This album features a new vocalist who stays mostly in the clean range, but style fits perfectly. There is actually a bit more emotion in this particular delivery, almost like someone telling you of a loved one’s death.
Void of Silence has crafted a unique style of doom, Lots of chugging and plodding riffs, making the sadness heavy, but there are atmospheric breaks within the songs, and something dark always lurks in the background.
This album is a welcome descent into melancholy. If you have not heard the band before then this album is a good start, and after you get addicted to this sound, you can venture into the more frightening offerings, like “Toward the Dusk”
This was my last interview with Phil Fasciana. It was printed in Issue #33.
Due to the present climate being massively gay and full of pussies, I need to explain some things about what you are about to read.
When I first interviewed Phil, his record label publicist told me that there was some backlash to one of the songs on the album having the word “nigger” in the lyrics.
The interview proved to be hilarious. Phil seemed like a cool person with a great sense of humor. But when I interviewed him the second time, he seemed almost shell-shocked by the very UN-metal attitude of some people who decided to be gay about the interview rather than having a laugh. Anger is a choice. Smart people don’t get offended.
Shortly after this interview was posted, the twat publicist at the record label called to demand that the interview be taken down. Then came a message on my answering machine from Phil that the record label was going to drop the band. I assured both that I had been using racial humor forever and that only screwballs or brainwashed people get bent out of shape about a joke, or about an unpopular opinion. Metal isn’t a culture that aims at impressing with fakery.
Skipping ahead years later, Malevolent Creation was set to go on an American tour. Some fake-metal website found one of the Grimoire interviews with Phil and completely took it out of context. It is unclear if that caused venues to cancel show dates, but the band did eventually cancel the entire tour. I would hate to think that this was due to some faggots on a non-metal website fear-mongering.
Hopefully you, gentle reader, will read this interview in the right spirit and have a few hard laughs.
Your latest album, which is called “The Ten Commandments” is awesome.
The latest album is NOT called “The Ten Commandments.”
What’s it called?
It’s called “Doomstay X,” nigger.
Does it sound something like “The Ten Commandments?”
It kinda does. It’s got the same four guys that wrote the album, so there’s definitely a similarity to it, other than Dave on drums. There’s a little bit of a connection.
I’m kind of mad that you called me a nigger.
Well, you ARE a nigger.
I heard that you call white people niggers. I didn’t believe it until I experienced it.
I call everybody a nigger. The guys in the band don’t even call me Phil. They call me “nigger.” (laughs) Let’s just keep that to ourselves.
That word got you into trouble. Do you remember?
I know. I remember the magazine with the swastikas. (editor’s note – he referenced the first interview)
What did you think about that?
At first I thought it was funny, until I went on tour and people were trying to kill me. When beer bottles are whipping past my head and our bus tires are slashed, I’m like, “This is not cool.”
That’s nothing new. I’m talking about the other kind of trouble you got into.
Oh dude, the bottom line is that I agreed to do this interview. You know me, and I know you. You know I hate niggers. You know that’s the way the band is, But you know we got a lot of nigger fans. We can’t get away with being racists. You know what I mean? We’re just a death metal band. Even when we do make some racial slurs, we keep them pretty hidden. (laughs). But you know dude, I don’t want people thinking fucked up shit. Believe it or not, the people who give us shit about being racist are white! It’s embarrassing when black people come to our shows and say, “You guys are my favorite band, and I know that that’s bullshit (referring to the racist stamp by imbeciles). I don’t dislike black people. I’ve got a lot of black friends, but they’re not niggers. There’s niggers, and then there’s black people. You live, what, in New Jersey? You see the same thing. I’, sure you have friends that are black who are cool, and then there’s the part of town that’s all black that you would never tread.
Especially when saying “nigger.”
We stopped being stupid. We thought that we could get away with it for a little bit, but it didn’t work.
When people say that they are into Odinism, that’s really just a nice way to say “white power.” So I’m wondering which words in your lyrics actually mean “nigger” for those of us who want to be in the know.
Dude, we’re not from Scandinavia, so I don’t know.
