Black Metal has changed.
From its desecrating roots against the monotheist oppression in eastern Europe, the genre has evolved into a winter tree of distorted branches from Symphonic glorification to amateurish ‘Atmospheric’ — essentially noise for the sake of noise. But, in an unexpected town of Basel, Switzerland, ‘black’ was morphing into yet another shade.
Enter Schammasch. Their motto, “to bring light from darkness” has captured the attention of Metallers around the world since their 2014’s Contradiction raised eyebrows and critical praise. Their achievements not only stem from their own creative visions, externalizing the brutal internal, but daring to come into the open with their epic-length, attention demanding material during a time where society is in ADHD and multi-tasking mode. It was an underdog bet that has paid off in spades.
Now, in a new phase of their careers, they dare once again to use tradition to break tradition — to combine literature with music interpretation. But, where most literary influences are found in the history section, Schammasch’s inspiration comes from an elite collection of poems from the esoteric works of Compt de Lautréamont.
Schammasch’s frontman and engineer, CSR, gave us some insight of where this stranger journey might take us.
TBS – Schammasch is known for its intense and imploding journeys. This new
undertaking with “Maldoror Chants” seems to promise to be even more so. How did the project unfold to begin with? Did you find it more or less demanding than ‘Triangle’?
CSR – It’s all in all a much less demanding project than Triangle. Only comparing the record lengths Triangle is three times the length of Hermaphrodite. To work out the lyrical content of Triangle was as well a much bigger effort, since on Hermaphrodite the lyrics were overtaken from the book for the biggest part.
The concept behind The Maldoror Chants started to take shape when I thought about the next releases’ title, which was about half a year before Triangle was released. There were already bits and pieces of material and I started to like the idea of turning the book’s short story about the hermaphrodite into a concept for the record.
Les Chants de Maldoror is an extremely boundary expanding work, diving into the depths of the darkest corners of the human psyche, desires and perversions, and at the same time never fails to keep up class and aesthetics. It’s challenging its readers permanently.
I think by pointing these things out, the similarities to what we do should be clear.
TBS – Do you feel you got the expected results? What would you like the fans
to get out of the experience of listening to the project for the first time?
Yes. The result is a piece which stands on its own, speaks its own language, much like the book does.
I want the listeners to read the book and question their expectations of what music and art, in general, has to be. I’ve heard people already talking about all tracks until “Chimerical Hope” just being one long intro – these people should truly revisit their way on looking at music.
Our music is not supposed to be like an overproduced Hollywood action movie.
It is created as a way of expressing subtle aesthetics, as spiritual journeys in which the mind and spirit loses itself to floating in the cosmic oceans, giving it a chance to find peace and freedom for a moment. This only works on a free mind, one that forgets about musical standards and expectations and instead accepts the sounds to guide their spirit.
It’s not about writing fucking Black Metal blast beat songs. People who think that’s what we should do – please stop listening immediately and go on the next band. We don’t want followers who limit their horizons so drastically. In fact, I consider them as enemies to our art and art in general.
TBS – What is it about the literary material that you felt was a good fit for Schammasch’s musical interpretation? How would you explain Lautréamont’s work to a novice?
Les Chants de Maldoror is an extremely boundary expanding work, diving into the depths of the darkest corners of the human psyche, desires and perversions, and at the same time never fails to keep up class and aesthetics.
It’s challenging its readers permanently. I think by pointing these things out, the similarities to what we do should be clear.
TBS – Will this change your stage image? What ideas have been brought to the table in regards to your live show to reflect the new material?
There won’t be major changes in our live appearances for the moment, since we still include Triangle material as major parts of our live sets and we don’t find it necessary to change anything at the moment.
TBS – From your perspective, how has the band grown in the past three years? Where do you see it going from here? And where would you like to see yourselves as a result of the “Maldoror Chants”?
The last three years, to me, have been something like the final stage of reaching my and our full artistic potential. In Triangle, we reached this stage and learned what we are and what we are not. We also reached a massive amount of people who weren’t aware of Schammasch before, which help the band growing a lot and opened up new areas of possibilities.
But in terms of artistic values, this release marks a new era for the band, opening up new doors in various ways.