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Bill Zebub Black Driday

In case you are the type of person who is hopeful of a Bill Zebub deal, you may feel like a wish has been fulfilled.

Bill Zebub’s Blackest Friday

You remember the magical feeling of watching a Bill Zebub movie for the first time. Getting a box of 30 movies is good for giving your special people some unique gifts for a very good price. Whether you give thirty friends one movie each, or give two people five movies and keep the rest for yourself, this is your way to treat yourself, and some lucky people, to something that can change a life. Email bill@billbillzebub-com (If you had participated in any of Bill Zebub’s crowdfunders, you get $20 off your box).

Please note that Australia is currently not allowing outside mail.

A wide variety if shirts are also available – for only $20 (includes shipping) Email the might Bill Zebub for details. Below are some examples of shirts.

Crucified Santa T Shirt
Crucified Santa T Shirt

Vixen of Virtue Kickstarter

Bill Zebub is running a campaign to raise funds for VIXEN OF VIRTUE.

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You can opt for cool add-ons, like a box of 10 Bill Zebub movies, or even a box of 30. Shirts and other kooky items are also available.

Grimoire as a Book

There is a crowdfunder for a 200-page BEST OF The Grimoire of Exalted Deeds.

You can opt for color or grayscale pages (this one is cheaper), and you can get a flash drive of audio interviews, so you can finally HEAR what the interviews were like.

Lot of other goodies too – take a look

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The Book of Exalted Deeds

Bill Zebub is publishing a “Best of” book, 200 pages, huge-sized (8.5 x 11).

In addition, a flash drive of AUDIO versions of interviews is available. This includes King Diamond, Malevolent Creation, Slymentra Hymen, Manowar, and others.

Shirts and posters are also available.

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Phyllis Eisenstein

Why have your books become out of print? You have no idea how deep was my sense of loss when I could not track down the people who had borrowed your books from me.
Thanks for liking my work so much. Writers always love to hear their work praised. There appear to be two reasons why my books are currently out of print. First, there were changes of personnel at NAL (U.S. publisher). Everyone who had any interest in my work left the company, and the one editor who was in a position to buy new fantasy work, did not want the third novel in the “Sorcerer¹s Son”/”Crystal Palace”series. When that happened, I worked very hard to get the rights to the first two books reverted to me so that I could resell them along with the third book. Although I found editors with at least one other company who did want to publish all three books, the sales people at that company said I had been out of the marketplace too long for the books to be viable. That is, I wasn¹t prolific enough. Several editors have said I should write some new books, unconnected to the old ones, and after they were published, the old books would look more attractive. So that¹s what I’m doing now – working on a new book. We¹ll see how that goes.

Would you agree that many people have a gift for writing, but very few of them actually dare to try making something of it?
Actually, I disagree. It¹s my observation that very few people have a gift for writing. I say this as a teacher who has seen a self-selected sample of people who want to be writers -in my classes – and the majority of them think they can write but they can’t. Of course, there are really two elements to writing – the ability to tell a gripping story, and the ability to write in readable prose. Some people have one ability but not the other. Relatively few have both. And the days of editors who would fix your prose if you were only a good storyteller are gone. My job as a teacher, I think, is to help my students develop both skills. As for daring to make something of it – writing well is hard work, and writing fiction is not particularly high-paying. A lot of students discover these things and go on to become middle-managers at hotel chains.

Do you make a skeletal outline first and then flesh it out, chapter by chapter?
Yes, I am an outliner. I think a 20 page outline is about right for a novel. Then I mark the chapter breaks and, starting at Chapter One, write them in sequence. I usually come up with other details as I¹m writing, and I jot them down on scraps of paper, which I tack up on my bulletin board. As I reach the points where they fit in the story, I write them into it and throw the scraps of paper away. There have usually been a lot of scraps of paper in my wastebasket by the time I’m done with a novel.

I would like to know what you consciously do to make the descriptions so vivid in my mind.
I consciously tell myself to slow down, to avoid rushing the story. When I was a teenager, I could tell almost any story in 4 pages, most of it dialog, and I¹d write it in a single sitting. It was only when I forced myself to slow down that I started selling my stories. I close my eyes and see the scene and the people I’m writing about. I try to hear the dry leaves crackling underfoot, I try to feel soft fur of an animal under my hands. I bring my own physical experiences to writing, whether that be horseback riding, swimming, running, fencing, or just climbing a flight of stairs. And I try to find some of myself in every character, so that I feel what that character is feeling – hate, anger, despair, whatever. Of course I want reader to care about and identify with my main characters, and I want them to dislike my villains. I usually make my villains paranoid or extremely self-centered, which can certainly result in heartlessness and cruelty, which are evil enough for most stories.

In “The Crystal Palace” you put my imagination in a different reality. It is as if I actually have the memory of existing in the dimensions you described. What made you dream up something so abstract?
I thought about the demon worlds of Water, Fire, and Ice for quite a long time before writing about them. As I thought about the demons themselves, trying to imagine what their personalities would be like, and what their lives would be. Weightlessness was an important aspect of the demon worlds, and I did as much research on it as I could. I also thought a lot about swimming – a kind of weightlessness- and I’ve
often had dreams about flying, so I used memories of those sensations, too. I daydreamed a lot of thought experiments about the demon worlds. I wanted them to be as different from the real, familiar world as they could be. I thought of them as surreal, like landscapes painted by Salvador Dali. Indeed, it was a challenge to write that material down in a vivid way, but I had a good time doing it.

