Hello all! Metal Marie here and I’m pleased to introduce you in a more in-depth way to Canadian metal band Vastatum. Last February I wrote a review for the band on their debut album “Mercurial States of Revelation” which was released on February 20, 2022. Now I bring you an interview from Wraith and Luzifaust, the duo behind Vastatum, who took time to answer my questions. After reading over the answers to my questions I can say, that Vastatum takes inspiration from multiple sources, are thoughtful multi-talented individuals with the creation of their sound, and are ready to have you come into their world and take from their music, the things most meaningful to you as well as blow your minds with the passion & integrity present in their work. Without further ado, let’s get onto to some questions…
For our readers, tell us how you chose your band name?
Wraith– We spent a considerable amount of time searching for a name that would both suit the style and vibe of the music, while also sounding interesting phonetically.
Vastatum is a Latin word meaning “to ravage or desolate”,
and I feel the severity of the term speaks for much of the atmosphere we are naturally reaching for with the bands sound and creative direction. My philosophy behind the definition of the name is expressed as “the intent to destruct and move through creative boundaries.” Not to insight violence, political agendas or negativity in any form.
Luzifaust-I feel the name to me could be interpreted in a similar way to Hindu belief of the age of Kali Yuga which leads to destruction of the world and then the creation of a new cycle. Creation through destruction essentially. That is what I take from the name personally.
Another question I have is how old were you when you heard metal for the first time knew that this is me. This music is me.
Wraith -I believe I was around 16 when I was first introduced to metal bands. The sheer intensity and aggression of the music was very captivating. Beyond that though the genre captured my interest because of how it appeared to have no set limitations in terms of what others styles could be mixed into the endless sub genres that were present then and continue to emerge today.
Upon my discovery of black metal in the 90s, I was further intrigued by the revelation that you didn’t need to be a technical virtuoso to create this music. This struck me as a sound that evidently originated from a different realm. It was (and is) a shapeless albeit powerful and potent sonic phenomenon which beckons alternate shades of talent to be recognized and revealed by consciously perusing/capturing a certain feeling. A dark essence of emotion sought though the layering of Melodies’ and the variable use of simplistic structures and patterns mixed with complementary complexity when desired.
The metal bands I am drawn to and influenced by these days are the ones which are unbound by mechanical or static technicalities.
Luzifaust-I was introduced to black metal at a fairly young age. I Had found Dissection- “Storm of the Lights Bane”, Cradle of filth- “Principal of Evil made Flesh” and Darkthrone – “Transylvanian Hunger” when I was 13 and prior to that I had older siblings to thank for introducing me to extreme music at a very young age. R.I.P I would have been 8 years old listening to Ride the lightning As well as Ministry and Anthrax before hearing black metal.
What bands were/are influencers for you both?
Wraith -Dawn (Sweden), Dissection, Antlers, Ungfell, Fluistaars, Force of Darkness, Ulver,
Leonard Cohen, Gorgoroth, Basil Poledouris
Medieval classical/ orchestral music,
Luzifaust-I would have to say my influences are Dissection and Dawn , Djevel , Behexen , Horna , Drudkh , Older Deathspell Omega
I think lately, with so many bands coming out, with the descriptor of “black metal”, what do you think sets your band apart from the others?
Wraith -I suppose the fact that many of our riffs are derived though a classical guitar influence and approach. This tends to give the composition an enriched harmonic aspect, which is built upon by the use of many layered guitar parts and melodies’ utilizing polychords in the rhythm section.
Luzifaust-I think it is safe to say we have not imposed any restrictions upon ourselves musically during the creative process. The music is very personal and doesn’t fall directly into the traditional Satanic Black Metal distinction. We have explored other genres such as neo-folk and contemporary classical composers over the years and we have been incorporating some of these styles into the newer material.
I read in my searching of your band, that you hail from the West Coast. Is it fair to say that you take some of your inspiration from that area and in what ways?
Wraith —yes, some instrumental parts and lyrical ideas have been composed and arranged acoustically within nature. Hiking and exploring the vast mountains and forests of British Columbia has been a consistent source of raw inspiration for me since my arrival here.
Luzifaust-Most Black Metal bands from the west coast are Either Blasphemy clones or some unoriginal adaptations trying to be initiated into the Ross Bay Cult. We on the other hand are not interested in trying to make parodies of great bands that hail from the west coast as we tend to see more often these days , we pull from the natural environment for inspiration yes , but when it comes to sound we don’t really follow the formulaic traditions of the majority of bands here.
As a band, what lasting effect do you wish to leave with your listeners after hearing your music?
Wraith -The conscious intent is to achieve memorable songs / albums that leave a longer lasting impression on the listener. The impact of the music may felt be through a myriad of emotions that the listener personally extracts from their experience. I would hope the auditory experience would feel complete as in a chapter, yet allude to what is yet to come from Vastatum. Lyrically I strive to write about topics that are somewhat open to interpretation and yet also touch on content that I am drawn to naturally.
What is your creative process when it comes to lyrics and creating the riffs and atmospheres? Is this a duo process for you both is one of you more on certain aspects, and the other is involved in other aspects?
Wraith -the general idea/ direction of the songs are created by myself in my home studio. The ideas bounced back and forth online
Usually via multi-tracking layers of guitars and some pre-recorded drum tracks that I get Luzifaust to do at our rehearsal space.
This method has proven to be the most efficient and productive for us. With this approach I can enter rehearsal with Luzifaust on drums and have many larger song structures and portions ready to sculpt into complete compositions. Of course, many dynamic arrangements and nuances are added in spontaneously to capture the energy we are going for.
Vocal patterns are experimented with by both of us cooperatively once we are content with the song structure. The lyrical content is then a dual effort as well.
Please tell the Blessed Altar Zine readers, what is coming up for Vastatum. I got a little hint that something is and I’m excited to know what.
Wraith -the second full-length Vastatum record is planned to be finished and hopefully released in 2023 via Avantgarde music on vinyl, cd, and digital formats.
This follows up album will reveal the bands next evolutionary transformation, pushing our musicianship and creative execution to a new level.
As well, what is going to be the theme or topic behind your upcoming work?
Wraith -You can expect to hear:
More emphasis on creating a devastating mix of melodically haunting riffs, sheer intensity, dark classical music elements and a lurking presence of deep emotion.
Vastatum is now actively performing live songs from “Mercurial” and other new material.
We now have a four-piece line up consisting of 2 guitarists, bassist and drummer.
Luzifaust -We are going to let this next record embrace more of the dark classical and neo-folk elements without compromising the intensity and melancholic atmosphere we like to hear. Visually we are working on new artwork to accompany the next record which was a collaboration on the last record between us both.
Do you have new merchandise that fans can get their hands on and on what site would they be able to purchase some?
We also have a new merchline (shirts, hoodies, patches) launching in a few weeks online Via Bandcamp.
How can fans stay current with your activities?
-Bandcamp, avantgarde music, Spotify, Apple Music …
Well, there you have it, more metal to come your way from Canada, and metal that will leave you changed after you have heard it.
Wraith and Luzifaust are proud to present their upcoming work in the new album which will be released hopefully soon.
Here are links to sample their music, and please do so. You will be satisfied that you did!
Interview by Metal Marie
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