Australia's Vahrzaw epitome the stregnth of the undeground . They are tough, uncomrpomising and for nearly 30 years they have created brutal music that pushes the boundaries of both death and primal black metal.
"In The Shallows of a Starlit Lake" is a fast follow up album for Vahrzaw, yet it is more old school black metal than death metal?
Scott (Guitars) ‘’It seems that way yes, but in reality ‘The Trembling Voices…’ was completed in early 2020 and wasn’t released until December 2021. A very very long wait. So whilst we were locked down from the great plague and awaiting its release we started writing something new. So it was written and recorded through 2020-2021 and completed early 2022.
Yes, it’s a full return to our black metal roots this time.
Which genre do you prefer?
‘’I like both for different reasons. I think death metal is a bit more stagnant musically than black metal though.
Having a 30 year career how do keep the music so heavy without compromise?
‘’Career is an interesting choice of words. Ha-ha! There’s no real direct thought process to writing e.g.: “We are going to do a death album”. It’s been that way since the beginning when we were 15/16yo kids. It’s whatever comes out of our brains at the time, that’s the direction it goes. We want every release to be different in some way, from style to production to lyric content, in the boundaries of the heavier side of metal. Plus, it kind of timestamps that era. Might be progressive or regressive. In the case of 2020-2021… regressive.
‘’The only real idea we had for the new album is ‘stripped back’.Almost live sounding. Mistakes left in. Very real.
Is this the new golden era of Vahrzaw?
Was there an old one? Ha-ha!
Is there pressure to out-do yourselves?
‘’No, none at all. Everything has been largely experimental in nature with some defining boundaries. Sometimes things work better than others and sometimes an idea you liked in 2005 isn’t an idea you like anymore. That’s the game. We want a varied back catalogue, for better or worse. If someone likes 1 release out of 12 it’s still a good thing in the end. We do music for us and us alone really, but it’s in the public domain in the end and if people like it, that’s a huge bonus.
Is there a "cold lake" moment lurking in your future?
‘’I surely hope not, and if I ever suggest anything of that nature, I hope I’m scolded accordingly or boiled in oil for such absurdity.
I just read that you’re a firm size in the underground?! Just how firm and large?
‘’I read that too and thought it was very ambiguous in nature and to some degree, quite personal.
A firm size of what? None of us own sports cars to compensate if you get what I mean.
But it could mean giant turds.
The influences that affect your music. Are they world events or deeper closer events that inspire the music?
‘’No world events. Couldn’t care less. Personally, as the main music writer, I don’t really get inspired by anything. I love playing the guitar, that’s the base level, and when I get in the right zone with the right amount of motivation new things happen. As I get older these pockets of creative energy become rarer to find.
‘’I add no personal views or emotional states into it. No political trash or agendas. Just a free-flowing artistic endeavour at that exact point in my life within the extreme metal realm. Success or failure.
Every track seems to have multiple meanings? Are you worried about being misunderstood?
‘’Not in the slightest. The old line ‘art is subjective’ pops up once again. Lyrical content stretches far and wide, it’s not boxed into death metal or black metal norms (but does dabble into it on plenty of occasions). This is in the same vein as the music. Whatever we want to do at the time. George is the primary lyricist and writes about a lot of off-kilter subjects.
‘’If the reader makes their own assumptions on the subject matter or forms pictures in their mind then it’s a good thing. We treat cover art the same way. Make up your own mind what it means.
‘’Could be blatantly obvious or deliberately odd in either regard.
How do you define heavy music? Is it explainable? Or is it a pure feeling?
‘’As a clearly non-biased guitarist I can honestly say that the answer to these probing deep philosophical questions is that it’s all about the guitars.
Top 10 albums of all time?
Well these probably change every few years and to be honest I don’t really think about it at 45 years old so I’ll go with ‘influential’ metal records from the early days. I could probably do 20 for each year from the early 90s though.
It won’t be riff-based guitar bias at all I promise.
Iron Maiden: Live After Death.
Mayhem: De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas.
Megadeth: Rust in Peace.
Morbid Angel: Altars/Blessed.
Burzum: Det Som Engang Var.
Living Colour: Vivid/Time’s Up.
Satyricon: Dark Medieval Times.
Beherit: Drawing Down the Moon.
‘’The new album is out through Bitter Loss Records and can be picked up from their Bandcamp or online store.
All our releases are fully streamed on the official YouTube and are available digitally from our Bandcamp… with a few physical objects remaining.
Also, up on Spotify/Apple Music etc.
Bitter Loss Records:
Vahrzaw Official sites: