Mors Sola - 2016 - Symbol Of Domination
The Great Scorn - 2018 - Symbol Of Domination
S= Bornholm, Carcharoth, Frost, Paragon Zero>>ALGRAS [TATRAI CSABA]>>Frost, Paragon Zero
The black metal solo project was founded in 2014 and became active and busy rapidly. The band's first release was already on Symbol Of Domination in 2015. A late 2015 demo was called Alea Iacta Est. The man/act issued a covers' release in 2017. He called it From The Deep (My Tribute To The Masters Of Dark Side). One of the cover versions made it to the split CD with De Profundis called Hymnen An Die Nacht. The Great Scorn of 2018 was followed by a boxed set in the same year. While the album was again a solo effort the group was a collective since the autumn of 2017. Also in were S of Svoid on bass, drummer Róbert Mester, Tibor Terebesi on bass, vocals and guitar and Dávid Lőrincz was on keyboards. The band was working on playing live more often.
AORNOS – THE GREAT SCORN – SATANATH
The man/band is based in Hungary in the centre of Europe. The country is riven and being destroyed from within by a right-wing hooligan. Education is being censored and humans are told to work for free. The Russians are fear mongering and thanks to their wars and meddling the Americans send refugees their way. Is this why Aornos is such a compendium of black metal rage? The act has been around since before the current corporatist Prime Minister. So is it a matter of simple exposure to good music? What explains the Greek monicker? What about the solo nature of the project? All of these, and more, are explored by Ali “The Metallian” as he hosts Algras the founder of the band at Metallian Towers following the release of The Great Scorn album by Symbol Of Domination. Read on or not – 18.12.2018
METALLIAN: Welcome to Metallian Towers. Congratulations on the release of The Great Scorn. What was your intention when creating it?
ALGRAS: Thanks. I wanted to continue with the Aornos style I had already created on the first two albums, Orior and Mors Sola, when writing for the third full-length album. I did not intend to introduce alien elements of style or any other unnecessary ‘trendy’ experimentation like post, hybrid, blackgaze, mongrel, dissonant black metal, et cetra. These things would shit the music of Aornos up.
I just wanted to make an album that was worthy of its predecessors and similarly varied. I feel it has succeeded. Perhaps the difference is that The Great Scorn is much more apocalyptic.
METALLIAN: What about the album’s title and its meaning? As well, could you talk about the cover artwork?
ALGRAS: The term The Great Scorn refers to mankind itself or most of it. For me, one of the greatest mysteries is how someone becomes a philanthropist even if he knows enough people. Especially when one considers himself an intelligent, thinking individual… So this contempt is not specifically directed at a man's type, race, political affiliation or anything like that. In general, every ‘human, all too human’ thing is worthy of contempt - even what is a weakness in ourselves, of course, the local and world-wide phenomena that are being felt today will only amplify this feeling.
The cover was made by an artist named Anvil KVlt, who has created covers for several Hungarian underground bands, and I must say that I am very pleased with his work and attitude because the result speaks for itself.
Many associate The Lord Of The Rings and Isengard with the artwork when they see the tower on the cover, but I did not think about it until I encountered the first such comment. It would not be a problem for me anyway because I like and appreciate his decisive masterpiece within the whole fantasy genre. However, this interpretation is somewhat misleading because the tower is much more related to the Biblical Tower of Babel. If I have to choose, the angel, or demon, on top of the structure manifested in flames is Nemesis himself, who contemplates from above the last traces of humanity that drowned to ash and the dust-sea.
METALLIAN: For me philanthropy comes from within. I choose to be kind and helpful because I want to be and not because it is a reaction to anyone or any group. With that said, you actually predicted my follow-up question as it was to comment on how the cover is reminiscent of The Lord Of The Rings. Nonetheless, are you implying that the Nemesis, with a capital N, of mankind could be an angel?
ALGRAS: In addition in the original Greek mythology, Nemesis is feminine. She is the goddess of revenge, among other things. That is, not a demon or angel at all. The latter two terms were formed by Jewish-Christian culture. The name ‘revenge-angel’ could also be related to this.
