Mizmor // In Conversation

Faith is an intensely personal matter, yet for some, that faith is tested and broken and the subsequent fallout discussed and laid bare for all to see. Portland’s Mizmor is one such instance of faith being a central pillar of a person’s existence before life created ways in which to test and create cracks within that belief. This year’s full-length, Cairn (which was written about here), is the result of many years of searching, thinking and creating from it’s sole recording member, A.L.N., and here we talk about the moments that led up to his belief in God diverging from that of family and friends and the ultimate separation that needed to occur.

I would like to thank A.L.N. for his openness and honesty in discussing difficult subjects and for creating such challenging music that brings about much introspection and catharsis.

Faith is a central theme in your music and the path you took to this point is one that is coloured with many intensely personal moments – can you please explain a little about how Mizmor came to be, your reasons for rejecting this idea of a God and your reasons for choosing the name?

I was raised in a Christian family whose practice of Evangelical Christianity (Christian Missionary Alliance denomination, to be precise) was central to our lives and relationships. I was “dedicated” as a baby in the church, went to Sunday school as a kid, and to youth groups as an adolescent. In my early teens I began to reject the faith, seeing it as something my parents subscribed to that I didn’t necessarily believe in. I was interested in exploring other religions, philosophies, and worldviews and also wanted to experiment with “worldly” things forbidden by the church. I pulled away on the inside but was forced to attend church every Sunday until I turned 18. I (obviously) stopped going once I reached that age. However when I was 19 or 20 I had a conversion experience that led me to see Christianity with new eyes and take it on as an adult, for myself, in all seriousness. This was very different than my force-fed experience of Christianity as a younger person. It resulted in an immersion in the scriptures, hours of daily devotional prayer and worship, the compulsion for outreach, and an overall transformation of many of my personal qualities which defined my identity (for good or bad).

Mizmor – Cairn (painted by Mariusz Lewandowski)

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Barshasketh // In Conversation

Last month found The Round Up Tapes exploring Barshasketh’s newest record, Barshasketh, and further to that study a conversation with Krigeist and GM was had. Below are the results of that conversation which was conducted via email.

For those not familiar, what is the history of Barshasketh? How did the band come together and how has the geographical distance that now exists affected the way the band works?

Barshasketh started off as Krigeist’s solo project over a decade ago. After he relocated to Edinburgh in 2010, he set about piecing together a lineup from local musicians, initially strictly for the purpose of playing live shows, but in time some of these live members were made permanent. Unfortunately, just as we were settling on a stable lineup, Krigeist ended up having to leave the UK in 2014 as his visa was revoked and BH, our drummer at the time, ended up leaving the band due to some rather unfortunate family issues. Undeterred by these logistical challenges, we continued to work on our music remotely and replaced BH with MK. We simply fly in members and plays shows with very minimal or non-existent preparation- as crazy as this arrangement seems, it actually works surprisingly well thanks to the discipline and dedication of each of our members in preparing the material individually.  

As it stands we’re spread across three different countries, and no two members are even based in the same city. Although it’s not always easy to do what we do, as long as we feel we’ve got something to say as a band, we’ll find a way of making things work.

Photography: Porta Atra

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Devouring Star // In Conversation

Last month found The Round Up Tapes exploring Devouring Star’s The Arteries of Heresy and further to that study a conversation with Devouring Star’s founder, JL, was had. Below are the results of that conversation which was conducted via email.

Photography: Porta Atra

What was the driving force behind creating Devouring Star? What does the name mean to you?

The driving force on creating Devouring Star was the necessity for a creative platform for my concepts, it comes down to the simple fact that music was the only way of expressing these things for me and metal music in particular due to the fact that I am and was fond with it.

The name ‘Devouring Star’ is a reference to a black hole, yet it is also a metaphor for something that consumes yourself ultimately.

Do you see Devouring Star becoming an all-consuming part of your life or are you able to separate that side of yourself from the world?

No matter what, life itself is as boring as it is for everyone else, no mysticism required here. We eat, we shit, we sleep. So naturally Devouring Star isn’t a part of the daily routines. However the concepts in Devouring Star present my personal beliefs in such a way, that it is always a part of me and it is something that is separated from me unto music. Back in 2013 when Devouring Star started, has however affected my life dramatically.

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Greed & Rapacity : In Conversation

Greed & Rapacity - Loki BoundGreed & Rapacity are a collective in the most unusual sense. The two members are set apart by the huge expanse of the Pacific Ocean yet have created a work of true unity and passion with their second release, Loki Bound. Bleak Metal was given the opportunity to talk to Greed & Rapacity, and true to form the answers to the questions put to them are answered in one voice, speaking on behalf of both members – H. Lauer, and D. Nahum. – which creates a sense of complete and total oneness. With each other, and with the challenging tone of utter horror found on Loki Bound.

Loki Bound is a deeply unsettling thirty-two minute journey. The music is claustrophobic and it’s very nature is one of bizarre and dissonant structures of sound. H. Lauer’s vocal technique is almost unrecognisable as human at times and it’s this powerful bridge to another world that gives Greed & Rapacity their abstract beauty. The record is based on the Norse myth of Loki, and in particular his experience of banishment and binding, and of torture and deep, unholy thoughts.

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