How about Onanism?
If you listen to the lyrics of any of our last record, there’s really no racist slurs on any of them. We save that for Hateplow. We’re just trying to be a realistic death metal band. There’s a lot of things to sing about other than hating niggers.
Did you beat up Tiny Tim yet? The bass player?
I leave that to Jason. He likes to beat people up. While we were on the tour with Rotting Christ, he beat up their sound man. The guy was giving him shit about being American.
He called Jason an African American?
He said, “If you say one more thing about America, I am going to kill you.”
There is a vocalist in a death metal band. Well, I don’t consider it a death metal band, but you called the vocalist a nigger. Did you guys get into fight?
(laughs) Me and him have been friends since we were fourteen years old. he calls me a nigger. I call him a nigger. It’s just us being stupid. I don’t consider Chris a nigger.
What about his dreadlocks?
When he calls me up and I see that it’s him on the phone, I say, “What’s up, darkness.”
Does he sing, “Darkness, my old friend?”
(laughs) Chris is from Buffalo, so he thinks the same way we do. Like I said, I agreed to do this interview. I don’t want you to start no trouble with us. You wouldn’t believe the problems we’ve had over the years with this racism shit. We just want to avoid all that crap, dude.
Ok, let’s change the subject a little bit. How many niggers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
It would probably take a hundred of them to set up a ladder nd get up to a light bulb and screw it in. (pause) You’re trying to get me in trouble.
No. I’m trying to show that we can laugh.
Well listen, I know enough dumb white people. But let’s be real. I’m not a lover of black people. You know that. I know that. Many people know that, but we don’t need everybody in the world to know that.
Just to clarify, is there now, or has there ever been, a nigger in the band?
Never (laughs) There’s been many attempts. The drummer from Diabolic.
And he knows about your…
Of course. Every time he hears that there’s a drumming issue with our band, he’s like, “Dude man, I can’t believe you never called meI’m the man for the job.” In all reality, it wouldn’t matter if you’re the best drummer in the world. We’d never have a nigger in the band.
Did you use the N word?
Some people don’t think that you use that word in front of actual niggers.
I do it. They say it in front of me. It’s not a bad word anymore. It’s not even black people that get offended. I’m Italian. When people crack Italian jokes, I don’t get offended. I fuckin’ laugh about it.
Are you sure you’re Italian? Or are you Jewish and just saying that you’re Italian?
My mother’s from Sicily, and my father’s from Florence, Italy. I’m 100% Italian.
You don’t look or act like a Guido.
People hear that my mother’s from Sicily and they say, “You know, you may have a little nigger in you.” I don’t think I have any nigger in me. I am pretty white.
What has life been like, after the change of not using the word nigger” anymore in your lyrics?
Nothing. The lyrics are still the fuckin’ same. They’re brutal. Off the record – you don’t need to print this – Hateplow was the band that was supposed to be like that. We wanted to be racist against everything. We wanted to be racist against ourselves and everybody else. But too many people knew who was in the band. Malevolent is a death metal band. Being racist does us no good. I just want to be musician. I’m not out there to be a dickhead.
Do you think that it would be better if you didn’t tour with black bands?
No, because I’ve toured with a lot of bands that have black people in them. I have no problem with that.
Well, maybe that’s why you get your tires slashed. You should play with bands like Screwdriver.
I never even heard of that band,
I heard that they’re pretty similar. I’m not saying that they rip you off. Anyway, what does the name “Corpsegrinder” mean to you?
He’s my buddy, man! I love the guy. I’ve known George since he was in Monstrosity. He’s one of the very few people I know who’s a real metal fan. He’s a real metalhead. He listens to metal 24/7. He’s more metalhead than I am. If it weren’t for him, Cannibal Corpse would be shit. He’s a good guy.
Did you ever call him any sort of racial slur? Did you ever call him nigger, or jew?
I’ve called George many names. (laughs).
You know that I play around with racial humor myself.
