Ignis Gehenna- ''Metal has always been the clearest means I have found to express myself musically.’
Aldhamme is the creator of Australia's Ignis Gehenna. A multifaceted black/ atmospheric music project that is constantly evolving. Their new release ‘’Rites of Transvaluation’’ available from November 1 and on current pre-order and is the continuation of a journey that began on "'‘Baleful Scarlet Star’
‘’The three Black Metal tracks on ‘Rites of Transvaluation’ were written in the same era as the first album ‘Baleful Scarlet Star’- scattered between 2009 and 2015. The music was recorded in the same session in 2015. The lyrics were penned and the vocals recorded a year after that when I had upheaved my life to live in Tasmania. So, in terms of considering progression this album is a continuation on the muse that created ‘Baleful Scarlet Star’ and bears a great many similarities. The songs have their own character unique unto themselves.’’
It’s been quite the wait and the delay between completion of recording and its release?
‘’It certainly has but I’ve become a great deal more patient as years have moved on. Some elements; major and subtle underwent transformation in that time and it’s arisen as a work I am confident in.’’
Has the circle now closed on this band's period and what is next?
‘’The circle has closed on this era. But it has also opened itself up to an ensemble of other members. We were to emerge on the live front supporting Diocletian earlier this year but we all know what happened in the world. Since then we’ve returned to the shadows and will arise when the circumstances are right within and without. The new album which was recorded as a solo work will be represented as such but what comes next will see more collaborative efforts. A couple of split releases with long-time friends and co-conspirators are in the works. The extent of all these plans will be announced when it is necessary.’’
You have been involved in multiple projects. Is Ignis Gehenna now your main focus?
‘’I am involved in one or two other bands at present (and more in the past) but Ignis Gehenna remains my main focus, drive and primary vessel of musical expression.’’
This is much more than just another black metal project?
‘’To me it is because it represents a vehicle to express and presence many things beyond as well as deep within myself. Art will always be closest to the artist so if all someone else hears is the Black Metal- fine. Metal has always been the clearest means I have found to express myself musically.’’
Is it the literal translation of Hell's fire?
‘’When starting the band as a teenager the intent behind the name was certainly so as zealous Diabolism consumed my mind. When I think of the moniker these days I am drawn to consider it more akin to a harsh and transformative ordeal- utterly necessary in the process of inner alchemy and spiritual ascension (however one interprets that to be).’’
Has black metal as a genre lost its focus and should return to its raw primal state?
‘’As long as Black Metal retains that genuine heart of darkness, sinister essence and intent; whether the music expands into the realms of experimentalism and finesse or burrows the crude and languid tunnel of primitivism- it’s integrity is held intact. ‘’
Your lyrical inspiration is pre -Christian? and involves the spiritual over the material?
‘’I wouldn’t say so. My lyrical inspiration comes from a number of places and while they do express spirituality they are not tethered in sway of the ethereal worlds. The world of materiality is just as beholden to the numinous. He is the Lord of the Earth after all. ‘’
Are we all poised to ascent yet destined to fall?
‘’Time and time again.’’
Does organized religion cloud the free thinking mind and is no longer relevant?
‘’The apex thinking and faith of the masses will always obfuscate the pathways to a view of things as they are. On the matter of relevance however, it is very hard to change human nature.’’
What influences you musically and lyrically and does it change?
‘’By its nature and the core of its very essence- it does change. It is change.’’
Ignis Gehenna is more occupied with esoteric themes that the materialistic world we currently inhabit?
‘’As I said previously, the esoteric is not exclusive to the arcane regions beyond this world. There are very poignant esoteric truths to be learned and means of sorcery achieved through even the most mundane of things. Since ‘Baleful Scarlet Star’ the lyrical themes have largely dealt with an innately dark, promethean spirituality; facilitating as a vessel of creation, expression, reflection, adoration and immersion.’’
What are the Rites of Transvaluation?
‘’The vortex of razor sharp blades present in every act that engenders the great alchemy of becoming. The amoralist pitting their strength against the world.’’