Obviously it should not be strictly understood that Nemesis would be an angel, rather it should be understood that it is symbolic. At least, I do not see it in the narrow biblical or mythological sense. The figure of Nemesis is an impersonation. I think he is just like a fatal asteroid, a devastating epidemic or a strange, superior being.
METALLIAN: Changing the line of questions, on the one hand Aornos is a one-man project. On the other hand it seems that you have other musicians now. Could you clarify the situation with the line-up?
ALGRAS: Well, Aornos formed as a one-man band by me circa 1998, but talented members are on the other instruments since the fall of 2017 as well. On drums is Róbert Mester, on bass, vocals and guitar is Tibor Terebesi, on keyboards is Dávid Lőrincz and of course guitar and main vocal are by me Csaba Tátrai also known as Algras, so live shows are also possible in the future.
I created everything totally alone, but I am really happy to work, finally, with suitable musicians and appear at live shows with them. These days, preparing for performances – and this is not too easy - as well as providing and organizing appropriate concerts will be my number one priority.
METALLIAN: Does that imply the members contributed to The Great Scorn? From your answer one understands the album is again a solo output.
ALGRAS: Yes, I made The Great Scorn album entirely alone as well. However, the others will be able to connect to the creative processes as well. I hope so at least. Yet, as I said, providing and organizing appropriate concerts will be our number one priority.
METALLIAN: Let's go back a little. How did you and metal meet? How old were you and how did it come about?
ALGRAS (thinks): Fairly early, around when I was twelve-years-old circa 1992 when I came in contact with the harder, more serious line of music. I think there were mixed Metallica concert recordings and studio tracks on a tape and material of Iron Maiden’s Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son, but I was not mature enough for it as it seemed too soft to me compared to the heavier metal music. The true brilliance of Maiden was understood long afterwards. It might be natural that one of the best bands in all of metal appeared to me so soft since I had death metal fever at that time, next to my brother who always listened to it and obviously so did I. That’s how my brother lead me to it: Obituary, Deicide, Morbid Angel, Death, Morgoth, Master, Massacre, Protector, Cannibal Corpse, Carcass, Pestilence, Paradise Lost, Messiah, Kreator and Sodom. On the Hungarian side there was Moby Dick, Akela, early Ossian, et cetra. That is how I started with metal and music. Of course, this list makes no claim of being exhaustive.
It was still the Music Television era and I remember how weird of a feeling it was watching those clips of Pestilence’s Land Of Tears, Morbid Angel’s Blessed Are The Sick, and the ending with that otherworldly flute solo, Entombed’s Stranger Aeons, et cetra. on the Headbangers’ Ball show on Sunday evenings. Probably somewhere I was fated to be touched by dark music.
Later, the second wave of black metal caught me with its feeling of mystic, unreal, essentially evil unearthly or elevated atmosphere where during listening to this music some visionary cinematic images are flashing and which often has a ‘traveller’ character, such as on the brilliant Odium album of Morgoth, and there was no experience better than this except for some other style of metal or other tracks.
METALLIAN: While many could identify with what you recounted personally the sound of Morbid Angel’s flute made me anticipate Trey’s girlfriend jumping onto the screen Spinal Tap style presenting herself as the band’s manager and musical director. Regardless, could you discuss the band's monicker? Why did you choose Aornos and what does it mean to you?
ALGRAS: Most likely, the story of the name selection might be funny to some although I can’t put my finger on it. Formerly, around 1998, I wanted to use the Avernus name, but then I heard that there already was a band with this name. In those years without internet, these things were harder to find. Then, I wanted Atritas and later Arbitrium, but using the net I noticed that bands with the same name already existed. Finally, I chose the name Aornos, which is the Greek equivalent of the Latin Avernus. Literally, it means: ‘birdless.’ Aornos is a lake which exhales sulphurous fumes, therefore the birds couldn’t fly over it. The drifting hell-fumes killed them. By the way, that is a place; metaphorically it is the entrance to the underworld.
METALLIAN: To be clear, there is no connection between the monicker and Alexander The Great? I partly ask because modern historians are doubting the man and legend’s existence nowadays.
