Band name: NIHILISTINEN BARBAARISUUS
Title: SYNKKÄ TUULI
Release Date: March 26th, 2013 / September 2nd, 2013
Label: HORROR PAIN GORE DEATH PRODUCTION / INFERNAL KOMMANDO RECORDS
Genre: AMBIENT BLACK METAL
Origin: FINLAND (Helsinki), UNITED STATES (Pennsylvania)
TRACKLIST & TIMES:
1. Ylittäen Jäätyneen Pohjoisen (I) (6:03)
2. Ylittäen Jäätyneen Pohjoisen (II) (7:22)
3. Itämeri Anomalia (1:26)
4. Anhedonia (3:46)
5. Arktinen Välisoitto (3:44)
6. Synkkä Tuuli (7:14)
7. Ketamiini (1:22)
LINE UP & CREDITS:
Guitar, Drum-Programming, Co-Composer: Mika Mage (Lawrence’s Creation)
Bass, Keyboard, Drum-Programming, Vocals: M.W.S. (Serpent ov Old, Shadows in the Crypt, ex-Evil Divine, ex-Wykked Witch)
Co-Composer: Manuel Rodriguez
“Nihilistinen Barbaarisuus” Promo CD EP (2012) Horror Pain Gore Death Productions
“Synkkä Tuuli” CD / CASSETTE (2013) Horror Pain Gore Death Production / Infernal Kommando Records
“Väinämöinen” CASSETTE EP (2013) Infernal Kommando Records
Forged out of the icy wilderness of the north, this beast of Helsinki/Philadelphia composes odes of cold subsonics and frigid atmospheres. Inspired by founder Mika Mage’s Finnish heritage, the band showcases Ambient Black Metal visuals and atmospheres. Cold, grim, and strangely uplifting, Nihilistinen Barbaarisuus are masters of melancholy.
Nihilistinen Barbaarisuus is an ambient black metal act from Philadelphia, PA. It was co-founded by American/Finnish citizen Mika Mage and Manuel Rodriguez in 2012, and has since put out a self-titled promo and LP entitled ‘Synkkä Tuuli’ (Finnish for Grim Wind) on Horror Pain Gore Death Productions, and an EP entitled ‘Väinämöinen’ on Infernal Kommando Records. Mika Mage remains the sole remaining founding member and the lone creative force, with the next album (based on the Finnish national epic The Kalevala) set to be complete very shortly.
Answers by Mika Mage
Nihilistinen Barbaarisuus began in 2012 when I heard a friend of mine, Manuel Rodriguez, was coming up with ambient black riffs, and I decided to check them out. I immediately took to the material and asked if he wanted to start a band. He had too much going on with his career in game development, but agreed to a small project and ultimately an album. So I took his riffs and complimented them with my own, and in the final stages invited M.W.S. (Serpent ov Old, Shadows in the Crypt, ex-Evil Divine) to assist with recording at his Thee Illuminated studio. M.W.S. played bass and keys while we shared duties on drum programming and I handled all guitars. After getting picked up by Mike Juliano’s Horror Pain Gore Death Productions in November of 2012 they put out a small self-titled promo in anticipation of our debut LP ‘Synkkä Tuuli’.
After the LP was released, Manuel and M.W.S. left to focus on other things (Manuel moved to Denver to work for a major game company and M.W.S. wanted to focus on Serpent ov Old), leaving me the lone creative force. I saw this as an opportunity to stretch my legs and make completely original unadulterated black metal.
I wrote all the material and played guitars for the follow-up EP ‘Väinämöinen’, then invited studio members to handle other instruments: Lawrence Wallace (Lawrence’s Creation, Shadows in the Crypt, Serpent ov Old, Blacklaw) on keys and drum programming, M.W.S. came back to play bass, and James Dorton (Black Crown Initiate, Nightfire, Antikythera, ex-Aborted Existence) provided vocals. It was initially released digitally for free on Gun Shy Assassin (http://gunshyassassin.com/news/exclusive-nihilistinen-barbaarisuus-stream-and-download-vainamoinen) but was later released in September as limited number cassette on Infernal Kommando Records in France (who also put out a cassette edition of ‘Synkkä Tuuli’). ‘Väinämöinen’ is still a free download on our bandcamp(https://nihilistinenbarbaarisuus.bandcamp.com/album/v-in-m-inen), so go get it now!
What appeals to me about black metal is the rawness, which allows for the creation of music for musics’ sake. What I mean by that is if a person appreciates a Velvet Cocoon or Paysage d’Hiver song, they do so despite the glaring production deficits. What is thus enjoyable to the listener is the atmosphere and music itself, which transcends the medium, and often times is complimented by the “lofi” aesthetic. A raw black metal band can use the same modest equipment and have a discography of 20 “demos” and a loyal cult following; can the same be said for a melodic death or progressive band? There are no “Raw Power Metal Bands”, there is too much post-production gauze necessary to make that sort of thing pleasant to listen to, while black metal necessitates none of that…
Evolution of the initial musical and thematic elements:
The original idea was to celebrate my Nordic heritage (as a dual citizen of Finland and the United States). The debut LP’s title translates to “Grim Wind”, and the general concept was a 30 minute doomed hike through a snow storm, thus the trudging footsteps at the start and the dirge like acoustic outro titled the Finnish name for the drug Ketamine (which has been suggested to induce near death experiences when taken recreationally). Following ST, I decided to continue in the Nordic theme and construct an album about the Finnish national epic ‘The Kalevala’, thus the EP ‘Väinämöinen’ features a title song named for the stories main protagonist, and a second track being a somber acoustic number which translates as “The Night She Died” (in tribute to the many female characters who commit suicide in the epic, particularly Aino). The next album is nearly complete and will continue on this basis.
