Virtue of Decay - Faith , Despair and Darkness
Velsingard (All Instruments and Compositions) ‘’Having come from a background of primarily death metal, I think these songs came from the in between. After I released what I thought was my last album in 2007, I started to mostly listen to black metal with Naglfar being the gate way drug into the realm of black metal. Prior to that, black metal had no place for me. Fast forward to 2018 when I started writing songs for the new Apostisy album, everything I wrote sounded more like black metal than melodic death metal. Eventually I was able to write enough songs that sounded close to the original Apostisy sound for me to complete an album. However, I didn't know what to do with all the songs I still liked but weren't exactly Apostisy songs. It was about halfway through the albums writing process that I realized there was far too much that I wanted to write for just one band. These Virtue of Decay songs are probably going to be more unique than the songs that will be on the next album, in that, these songs were written while trying to write something else, something entirely different. As I become more focused on my intentions for this band, I am sure the songs will reflect a more sense of purpose and intension, while hopefully not losing the qualities that people appreciated about the first album. I am not a black metal musician, honestly, I wouldn't even call myself a musician to begin with. I am an outsider, which in the very least should produce songs with an entirely different perspective than other bands within the genre.
How does it influence and inspire the name?
‘’For me it means to appreciate and respect the fact that all life ends. Everything created will die, and everything living is in some stage of decay. Everything we make falls apart, and everything we work so hard for is ultimately an exercise in futility in the end. Death and decay are all around us, however most people I know act like it is not there, they are too afraid to acknowledge its existence. I have seen so much in other countries that the people around me have never seen. I have been to places where children grow up seeing death and decay all around them every day. I was afraid as well, until I chose to accept it and appreciate it for what it is. Everything is food for something else, one day worms will feed on my corpse, and that's okay, it's actually more than okay, because new life will come from this, I will become soil for trees and plants and that doesn't necessarily mean that my existence has any significant meaning, but it does give purpose.
‘’This is just one side of me. This is not something I really talk about. I do not suffer from depression, and I am not given to nihilism. However, I feel it is healthy for me to express these feelings in a constructive way, and that is why Virtue of Decay exist. It will sound depressive; however, I hope through the lyrics people will realize that most self-hate actually comes from self-love, too much love actually, and if you find a way to not place yourself above all else, you can actually start to find peace from within.
The black metal combined orchestration?
‘’Honestly there is only so much that can be said with a guitar and vocals. The strings and voices say everything else that I am trying to convey. The orchestration will continue to be a very important part of this band, as long as it is never over the top and within the realm of symphonic.
The sense of despair and darkness?
‘’As I mentioned before, I do feel as though humans have turned this beautiful creation into a trash dump. For me I will be happy to one day become food for plants and nature. Still, this thought gives me despair. I love my wife and children; I love my friends and family and ultimately, I do love some aspects of humanity. I don't wish to ever see someone die. My personal thoughts would convey my hatred towards humans, but on the other hand I would risk my life to save a human I do not know. All life is precious, I guess I am just continually disappointed with the way humans choose to behave.
‘’I feel that if this sense of disappointment and despair translated through on the first album then, it will be that much more prevalent on the next album.
The conscious choice to make it so different from Apostisy?
‘’It was a natural evolution. There was zero intention in these songs, and I was never trying to write black metal. I think I just ended up writing songs that would be considered by most to be black metal. Honestly there are far too many politics within black metal for me to ever want to be a part of the scene, at least traditionally speaking. I will write these songs and people can consider for themselves what they are. And now that I have this creative outlet Apostisy can go back to being what it was supposed to be.
The theme behind Nothing for us Here?
‘’It's simple really, I feel like there is nothing for us here. We are just passing through, and the best thing we can do is try to not screw everything up while we are here. This planet was made for us, but all that changed, and now we are just visitors. As hard as it may be, it is best to not become too attached to anything here. We should be focusing on our eternal home, as everything here becomes dust, all of our efforts here will be forgotten.
The freedom that extreme music gives you creatively?
‘’I actually feel that the technical aspects and expectations within the world of death metal has created far too many restrictions. Especially in regard to production quality. I guess I am only now understanding and appreciating what Fenriz, and crew were talking about back in the early 90's, in regard to the death metal scene. Back then I embraced those attributes associated with death metal, however now I only want 100% freedom when I write. Even though my project Vårgrike just got signed, I do not care what they think. If they do not like the new album, that is fine by me. They can drop me, and I would not care less. I would attribute this feeling of expressive freedom solely on the newest generation of post black metal first from Eastern Europe and now from around the world. They are doing everything I have always wanted to do, but I was too afraid to do it before. Now I no longer care what people might or might not think about my music. I assume that there are many that feel the way I do now. We can record what we want and when we want from the freedom of our own recording studios. For me this is one of the most exciting times in music with tons of amazing albums from around the world and most of my favourite bands are one-man bands doing what I do and doing it exactly the way they want. I believe this new focus is creating music that is precisely what very specific people want to here, whereas the traditional bands for me (in general) sound far too compromised and watered down by band members opinions. Not saying what I create is the best, I'm just saying the best way for me to create is by myself.
What drew you to extreme music and how is it still vital to you?
