Norwegian extreme metal act, Noxium Ferus, debuts with a startling and brutal new album entitled Blasphemicon, album which, in my opinion, if you’re listening to it, has the old-school sound vibe.
To find out more about Noxium Ferus and its debut, I had the pleasure of talking with Espen “Nethor“ Dyngen, the man behind the band, who not only growls in its band but also working with bands such as Belphegor, Gorgoroth, Ragnarok, in the past have had connections with Behemoth and Trelldom as well.
Welcome to Antichrist ‘zine Espen! How is everything going? You just returned from the tour along with Gorgoroth, where you were the security guy. How was the tour?
Hi Carla, good to hear from you. Yes, I traveled 2 weeks with Gorgoroth, through several European countries, playing 12 gigs. The tour was a success, with many sold-out venues, and no setbacks or problems (except from that our flight from Norway to Germany was canceled and postponed 1 day, but we had planned a spare off-day in Germany anyway, so it didn’t affect the gig there, we got there in time). Everyone were very pleased with me as their new security chief and assistant, so I was asked to do more tours with them by my old friend Infernus. I said no. It was interesting and I learned much from this, especially facts like, all cities stink and are dangerously polluted, nightline buses are built for tiny people who enjoy noise and filth, the magnificent buildings in Europe are now defiled by modern shopping malls and concrete monsters on all sides, so the whole charm is gone, insanely many people in Europe smoke! Everywhere! And are totally inconsiderate towards non-smokers, it’s impossible to maintain personal healthy routines on a tour. So it was not worth it for me, I have health issues that require a healthy lifestyle, and this tour cost me a lot. So I’ll only do some festivals with Gorgoroth in the future, no tours. The band is great, it was not them, it was the general living conditions and the sad state of today’s air quality in Europe.
To make a brief and let the readers know, when did you form Noxium Ferus?
It was never supposed to be my band, as I was only asked at first to write lyrics for my friend Steinar Aven’s new project. But then he asked if I could do the vocals also, and I said no because I had never done any vocals before in my life. But after some beers, I decided to try anyway, and it turned out so good that I became the vocalist of his project. This was in 2019. He let me name the project, and create its concept. So we made many songs together, and after 2 years we decided that I would take charge of it all and finish it because he had other projects he wanted to work on. So then it became my band, and I made everything for its concept and designs etc and found new musicians to work with.
Soon, your debut album Blasphemicon will be out via Wormholedeath records, then, when did you start writing and recording the album?
As I write this, the album has been out for a week already, and the feedback has been amazing. The guys in Gorgoroth listened to it on the tour, and they loved it, and their guitarist Aindiachai (ex-Taake) has sworn himself to it, so he will play second guitar with us on live shows. The album has some songs that were written by Steinar as long as 10 years ago, or so, but he had not used them for anything, so he gave them to me for doing vocal work on them. They were a bit softer originally, but I asked both him and the drummer if they could refresh them with some more aggressive riffing and drumming, plus of course my vocals. So when my vocals were added in 2019, it changed the tracks from heavy rock/thrash metal to the blackened death metal you hear today. This was a long process that took about 2 years. During this time, Torgeir “Alvakien” Espedal joined us, and did second guitar and leads, and his addition also lifted the quality of the songs to even higher levels. He also wrote a track that I liked, and I made it the title track on the album. The last song to be added to the album was ‘’IA Pazuzu’’, which was written by a session guitarist who rehearsed with us the last year and a half, Bjørn “Beelzeböb” Berge. So if we count all the way back to the very first riffs written by Steinar, the album has taken 10-12 years to make..!
What I like about Blasphemicon is the raw and heavy sound, it’s like I’m hearing a mix of bands like Morbid Angel, Deicide, and a bit of Obituary too, how did you approach the sound?
You just said it. Those bands were the most influential ones to me when it comes to sound and vocals and concepts. So I always wanted to do a kind of personal tribute to Morbid Angel and Deicide, by carrying on their demonically aggressive but also intelligible growling style. Of course, I also wanted to work with riffs and song structures like theirs as well, but that was overreaching, and I settled with what I was given by Steinar and Torgeir and made it as dark and fierce as I could. It was difficult to get the right sound that I wanted, so we tried several different mixers before my friend and bass player Christopher Rygh suggested that I contact an old colleague of his, named Martin Gravdal. Martin is a Norwegian extreme sports hero, who also works as a sound tech and producer for music and TV, and he lives in France now. His first attempt at mixing one of our songs was a “spot-on” experience, we had found our guy! I explained to him what I was after, and he always nailed it. He did amazing work, and brought out every detail and even stuff we didn’t know was there! He managed to bring the old home recordings of Steinar and Arne Gandrud up to levels I could not believe, and I decided to use some of those old bits and pieces, instead of re-recording everything. So thanks to Martin, Noxium Ferus found its signature sound.
That song, ”Dickslapped By The Devil”, is a funny name for a song, hehe. How did you come up with this song title idea? Overall, what is Blasphemicon about?
That song was inspired by a late-night incident in a hotel lobby, together with Helmuth of Belphegor, Johnto Pantera of Ragnarok, and my best buddy at the time, Anders, and many others. Let’s just say it is not smart to fall asleep in a chair in this particular company… It was the song “Spellbound By The Devil” by Dimmu Borgir, that gave me the idea for the name, so I made a parody of it, but only the title.
Blasphemicon is a complex creation, filled with my personal ideas and views, plus lots of good old horror stories I’ve found in ancient grimoires and medieval church books, about demonology and esoteric black magic. Some offensive and dark humor can be found as well, of course. The song “Blasphemicon” is about the irony of how the church invented hell and the devil in order to scare people into their greedy arms, while it at the same time gave the perfect ammunition to those who oppose the church. So we are simply using their weapons against themselves. Since they actually take it seriously, they empower their enemies with their own fears and hysteria. Ridiculous.
