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THE METAL OBSERVER - Interview - BLACKCROWNED - Online Dec 2006

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Blackcrowned - Propagating Hate (Propaganda Minister Wurdalak) - Online Dec 2006

A while ago one of my fellow Metal brothers down here in darkest Africa sent me a demo of the Black Metal band BLACKCROWNED. As we do not have that many Black Metal bands down here, I jumped at the opportunity to interview the band. My enthusiasm was even more validated when I heard their demo in full – the hate, coldness, misanthropy and rage are all here in absolute abundance, and it makes for a particularly nasty listen… I spoke to vocalist and “Propaganda Minister” Wurdalak, to find out more about the mysterious Southern Black entity known as BLACKCROWNED. Read on…


Hail, how are things in the BLACKCROWNED lair today?

Gegroet, things are rolling on as always in our camp. More rapid progress is also being made than before due to the ironing out of some minor inconveniences. All the musik for the forthcoming EP is now recorded and 2 of the tracks have vocals already. We’re now busy adding vocals and bass to the remaining tracks and then we shall take a couple of weeks to do all the mixing, paying great attention to detail.


Please give us some brief background info on the band.

BLACKCROWNED hails from South Africa. The corpse crawled out of the soil in November of 2004, starting off more as a coming together of like-minded individuals. All of us were tired and frankly bored of no longer hearing any bands out there that made the extreme music that WE would have wanted to listen to. No-one out there was channelling the specific ugly & morbidly dissonant soundscapes that were playing out within our heads.

And so BLACKCROWNED was formed, mainly to serve as a personal channel of energy, thought, negativity and emotion for us. Abrasive Black Metal that WE ourselves would want to listen to.

The demo was then recorded in a period of only 3 days [ironically over X-mass] in a very inspired and charged atmosphere. All clicked together and almost no speaking was necessary between the band members to convey and share ideas.

At present we have evolved into a more or less permanent core of 4 components. Live shows aside [for which we are easily able to recruit session musicians as we have done before] I feel that this is most probably going to be the permanent line-up until the corpse one day decides to sink back into its grave.


You are a Black Metal band – are some of your members involved in other non-BM projects?

Yes, some of us do have other musical projects on the side. At the moment none of us are involved full-time in any other bands simply because BLACKCROWNED takes up all of our free time. The majority of us have been in Black Metal bands previously or have had Black Metal projects of our own though.

Our bassist B.C. has had a non-BM musical project on the side for quite a number of years, it is a more melodic variety of metal with a strong keyboard presence. Somewhat of a vocal-less mix between symphonic black, melodic death, heavy power etc. He has a number of demos completed and will perhaps release them one day.

BLACKCROWNED’s guitarist has a number of non-BM musical endeavors on the side which mainly serve the purpose of composing and recording for his own personal listening. I do not see this ever being shared with more people or being released.


How do you feel BLACKCROWNED fits into the SA underground, and why do you think it is that this country has never latched onto BM like in other countries?

In my opinion this country does not have a metal underground or even a more general metal scene. So there is nothing to “fit into”. We would prefer BLACKCROWNED to stand on its own in any case.

With regard to the second part of your question, I do not know and do not care about why this country’s mass population has never taken much interest in BM. I also see that fact as an extremely positive thing.


Please mention some of your influences – bands, writers, films etc?

Everyone in the band has a wide range and variety of influences [musical and not] which inspire them, encompassing everything from black metal, heavy, death, ambient, classical, neo-folk, darkwave etc. Black Metal is however the master component in the musical and spiritual diet of all 3 members.


My personal inspiration for writing lyrics stems from many spheres and facets ranging from personal experiences/thoughts/sensations to literary/artistic/musical inspirations.

Project. Accept. Ceremonial. Capability. Life. Self. Death. Blood. True Ego. Ascend. Win. Sacrifice. Descend. Cosmic Law. Chaos.

We would prefer to keep private the writers whose works has influenced us personally.


Your forthcoming debut will be titled “Haunted Lightless Lingering” – how are things progressing in terms of songwriting, recording and possible release dates?


About 70% of the music for the full length has been written and about 30% of it has been recorded. We actually have a (premix) preview track available for download here:

This album will be anywhere between 9 and 11 tracks long and we are planning to take as many months as needed to record and then take our time mixing it until in our eyes it is perfect. So I would say that a release date for SA and any European/U.S. labels with whom we co-operate would be some time in the 3rd quarter of 2006.


