Interview with ETERNITY

Interview with ETERNITY

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Hi! “Mundicide” is described as a reflection of the state of the world today. How did the current global climate and events influence the lyrical themes and overall tone of the album?
After having worked for three or more years on To Become the Great Beast it was finally released in the fall of 2019. We were on stage with Dødheimsgard just before Christmas that year and things were going well, and the future was looking quite good for us. Then of course came 2020 and everything turned to shit. The whole Covid thing, the insane media storm, the fear implanted in people and the way they accepted and embraced more and more totalitarian measures. The hatred for any freedom loving person that dared to question if all this was really necessary. And straight after that whole charade finally ended, Europe plunged straight into war and the same story repeated itself. The Gleichschaltung. The removal of any critical voices. Should we really go down this path that will surely lead to World War three and nuclear war? You are a traitor and a thought criminal for even posing such a question in your mind. I have never been as disillusioned with my fellow man, nor angrier with the bastards that willfully work to destroy their minds. I poured all of that hatred, despair and anger into Mundicide. It’s all in there, the Pest and the War and our impending nuclear doom. Yet also my burning wish to make people turn off the news and open their minds, Awaken and see through the lies with which we are constantly being fed.

The album artwork for “Mundicide” depicts human arms holding weapons growing out of the planet, representing a dual potential future outcome. Can you elaborate on the symbolism behind this image and its connection to the album’s themes?
At face value, I wanted a very strong and iconic image whose meaning could be easily grasped: The Earth has given birth to a malign species that create weapons of war, kill each other, kill the planet that brought it forth and thus, in the end, is causing its own extinction. But I strive to infuse everything I create for Eternity with layers of meaning. What if, instead of destroying ourselves we could somehow work together for a shared future for both planet and man? What utopian paradise could we create? Well, man being what he is, we would still create weapons and wage war, but if we could do so in human unity we could usher in an interstellar golden age where we could travel the galaxy and kill other species and planets instead of our own! In this potential future the Earth herself becomes a Dark Mother, a killer of planets, a Mundicide, through the flowers of her offspring.

This ties in very directly to the album’s themes of war and conflict and the coming Apocalypse and the End of Days, but also – even if it’s a bit more convoluted, the spiritual Journey towards the Darkside and Luciferian Enlightenment that is presented on the first half of the album.

“Mundicide” is the first ETERNITY album to have been created as a collective effort. How did this collaborative approach impact the songwriting and creative process compared to previous albums?
I have still written all the lyrics and most of the music on Mundicide, but the way we have worked with this album has been quite different. When we were going to record To Become the Great Beast, I had a demo version of a song ready to go and we basically rehearsed that, my goal being to capture and recreate my original idea as closely as possible as a band. This time I came with a demo of a song and we worked through it together riff by riff, with the whole band taking part in shaping what the finished song would eventually become. For songs like Pest! and O Discordia, this lead to end result becoming quite different from the original ideas, but even when the songs didn’t change much, I think that this process helped infuse the songs with some sense of unpredictability and traces of different energies. It made them bigger somehow. More alive.

The album’s opener, “Journey Towards the Darkside,” is described as an alluring temptation to the sinister. Could you delve deeper into the concept behind this song and how it sets the tone for the rest of the album?
First of all, musically it feels to me like a good continuation from To Become the Great Beast. If you heard the previous album, Journey should be instantly recognizable as an Eternity song. The vocals and the lyrics take on a sort of external voice, or could it be a voice from within? Beckoning the listener or the unseen I to give in, to join on a Journey towards the Darkside. And by the end of that trek? Well, no one returns from such a passage unchanged.

Throughout the album, there are references to the plague, black magic, struggles with addiction, and the specter of nuclear war. How do these individual themes intertwine to create a cohesive narrative and message in “Mundicide”?
Mundicide is not precisely a concept album, but it is also not precisely NOT a concept album. Mundicide can be seen as a journey in two parts. The inner, spiritual journey to Hell and the outer, external story of the world ending or the whole world going to Hell if you will. The first half tells the story of the personal journey: From the first cautious steps down the Left Hand Path in Journey, through studies of Black Magic in Gaze to the complete surrender to the anger spoken of in Journey – and the total rejection of the external world – in the title track, culminating in oneness with the Blacklight and Luciferian Enlightenment in Hymn. The second half chart the outer journey of the World going to Hell with War, Pestilence and two songs about the End of Days bringing the album to an end with the opening of the Seventh Seal and the sounding of the doomsday trumpets.