‘’Honestly, I don't know. When I was a kid, I listened to the same pop everyone listened to in the 80's. I had no feelings about music, and it meant nothing to me. All I remember was, there was a lot of buzz around this new album by Megadeth called Peace Sells...and after hearing that song, I was in love for the first time. After that, all that mattered was finding heavier and faster music. Of course, I was into every thrash band I could find, and then Slayer was the gate way drug to new bands like Death, Sepultura, Pestilence, and the Deceased. After that it exploded, I loved every new band from Cannibal corpse to Malevolent Creation. It was an arms race to see who could be the most brutal. I loved every minute of it. Eventually though, like all things, it started to get tired, until Carcass, Amorphis, At the Gates and Hypocrisy came up with something new and refreshing. At that point I started appreciating the melodies that had been missing since Metallica's last great album, Master of puppets. The brutality was still there but now it was refreshingly emotional again. Eventually the music I wrote lost most of all its brutal aspects as I am starting just trying to express myself freely, and now that I think I got a handle on that, I would love to start writing more brutal stuff while still remaining true to what I wish to create. Sorry for the long-winded answer, honestly, I do not know what draws me to it. Sounds lame...but I think it's just in my blood.
What inspires you lyrically. Is it introspective or an external inspiration?
‘’Honestly nothing inspires me lyrically. I cannot write lyrics and I have a very difficult time expressing how I feel through words. However, after I wrote the poem at the end of Remény Újra on the Vårgrike album, I felt a sense of confidence that maybe this is something I can do. For now, Fenrir will still be writing all of the lyrics for Apostisy, and Everything Dies, which will be crossover concept albums with a story and Bál will continue writing the story for Vårgrike with my direction, but Virtue of Decay will be my most personal project and therefore I must write the lyrics. It will be dark, and it will be somewhat oppressive, however, I hope the lyrics will also include some hope in the end. It will be a challenge for me, but it is a task I must complete.
The spiritual aspect of your music?
‘’I don't know really. I am trying to find where I fit, in all of this mess. I actually have a very big problem with how most Christians go about spreading their message, as in, I see them doing more harm than good. This is what I think, if you judge people by beliefs they do not hold, how could you ever expect them to listen. Also, all of this demon slayer, Satan slaughter nonsense is just ridiculous and lame, and with this you turn away even more lost souls. Just because the "Satanic" bands go around dancing in the forest acting silly with all of their nonsense, doesn't mean it should be repeated in the same but opposite way. If you're doing it to troll, ok, maybe it can be funny, however taking it seriously will turn most everyone on the outside away and now you’re just preaching to the choir. This is all just my opinion; however, it should be considered because this is what turns me away from 99% of the Christian bands, and if it makes me cringe as Christian how much more does it turn everyone else off. I think the more effective approach would be as it is written in God's word. Bring to them the gospel and pray on it continually. No more, no less. After that it is in God's hands. Also let them see your fruit. Don't speak of it, just let them see, and that is what you are accountable for. I will pray for lyrics that will reach the lost and if it is God's will, then it will be done. We can also minister to those around us, not preach but minister as a friend and let God's will be done. I am not saying to accept sin, I am not saying live in sin, simply show how you are not in the bondage of sin, and this is also what you will be accountable for.
How do you find salvation and overcome greet sadness?
‘’God has granted me a great amount of peace, and through the blood of Christ I am saved. There is a great hedge of protection around my family, however I am continually wondering when it will fall. So, I pray for God to increase my faith and God answers. How long it takes only depends on how long I am stubborn and wrestle with God. I am currently in a state of wrestling and stubbornness because of things that I cannot reconcile with God's nature, however I know that I soon need to work this out because God’s patience is absolutely finite, and I do not wish to be brought to my knees, it is much better to get their beforehand. I think there are many things we will never be able to understand as humans, I look to Science, I even have a bachelor's degree in science, yet I have learned that science can only explain our observable universe and physics. We know absolutely nothing about the 10 dimensions, we only know that mathematically they exist, we know absolutely nothing about what is beyond the event horizon, we only have theories. We are in no position to think we can understand the ways of an omniscient first cause creator, and the bible says as much. His ways are not our ways. Even if, by our understanding we think that God is wrong, we are the ones that are wrong. This is the only way I can reconcile the great multitude of questions that plague my mind.
There is a full length on the way? It's themes and style?
‘’Yes, there is a full length on the way. I am working on many projects at the same time, so the songs will come to me when they come. I'm not going to try and write anything; I will just let them write themselves when they do. The album title will be, "The Insignificance of Despair" and will further my thoughts and feelings on the duality and contradiction of what it means to despise the existence of humanity while also having the utmost empathy and love for the individual person'(s).
When can we expect it?
I am hoping for mid-2022. As I said before, I want the songs to be true, so if I am coming close to that deadline and I am not finished, then it will have to wait, as I do not wish to write songs simply with the intension to finish the album.
Future musical plans?
I feel as though I am in a race against time for some reason, so yeah, I have no intention of slowing down. I did 4 albums this year and I said I was going to take break while I build my new studio, however taking a break hasn't really happened. It looks like I will have around 4 albums releasing by mid to late 2022, and in no particular order because each one will be done when it's done. Right now, I am currently tracking guitars for the first Everything Dies album called "Dawn of the Rotting Ones". I am also tracking songs for the next Virtue of Decay and Vårgrike albums and the 5th Apostisy album.
Top 6 albums of all time?
Almost impossible to answer, so I guess I will just mention the 6 that were the most influential and that have stuck to me all of these years. In no particular order all of these albums completely changed my relationship with music.
1. Tales of the Thousand Lakes by Amorphis.
2. Arrival by Hypocrisy
3. Terminal Spirit Disease by At the Gates
4. The Element of Sonic Defiance by Strung Out
5. Veil of Remembrance by Crimson Moonlight
6. Rust in Peace by Megadeth