I understand you also have a self-titled EP coming out this year – care to comment?

Yes, it is our main priority at the moment. It is not self-titled, the EP is entitled “My Will Is My Hammer”. This 4 track EP will be released in S.A. any time within the next month already. As I mentioned in the answer to the first question, all of the music for the forthcoming EP is now recorded and 2 of the tracks have vocals already. We’re now busy adding vocals and bass to the remaining tracks and then it shall take a couple of weeks to do all the mixing.


I really enjoyed your demo (“With Wolvish Lust”), it had that extra something that most SA releases lack. How has it been received so far, both nationally and internationally?

To be honest, the amount and degree of feedback both locally and internationally with regard to the demo was completely unexpected for us and still does not cease to surprise us.

All of the demo reviews have been extremely positive and in general the worldwide as well as the [tiny] SA Black Metal fan-base has mostly given us nothing but the most positive feedback. This is quite encouraging in a way, knowing that our music has reached this small handful of people world-wide who truly share our mindset. The demo was reviewed by 5 zines (2 of them established U.S. and German zines) and all of the ratings were above 90%.

At the same time we are indifferent because we really do not care about being “accepted” by anyone. Also in the sense that we create this music solely for ourselves and if even one other person out there identifies a personal connection with it, then that in itself is already more than we expected and is a success.

We did not send our demo to any labels. First and foremost because there are extremely few labels out there that we would ever want to be associated with. At the same time, most of the proper underground labels that we DO respect and support already knew about our music from before and most were already comrades of ours.

The demo was exclusively distributed by Legion of Death Rex (France) in a limited 33 tape copies which sold out quite quickly; and was then released in August last year by Donnerberg Rex (Germany) in a print of 50 pro-CDR black discs. These are labels we know for a while though and have a solid personal interaction with. Both deals were cemented after they heard our demo by downloading 2 of the 4 demo tracks. They did not even have a full copy of it.

A personal highlight for me was definitely when the ANAAL NATHRAKH vocalist (whom I consider as one of the top 3 extreme vocalists of all time) downloaded one of our songs and gave me some positive comments on our music and on my vocals.

Other than that there are a number of other (mostly French and U.S.) underground labels with whom I am in contact with and with whom negotiations are already underway for the forthcoming international releases of the EP and debut album.


Do you guys have any touring plans?

So far we have played one live gig. We might conduct another ritual sometime this year if we feel the need to do so. Perhaps we might even be inspired enough to climb into a van and drive down to Johannesburg/Pretoria for 3 days to host a private night of black vomit for our friends and supporters there.

With regard to any tours, that will never happen. Firstly because we’re not interested in playing with any other bands in SA (the only one we would play live with is currently out of action for the foreseeable future) and esp. not opening up for anyone. A BLACKCROWNED show will be a BLACKCROWNED show. No dilution. I also don’t care much for big shows at all and neither do my bandmates. We have had quite a number of live gig offers during the existence of BLACKCROWNED, from other bands as well as clubs etc. and we have refused them all.

Our gig was an invite-only event held in one of the band member’s houses - in the backyard under the night sky. We invited only about 30 people whom we actually wanted there. In the end it turned into an atmospheric night of black metal, kameradschaft and alcoholic inebriation between people who knew each other well.  If we play another gig we shall definitely make it slightly “different”, in the sense of holding it in the local forest here or on one of the friend’s wine farms in the outer suburbs or whatever else comes into our minds really.


I guess you all still have jobs, what do you do for a living?

Hahah, I would love to earn a solid income from being full-time in a South African underground Black Metal band, coming to “work” in corpsepaint every night and getting paid for nights full of black noise, alcohol and insanity. But let’s be serious…

All of us have full-time jobs, but I don’t see any reason for our private lives outside of the band to have any reference to Blackcrowned or to be of any interest for your readers.


What do you think should define a true Black Metal band – image, sound or lyrics?

What makes a BM band BM is the aura and the Black Metal feeling. Too many bands concentrate on creating a “Black Metal band” by either adding those 3 “standard/general” components you listed into some kind of “Black Metal sum”. That gives nothing but travesty and inferior mediocrity with lack of any meaning or basis.