“Mundicide” is described as a primal scream about the pain of living in these times. How did you channel and express these emotions through the music and lyrics, and what impact do you hope it has on listeners?
Most of the songs on Mundicide are songs that I needed to hear to get me through the days. I would wake up with this or that particular song in my head that felt like it captured exactly how I was feeling about the global situation, or it could be just the song I needed to hear to find the strength I needed to not give in to despair. Sometimes those songs did not exist yet at all, so they had to be created. Sometimes they were variations of existing riffs and ideas or older songs. That is to say that the material came to me as a complete emotional package. When we started rehearsing and later recording the album, I already knew exactly what each song was a reflection of and what emotions I wanted to channel into and through each specific song. As is made clear elsewhere in this interview, I write songs first and foremost for myself and my own personal growth. If I manage to express my feelings well enough, then ideally the songs could have the same impact on the listener that they had on me. Secondly, my hope with all my art is that it can have the power to make the receiver stop up, open their mind and perhaps see things in a new light, stop taking what they think they know for granted. Our heads are constantly being filled with shit that does nothing good for us, we are forcefully being made apathetic to the world. I want to wake people up! Thirdly my work is all for the greater glory of Satan. On top of that I just want to make damn good Black Metal songs and hope they are appreciated!

The band underwent a period of self-imposed exile during which much of what remains essential to ETERNITY was created. How did this time of isolation and introspection shape the band’s musical identity and philosophical outlook?
When I left from Oslo to live in the mountains, I also left the band I was in at the time, I left my friends behind and in many ways I even left myself behind. I wanted to know myself for who I really was without mask nor armor; without the second skin we unknowingly wear for the Ego to be able to cope with other people. I also decided to take a clean break from alcohol and other intoxicants to make sure I got a good honest look at the goat in the mirror, and not just the clouded horrors induced by the bastard I like to call “The Man from the Day Before”. None of this made me particularly happy, quite the contrary. It was really a long period of staring into the abyss within, contrasted and made endurable by the white purity and might of the mountains without. Writing music in this state of solitude, I was writing only for myself. I sought to, needed to! express my pain and suffering, but also my hopes and longings in a way that made them more manifest and relatable to me myself. For this to be as effective as possible, the music and lyrics needed to be as brutally honest as I could manage. The honesty and that general approach to songwriting has remained cornerstones for my further work on Eternity. As has the philosophy of writing first and foremost for myself. If a song is of value to me and my own growth, then perhaps it could be of value to others as well.

The album’s closing track, “The Seventh Seal,” is referred to as a doomsday epic. Could you provide insight into the concept and significance of this song within the context of “Mundicide”?
The Seventh Seal is an epic in every sense of the word. With a playtime of over 10 Minutes, it is by far the longest song I’ve ever written. It tells the story of the Apocalypse as told or foretold in the Book of Revelation. This is easily my favourite part of the Bible and I have read and re-read it over and over throughout my life. I’d been wanting to make a song based on the part of the opening of the scrolls for many years and finally, in the midst of the horrors of the totalitarian covid regime the chorus was bestowed upon me, and the rest of the song followed naturally from there. It was such a perfect fit for both what I wanted to say with Mundicide and as a way to express my feelings at the time. It rounds off the album with the coming of the Day of Wrath and the opening of the seals on the scroll of Judgement, each seal bringing more suffering upon humanity. The Book of Revelation feels eerily current when you take a step back and see what is going on around us at this time. First came the Plague, then there is War before Famine comes sneaking in. And that sums up the last three or four years pretty well. The richest people on the planet are presently buying up the farmland while our politicians actively attack our food supply to “save the climate”. We already live with the so called “cost of living crisis”, soon comes starvation, and after that? Death comes, and all Hell follows…

Can you share any particular challenges or obstacles that you encountered during the three-year process of creating “Mundicide”? How did you overcome them, and how did they contribute to the final outcome?
The covid regime hit us pretty much straight in the face. One minute we’re releasing To Become the Great Beast to great reviews and sharing a stage with Dødheimsgard, and the next is just PEST! Lockdown and game over. I had plans to record a quick EP to keep the momentum up, but since everything just stopped in that weird kind of suspended animation the EP grew into an album and that album grew to become Mundicide.

For the actual writing of the album, I think the Covid period was actually a good thing. We had all the time in the world to work on the songs – nobody was getting anywhere anyway. And I was so angry and disillusioned with the world and my fellow man for going along with all the madness and I could pour all that hate and despair into the record. I think Mundicide is all the stronger for that!

The actual recording process, on the other hand, was a grueling nightmare that at times didn’t even seem would lead to a finished record at all. Limitations of how many of us could be in the studio at a time, limitations of when we could go to the studio at all, long periods of nothing. The band was close to wanting to give up on the whole record, but I knew we had something special, so I kept soldiering on. And in the end, I think it turned out rather well after all!

ETERNITY’s beginnings trace back to the golden age of black metal. How has the band’s sound and approach evolved since its inception, and how does “Mundicide” fit into the band’s discography?
Going from a solo project – writing alone, recording alone, doing everything alone – to a band was obviously a big change. And as I spoke about earlier, having the band involved in shaping the songs for Mundicide was a big step into unknown territory. The sound has definitely evolved a lot from Eternity’s humble beginnings, but the general idea of how we think Eternity should sound remains the same, we’re just getting better at expressing it the way we want, and the people we work with are getting closer to delivering our vision.