You teach science fiction writing at Columbia College in Chicago. I wonder if you have the time to enjoy the works of writers such as Terry Goodkind.
Not as much time as I’d like. People keep recommending books to me, and there’s a stack on the dresser in my bedroom. I haven¹t read Goodkind yet.

When you wrote the six novels of the past, how much time did you spend writing each day? I am wondering if you received an advance that would allow you to do nothing else if you wished.
On those various novels, my writing time varied wildly from an hour or two a day to eight or nine. Sometimes I was writing full time, sometimes I was doing other things. The advances were never enough to live on, though sales of foreign rights sometimes added a nice cushion. Like many
writers, I’ve done a lot of things to make money.

What is your opinion about the conflict of good versus evil, or light against darkness in fantasy? Is it amateurish to create characters that are all good or all bad?
It may be amateurish, but the real problem is that it’s very easy. As a writer, you don¹t have to think much about your villain’s personality if he’s simply the incarnation of Evil. Sauron had stopped being a human being, and he is, of course, a model for many writers. I prefer more human villains, who have human motivations. Perhaps they are not mentally balanced, or they have horrible experiences in their backgrounds. Perhaps they are self-centered and greedy. There are plenty of motivations available,other than simple pure evil.

Are there some formulae in writing that cannot be avoided?

Various writers have suggested that there are a limited number of plot formulas. Marion Zimmer Bradley said there were nine plots. Robert Heinlein suggested some even smaller number. But these are all vague things, like boy meets girl/ boy loses girl/ boy gets girl. Or, as Marion put one of hers,“There’s a hell of a good universe next door.” On that level, the word “formula” doesn’t mean much. I don¹t really believe in formulas, and I certainly don’t use any on a conscious level. As for variance in structure… let’s face it, readers expect certain things in fiction. They expect to be able to understand what¹s going on. They expect the story to move from someplace to someplace else, either on a personal level or a broad, sweeping level. They expect at least one main character to have interesting and significant experiences. If fiction doesn’t deliver some of this stuff, people won’t read it. So there is a practical limit to variance in structure, based on the audience. In my own writing, I have a broad structure in mind… a route that the story will take from beginning to end, which calls for character growth and change as well as change in the situation – things are different at the end than they were at the beginning). The route has to FEEL right to me, and I judge its rightness by all the standards that I have internalized through decades of reading.

It is often thrilling to read stories that feature demons. But I think that “evil” is just a human attribute. In a physical reality, communication would perfect. So there could be no deception. There would be no ownership of anything, so there could be nothing to steal. You could not be killed or destroyed. You could not be made to suffer pain. There would be no competition for a mate because there is no mating. There is no competition for shelter because there is no weather.
You have some very interesting ideas about how nonphysical reality would work, but I disagree with all of them. Why should communication be perfect? Communication arises from the wills of individuals and is colored by their abilities and intentions. Lying seems an obvious attribute of intelligent creatures, whether they are physical or nonphysical. Ownership does not require physical objects… songs can be owned, not to mention the creatures themselves. Ownership depends, again, on the attitudes and desires of the individuals and of their society. Ownership is a concept we humans have invented, and we apply it where and to what we wish. Why should thoughts have the power to manifest themselves as temporary reality? In short, what you have here is your own set of parameters for a nonphysical reality, and if you were to write a story using them, that would be fine. But that doesn’t mean they are the ONLY parameters for such a story, and it doesn’t mean that other writers must use them. Every writer is entitled to make up one or more universes with rules that suit the writer. Of course, they should be internally consistent, but lots of combinations of elements can be mutually consistent. As for the otherworldly beings, my attitude toward them is an extension of my attitude toward villains. I envisioned demons as a race of intelligent, nonhuman creatures, not just as disembodied forces conjured up when sorcerers needed them. With that as my premise, it followed logically that they would have their own world, their own culture, their own attitudes. These are not HUMAN attitudes because the demons have their own value system and their own interests. I like the demons a great deal, partly because I see them as aliens -that’s the science fiction writer in me, and partly because they are struggling against the injustice of slavery. This struggle makes them sympathetic characters, even though they are all a little odd by human standards. I also had a lot of fun developing their individual personalities. They’re not evil, but sometimes they are forced to do evil by their masters. And sometimes they do very selfish things that could hurt humans because, to most of them, humans are not very important.

