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Blood Torrent's H.A.V.O.C.: "What kind of person is even when feelings and instincts prevail? We live in a world full of psychopaths. Including ourselves"

Interview with H.A.V.O.C. from Blood Torrent
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 21 May 2022, 11:05 PM

So who are we, those that apparently on a destructive rage upon ourselves? Well, people can't live by on a daily basis, waiting for their own destruction right? Because there is a slim chance that they would do that to themselves, instead, and sadly, others will do it for them. Call it collateral damage. Trying to understand the reasons behind the known theory of Fermi may take you down a trip to Blood Torrent's new album, "Void Universe", where Black Metal leads the path to understanding. Steinmetal had a great talk with the band's vocalist, H.A.V.O.C., about the band's journey on the album and more…

Hello H.A.V.O.C., it is good to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing?

Hello Lior, me and the band are fine so far. Thanks for asking. At the moment we are preparing for the release show and are looking forward and are excited to show our fans the new material live.

It seems that your ongoing semi-conceptual discussions, over the course of your new release, have been quite relevant in the last two years, whether with the pandemic and the war in the East. Tell me, where are we, in your opinion, in the stage of destroying ourselves? In any way, as you think, is this preventable, utopian peace perhaps?

In my opinion, no human being is born evil, but circumstances, or in other words, the world we live in, automatically creates beasts. In addition, the human organism finds it difficult to bear its consciousness. What kind of person is even when feelings and instincts prevail? We live in a world full of psychopaths. Including ourselves. So don't think it's a question of hope, but whether humanity can be justified at all. Our Song “The Strive”, for example, is about humanity taking responsibility for human existence. Lyrically it is about humanity taking on the responsibility of life on earth and peacefully choosing the end of human existence by simply not reproducing human beings anymore. The Strive means in that case striving for non-existence for a higher good - the survival of the planet.

Up until the last two years, with the release of your new album’s debut single, Blood Torrent has been rather silent, ever since the release of your “Continuum” EP. I believe that the logical question to ask would be where have you been? Was it considered a hiatus? Did life knock on your door, telling you that there are other things on the agenda rather than Blood Torrent?

I guess for an underground band there are always other things on the agenda. But quite a lot has gone up in the past 7 years. At some point we lost our former rehearsal room and rehearsed in many different rooms from befriended bands and tried to write new songs which limited us quite a bit because it just didn't fit in terms of time and atmosphere. After some shifts within the band, we also had to part with "Geyst" (guitar 2010 - 2015) and "Jazariel" (bass 2007 - 2016). During this time, Rahl came in the band, with whom I had previously played in a band, on the guitar. We are very satisfied with the current line-up.

Despite the loss of our rehearsal room, we weren't completely idle in the 7 years and were able to play some great gigs with great bands like 1349 or Possessed and in the meantime wrote really great songs, which I think is also noticeable on the single. Every year of the band's existence has affected on the style of "The Comsic Breakdown" and "Void Universe" somewhere. All in all, the past 7 years have been a great time, even if we would have liked the release earlier.

Let’s talk about what has been happening to mankind in the last two years, with hopes that now it will continue to subside, as it is about time that we will start living with it. How did the harsher course of this pandemic affect your mentality, needless to say your motivation to actually return and work on new material?

Whether our mentality, our motivation nor our songwriting. But unfortunately the release because we had already planned the album for the end of 2019, beginning of 2020 and Corona delayed the release. But in the meantime we used the delay to write new songs.

Recently, you released your sophomore full length album, “Void Universe”, and I believe that for the first time, ever since the band’s emergence, you signed with a label, Trollzorn. Was it about time for you after more than a decade? Were you deliberating with the band if to actually go through with this decision?

Unfortunately, we decided to churn out the previous releases on our own. With a label behind us, we would have had the opportunity to spread our music even further. With "Void Universe" we then made the decision to work together with TrollZorn and we received a lot of votes in advance before the release. So many that it was almost impossible to overlook everything. We were overwhelmed by the flood of advance reviews and positive opinions. Our label and the promotion company also did a very good job. So we are very happy so far with the decision to sign with TrollZorn and we are curious what ratings we will receive in the future.