Ideas about the album:
I’m very satisfied with my music, although I do strive to preserve the raw feel while strengthening my production capacity. There was a jump in sound quality from “Synkkä Tuuli” to “Väinämöinen”, and one should expect the next album to take it to an even higher level of mechanical integrity. While part of the charm for black metal is to sound “lofi”, I do realize the more “hifi” it gets the more people will listen to it, and that is the ultimately goal.
The reception has been great, particularly in the kvlt underground and with the zines. Infernal Kommando Records in France did a lot for us by introducing us to that “tape trade” world, which largely exists outside of the United States. The music video we have out for “Anhedonia” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnHMCgUKxF0) is picking up traction following some promo work with Mike McCoy II at The Metal Detector Music Promotions (http://themetaldetectormusicpromotions.com), so every day is another chance for a metal head to discover what we have to offer.
There could be some live shows but only really for fun, I have a “real” life pursuing a medical education that comes first and as such I’m not a “full time musician”. Furthermore, I still need to set up the release details for the next album and there has been some discussion with Sergiy Fjordsson of Moloch about doing a vinyl split. Recording and producing actual music for consumption has always took top priority over playing live, which aside from building local notoriety really isn’t good for much. There are plenty of local “working” bands around where we live who have nothing to show for it.
The future is good, currently I’m transitioning to a new medical program, and as such I was gifted a little more time to fine tune the new album and discuss label interest. It features me on guitars and bass, Joel Robert Thompson (Omelas) on vocals, Kol Slavv (ex-Black Crown Initiate, ex-Aborted Existence, ex-Single Bullet Theory) on drums, and Lawrence Wallace back on keys. There’s a pretty good support package as far as merchandise and a new music video ready to go, so it should be a good experience. The aforementioned Moloch split should be fun as well and we have some plans for that brewing, hopefully with Joel and Lawrence returning to provide their end, and I’m speaking with Joffre O. Videz (Colliding With the Aliens, Delirium Cordia) about contributing drums from where he lives way down Mexico way..
Lyrics, themes and concepts:
NB is a guitar centric band (with guitar being my primary instrument), so all instrumentation is organized ahead of time and vocal arrangement comes after. Obviously my Nordic heritage played into the thematic setting of ST album, but also the personal experiences of the other original band members (for instance the lyrics for “Anhedonia” are based upon the addiction struggles of one of their family members). As creative control fell to me, I decided I would make music on topics I take interest in, thus the EP and next album are completely derived from The Kalevala. Some lyrics are original, but most are adapted word-for-word from English translations of The Kalevala. The Kalevala itself is a poem, perhaps the greatest poem, and I felt foolish attempting to write original songs about it, essentially creating “poems about a poem”.
I write and compose all the music, from drum hits to the words which are sang. Obviously when Kol Slavv was in studio he did things I couldn’t have dreamt of, but all the drumlines and ideas for fills were already pre-programmed in advance for him to imitate. We were very fortunate to find Kol Slavv available to us after his stint with Black Crown Initiate; I’m not sure any other drummer would have been able to record his portion last to be dropped into the mix, but he did so seamlessly… He really is a human metronome!
The original members listened to a lot of Horna, Graveland, Behexen, Hate Forest, Sargeist, Velvet Cocoon, and Gris, and people sometimes mention those types of bands as influences “they hear in us” from our first LP. I personally was always more into the progressive and melodic side of things like Bal-Sagoth and Old Man’s Child, including even power metal like Sonata Arctica, Blind Guardian, and Angra. My philosophy now with NB is to meld the rawness of black metal with progressive ideas like utilizing traditional chording techniques but in major keys.
Preference; cater to the audience or music for its own sake:
Music is far more important than catering to an audience, at least for a band like NB. We aren’t touring trying to sell t-shirts just to pay the bills, we don’t depend on being marketable to the mainstream or even being aware by it (hell, our “Anhedonia” music video vividly features a guy apparently using IV drugs). The strength is being allowed to make music as good as it can possibly be, without having to capitulate to any other person or thing.
At this point I would say the greatest accomplishment for NB has been getting picked up by two very supportive labels, and I want to thank Mike Juliano at Horror Pain Gore Death Productions and Bruno at Infernal Kommando Records for taking the chance on us.
The ‘Väinämöinen’ EP is still a FREE download from our bandcamp so please download and share it with your friends, there are also a few cassettes left from Infernal Kommando Records, but if they sell out check Primitive Reaction or Depressive Illussion. The ‘Synkkä Tuuli’ LP is available from our bandcamp digitally and from Horror Pain Gore Death Productions as CD . Lastly, don’t forget to watch our first official music video for the track “Anhedonia” , directed by the lovely Gretchen Heinel, and keep an eye out for our next album which should be coming very, very soon!
Official music video for track “Anhedonia”