You mentioned that you had flying dreams. Those have had been my favorite type of dream. When I was in high school I had a dream in which I became completely aware that I was dreaming. I knew that I could make anything happen, and I chose to fly, although it was not so easy to shake the beliefs that kept me grounded. It was pure will that enabled me to soar. The reason why I love flying in dreams so much is because it is an experience. Whether it happens in a dream or in real life, the result is the same. All I have after it is done is the memory. But while I am flying I relish each moment. I would like to know if you have also been able to wake up in your dreams. A few years after I had the first conscious experience, I learned that the phenomenon was called “lucid dreaming” and I have learned to induce them, as I’m sure, anyone can.
I’ve had the experience of lucid dreaming a few times. For me, it has always been the result of wanting to dream about certain
things before I went to sleep. The time it worked best resulted in a series of dreams over a period of weeks that were repeats or extensions of the same scenario. Eventually, I used that series of dreams as the basis of a novelette (“Nightlife”, published in The Magazine of Fantasy and
Science Fiction back in 1982 and nominated for the Hugo Award). But I haven’t done this, or really wanted to do it, for a long time.

Did you ever meet with rejection that almost ended your desire to write?
Once, when Lester Del Rey urged me to write a sequel to “Sorceror’s Son”, approved the outline, and then rejected the finished book. For a long time after that, I felt sick to my stomach just looking at my keyboard. But I came out of it eventually.


This interview with Samoth appeared in issue #12

Thy band refers to itself as intelligent black metal. I hope that it is not too cliche for me to ask thee to explain this term.
It is an attack on people, black metal or not, who either look upon black metal as something pathetic, or black metal people who often tend to make the genre look pathetic. We want to distance ourselves from the pseudo-evil, non-musical, and non-artistic side of black metal. We demand a certain standard and insight.

The Laveyans say that Satan has been the best friend the christians ever had because he has kept them in business. Cannot the church burnings also be the best advertisement that the christians ever had?
Yes! It can! It’s obvious that christians feel they have to keep strong together after such tragic events.. Anyway, the church burning was, in my point of view, more of a statement rather than a real attempt to destroy christianity. I mean, it takes more than burning a few churches to get rid of the whole belief system.

In the past, black metal bands were ridiculing commercial death metal, but now, I hear black metal bands are cannibalizing their scene, directing criticism upon their own kind. What is thy assessment of the scene that thou hast helped to create? Dost thou think that a wrong message was sent by the forefathers when they insulted commercial death metal without making the distinction that true death metal was in no way life metal?
I think people got bored with the death metal trend, and that led to black metal getting back again with full extremity. A lot of those death metal bands got away from the real death metal concept, and certain people in the black metal scene made it an image to mock such bands, and by doing so, also making black metal more extreme. Anyway, black metal has now gotten just as popular as death metal, and has kind of topped itself with a lot of moronic bands offering nothing but bad music quality and, in many ways, an infantile attitude. I think that’s why a lot of people are getting influenced by death metal again. I think metalheads rather should stay together rather than spending unnecessary energy on putting sticks in each other’s wheels.

The extreme pride in Norse heritage inspired similar loyalties across continents. In America, a land without culture, confused people became attracted to Odinism even though they have no Scandinavian blood. Dost thou see this as weakness?
It should be natural for Scandinavian people to honor their past history, because it’s our heritage, but I feel it’s rather ridiculous when bands, let’s say, from Italy, write lyrics in ancient Norse, especially when they have such a rich cultural history themselves. Well, I guess some American people can actually link their blood to the Scandinavian heritage, as their past family might have emigrated from the north… anyway, we see a lot of stupid people claiming to be this or that, and it makes no sense.

It was rumored that Emperor could not play the Metalfest because a certain felonious church-burner was not granted a visa. I know that the reaction to thee at the Metalfest would be one of worship.
I am still not granted any visa, simply because I did not apply for one. Nothing has been straightened out, actually. We’re taking the risk of being refused to get in. The people who booked us are aware of that. Worst case scenario is that Emperor will not play because some fucker at the airport causes trouble. Yeah, it seems everybody is waiting for Emperor to arrive in the States. We feel, of course, a little pressure, because people have such great expectation. When people have great expectations, it’s easy to be disappointed. It is impossible to deliver the same atmosphere as on the CD in a live situation. We also hope for a good audience who shows that they like the music. Emperor are not in favor of the I’m-too-evil-to-headbang attitude.

Obviously, thy albums are produced with particular preferences. I am wondering why the guitar is so low in the mix, and why the instruments seem too tightly compressed. There is a feeling that there is no space between notes.
Are you referring to the Anthems album? I do not agree with you. The guitars are not that low in the mix. I do not think the Anthems production is perfect… neither are Nightside. You learn as you live. Next time we’ll definitely try to get a clearer sound with more fine balance between all instruments.

Is it true that spandex is worn on stage?
No. That was one of Kerrang’s attempts to mock us after our live appearance in London. Ihsahn had black tights on. They might have been cheesy-looking, but it was not pink spandex, as the fucker wrote.

Grimoire of ExALTED dEEDS #8

Bill Zebub has discovered an extra issue #8 and has posted it on Ebay. CLICK HERE

This was the first newsprint issue that contained color. Of course, color in newsprint isn’t as vibrant or sharp as on glossy paper, but the color glossy covers wouldn’t appear until issue #12, which incidentally, was the official program for the Milwaukee Metalfest (Jack Koshick was cool enough to keep the mag in its normal format – he only wanted the centerfold to list the band times) That was the first issue to print 40,000 copies.

Issue #8 had its own claims to history, but that is for you to learn, or to own.