We touched the base on it earlier, “Void Universe” maintains strong points in regards to the Fermi paradox. However, it seems that you focused less on the extraterrestrial matter, and paid attention more to the question of self-extinction. Do you believe that every civilization out there is bound to fall, meaning that there is no actual future prospect but only an end in sight?

Yes, "Void Universe" is not a concept album per se. However, there is a recurring theme within the texts on Void Universe: It is about the argument of self-annihilation within the Fermi paradox. Shortly about that: Fermi assumed that there must be intelligent life in the infinite universe that can sustain technologically advanced civilizations for millions of years. In that time span, the probability should have already come that civilizations can make contact with each other. That this has not yet happened and that the universe appears to be mostly dead from our perspective seemed paradoxical to him. So he has put forward several theories as to why that didn't happen. According to his argument of self-annihilation, every advanced civilization will always destroy itself at some point. No matter how many times it could start over. To this end, we raised the question of what would happen if our society could start over. And I don't think it would ever go any other way. The collapse of civilizations seems to be an irrefutable law of nature. And I believe that this principle is particularly important for humanity if you look at the time we are living in at the moment.

Within the album, you also relate to the subject of transformation, which I found to be the ever shifting change of whether a personality or an entire society. First, is that the direction? Second, how does it sit well with the self-extinction?

Transformation stands for change and for the upheavals of societies and cultures such as at the time of the enlightenment regarding the peasant uprisings. That is exactly what a „Cosmic Breakdown“ does. It ensures cleaning and order.

On the back of our Single you can see Doré's picture of the story of Cain and Abel, which can also be an aphorism for the upheaval of the existing order.

Charles Baudelaire wrote the anarchist poem Abel et Caïn in 1857 as part of his cycle of poems „Les Fleurs du Mal“, in which Cain, as the forefather of all outcasts, the damned and especially the rag proletariat, is called upon to storm the sky and to throw God to the ground what he once did with Lucifer - thus overturning any existing rule of power. Just as is the case with a „Cosmic Breakdown“. So Transformation stands for Destruction but also a new beginning.

In light of “Void Universe”, is there a solution to this predicament over the survival of mankind in the coming future? If not, what is the moral that could be conjured from the ideas, and notions, that you raised throughout the album?

Our song „The Strive“, with which we close the album, is about humanity taking responsibility for existence and choosing the end of human existence by simply not reproducing human beings anymore to save the planet.

From my end, “Void Universe” is one of the contemporary stages of Black Metal, keeping the early 90s in mind, but with stronger elements of the first wave of the subgenre, along with a few tweaks of vintage aspects. Generally, it helped create a musical piece that is matured, and quite varied in its approach. How would you say that “Void Universe” helped shape the musical style of Blood Torrent?

Thank you. And Yes, we definitely have a vision for Void Universe and thus also for future releases. It wasn't like that from the beginning, but this vision developed quickly for us. Once you've felt that spark, you pretty much know which direction you want to go next and that spreads like a wildfire. And with the current line-up, we usually have a fairly precise idea of what we want to express with our music and what kind of energy should be felt. With "Void Universe" we have come a step closer to this idea. Even if there is a song on the album from our early days. Or maybe because of that. In any case, there is always room for improvement for us on every release.

In your view, what are the main game changers that you believe specifically made “Void Universe” a unique entity in the vastness of a Metal market that has been trying to keep both ends in check, its old school image along with a contemporary movement?

I think it's difficult to say what typical black metal is these days. You can't reinvent the wheel either. But I would undoubtedly see it as our aspiration to create something idiosyncratic. And in my opinion you can see very well in the last two decades that there have always been new impulses in the Black Metal area and there are always new ones. A good example of this is mayhem. You can find very good modern as well as old-school elements there.

But I guess with us it's the music that is heard by the different musicians. If you listen to old school rock and punk all day and then try to write black metal songs, maybe something weird must come out of it haha.

What can you tell about the actual songwriting process over the course of working on “Void Universe”? What lessons of the past were implemented as the songs were written? What new aspects did you learn as the songs began to take shapes?

