to vent myself.
Sarastus – The Deceased Dwell in Darkness (Full EP)
TIBM: How have you seen the Black Metal community and scene grow in your country, Finland and globally for that matter? Do you see Black Metal evolving for the better and if so how does this affect how you design your content, if at all?
Vardøger: Finnish scene has exploded in the recent years altho many of these new bands and new releases i dislike purely for the fact that they all are alike to me. Some of the new releases i find enjoyable are from the bands such as Morgal and Förgjord. Global scenes such as Polish, Icelandic and French scenes have been growing in recent years. Bands such as Wędrujący Wiatr, Misþyrming and Véhémence have released excellent material and I hope to see the scene thriving in the next 10 years.
TIBM: Let us talk about your second release of 2019, EP ‘The Deceased Dwell In Darkness’. A 4 track EP fuelled with ritualistic and captivating heaviness. The riffs broke me! Given that this came so close after the release of your 2019 full length, was this EP a case of tracks that didn’t make it on the full-length album or was this a case of pushing forward while your artist flow was occurring?
Vardøger: Tracks on the EP were simply the result of me attempting something new yet fitting with the style of Sarastus.
TIBM: I can’t help but feel that you have once again upped the-anti on this EP, which is hard to believe given that Enter The Necropolis was so large and impressive. As a band, what is the mindset and concepts to personally push your boundaries and create more intensity within every album you produce? How do you maintain the fire so to speak to give us such wrecking Black Metal?
Vardøger: What helps me maintain the fire is travelling to other countries. I usually get my best ideas while abroad. My mindset is pretty straight forwarded, I just want to create good music and that is enough for me to keep going.
TIBM: Tell me about the dynamics of Sarastus, who writes, composes, mixes and masters?
Vardøger: I do everything myself regarding the songwriting, instruments, mixing, mastering and Revenant takes care of the lyrical/vocal part.
TIBM: How successful have your two, 2019 releases been so far? And how do you gauge this feedback?
Vardøger: It’s been surprisingly positive for both releases. I take all the feedback to heart and try to keep it in mind when i compose new material so all the feedback is more than welcome.
TIBM: Finnish Black Metal has a way about it. It’s a distinctive style, that transcends a care factor zero attitude, the Finns just seem to go for it! What is in the water over there? Where does all this aggression, obscurity and somewhat quirkiness come from to make Finnish Black Metal so addictive, large and brilliant?
Vardøger: Haha well I’m pretty sure it’s all about the location, as most of the country is hidden behind thousands of lakes and forests. Culture plays a role in it too because we Finns are extremely reserved and we always keep a safe distance to another person.
TIBM: Is Sarastus influenced by any forms of music outside of Black Metal? And if so what style of music may this be and how does this fit in with your sound?
Vardøger: Biggest influence has to be Finnish Schlager music as it shares many of the notes used in Finnish Black Metal. It sounds almost identical in a way but with clean vocals and clean guitars and depressing undertone. Other influences range from Synthwave to Post-Punk such as Joy Division.
Sarastus – II – Toinen Tuleminen (Full Album)
TIBM: 2020! What can we expect from Sarastus after 2019 was such a big year of releases for you guys? Are there plans for any live shows? And if so where can fans line up to see you?
Vardøger: We are currently writing material for the 3rd full-length Sarastus album. We will be playing in Black Hole Fest in 25th of September 2020 and it’s being held in Wetzikon, Switzerland.
TIBM: This has been very special for me, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to you. If there are any additional words, comments or information you would like to leave the readers with, please do.
Vardøger: Thank you very much and thank you all for the huge support! We will see you soon!
Sarastus – Enter the Necropolis (Full Album)