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Siberian/French trio Isgherurd Morth have released a formidable debut album in Hellrduk. A multi-layered black metal assault, full of dark twists and turns. Paul Castles finds out more from the band’s enigmatic leader Peter G Shallmin.

Hi Peter, thank you for talking with Antichrist. Can we just start by exploring the roots of the band… A little unusual as the three of you were already in Stench Price, a grind band, before deciding to begin a new band with a different style?
In my opinion, Paul, everything behind Isgherurd Morth followed a natural and logical path. We understand each other, we’re on the same loop, and the fire and ideas gush out. Such a sacrilege, not to keep the fire burning! Especially professional musicians who can play the hell out of almost everything.

How are you all feeling about your debut album, Hellrduk – although it is not ‘new’ as such as you actually recorded these tracks four or five years ago?
Hellrduk was recorded in 2016 but wasn’t released due to objective reasons. Listening to my intuition, I realized that its “finest hour” had not yet come, as for the musical material as other aspects that were not clear at that time. It took five years of “conscious isolation” for the music just to be accepted. Now, receiving all that great feedback, I can confidently say that we did it at the right time. (In hell, cooking is slowly, you know…

Was Covid a factor in delaying the release or were there other reasons for this?
No, Covid did not touch us on the album. Only those events that I mentioned above. A situation when all the puzzles came together even after a few years.

A Siberian/French mash-up seems unlikely, so how did this come about, with your French drummer meeting the two Siberian members of the band?
Any collaboration is an exchange of energy. I love to collaborate. If, from the first sight and communication, you feel and see that this is your person, you have no doubts further. You share an idea and it is immediately picked up – a real great twist! And you are already moving on, completely dissolved in the process. Moreover, it is much easier to work with a pro musician (convinced for more than 20 years of cooperation with a huge number of international artists). Just represent a structured material in full and nothing else needs to be explained. Ideas come by themselves and certainly improve the final.

The Siberian side of the band is in particular interesting and I know the heritage from this part of Russia, in particular the Tatars, is something you have connected with?
When it comes to Siberian Tatars, this is, of course, the indigenous population. Many Tatars from the Volga and the Urals, who moved to Siberia from the time of the Kazan Khanate and up to the twentieth century, call themselves Siberian Tatars, and most of them consider themselves simply Siberians today.
For me, the etymology of individual words, their pronunciation and sound was interesting and catchy, which was embodied in the name of the band and songs, but nothing more.

Although Hellrduk is satanic in tone, the church is still very powerful in Russia. Is that fair to say and does this disappoint or surprise you in any way?
Yes, ISGHERURD MORTH is the name indeed and there is something hellish and cryptic behind, and hey, we are in a black metal band! We are very far from discussing religion and politics and it’s excluded from our communication completely. Having established convictions we do not care what influence the church has on Russians today.

Is the process of writing the music a combined approach or do you take the lead on this?
Well, Peter is so insane and restless, yeah, he falls like a bolt from the blue and starts to wind everyone up, speeding up everything… Endlessly. In the final, this is huge and unconditional collective work. In the studio everything changes, mixes, intertwines. And no one knows where Peter’s idea began, what Max turns it into and how Roman changed everything. And vice versa.

As a whole is there a common thread connecting these new songs?
A weird black metal album of hissy-croaking black metal songs with bizarre black metal lyrics full of hidden meanings.

You’ve yet to play live with this band, is it important for you to do so?
Currently, Isgherurd Morth are a studio project and until the end of this year we are fully dedicated to new album. We are considering a real opportunity to perform live next year. Moreover, as a trio it is much easier to arrange. So there are plans for next year.

Is there something about the natural Siberian amphitheatre with cold and expansive frozen plains that makes it a natural source of inspiration for an artist such as yourself?
In a particular music style – yes! When recording a black metal album called Hellrduk, you should definitely freeze your ass and limbs, chattering your teeth in a deepest cave beyond Siberian wilderness! However, we look a bit wider and deeper writing music. We are inspired by ordinary things, contradictions, everyday questions, albeit clothed in bizarre forms of dark allegories. Sometimes, ordinary events give you an instant, fantastic boost of energy from which music is born.

The album has received some great reviews – how satisfying has this been for you?
We’re stoked, very excited and delighted with the reaction of the mass media and listeners from around the world! This is the greatest joy for a creative person. Our music, as it turned out, is not so easy to understand, and as the response shows, for many of our admirers it was revealed after 2-3 or more auditions. We are sincerely grateful to every single listener for spending their personal time listening with full attention. Our audience is beyond amazing!

I know Peter has an extensive musical background across many styles. How ambitious are you for Isgherurd Morth in particular?
Thank you, Paul, for your attention to my humble person. Each project is the realization of the personal ambitions of an individual musician and the collective as a whole. At the initial stage, realizing that the creature is ready to roll, comes a clear understanding – for whom, where and when to start.
The World always gives a response: the number of listeners, the number of reviews (good and bad), the level of acceptance of your music in a professional media (critics, journalists) and, finally, sales.
In all my projects, I was, is and will be honest and sincere. To the end. Music is a Great Gift for self-realization and a borderless opportunity to be heard. My most important ambition is to be heard by a larger audience.

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