King Diamond

 Let me being with just an open-ended “what’s new, Mr. King?”

   (Laughs)  You shouldn’t think that there would be a million things new in all that time that has gone by.  There’s not that much new because a lot of the time has been spent, of course, getting new record deals in place.  That takes way more time than it aught to take, but it just takes that time, and it always does.  But what has happened… the Abigail tour is postponed, you can say.  It didn’t come around simply because of bad economy – with the record label.  You heard that it’s everywhere, since then – that the record labels are suffering .  And they are.  Hopefully it will turn around slowly.  Of course, we had to re-evaluate what we’re doing, and new contracts were due anyway because the old contracts were fulfilled.  Yeah, we went in and started negotiations and all this stuff.  That took a while.  But that’s in place now.  Everything is written now, regarding the music. All the music is done.  I did receive the package from Andy, with his songs, and I listened to them yesterday, and they’re awesome.  So that’s in place too. But that has taken time.  I mean, it was from about the first of October up until two weeks ago that I spent writing.  It’s nine songs, and one of them is a short two-minute thing, you know, which is more like an intro song – like a prologue, or something like that.  It’s not like the traditional horror intro, but it’s an intro that will set the stage for what is going to happen.  So it’s kind of like a prologue, but it’s a full song with organ – there’s church organ on it, and there are violins, and full-blown guitars, bass – the whole thing is there.  It sets the whole stage up until it’s cut off real sharp, and you will hear the words, “Let the show begin!” and it will definitely give the listener the feeling of “Wow! That was prologue, and now we go here, and then come double kicks right in your face, which is “The Puppet Master”.  The first little piece is called “The Cellar”, but then the first real song is “The Puppet Master”.  The feeling it gives me, myself, is in the direction of “Welcome Home” with the double kick drums, you know, really fast.  Of course it varies.  The song is never just fast throughout.  There are a lot of really intricate parts and arrangements going on in that song. Creates some really good feelings.  There’ll be twelve titles on the album.  Nine of them I did.  Andy had an instrumental piece that is going to be attached to one of mine, and then he had three full songs.  So that’s where we are set with that.  We are that far, and I am going to start working on the lyrics.  I have a lot of ideas.  I mean, the story is written out.  The story is done.  It’s even divided up into chapters.  All of the songs have titles, but I will not give all the song titles now because I know myself – I often change them as we go in the studio and, “Ooh, that title would have been better if it was this because now I changed that over there.”  But the titles are in place for me, and for all the different chapters of the stories.  I spent more time, this time, on writing, than I have done before.  I haven’t spent this much time on writing.  It’s really, in some way, paid off. It’s not like it’s different.  I talked to you before about how I see “King Diamond’s” style of music as a painting on the wall.  It’s in a frame, but the painting has not been completed.  You still see white spots on the canvas.  A lot of those white spots, I feel, I have covered with the songs I wrote this time. I’ve gotten into some fresh areas, but it is totally King Diamond.  I expect a certain level of compositions from Andy, and he does the same from me.  And now he has had a week to listen to my stuff, and it was great to hear his response.  He was very positively surprised, he said, and he felt it was more aggressive than it usually is from me, and there was just much more covered in what I did this time.  And I really feel like each song has its own atmosphere. You can really distinguish from song-to-song what I’ve done this time. 

   Have you invented any new chords that confused Andy?

   He hasn’t had the time to go in and actually try and just turn everything to the left and figure out what is the guitar doing on the left side and what is the guitar doing on the right side.  There are definitely some things that I have not done before.  I have not used those kinds of chords before.  There’s a few of those in there.  Then, arrangement-wise, there is definitely new styles of arrangement that you will get some extra goodies out of if you put headphones one – where you can really pinpoint the stereo picture. 

   Have you ever thought about performing guitar on stage?

   On stage?  No.  I want those free hands to concentrate on the other aspects than just singing, and that is of course to pay attention to the audience, and those things that are part of the show.  I don’t think you’ll ever see me play guitar on stage.  (referring to playing guitar and singing) You have to have the microphone standing, and all this stuff.  I like the freedom of just having that bone in my hand. (laughs) 

   And the line-up is exactly the same?

   Yeah, it’s identical to the Abigail 2 line-up, which is definitely – I don’t even have to say “in my opinion” – it is the best line-up we have ever had.  When we did the European version of “House of God” (tour) – that’s where the line-up was complete the first time, and I got the feeling of how these guys are, live on stage, and it’s the tightest unit we’ve ever had – the most skillful unit we’ve ever had.  I know the people over there felt that too when we played those shows over there.  Everybody just has a huge enjoyment out of doing it, and that can be felt from the stage into the audience. There’s no doubt it’s the best line-up that we’ve ever had.

   You’re returning to the same studio to record?