I do too, but I don’t like it printed in magazines. It gives people the wrong impression. Like, with a friend of mine – that’s funny. I can crack nigger jokes all day long. But if you’re in a band and say shit like that, it affects things.
But what I’m saying is that I go to horror conventions to sell my movies. I don’t hide. I’m out in public. Every once in a while, a black person will come up to me and ask me if I am Bill Zebub, and I sometimes wonder what will happen next, but it has always been a fan. Sometimes they joke and say, “Are you surprised?”
How o you think I feel? When I’m on stage and there’s a black guy in the front row, I don’t know if this guy is going to throw a knife at me or hop on stage and kill me. That’s why I agreed to do this interview with you – knowing that I wouldn’t be asked insane fuckin’ questions. (laughs) Dude, you’re just like me. I’m into the same humor. But the scary thing is that when you go on tour, you’re a target. I’ve had people threaten my life. All because of this racist shit. it’s really not worth it to me.
Do you belong to any racist organizations?
(laughs) No. I mean, dude, if you want to be realistic, considering that I’m ha;f Sicilian, I am not completely Caucasian. If they wanted to dig back to my roots, I don’t know what KKK people consider to be the right thing. Jason is 100% Polish. Brett is 100% German. John is Jewish. Dave is Scottish. I don’t know what that means to anybody.
It means that you’ve been infiltrated. (pause) Do you still play golf?
Well, I have lately, but I’ve been sucking so bad that I’ve been practicing guitar more than I’ve been golfing.
How do you feel about black people playing golf? Should they play with black golf balls?
(laughs) Here we go. Let’s put it this way, the best golfer in teh world is Tiger Woods. I don’t really see many black people golfing when I go golfing.
Would you see more if golf balls had value and hey could steal them?
Anybody can golf. Look at me. I’m covered in tattoos and I’ve got long hair, and I’m a good golfer. It shocks people because when they see a guy like me, they think I’m gonna destroy the golf course. I’ll play anybody who would want to challenge me for money.
Getting back to Tiger, don’t you think that a better nickname for him would be “Gorilla” or “Monkey?”
Or Jigaboo. But the bottom line is that the guy reigns.
Are there any rap songs on the new album?
You’re kidding me, right?
Just curious. People in their later albums sometimes do strange things.
We wouldn’t even know how to do something like that.
What about your dance re-mixes?
That was done behind our backs. The guy who actually mixed the album was recording a lot of rap. That’s how the whole thing started. The studio was in the middle of niggertown. When we were recording the album “Eternal” we would look out the window and there were niggers sitting out there making drug deals. We couldn’t even go outside to have a cigarette without worrying about getting mugged. That whole thing took on an entirely new dimension because of where we recorded that album. But, he’s a producer that was not just doing only metal bands but rap bands and shit. One day, in his spare time, he just dissected some of our songs and turned them into some gay shit. And being as gay as they were, our record label Pavement, and Mark that owes us a million dollars that we’re gonna murder, and you can print that, he thought that this kind of shit would help him sell records. Without our consent he did this. Unfortunately, when you’re singned to a record label, you’re kind of fucked. Malevelont’s not even done a video.
Interview with Carmen Elise Espenæs conducted by Bill Zebub
Have you undergone any kind of vocal training between your last album and Nordlys? I almost got into a car accident when I listened to the CD for the first time. I was not expecting operatic vocals and such beautiful sadness in your voice.
Oh my. I am so sorry to hear that!!! I could never forgive myself being the reason for a car accident!! I hope everything is fine with you! I didn`t plan to change my voice in a more operatic direction or use more technique or something like that . I think very less when it comes to music – I feel more. I felt that I had less breath, so I found out that I don`t have so much volume in my lungs and had to get some sprays to be able to breathe better. I didn`t want to have chemistry in my body and I went to a singer with a lot of experience and asked her how I could breath in a better way. She taught me that, and it is almost too good to be true, after one or two hours, both she and I were so shocked about the differences we heard in my voice that we were speechless. I am so happy about the changes, I have even more fun with singing and I don`t get dizzy after some songs, like before. Now I have more volume and depth and I can use my voice in many more different ways, lower tones, higher tones, whispering, loud – everything feels so easy after these few changes, but I truly hope it will not cause any more troubles.