Now for Mundicide and its place in our discography; that is actually a very good question, because I’m still not quite sure! It came sneaking in like it was only visiting, “hey I’m only here for a song or two, maybe a mini-CD or an EP at most, no more. Then I’m off.” But the bastard just stayed and stayed and grew into this monster that has been dominating my life for the past three years. I’m very satisfied with how the album turned out and I’m proud of what we have achieved, but it evolved organically rather than from some master plan of mine. In many ways it is just the album I needed to make in response to all the bad shit going on in the world.

The band’s relocation from Oslo to the Norwegian mountains is mentioned as a pivotal moment. How has the natural environment and Norwegian landscape influenced ETERNITY’s music and lyrical themes?
There is a very important connection between the Second Wave of Black Metal and nature. A Norwegian author once named the True Norwegian style of Black Metal the “most National Romantic artform ever created”. I think there is a lot of truth to that. From all the typical band pictures set in mountains and forests to the use of artwork by Theodor Kittelsen, the Norwegian nature is almost an extra band member present in all the really good releases. And you have to understand that this is not posing. Very many of us have a very deep and very spiritual relationship with nature and we spend a lot of our time being at one with it. For me, I walk with my dog in the forest for an hour or two every single day. I need to be out there to cleanse my mind and soul, to breathe freely. Out there I am at peace. And a lot of my melodies come to me while I am out in the woods. They just sneak in and start playing in my head. I bring them back home and turn them into Eternity songs. You see, it’s not like I try to write music representing the mountains or the forest and the lakes, it’s rather the opposite: the forest tries to make me write Black Metal!

How do you translate the intensity and atmosphere of your recorded music into captivating live shows, and what can fans expect from an ETERNITY live performance?
We’ve been testing some things, and I’m not going to insist that how we choose to present ourselves now is what we will do forever, but for now and for Mundicide we have chosen to ditch even corpse paint. We are grown men playing honest music and for the coming shows we will appear as such, no nonsense. Smoke and inverted crosses, leather, spikes and bullet belts, sure! But no circus and no makeup. We’re stripping it back to match our daily, civil appearance. I don’t usually wear corpse paint, but black denim, leather jacket and inverted crosses is something I might wear any day of the year. That means we can go on stage and just be our angry devil worshipping selves with no pretenses, and for now that feels very right.

With the current album complete, what are your future plans as a band? Are there any particular goals or directions you’d like to explore with your music in the coming years?
For myself, I have two albums very clear in my head. Concepts, songs, almost all of it ready. The latter of those two records will hopefully be my Magnum Opus or Great Work and after having completed that I am done and can die content. We have started working on the first of those albums as a band and already it seems to be going in an unexpected direction and it appears to want to become something else entirely, its very own thing, just like what happened with Mundicide. I may or may not still shape it into the record I have had in mind, or I will just save that concept for the next album, time will tell. It is one of those things with letting the band in on the creative process, all of a sudden there are more opinions on which directions we should take the new album in. And for now, that is something that we want to explore further: working together on the songs and just see where they lead us. And to take that way of working one step further, we’re setting up recording equipment in our band space so we can pre-produce the new record at our leisure with no time pressure or costs involved.

In an era of media overload and societal disillusionment, where the concept of hope seems elusive, how does ETERNITY strive to offer a different perspective and inspire listeners to embrace a potential future that transcends self-destruction and brings about positive change? Thank you for your time!
On a spiritual level, Eternity was always about making people become better versions of themselves. Now this may sound strange for a Black Metal band, it’s all about evil and darkness and destruction, right? But for me, I really believe in these things, I can feel the Black Light of Lucifer emanating from my heart and streaming through my body as I sit here writing this. And I know that He wants for people to improve, to Become Great Beasts. And with Eternity I am trying to open the hearts and minds of the listeners so they can receive that Light. I am trying to create a Doorway that Lucifer can walk through, and then He will do the rest. Now I don’t mean to say that I or Eternity’s music can offer Enlightenment per se, I am merely a tool, a builder of portals. I strive to create Gateways.

As for on the more mundane level of Reality, things have become so bad in the last few years that even if I never intended to take Eternity in even a remotely political direction, I cannot sit idly by and watch as people’s minds are being forcefully corrupted, as their brains seemingly just melt away. Thus, Mundicide was on face value equipped with a strong and easily understood message about killing the planet. The whole album is an attempt to make people at least reflect on these things. People need to think more about control and about killing. About War and conflict. And if you understand the split of the album into two halves, if you joined me on a Journey towards the Darkside, received the Light of Lucifer in Hymn and then partook in another journey; the outer, external voyage of the B side, through Nuclear War and Tales (and LIES, so many lies) of the Plague to the inevitable conclusion in the end of the world. The Complete destruction of all. Armageddon. And if I managed to make you listen to all this, to really Listen! Then perhaps the mighty war horn at the end of the Seventh Seal need not signal the end of days at all. Perhaps it could be a call to arms! Now look at the cover anew and envision what glory could be ours if people Awake, Resist and Rebel! Hail Satan!

That is all. Thank you.

-Evighet-

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