Some of the songs are from our 2013 EP Continuum and one song is even from the early days. So you could say it took almost 20 years to create haha. In 2017 we already started working on the album, writing new songs and also reworking old ones. The writing of the songs itself went relatively quickly. If you were to add it all up, that would be a few weeks. Songwriting is also one of our great strengths. I wrote most of the songs. But we never leave ourselves behind when it comes to implementation. We sit together and think about how to arrange the riffs, what's best for the mouth and how to build up the energy in the listener the most. Everyone lets their experiences and tastes flow in. I think the lesson is that working together has pushed us a lot and we are planning more releases in the future

I can relate to the sound of the album, it shares qualities of various decades of Metal music, starting from the rawness of the early 90s, contemporary feel of the 00s, yet with also an emphasis on the early 80s and late 70s, in particular when it comes down to the melodic features. What do you find in the natural direction of sound in contrast to the modern based formulas of production used nowadays? What makes modernity lacking in that concept?

Thank you. We came to the conclusion after writing the songs that we wanted the complete recordings to be as natural as possible. So it was up to us to see how we got the whole thing in the box according to our ideas. Especially when it comes to recording the drums and guitars. It's good that small bands nowadays have the opportunity to record everything digitally, it often saves a lot of work. However, it also often makes the sound too artificial and too smooth, which is exactly what we didn't want. So we recorded everything with microphones. Everything except little things like the intro and midtro or samples etc. are real instruments and apart from a few highlights we have kept the sound very true to the original.
I think everything has its pros and cons. But in our case, for the most part, it's about keeping the spirit. Such great music was written. I feel music is an important part of human history and much within art should not be forgotten

The first track that had me lost in translation was “The Cosmic Breakdown”, in its own way, a kind of an epos that shares multiple dimensions of musical directions. I felt at certain points that it was written in several parts, later fused together to a singular structure. It is kind of interesting, thinking about it. What can you tell about the track’s progress while it was written? What was your vision for it?

Thanks again for the compliments! I actually wrote the song by myself. It was my vision to write a rocking Black'n Roll epic. At the beginning the song went on for over 8 minutes. When we then played it in the rehearsal room, we noticed that the rock'n roll got lost with the length. So we sat down and worked on the song together until we had it crisp and everyone was happy. I think we did that very well. Erebos contributed the text. When I first read it I thought the lyrics were perfect for the song.

We talked about multiple dimensions, but nothing had me ready for “The Strive”, which I found to be an epic diverse Black Metal piece, which for the die-hard old schooler it would sound weird at first I assume. This is an exceptional out of the box thinking, setting emotional states, led by a stellar musical setup. Was it the first time Erebos #14 sang melodic vocals? What can you tell about the creative process of this tune? How do you relate to it?

The text is about humanity taking on the responsibility of life on earth and peacefully choosing the end of human existence by simply not reproducing human beings anymore. The Strive means striving for non-existence for a higher good - the survival of the planet. Yes, it was the first time Erebos took over a vocal part within the band.

The reason Erebos sang on the track is simply that he is an outstanding singer and has by far the best clean voice in the band. From the beginning we decided to fill most of the song with clean vocals. The song was supposed to sound like occult 70's doom and still be a black metal song. Based on the votes so far, we seem to have succeeded.

We intend to continue incorporating such elements into our songs and also that Erebos will take on more such vocal parts. We'll see if it turns out to be such long songs again, 11 minutes is tough.

When you listened to the entire album, from start to finish, what exactly went through your mind? Do you find it, generally, as a complicated sort of piece?

I actually think that the album was quite successful for us. Even if I'm not 100 percent satisfied with it. But you probably never are.

Now that the band is back, along with culture that has been on the rise, due to the reduction of infected cases, is there a support plan for the record?

In any case, there will be live performances, we will definitely do a release show for Void Universe and keep our fan base up to date on social media. However, all other planned shows have been canceled so far, for which there is still no alternative date. We haven't planned anything yet regarding the corona situation. But the way it looks at the moment, the situation is relaxing, we're definitely in the mood to perform live and we already have new songs up our sleeves. So new releases are already planned.

H.A.V.O.C., I wish to thank you for your time and effort for this interview, no doubt that this album opened my mind further towards Black Metal and I guess that it would for others. All the best

Thank you for the great interview and the exposure to our music!



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