How do we change the nature of man?
How does black metal differ in the southern hemisphere compared to its northern counterparts?
‘’I do not speak for most bands here but a feral nature underpins those bands of the underground in the south. The savage energy of the underdog inherited through our convict past is something that draws to mind. I haven’t spent much time around bands from the Northern Hemisphere to be able to draw much comparison but I feel our geographic isolation instils a competitive striving. ‘’
Would it be fair to say it is more honest and direct as it does not attract the north's media attention?
‘’There are bands everywhere that are honest and direct in their intent- however; these days the genre for the most part is a vast sea of bands and “individuals” who are not. I assume you mean the North’s mainstream media? Who gives a fuck what they think or project onto Black Metal. Tourists will always come and go.’’
What drew you to extreme music ?
‘’It was all a downward spiral. When the darkness of the day was not dark enough for the next. Learning guitar led to Zeppelin and Sabbath. I began reading into Witchcraft and Occultism. This and my expanding interest in heavy metal led me down the roads to Black Metal, naturally. It’s vital as it serves many purposes for different people at different times. It can be an outlet or something more immersive and entangled within. The latter is what I’ve taken from it. A tool of exploration into the shadowy hinterlands of the self through art. A desire to plunge headlong into the abyss as a seeker of experience- not refuge.’’
The riff that made you want to play music?
‘’My youth seemed like such a whirlwind I can hardly remember. Likely contenders are Sabbath’s Iron Man or Hendrix’s Burning of the Midnight Candle.’’
Where do you feel the genre is progressing to and does it need to grow to gain more recognition?
‘’I’m not too concerned really. As long as Black Metal seeks to presence the dark in earnest it can either remain within the underground or unravel as tendrils into the light of recognition and popularity. That integral essence must remain intact though.’’
Is recognition a sign of success or unnecessary?
‘’Not necessarily. Is there a universal benchmark of success in all things? To me, success is the natural inclination and result of self-honesty.’’
As a constantly evolving musician what is next for you and do you impose any boundaries upon yourself?
‘’I try not to impose boundaries on myself. As I mentioned earlier- I find Black Metal music to be the clearest means of expressing myself so I don’t see this as a limitation, the opposite in fact. On ‘Rites of Transvaluation’ I started exploring other sonic paths in the piece ‘Numenos Fyrphos’. The title came from a dark ambient/noise project I did two ad lib performances with and in its intent was inexorably linked with Ignis Gehenna. I did not want it to be another ambient interlude that the genre seems to maintain as staple but a standalone piece that serves as a sonic collage- a hyper sigil of apocalyptic cultism. I am planning on incorporating more exploration into this art form with Ignis in the future. ‘’
Do you have any peers? The Tasmanian scene diverse? Are you a part of it or stand separately?
‘’I have a number of close friends involved in music (mostly Metal) down here but on the whole I operate independently of the scene. Ignis Gehenna has existed in a solo/studio form for some time but even as we begin to unfurl as a live band I’ve no interest in the social structures and standings of the Metal scene. To me, playing live serves an integral purpose: the audience- being the new angle in the formula. The added prism and conduit for energy to flow through. I hold a lot of reservation toward the norm of seated gigs in these Covid times. We have plans for some generator powered live rites in the bush, quarries and other conducive locations. Attendance being based on initiative to be there. Self-funded and self-organised where the only “social distancing” will be on our terms, away from the mediocrity of the scene and gig circuit. ‘’
The heaviest thing you've heard lately is?
‘’The new Vassafor album “To the Death”.
Your top 6 albums of all time?
Here are nine in no particular order:
-Dissection – Storm of the Light’s Bane
-Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Murder Ballads
-Ofermod – Mysterion Tes Anomias
-Sisters of Mercy – Floodland
-Slayer – Hell Awaits
-Funeral Mist – Salvation
-Death in June – Nada
-Judas Priest – Painkiller
-Black Sabbath – Master of Reality