I will suffer any trouble in the world for your voice! Is it stressful to be the sister of Liv Kristine? Do you feel like you must try very hard to make your own flavor of vocals so that people do not think that you are using your sisterhood as a selling point?
I love being Liv’s sister – she is so gorgeous and I could never live without her! We had a special relationship since I can remember, always helping each other out and supporting each other. We are soulmates in every meaning of the word! Regarding the music, I wouldn’t say it is stressful – it has brought much more positive effect than negative for Midnattsol!! I mean, Liv is well known in this business and is touring a lot, so through her a lot of people got to know about us. In other words, for the promotion it opened many doors. And of course, it is positive to have the connections – through her I have since I was a teenager the chance to meet great people in the music business. In the beginning, I got totally shocked that people really cared so much about it or even said I just tried to be her or something – I was quite sad about it. But now, I look on the bright side of it like the song taught me. The people that knows us know that we hadn’t come where we are now, if we wouldn’t work hard every day, burning for what we are doing and having that quality of the music, lyrics, artwork and so on. It is so difficult to get a good record deal today, it is definitely not enough just to have the same last name as a well-known person – it is the whole package that you have to deliver. And concerning me as a person, I don`t need statements from the outside to be happy with myself, so I just do my thing calm and relaxed and people can think what they want .
I have been commanding people to listen to the second track, “Skogens Lengsel” because it is a perfect song, and I feel that anyone who hears this will immediately want to buy the Nordlys album. When I hear your voice on that song I have to stop everything that I am doing. I’m absolutely paralyzed. Are you aware of how powerfully your voice affects people like me?
Wow, man, what shall I say to such a special and beautiful compliment? I have no words, you really got me speechless, and believe me, that is really not happening often. I am really not a person walking around with the nose in the sky, so you will not hear fantastic words about me coming from my mouth. But the fantastic fans are really so kind, spending a lot of their precious time writing and supporting me, so I have to admit that I get the impression that they like what they hear. I just wish I would have more time to write straight back to them, but my life is so hectic at the moment! But I really try my best showing how much it means to me and I try to answer everyone. Thanks again to you for your kindness. I will not forget your words!
I do not speak your language but I was nonetheless deeply affected by “Skogens Lengsel.” I think that words, in songs that have such high emotional, are not necessary for the enjoyment. It is like hearing a goddess cry. No words are needed for my heart to be siezed. But of course, when I discover the translations of certain operas I love the songs even more because of the poetry. Will I find your translation to be poetic, or should I forget all words and just dream of your voice?
Wow, I honestly have to say that you speak in such a beautiful way. I am totally affected by it. Thank you so much for the compliments. I am really really honored!
You know, I am more of that opinion that one should not analyze or think too much about rules – I just think that one should write what you want to write and transmit the feelings and thoughts that are inside the lyrics. Poetry without content so-to-say is nothing for me. I don`t try to do certain rhymes and so on, but of course I do my best to find words that can express in a good way what I want to say. So my lyrics are honest, real, and filled with emotions. Many people tell me that my lyrics are poetic, but I think each one should decide that for themselves. And an important thing to remember is that when you translate it, it has not the same effect as in the original language. To be honest, I want to avoid it, because you can`t translate the special atmosphere of the individual language. It is really not the same when you read these lyrics in English.
But of course, I love languages and I can understand that is interesting to understand what I am actually singing about. Here is a little description of what the song is about: The setting of Skogens Lengsel – The longing of the woods – is in the deep deep untouched woods in Norway. There is a little house hidden in these woods and inside there is laying a person waiting for someone, or something, to come. It is a deep longing, because the person needs it so badly, but it never came, so the person sends his/her longing words out and can almost see feelshe longs for so near, but still, it is so far away…
How coincidental, for you see, the song made me long for you, and I know that I will carry a heavy stone for the rest of my life. You gave me the dream of loving you. We can never meet, and so the only feeling I will have is that of adoration from afar.