Are you planning any shows with Noxium Ferus in the future?
Yes. We have been asked to perform at a quite local festival here that promotes local bands. There will be mostly pop and rock music, and a mixed audience with few metalheads, but I agreed to come. It will be an excellent opportunity to try out some ideas I have for a horror live show and get some good footage that we can present when applying to play at other festivals. A nice warm-up gig, not far to travel, so it doesn’t cost us much energy. I’ll get one or two other black metal bands along with us, so it’ll be a “mini” metal night. So anyone reading this- come, and bring a friend! I hope to play at other festivals and occasions later, but I am not interested in doing tours.
Espen, you worked with bands such as Ragnarok, Trelldom, and Gorgoroth, yet working with Belphegor, for which you also crafted Helmuth’s (Belphegor mastermind) microphone stand, which is great. Thanks to your design so to say, I got tattooed ”Sigillum Blasfemiam Divina”. You also contributed and wrote the lyrics for some of these bands’ albums. First I’d like to ask, when did your collaboration with Belphegor start?
I met Helmuth in 2012, I think, or 2011, and I immediately told him that I would be honored to hear him sing my lyrics. We hit it off and became good friends, and he later contacted me and asked if I could help him with lyrics for “Flesh, Bones And Blood”, a song on the Conjuring The Dead album. I was thrilled and went to work on it immediately, but because of his “eccentric” use of English and self-invented phrases, I misunderstood him and didn’t deliver what he needed. So I didn’t get any of my work on that album, but I had my shot. Fortunately, he contacted me again not long after, and then we worked out the misunderstandings, and the wonderful cooperation started.
What about Behemoth? I saw a post on your social media page regarding this. Did you work with Behemoth in the past as well?
Back in ‘92-‘94 I was in contact with a Polish label and zine called Pagan records, Tomas Krajewsky. He published many of my dark poems that I’ve written, and he also worked with Adam Nergal who had just started Behemoth. He showed some of my work to Nergal, who liked it so much that he wrote to me and asked if he could use it. He said he had a side project and wanted to use the poem called ‘’Bless Thee For Granting Me Pain”. He normally didn’t use anyone else lyrics in his music, he said, but he really liked this one. So in 1994, he made the first song officially released with my lyrics.
Ragnarok’s Jontho (vocalist) is also featuring on Noxium’s new album, on drums. Is that right?
Yes, Johnto is first and foremost a fantastic metal drummer, and he had been taking over the vocals in Ragnarok because he wanted to front his own band better, plus he had shoulder problems that prevented him from playing drums like he used to. I asked him if he could do a guest drummer appearance in Noxium Ferus, and he was very happy to do that, and insisted to do some vocals as well. So he played his first drum session after 5 years away from his kit- for me. I was very flattered and honored. It was great to work with him again. I had helped him with a lot of lyrics for his album The Blackdoor Miracle, back in 2010.
Since you went touring with Gorgoroth, are you going to tour further in the future with other bands, maybe with Belphegor next?
In the famous word of Helmuth himself, “NO”. That kind of lifestyle is not interesting to me at all. I hate traveling and being around people. I am a hermit and misanthrope, plus I have a strict regime of routines to maintain my health. Sorry, Helmuth. Both he and Infernus know and understand this, so we meet in private instead of on tours.
I’d like to know your opinion on today’s extreme and black metal scene vs. the past one, even the scene from Norway. What’s your point of view on that?
I was just talking about this today, with a friend in Germany. He is a kind and friendly guy, and he loves black metal. I told him that he would not like the black metal musicians as how they were back in the early ‘90s. It was very different back then. We were young and angry and full of spite and mischief. We were not friendly or sociable. The atmosphere even among bands was hostile, as everyone was trying to outdo each other in antisocial behavior. Most of the kids who were attracted to black metal were narcissists and sociopaths, who found the perfect playground for their obnoxious behavior and violent needs. There were plenty of criminal and hateful actions, violence was worshipped, and self-mutilation was a contest to see who would bleed themselves the most. It was an intense ride, black and bloody. We sought out black books and satanic literature and wrote poetry about hatred for life and humanity. The devil was always with us, the leader of the pack. The music was the manifestation of all these negative emotions, and we poured all our depression, rage, and violent urges into those raw, churning demos that were created back then.
There’s not much left of that in today’s scene. We grew up, many got jobs and kids and responsibilities, and the music became softer and cleaner and more mature. The corpse paint and image turned into theatre and stage shows. We used to wear corpse paint at home, while listening to Burzum and Mayhem and Darkthrone, just to create an unpleasant atmosphere, and delve into the bottomless pit of despair in a trance-like state. I can’t imagine many doing that today. Many bands have become parodies of themselves as how they used to be, and social media is flooded with weaklings eager to share their lookalike corpse paint faces. It felt real back then, it doesn’t anymore. I think the internet ruined authenticity and creativity, it all went downhill after shit got digital.
To end the interview, is there anything else would you like to add?
For anyone interested, I will receive a bunch of Blasphemicon CDs very soon, and then it will be possible to order them directly from me and get signed versions. This thing might become a collector’s item one day, just like the first Trelldom album did, as it can be tricky to print more copies after the first batch is out. So don’t hesitate! Merch will also be made in low numbers, so get in touch and tell me what you guys want. Give Blasphemicon a spin, and play it fuckin loud! Brutality supreme!
Thanks a lot for your time having this interview Espen! It was my pleasure, and hope to see you soon! Hails!
Thank you, Carla, for this, and everything you have done for us!
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