   Well we are using a different process this time, actually.  That’s one of the things we’ve been forced to do, even though we got new deals.  They are very good deals for how the whole scene is at the moment.  It’s hard to get a good deal.  A lot of bands are suffering.  A lot of bands have been told, “We simply can’t have you anymore. Bye-bye.”  Some bands, especially if you’re living off it – I’ve been living off the music since ’83 – it’s been my job, and it’s so positive to have a job that you totally love.  To me, working like that is the best possible way it could be.   But at the same time, it’s a job.  You’ve got to make sure that’s what puts the bread on the table.  If, suddenly I couldn’t live off the music, I’d have to say, “OK, I have to do something else.” And that could have been a problem had we not found, let’s say, a new way of actually recording out material.  The way that we have planned the whole thing out now is probably going to end up giving the fans an even better product.  But you really don’t think about that when you are so used to going into the studio – and you go for two months or two-and-a-half months, and you do the whole thing there – finish it up and that’s it.  Now you’ll be in the studio finishing the album.  This time around, Andy has a studio in Sweden where he’s produced so many bands, so many albums, and stuff like that.  It’s just been growing and growing, getting better and better in quality.  He’s actually going to bring a bunch of it over here to my house.  So it’s going to be like, you can say, a mobile recording unit that he’s flying over here, and it’s going to be set up in my living room.  I have the same speakers here that they have in the studio, both in their mastering suite and in their control room.  But it’s a much better listening environment, actually, because in the studio it’s a little tight in the control room and you can’t really sit behind the engineer, so you get an off-center listening position.  Here, there’s space in my living room to sit comfortably, with a perfect stereo picture, and like I said, the same speakers.  Another positive thing is that the sound you are listening to in a home environment is with carpets and furniture, which you don’t have in the studio.  You usually have a very hard floor and very hard walls.  So you get more of the listening environment that the fans are getting at home, which is actually what you should go for, because they are the ones that are going to listen to it, not the people sitting in the studio.  So there’s a lot of really positive things, in that respect.  It means that we’ll be using the same kind of equipment – we’ll have the same quality equipment to record on, but we will have much more time to go into details.  Sometimes when you sit in a studio you can have trouble with a certain reverb unit that you really want to use on a certain effect.  It could be one spot on the album, but it’s really important to create a certain listening experience.  You can sit there and work with this unit for two hours maybe, and when you think about it, suddenly $160 went out the window.  We can do that here and not think about it.  We can spend four hours on a thing like that if we had to.  It’s not costing us studio time.  So what we’re going to do here is record all rhythm guitars and harmony guitars, in exactly the same way that we do in the studio, on exactly the same equipment.  We’re going to do the bass in the same way, and all of the keyboards.  Most of the keyboards that I recorded, I was really thorough recording already in my demo studio, which is digital recording anyway.  So that’s going to be loaded into the other system and used there – probably most of it.  Some of it might have to be re-recorded, but most of it will be right where it should be.  And then we, of course, are going into the real studio. There’s a 98% chance that they will give us a good deal on going in there and recording the drums.  We can’t, of course, record that in the house here.  That will be after all of the rhythm guitars and keyboards are done, with a click track – bring that into the real studio and put the drums down.  And then we’re going back here and Hal will fly in – I think it’s on the 20th of March that he’s going to come here, and he’s going to put all his bass on here, using the same equipment that we used in the studio the last time.  No difference at all.  The only advantage will be that I will, in at least the next three weeks, until Andy gets here, be doing vocal demos for the first time.  I never really did demos, you know.  But at my home studio, I found a way to do it.  I’ll put demo vocals on so Hal has all the vocal melody lines.  Not the right vocals, but the right melody lines that he can add his bass to.  He’s a very versatile bass player.  Sometimes he will follow what the kick drums are doing.  He’ll go with the guitar riffs sometimes.  Sometimes he’ll follow vocals.  It’s that style of bass that Uriah Heap used to have, where he would go his own little way sometimes and follow different things, not just always follow guitars or drums.  So he will have everything he needs to lay down the right bass lines, and he will even be given the opportunity to put three full different versions on, that all fits with the vocals, so we really choose later on.  That side of it will be much more interesting than it’s ever been before. Then we’re going to do a rough mix of it that Andy will bring back with him to Sweden, and he and Mike will do all their solos in Andy’s studio. The vocals will be done here in Dallas, probably at the same studio again, with a different engineer this time because the other engineer is not in town anymore.  But the guy that is going to do it is overqualified – an amazing engineer.  He has been second engineer on the past two albums.  So there’s no problems there either.  And then Andy will come back over here to Dallas, probably in June, and that’s when we’re going to mix it all here, at my house, with the same equipment pretty much as you have in the studio – all the same tools, except we can spend more time.  Can you just picture – you sit in the studio and then everyone gets hungry.  You have to eat dinner every day.  Sometimes you decide to go to a restaurant and eat dinner.  If you think about it, you go to a restaurant, and it costs so-and-so much money to eat a dinner, but then you can add $160 on top of it because it took two hours.  But you have to pay for that.  It doesn’t matter.  It’s not like, “We’re gonna leave now to eat dinner.”  “OK, we’ll stop the clock now.” No, you’re block-booked.  It’s going to cost money.  You look at those things when you are in the studio.  It creates a little tension sometimes.  “Come on!  Let’s move on now!  It’s taking too long!”  But you want the quality there, so we usually always end up going over budget in the end.  We will not sacrifice the quality. Now we’re going to be having all the time that we want.  That’s going to be such a cool feeling.  We all know that doing this way here is a necessary way, but we would not have thought of it had it not come to that part where Metal Blade did not have enough money to put us on tour, and we had to renegotiate new deals, and stuff like that.  It was a matter of, “Can we still live off of it – those of us that live off of it – can it still be our job?”  We found a way that makes it possible so we sit exactly as we were before.  It’s great that you can come up with an option that makes you sit where you were before, but actually will be able to come out with a better product.  So we’re in a very good situation, and we’re all extremely positive about what’s going to happen now. We’re looking so fucking much forward to it – also because of how the material has turned out now.  It’s just like FUUUCK!  We can thank our fans for putting a lot of pressure on us.  There’s always going to be albums in your career that, even though you’re putting everything that you have into it, there are so many circumstances in your life that will affect maybe the way a product is – or the studio that you’re in, or the way that the engineer was handling certain situations – where you’re not as proud of the overall final sound – not so much the compositions – but more the final sound, which actually plays a big role in how people perceive a song.  If you have an album where the kick drum is just thundering loud, and sticking out every time you hear it, it’s just irritating to listen to.  That has happened on one of our albums.  I wish I could go in and remix the whole shit with a new sound because then it would have a whole different expression.  But that’s the way it is.  That’s the way it is with all artists.  If you go back and listen to some of the old Ozzy albums, for instance – I loved them, but if you start analyzing them a little bit, oh my god!  The drums are so dry!  And the guitar is very trebly.  If they only did that again with a more full sound, and not like, up here hangs the guitar and down here is that dry kick drum, and stuff like that, the songs would sound better.  They are awesome songs, but if you are into that ‘sound’ part of it, then it means a lot.  It can bring a song to life, or it can kill a song.  And we’ve had that sometimes. There have also been periods of the band where we didn’t have… well, I would say, the ‘best’ line-up.  We have the best line-up now that we’ve ever had.  That is why I look so much forward to the next album.  That line-up was doing Abigail 2 as their first product.  That worked out really well, but it’s going to be even better now.  The drummer knows exactly how we go about things.  He knows exactly that he has much more space than he even took himself last time.  The fans can, and should, expect something exceptional this time.  They will get it.  They will definitely get it.