Is there a chance that you will tour the States?
I never actually had the chance to go the states, and people that have been there are telling about the fantastic landscape and the great variety. It would be so fantastic to experience your country!! But unfortunately, we haven`t planned anything concrete yet, so I don`t think it will be in the nearest future. But who knows? Let’s hope it won`t be that far away! We will keep you informed about where we are going to play live on our homepage www.midnattsol.com , which now is in English as well.
You have recently lost a band member. As you search for a replacement, do you wish for the band to go into a darker direction? I think that if you make an album of pure sorrow I will have to journey to Norway and give myself to you as a slave for as long as I live.
I have no words to express my sadness about the leaving of Chris. It was a huge shock for all of us. But we stay friends and keep the good memories. That is the most important thing. We all wish him the best in life and are so grateful for everything that he has done for Midnattsol. About the futural direction of Midnattsol, is too early to say right now . We just have to wait and see how things develop. But anyway, you are always welcome to come to Norway and be my slave- (laughs)
Be careful with your words, goddess, for I could leave everything for you. Do you advise a warning to be placed on the “Nordlys” album, like “Do not drive or operate heavy machinery?” I think there may be some injuries otherwise.
Yes exactly, and we also write it with big warning letters and signs on our homepage! No, just kidding! You are so cool, man.
Are there any female vocalists whom you would like to talk about?
For me, great singers are able to give you something really special through their voices. This happens in a very high level when it comes to my absolute favorite singer – Lisa Gerard. She has such a strong, powerful and incredible voice. She gives me so much. When I listen to her, I feel almost kind of another dimension. Enya is also one of my favorites, beautiful voice. I just bought her “best of” album. For some weeks ago I discovered a Norwegian woman that is very successful in Norway at the moment, Elvira Nickolaisen, and I simply can`t stop listen to her deep emotional voice filled with so much volume. Her music is not metal, but I love her voice!
I shall find the Norwegian singer’s albums now. I am already very familiar with Lisa Gerard and I agree with you about her. Maybe we do not have enough in common to get married, but even if we shared every trait, relationships ion which the woman is so much smarter than the man are always doomed. Therefore I can only be your slave, not your companion.
Is my reaction to Nordlys uncommon? What I mean is, have other people told you that Nordlys is ten million times better than your first album?
Thank you so much! It has to be mentioned that we as individus and also as a whole band have developed enormously. Musically; the new cd is more complex and has a lot more details and extras for the listeners. In our opinion you can also, after several times listening, hear something new from the instruments or the vocals that you hadn`t noticed before. And I can assure you that your reaction is not uncommon, not at all!
This is a perfect story. I need to preface the review with this statement because the way that I will disclose my reactions may seem like I hate the book. Read on, but bear in mind that even three weeks after completing the tale, I am still thinking about it.
When I began the book I was disheartened because I did not like the setting of the story. It was a sort of street urchin feeling, of thievery and poverty. I kept reading because the writing had a gripping style. As much as I despised the settings, the author succeeded in placing me there. and I vividly imagined all that I read.
I was reminded of not fully hating such stories because I was an avid fan of the Sanctuary books. If you don’t know about those, you may want to dig. (Each chapter was its own story, written by a different author, but all stories advanced the greater tale. It all took place in Thieves’ Wold) But even if I hadn’t been fond of the Sanctuary books, and even if I hated the environment, the writing style of Brent Weeks was too good to dismiss.
Before I was aware of it happening, I became absolutely hooked. I don’t want to tell you any story details because such things should unfold to you when you read. It is better to inform you about the things that make this reading a pleasure.
You will find characters who have many levels. There is no black or white. Brent Weeks succeeds in not only giving you everything that you need to visualize – he also leaves enough out so that you can be an active reader. Indeed, I found myself sleuthing many things, to be delighted, and often shocked, when the answers became known.
Beyond all other characteristics is the emotion of the tale. I could write much more, but this would create expectations. Rather, go into it blindly, like I did. It won’t take you long to experience what I did. I highly recommend this book.