ALGRAS: Yes, I know this theory and have already seen written in a review that the name ‘Aornos’ comes from a fortress in contemporary Pakistan, more or less close to the Himalayan mountains and the Indus river. It was a fortified site known for the passing of Alexander The Great and his final siege - or at least one of the last one - some centuries before our modern era. Well, no (smiles). I was just thinking of the meaning when I figured the name I wrote earlier. As I mentioned, for a while the band's name was Avernus, but then I saw that such a band already existed.
METALLIAN: Shifting our thoughts to your music, is it correct to describe Aornos as the sum of everything that has happened and transpired in black metal so far? If so, is originality important to you?
ALGRAS: Well, I would have liked to answer this question for a long time; just nobody asked me before, so thank-you.
So, I think this statement might be true. Aornos' music has everything that is best in the black metal genre (laughs). At least that was my goal and frankly, I cannot imagine a better goal for Aornos' music. In fact, the creation of Aornos is due to the fact that at that time, outside of Emperor's first two albums - mainly Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk - I did not really find any music that would have brought the monumental completeness I so longed for; so I thought I would try it myself.
The hell-bent special and freakish bands are very tiring to me if all their virtues are confined to being cramped and different. First of all, it matters how good the songs are, the themes, the mood, the credibility, the intelligence, a valuable message and of course having an identity. I think that Aornos cannot be accused of a lack of identity and this should be evident to those who are sufficiently aware of the genre, are able to spot the essence and not only scratch the surface. Anyway, I am always curious regarding those whom people call original bands. This is often quite relative. Let me say only that there is nothing new under the sun strictly speaking even if some would like to believe the opposite. Anyway if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it (laughs). Otherwise, it is interesting. People have compared my music to very many bands, from Dark Funeral through Dodheimsgard’s A Umbra Omega, to Arkhon Infaustus, but my song structures are much straighter than the A Umbra Omega's music for example and intentionally so. For me, the most important thing is for the songs to be really good. Dark Funeral, for example, is really too predictable even though I basically like the music. They can write really and good catchy black metal themes. This is a great virtue. So for me maybe the designated path is somewhere between the two, Dodheimsgard and Dark Funeral. Maybe someone might say that, for instance, Deathspell Omega is innovative. Yet, the roots of the second period of Deathspell Omega is in the nineties and, for example, the dissonant themes of Ved Buens Ende. Some are used to mention music like Nightbringer, Schammasch, Dødsengel, Akhlys, et cetra. This is funny because Aornos used such riffs much earlier than these bands. So, the edification is ‘so many men so many minds.’
METALLIAN: Sticking with the music one of my favourite tracks is From A Higher Reality. Could you discuss this song? As well, what is a 'higher reality'?
ALGRAS: Yes, this is a superb opening song with incredible extreme speed. This song is big challenge for us to play live. It has an effect, which is when the terrible hordes of strange-unearthly spheres pounce on our unsuspecting world through an apocalyptic blow. The "Higher Reality" has a meaning of course, which is what is transcendent to our normal everyday perception of existence. That is, a metaphysical sense more substantial than ordinary reality. From this ‘higher reality’ to some extent, occultism, spirituality, religion itself, some paranormal phenomena, certain dreams inform us and could be interpreted with the help of philosophy.
METALLIAN: Trace To Beckoning Fade demonstrates a Bathory influence. Do you agree? Either way, are you a Bathory fan?
ALGRAS: Trace To Beckoning Fade demonstrates a Bathory influence? Perhaps it would have more relevance if you mentioned Funeral March For The Death Of The Earth if we want to find the influence of Bathory in my music, but considering Quorthon's touch this is also related to Emperor’s The Warriors Of Modern Death, certain Watain songs or any of the Ereb Altor songs, for example.
Don't get me wrong, I really like Bathory. Moreover, liking Bathory is almost compulsory for all black metallers like every metaller has Slayer-worship, but when I was writing Trace To Beckoning Fade I did not think of Bathory and I do not think that band has much to do with this song, not even now. Just because a black metal song is mid-tempo does not necessarily mean it has a Bathory influence. If the song’s opening riff could be called Bathory, then it might as well have been Celtic Frost, Sodom, Darkthrone and Gorgoroth too. In fact, my goal was to write a simple, dynamic, evil riff. In addition, there was originally another guitar harmony there too, which I finally left off, which would have given another character to the whole sound. Maybe that version will become public at some point.