King Diamond
King Diamond

   I remember when I was present for the re-mastering of the back catalog on Roadrunner. The producer explained – he was basically re-equalizing the sound – and he was telling me that the reason why there was such a high treble on “Them” was because, at the time, vinyl was being put out, and that the grooves for bass are much wider than for treble, so a trick that they did to save vinyl space was to increase the treble and lower the bass. 

   And back when “Them” first surfaced on CD, for instance, in those early days of the CD they would just transfer straight over.  They didn’t go in an EQ and re-master them.  It might say “digitally mastered” or whatever, but that’s just the process of bringing it from one form into another.  But to actually go into the mastering session and start EQ-ing on it – that wasn’t done in the early days.  Sometimes certain frequencies would suffer.  And that makes all the sense in the world what you’re saying.

   You’ve had the experience so it’s not that special to you, but to me, to hear your music right off the reel on the best possible speakers was worth any price of admission, even though they were good enough to invite me down. 

   Yeah, it is a hell of difference.  There was one of those re-masters – I can’t remember – is it “Conspiracy” that I wasn’t impressed with, actually – I didn’t feel it sounded better than the old one.  It sounded louder, but not better.  Maybe the top was a little bit over.  Maybe it’s “Abigail”.  It could be Abigail. 

   There were also great demands for time.  They had a certain schedule and it was very aggressive.

   I know. The main part of it definitely turned out sounding more powerful and better.  It’s hard to make them all sound “right on”, you know.  It was time-consuming, yeah. 

   I would like to address something that you would also want to vindicate yourself.  The lyrics that were included – only your earliest fans have seen lyrics to “Devil Eyes” – fans who bought the E.P. when it came out.  But even lyrics that were officially put into vinyl, like the Melissa album when it was on Megaforce – those lyrics were not used (for reference on the re-masters).  The lyrics that were used were taken off the internet, and they were wrong, like at the end of “Melissa”, instead of “They’ve taken her away from me” it’s “They take the pain away from me”.

   Oh god!!!  Well, I don’t know where they get the lyrics from.  You know?  We don’t see a print of it – the actual jacket and the packaging until it’s out – with a thing like that.  We were not really involved in doing the packaging.  I didn’t know what photos they put into it, for instance.  I didn’t see it until it was in the street.  They sent me copies. “Oh, OK, they used that photo over there.”

   You should thank me for me stopping them from using photos that they had planned to use.  (I had selected the photographs for the re-masters.  There was a limited pile of photographs, and some pictures that were chosen have King in make-up that was not characteristic of the particular album era, but they were preferable to the selection that was available from the pertinent time period. Some pictures were chosen because of their rarity).

