#MortenShax (#Endezzma) #Interview

10 min read

Endezzma is a Norwegian Black Metal band that was formed in 2005, but their roots are in the 90’s under the name Dim Nagel. They spread pure darkness in a form only a tormented Beast can do… so they deliver it as it comes, really suitable for tortured souls. Thunderous, aggressive, ominous and obscure, that’s Endezzma. I had the pleasure of interviewing Morten Shax, true evil turned into vocals, in order to know more things about these bands and about himself.

Hi Morten, thank you for agreeing to this interview with Blessed Altar Zine. As an introduction, can you tell our readers who are the members of Endezzma? And who’s responsible for the songwriting, and for composing?

Morten: Hello Silvia. Thank you for your interest in Endezzma.

Endezzma had a steady and consistent line up for many years now since way before the release of The Arcane Abyss album. The consistent line up makes order in the temple and good work conditions. We got Aske on bass and Nihil on guitar, Skriu on drums and Malphas on lead guitar. Most of the writing process is basically credited to Mr.Malphas who carve out the foundation and structural riffing. We have set a path and all together a clear vision where we want to end when we write and compose. Malphas produce demo tracks in his studio and then we work on the tracks all together from there until we end up with the result we’re looking for. The lyrics and the philosophical side of Endezzma is taken care of by me.

Next January it will be two years since your latest album was released, “The Archer, Fjord and the Thunder” (and congrats, for it’s a real killer!). Have you had the chance to play live songs from this album? Do you have some gigs in sight?

Morten: Thank you, yes, “The Archer…” came out right in the start of when the covid pandemic hit us. It was both a blessing and a curse to have the album out in that period. The pandemic really estranged us for all the normal procedures connected to an album release, no gigs and tours, made it difficult to do physical promo work and generally shadowed the whole release. But on the other hand, it was a blessing to have completed the album to have some new music to release in this period. We also had the videos recorded just in time before the pandemic struck. It was strange indeed not to be able to play the new material and the new songs live after the release. It was not until way after the pandemic got under control, we could present the new, by then not so new material live. We played a lot of festivals and concerts throughout this summer, so we caught up as good as possible. And more concerts and festivals to come.

Are you guys maybe working on some new material?

Morten: We surely are, all the material for the new album is close to done and we’re currently preparing the pre-production and will enter the studio to record the new album in November. The masterplan is to have it all completed by the end of the year.

We’re extremely enthusiastic and motivated when working on the album as we yet again feel we’re taking a huge leap into new but very interesting path. It will be Endezzma as you know it, just bigger and more epic yet actually darker than the previous Archer album. It will be a stellar pitch-black ride into the blackest of the black epic landscape ever.

How was it that you decided to start Endezzma back in 2005? Was your idea to bring Dim Nagel back to life?

Morten: It was most definitely not my intention to bring back Dim Nagel. D.N was back in the days a primitive and classic Black Metal band and with Endezzma we already right away wanted to move out of the ordinary traditional box and frames of Black Metal. Endezzma have always been like the devil itself, an opposer to the established. We early on had the intention to piss other liberal Black Metal followers and bands off. We walk towards the storm.

Photo by Irene Serrano Espejo

What can you tell us about those early years of Dim Nagel? Do you have good memories from that era?

Morten: I have very good memories from that time, it was an intense period, the early 90’s. The energy in the Norwegian scene was literally burning hot, and what went on around us in the scene made everything surreal and extreme. All feelings and actions were in capital letters. People nowadays telling they play real this and that, real Black Metal, real Death Metal and all that shit, but no one is more real than anyone else. Only your intentions, expression and beliefs can be real, and that was exactly what it was back in those days, everything was so heartfelt and everyone stood 150% behind what they did and believed in it, all to a dangerous extent.

The first demo by Dim Nagel, “Satanic Overdose”, was re-released on CD in a short limited edition this year, via Cold Northern Breeze Records. How proud are you of that raw and brutally honest material?

Morten: That is a good question because I never was especially proud of that recording, not that I was unpleased with it, I just haven’t given it any special thoughts the last decade. But I have noticed that the demo is always mentioned in the context of all the historic iconic demos from the early days which is naturally very interesting and great. There have been numerous labels and persons getting in touch up through the years wanting to release the demo on CD and vinyl format, but I never felt any urge to do it. But Cold Northern Breeze Records had a legit agenda and made a great effort convincing me that it would be a good idea. And it was a very good idea since the CDs have been selling out extremely fast and the interest has been surprisingly good. I even got and still get feedback from both old and new fans of the genre that truly find something unique about it. Looking aside of the sound quality I think it has an artistic and musical quality above much of the other demos from that early period. Next year a vinyl edition of it will also most likely be available.

What was it that led you to found your own Black Metal band?