METALLIAN: Speaking of Funeral March For The Death Of The Earth, that track features a superb solo towards its end.
ALGRAS: Thanks. I did not want to complicate matters. It is not too technical but rather metal and atmospheric. First I thought it had a slightly Bathory-esque effect, but then I realized it was not so.
METALLIAN: Two weaknesses: drum machines and keyboards. These are always regretful. Care to comment?
ALGRAS: Keyboards as a weakness? I think the synth is just additional to the dark atmosphere in all good black metal. Be it the fiercest, guitar-oriented music… if the keyboards are in a tasteful and non-intrusive mode. And I think Aornos is a good example of this case. For instance, the symphonic chorus may sound somewhat old-school in Aornos' music, which is why some people sometimes refer to the ‘90s’ atmosphere, but I am currently using such a VST plug-in so I like it anyway.
There are drum programs on Aornos’ albums, but I am proud that this is not clear to many people or not to laymen. By the way, my drum sound is not very different from the replaced tones, triggers of the real drummers, nay, in the end, even more often than not they are more mechanical. There is a lot of my work in the drums, but as you can hear if someone takes time and energy one can achieve such a level for the programmed drums. To tell you the truth, I have not heard any drum programs at this level that which would not have been made by great drummers but by someone else. This is far enough from, for example, the really straightforward and almost irritating drum machine sounds of Limbonic Art, Thorns on the Thorns Vs Emperor album, Mysticum or the early Diabolical Masquerade, early Anaal Nathrakh, early Aborym, Diabolicum, to capture only the best-known examples. At that time, the lack of a right drummer lead me to this solution, but I hope that in the future a true ‘meat-and-blood’ drum player can be heard in Aornos' music with a worthy sound. Of course, I am basically interested in comments, but I would be lying if I would say that all the opinions are equally important to me.
METALLIAN: Is the French poet Jules Laforgue an important figure to you? Do you think or believe that the good die young?
ALGRAS: I would not say that I know the whole heritage of Jules Laforgue. I have a book titled The Most Beautiful Verses of World Literature, which was released in 1978 during the Socialist era, and I found this great poem in that book 22 years ago. Even then I remarked to myself that once it could be used as a song’s lyrics. With regard to his themes, it is as if there are many doom-black-dark lyrics, but the Laforgue poem used on the album is much more personalized, more chiselled and by the way more than a hundred years of age.
For me, it does not matter that Laforgue is a Frenchman. He could be an American, Russian, German, English, Hungarian or even Australian. I was captivated primarily by the work itself.
Yes, I know he died young, at the age of 27, like the so-called rock, or is that pop, stars. No, I don't think it's a good thing someone dying too young. Furthermore he died of tuberculosis, not because for instance of a golden shot or a choking sex-related accident. Probably then, in general, the person does leave this ‘earthly vale of tears’ without enough experience and unfinished things. What can be called ‘good’ and ‘young’ can sometimes be the subject of debate.
METALLIAN: We agree. You mentioned goals earlier. What is next for the band in the short term and where to in the grand scheme of things?
ALGRAS: Since releases have been coming out often enough, three full-length albums in 4 years, an EP, a split cassette and a gift box cassette release this process probably will be slowing down. I am really happy to work, finally, with suitable musicians and appear at live shows with them.
The band’s second concert will be performed at Blackened Mysticism Festival in Debrecen Hungary in mid-February, and of course, we are all looking forward to it. We are planning further concerts. The exact dates and places shall appear in time.
METALLIAN: As you know, everyone agrees that Metallian is the very best website for metal. Why do you think this is true?
ALGRAS: Metallian is the very best. There is no doubt about it! No kidding, this is a great, demanding website. Here only HammerWorld (Metal Hammer) has something like this.
Thanks to Algras and his detailed answers. Aornos’ The Great Scorn is available through Symbol Of Domination. The band has a webpage at https://aornos.bandcamp.com.
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