   Oh really?  When you’re on the label, you’re not involved in that respect.  We were involved in the re-mastering process in finding those bonus things, and you were too (ed. – I am the one who gave them the version of “Black Funeral” from the “Metalstorm” compilation, and that bonus track appears on the re-master of “The Beginning).  That’s great.  I think they did a good job. I liked the way they did the packaging.  But the thing about where did they take the lyrics from – well, you’re always going to run into those things.  Almost every single time you will run into things where you say, “What happened here?  What is this?  Why?”  You sometimes get an explanation where say, “Why didn’t you first send us a copy so we can see it?”  You know the old misspellings.  I mean, welcome “princess” of hell.  (sarcastically) Oh that sounds so heavy.  It’s like I’m thinking of Sleeping Beauty.  We’re not singing about princesses here.  And it’s in the title, big and fat!  In the lyrics it’s correct.  That makes you wonder “Why?”, “How?”.  And when “Fatal Portrait” came out the first time, I remember clearly – I saw it the first time in a hotel room in Paris where I was doing a photo session, and a guy from the label was there and he showed me.  I saw it and I flung it like a Frisbee through the room so it splintered against the wall.  I got so fucking mad.  He ran out of the room, I remember.  He came back like twenty minutes later.  I was sitting there, just foaming.  It looks like a fucking Monopoly game, you know. It had all the colors from the monopoly game sqeezed into the logo.  There was pink, light blue, and I don’t know what color they used in the logo.  Everything had a different color there.  Almost every letter had a different color.  It’s the most horrible shit I had ever seen.  They had already produced so-and-so many thousand.  They had changed it for the next one (pressing).  I don’t know who had that brilliant artistic idea to turn it into something that you can play Momopoly on the logo if you want – you get it/  We had so many of those little things that have been going wrong.  One guy on the “Abigail” album, on the back – I don’t know if it was Andy or Michael Denner that had turned into a left-handed guitarist.  They thought it had looked better if the guitars were both going to each side, pointing to the outside of the cover – suddenly one of the guys was mirrored.  He’s like, “I’m not a left-handed guitarist!  There’s nothing wrong with that, but I’m just not!”  Those things, man, were just done over your head for an artistic purpose that made no sense.  And it’s always too late to change.  It’s out there on so-and-so many covers.  Sorry! 

King Diamond with Grimoire Girl Natalia

    If you had more time to dig up material, would your cover of “The Immigrant Song” have appeared on the “Melissa” re-master as a bonus track?

   No, because we never fulfilled it.  I don’t know if there’s anything on tape, actually.  They were rehearsing it.  The engineer might have pressed “record” while they were rehearsing so that we could listen to it, but he might have gone (recorded) over it, using that same tape for other things because at that time, those big reels cost money, and you have only six reels at your availability, or three, or whatever.  So he might have gone over it completely.  There was never vocals.  I never actually sang it.  The band was trying to get it right, but it never got the right swing that Zeppelin has on their version.  It wasn’t working. The band just couldn’t play it that way.  It could also have something to do with the sound we had.  There’s a very special fat bass line going on in that song.  Since then we never did it (a cover) except for “The Ripper”.  We were already in the studio, and I had sung that song before, live, with some of the Pantera guys, for fun, at a New Years Eve party.  In that respect, I had my own touch on the song.  I didn’t want to try and copy Robert Halford.  I don’t think I could, because he has a certain sound to his voice.  Just the same, I don’t think there’s anyone who can copy me because I have a certain sound to my voice – not the things I’m doing technically, maybe – but more the sound of my voice.  The same with Ozzy. No one can sound like Ozzy. People can sing the notes that he’s singing, sure.  But his voice has a very unique sound.  You shouldn’t do that anyway if you are paying tribute to a band and you’re trying to do a version of their song.  It should be your version of their song – how your band sounds, playing that song. 

   You’re not a cover band – you’re a band.

   That’s exactly the issue.  That’s it, exactly.  You pay tribute to a band.  You show, “You influenced us, and this is what your song would sound like if we played it.” 

Dark Funeral

This interview with Lord Ahriman was conducted bu Bill Zebub for issue #23 of The Grimoire of Exalted Deeds magazine, while Magnus was still the vocalist.

I met thy singer when he visited the States. Did he accidentally swallow the magic seeds from Jack and the beanstalk? His head almost reaches the ceiling.
Yeah, he’s a huge tall madman like the rest of us! We have grown up on Swedish beer and snus… Swedish tobacco. Therefore we are as tall as we are. You’d better watch your ass dude! We’re coming to get you…

Thy singer once sang for Hypocrisy. That means that he had a death metal voice. What happened to him? Was there a change in his sexual preference to make him sing in gay black metal vocals, or was his throat not strong enough anymore?
Once upon a time he, unfortunately, he met you in a dream and got really frightened by your homosexual instincts. After that, his voice changed drastically. And when I heard about what happened to him I took the opportunity to ask him if he wanted to sing in Dark Funeral. He accepted the invitation and have ever since been doing the vocals and bass for us.

I was wondering if Dark Funeral will follow the example of other black metal bands that are now changing to death metal.
Absolutely not! We will continue in the same vein and built our own success.