Morten: I always had an above average interest in music and particularly heavy and extreme music since early childhood. Already from the age 8 I was obsessed by Heavy Metal and the intensity and expression of the genre, the bands that caught my attention were always the bands with the most extreme expression and wild attitude. My musical taste evolved and developed with a burning hunger for always recognizing new and more extreme acts, bands with a truly heartfelt approach especially. I started up a band already back in 7th grade in school playing Death Metal cover songs. It probably sounded awful, but we were extremely enthusiastic about what we did. Back then I was tape trading a lot with other pen-pals around the underground scene and was exposed to international Extreme Metal that inspired me and us to form a real band making our own music.

How was the Norwegian Black Metal scene back in the 90s? And how do you see that scene nowadays?

Morten: I was touching this topic in a question earlier on here where I mentioned that everything was so intense and untouchable back in those days, everything was new, it was just like being part of a revolution, a rebellious riot against what was and against the establishment. The scene today is just continuing development from what was created and started back then, so naturally everything has been washed out and demystified at all ends possible. Bands try to make something new but at the end of the day it’s still just a continuation of what was with a dash of different spice. Back then it was more than just the music, it was a lifestyle and a riot that made it a global phenomenon. The Extreme Metal scene today has just turned into a genre like every other genre with people slamming each other for being less real than the other without knowing what they are talking about at all. And I turned too old and too cold to really care. The scene today is probably all good for what it is.

Do you think there’s a shortage of authenticity regarding the material that bands are releasing lately? Or, on the contrary, do you find true and great Black Metal stuff made nowadays?

Morten: Here again we have the terminology of the words true and untrue, what is true? And who decides what is true? The True patrol, patrolling the streets. What I like and find interesting is reflected by my standards and experiences built through time and can’t be compared to what a younger person’s mind and soul get out of music today. Making true music is not the same as making extremely skilled and unique music either, since like I mentioned it just describes your intentions and attitude toward how you put yourself into the process. For me, it’s hard to constantly find new appealing music that speaks to me in volume, but I guess it’s a different story if you’re young and have a different background. In the end it doesn’t really matter. My advice is that you stay true to yourself and what you believe in, if you believe in what you’re doing and put your soul and heart into it and stick with it for a decade, greatness will be achieved, and you will be crowned in your own empire. Everyone should be king of their own empires.

Photo by Gosia Budig

Is there any vocalist that has been a big inspiration or influence for you?

Morten: No a particular vocalist but I always looked up to and learned from vocalists with unique vocal expression and attitude, energetic and active performers.

Which bands were you listening to when you were a teenager? Do you still listen to them nowadays? And, do you listen to “modern” bands?

Morten: I guess I already mentioned this topic earlier on, and yes, I do listen to the same bands I listened to back in the days. I do like to check out new releases as well, even though it’s rare I pick up something new that thrills me so much that I want to give it more frequent spins. But I do listen to music almost all the time, I’m a music addict in that case.

Do you have any “musical guilty pleasure” you can confess?

Morten: Never feel guilty, no regrets, no remorse!

Can you name a song or an album that’s special to you? Not only because it’s very good musically, but also because it has a strong emotional meaning for you? 

Morten: It’s a lot of the albums I listened to back when I was a kid that sends me back to the vibes I had when I was young, I have an ability of soundtracking old memories with certain songs and albums so therefore they are special because they represent a certain time period of my life.

How has it been for you hitting some stages recently performing vocals in Urgehal?

Morten: It’s been a mighty ride being a part of the Urgehal revival. I always had a very strong connection with Urgehal. Releasing their albums on my label earlier on and besides that we have always been close friends since childhood it truly makes it a very special and enjoyable journey to do now. It’s a good way to honor and pay tribute to the memory of our brother Trondr. The reception the band has gotten all over has been monumental and the bookings keep pouring in. It seems the interest for Urgehal keeps rolling on as more and more people discover the band is active again. And the music and the back catalogue of Urgehal speak for itself, such a powerpack to perform live and I do truly appreciate the opportunity to be part of that.

I did also write some of the lyrics for these classic Urgehal tracks we now are performing, it’s killer to be a part of the band and perform them live for a broad and huge audience nowadays.

Photo by Irene Serrano Espejo

What’s the best thing for you about performing live gigs?

Morten: I don’t do or never did any drugs, performing live has always been very special and motivating for me, it’s my drug, that gives me a special kick. I do enjoy the intensity and the burning sensation of performing live and expressing our music and what we work so hard on from the stage.

What does Black Metal mean to you in your life?

Morten: It’s just been a part of my life for ages so it’s kind of what I am and my identity. I could never walk away from it or leave it behind, it’s just something that becomes you. I could have periods where I just want to close that door and walk away from it, just being so fed up with everything and the piss and shit that everything brings along as well as the good sides. But I’m addicted to destruction it seems. It’s better to burn out than fade away… Always looking for that new sensation waiting around the next morbid corner…

Many thanks for your time and your answers, Morten, is there anything you want to add?

Morten: Thank you so much Silvia for your time and support. Stay on alert for new Endezzma and Urgehal dates to be confirmed and see you all down the road of fire.. And await the new Endezzma album that will for sure rampage your mind and hearts.

Interview by Sílvia

Morten Shax


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