Other bands will concentrate too much on some aspect and ignore others. Some will go all out to nurture an extravagant and extreme image with 16 inch spikes and corpsepaint all over themselves, all the while ignoring the music to the point of “connect the dots repetition/formula songs”.  Others will write deep and insightful lyrics etc. but ignore the sound or over-experiment with it etc.

In the end, all 3 aspects need to be in balance, with image of course being the least important and the music itself being the core of the band and what it represents. If I listen to a new Black Metal band on CD-R, not even knowing their name, I couldn’t care less about their image, lyrics, etc. If I feel that their sound and aura is Black…then it’s Black and nothing can change that, whether for the better of for the worse.

When you hear a band (without any CD covers, photos, reviews, etc etc.) for the first time, you should be able to decide within minutes whether the Black Metal essence is achieved or not. All else is irrelevant.

As an example, go and listen to NARGAROTH’s “Herbstleyd” or MÜTIILATION’s “Remains Of A Ruined, Dead, Cursed Soul” albums. All I have said here should then become clear. Any further elaboration would be superfluous.


What is Black Metal to you – a hobby or a lifestyle?

Black Metal to me personally is more than a hobby or a lifestyle. It is an integral part of my life, in terms of my mindset, character etc. I have been listening to the genre 24/7 for many years now and I cannot live without it. If I don’t listen to some of my favourite BM albums (of which there are hundreds) for too long I start getting literal withdrawals so I guess I am addicted to Black Metal.

It is for me not a hobby, not an “interest”, not entertainment, not a phase through which I will pass with age (like most others) as I “mature”. I think it is safe to say that if I am this way at 24 I will not be changing my views on this any time soon. In any case I do listen to numerous other genres of music like classical, ambient, heavy metal, death metal etc. So although I do have a variety of other music to keep me constantly occupied I always come back to Black Metal.

Living a Black Metal lifestyle is primarily about having the appropriate mind-set, views, character elements and actions etc. It is not about having 15 Satan & pentagram tattoos, a prison record (which would in this country also make you an AIDS corpse), long hair and always wearing MAYHEM & DARKTHRONE t shirts. That is more of a “Rocker/Heavy Metaller” approach to Black Metal in any case, and I feel that the genre cannot be approached adequately in this manner.

People like that are actually in general the ones who opt more for the image part of the genre and will often lack any clear or meaningful understand of Black Metal’s aesthetic, essence or even history. For some it is a complement to their Black Metal mentality of course, but in my experience when the image part is overdone then something is being compensated for.


Care to mention any other worthy SA Black Metal bands? I only know of you and the great NICATAS DRUMER…

You have just listed the only two SA Black Metal bands that are still active (ND being in a temporary coma at the moment as far as I know). From the priors who have now become extinct, I would mention the Pretoria band SERPENTMOON from the early to mid-90’s and the CapeTown Black Metal band CRUENTO DURBENTIA in which I molested a bass over 2002-2003. Both are now buried.


What are your thoughts on religion and politics, especially in this shithole called South Africa?

I have as little to do with the dogmatic institution of organised religion as possible. From a philosophical perspective I do identify quite strongly with some of the more philosophical aspects of Satanism which deal with individualism. I shun most forms of organised religion however and believe it nurtures nothing more than herd mentality, manipulation and denial. The whole concept of religious/occult/esoteric knowledge should centre around self-development toward a higher/powerful individual or being. This is where in some parallels between philosophical Satanism and the occult can be drawn.

The darker aspects of nature, human nature, paranormal aura, channelling/release of energy/negativity which would otherwise eventually be expressed outwardly in a much more violent and physically destructive manner (this has a lot to do with why I am part of BLACKCROWNED) etc.


Well, that’s it! Mighty hails for doing this interview, and good luck with your band! SA needs more like-minded bands!!

My thanks for your interest and support. Hail "The Metal Observer"!

Some whoring: All band info & full downloads of some tracks are available on our website

And remember…beauty and mass-executions will save the world. (right on! – ed.)


2005: With Wolfish Lust (Demo, Donnerberg Rex)

2005: Blood Ritual (DVD, Self-Production)

2006: My Will Is My Hammer (EP)

2006: Haunted Lightless Lingering (CD)

Neil Pretorius

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