Is it true that thou art touring with Witchery? I heard that both bands will play nothing but cover songs.
It’s kind of funny you mention this. It’s not the first time I hear about this rumor. Well, not that we will only play cover tunes, but that we have tour plans together with Witchery. I wonder where it comes from. At this point of time we have no plans to tour with them, but one can never tell what the future holds…

Thou recorded thy interpretation of a King Diamond song. I think it’s great that thou hast chosen to have the falsetto parts sung by an actual woman. Was that an artistic decision, or was it because no man in the band can sing falsetto?
Yeah, it was a pure artistic decision. Since the lyric include a few different characters and are based on a true story, we decided to make it like a theatre thing. You know? So the lines with female vocals are the words said by the supposed witch, Jeanne Dibasson. The black metal vocals and the deep dark vocals is sung as different moods for the head investigator of the christian burning court, Nicholas de la Reymie.

Was that women an ugly beast? She sounds like a real bitch. I would hate to hear her nag me.
Oh boy, if you ever get the chance to meet her I’m sure your small, almost invisible dick would finally grow and get a normal size. Whether that’s good for you or not is another question. We actually told her to sing like she was being hurled into everlasting torment in the abyss of fire. Therefore she might sounds like a bitch in your ears. She acted the role for the supposed witch anyway..

Thou are quite the King Diamond fan. What are some goodies that are in thy Mercyful Fate collection that would make me jealous?
It’s true that I’m quite a King Diamond fan, but unfortunately I don’t have much goodies to impress you with. I have all the studio albums, a couple of 12” vinyl’s, a couple of picture LP’s, a few signed and unsigned posters, and that’s pretty much it. I’m would guess your collection would impress me more then mine impress you.

Americans can’t stand the thought of reading. Is Swedish culture different? I want to move to a nation that embraces language instead of bastardizing it with nigger talk.
Well, in this matter Sweden is like any other country. We use slang over here as well, maybe not as much as in the States, but it’s still a pretty common thing. Our country is much older then U.S. Therefore we might treat our language a bit different, with more honor, but we still use slang.

Do Swedish niggers destroy thy language, or is it true that all the niggers in Sweden speak English?
Some speak English, some perfect Swedish, and some speak ashmed, like we use to say. It’s the worse dialect of Swedish one can ever imagine!!!

Has the N.A.A.C.P. helped thy band because thou art black metal?
What’s the N.A.A.C.P.?

It’s an organization that makes Hollywood do stupid things like casting niggers in the role of Santa Claus. Didst thou ever practice guitar immediately after masturbating?
No, but I use to practice guitar before I’m masturbating. It’s like a reward I give to myself when I’ve been a good boy, practicing guitar.

Is thy masturbation an elaborate project, requiring lengthy preparation?
No, by my age. I’m quite skilled, so I get it done pretty fast. How about you? Oh sorry, might be a dumb question to ask a impotent fag like you!

Which, if any, is thy favorite Grimoire Girl?
Billzebubba! Can´t you show us your fat American gay ass in the next issue? Would be great as a front cover pic!!!!

I am not an American, sweety. In America, statistics show that fewer and fewer men are entering priesthood. Is christianity in Sweden also on the decline?
Yeah it’s pretty much the same over here. Also one important fact is that the Swedish state church was recently departed from the government’s reign. So nowadays it’s considered just as any other free religious organization. The past few years the church has lost many of their followers as well. I guess people finally start to figure out what a big hoax the christian movement really is. Meanwhile, the priests are complaining that people are loosing their faith. Ha, I would say that finally people start to believe in themself instead of submitting themself. Although the christian movement have still too many followers, but I see a great future for the Satanic movement.

There will always be very stupid people comprising the masses. What dost thou think would replace religion among the human cattle that make a misery of our existence?
To me, the left hand path is the one and only way to walk. I’m a Satanist and I’m convinced that my, the Satanic way, is what make you a superior individual.

If thou wert a cow, would thy favorite band be Moo-cyful Fate?
Since you’re a gay, I understand your favorite mag must be The Gaymoire Of Fagmelted Seeds.

On a scale from 1-10, how absolutely homosexual is Mayhem?
What is Mayhem? Is what Mayhem? How is Mayhem, by the way? Why Mayhem? Is Mayhem a gay porno mag? Why? .Why? I don’t understand all of this, uh?

Dude, leave the jokes up to me, and you just concentrate on being who you are. Thou art employed at No Fashion Records. Is that why thou art signed to that label?
No. We signed to the label before I was offered this job. The thing was, they needed someone with good experience and connection to the underground metal scene, and since we were signed to the label, had good relationship, they knew I was deeply involved in the undergrounds movement so they offered me a job.

Dost thou give Dark Funeral any special promotion because of thy exalted position?
Not really, but since we are the biggest band on the label we get some kind of priority I guess…

Our biggest disagreement is that I claim to be thy master, and thou proclaim masterhood over me. Art thou content for this to be an eternal argument, or wilt thou one day make our antipathy deadly?
I am the ineffable king of darkness and you will never be able to rule over me. Just get that into your gray cheesy cells man! I will continue to treat you as my slave as long as I live. Like it or not, but you are under my eternal command!

I would like thee and thy singer to sing a song for my next CD compilation. Couldst thou change the lyrics of Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” to be about me, and have it delivered by the end of the month?
It’s indeed a great offer, but unfortunately we are too busy with our own important activities right now. Maybe one day we’ll get some time over we’ll do this cover song for and about you.