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Interview by
Ryan Harding

"Imperial: I want to see more bands do something sincere with their music, instead of their paint by numbers dishonesty."
- Lord Imperial

Feo Amante's Horror Home Page Presents:
The Ryan Harding E-mail express with
Lord Imperial

by Ryan Harding

The US black metal scene has been getting its act together for awhile now. We’re arguably at our best when following the chaotic standard established by the likes of Beherit and the raw evil of Profanatica, as demonstrated by Demoncy and, of course, Krieg. Krieg is the war effort of Lord Imperial, responsible for the albums Rise of the Imperial Hordes and Destruction Ritual, a split with Kult ov Azazel, and the mini-cd The Church, as well as assorted demos and EPs with undeniable conviction in the sheer ugliness black metal
ideally represents. He is/was also active in the projects Weltmacht, Devotee, and AngelKunt, among others I might have missed.

This is an interview I did with Imperial in 2002, which took him months to return and took me months to format, but here it is at last.

Ryan: Let’s start before there was ever an Imperial/Krieg. How and when were you first exposed to black metal? Can you describe the effect it had on you?

Imperial: When I first heard black metal, I heard a voice that spoke directly to me and conveyed every thought and emotion I've ever contained, all in one instant. Through their words did I finally understand my own, through their sounds could I hear. It was as if my wounds suddenly sealed up, leaving a scarred wreck of a human shell. That was my first exposure to black metal.

Ryan: Destruction Ritual was just released by Red Stream
[Note: I told you it took us forever to complete this interview. Red Stream is about to release the new Krieg album The Black House on March 10th. Look for a review then.].
I noticed there was quite a gap between the recording of the guitars and then the vocals/guitars. What contributed to this delay? Are you satisfied with the end result?

Imperial: Just basic problems which really don't make for interesting conversation. I am 100% satisfied with every aspect of the recording. Sombre Records is soon releasing the LP version which marks the first 12 inch vinyl of Krieg's seven years, another pinnacle to seek personal pride in.

[The LP on Sombre was released and probably sold out.]

R: You neglected to use bass on Destruction Ritual to further the auditory torture. What gave you the idea (or was it just out of necessity)? Will this practice be utilized on upcoming Krieg assaults?

Imperial: Really it wouldn't have sounded right if it had something to offset the white noise instrumental tracks. We'll see what later recordings turn up, though there will definitely be bass on my next few compositions.

R: The overall sound of Destruction Ritual is even harsher than Rise of the Imperial Hordes. Do you want to see more bands present black metal with this approach? Do you agree that the sound of the Cult of Daath Grand Torturers of Hell album is almost ideal?

Imperial: I want to see more bands do something sincere with their music, instead of their paint by numbers dishonesty. Cult of Daath's production suits them perfectly.

R: “Suicide Amidst Katharsis” uses a sample from the film American Psycho, which was a passage that more or less came from the book. Did you ever read the book?

Imperial: Yes, I've also made sure several close comrades have read it as well. I feel it's one of the most important works of fiction of the last twenty five years, a perfect attack on American materialism.

R: The review of The Church you quoted on your site from Hellfrost said, “As much as I support what this band is doing, the first four songs are beyond the point of conversation. So underproduced it ceases to be music.” Is this a validation of your efforts for you? Is this the kind of reaction you would prefer to provoke from somebody?

Imperial: The Church isn't music, at least the first four tracks. It is just four steps to a ritual and must be understood as such.

[The Church actually sounds more coherent than Destruction Ritual, at least as far as the guitars are concerned. I never did see what Hellfrost thought of DR, but it was probably amusing.]

R: You’ve said that Destruction Ritual is the third full length by Krieg. Why have we never seen the second? Will the day come? Would you say it had more in common with Imperial Hordes or Destruction Ritual? Was there a title?

Imperial: Sono iL Scherno was the second full length recorded by Krieg in 1998. Some of those tracks made it to the split CD with Kult ov Azazel and some on The Black Plague disc. It was more of an artistic experiment than either mentioned recordings, done in a very despondent time of my life. I'd like to see it released on vinyl, perhaps the excellent gentlemen of Sombre, Painiac or another fine vinyl label would be interested.

R: Just prior to Destruction Ritual, Warhammer Records released The Black Plague, a collection of Krieg’s demos and rare tracks. How did you come into contact with Warhammer, and what do you think about their efforts to release the most cult material?

Imperial: I've know Mike from Warhammer for years and trusted him greatly with the task of releasing The Black Plague after Infinite Darkness Records dropped the ball in 1999. I think Warhammer did the perfect job with it and to this day I am positive I made the right choice by working with them. They are one of the best uprising labels in the world scene right now and I know they stand by their decisions until death!

R: I also have the misfortune of knowing Warhammer co-owner Jamey Fiala. Is he not the most deep-in-the-closet homosexual you have ever known? Haha, he told me you passed on my message at the fest that he was gay. I wish I could have seen the look on his face. He said you were good at coming up with insulting nicknames.

[Warhammer has an ongoing mail war with Imperial whereby the names are changed on envelopes to degrade and/or incite controversy. For instance, Imperial gave the return address as NAMBLA on a package he sent to Warhammer, which Jamey said was probably opened by the post office.]

Imperial: Jamey spent a lot of time with us during the NABMI (North American Black Metal Invasion, which struck Germany last year) tour and proved to be quite an excellent drinker. He is also very smooth with the ladies, which is a shame since it's pretty obvious he stands in a glass closet.

[Warhammer unfortunately called it quits last year due to financial ruin. I’m still in sporadic content with Mike and Jamey, both true metal warriors. Perhaps one day we’ll see a split between my band and Mike’s grind project Cunt Sadist.]

R: Another feature of your site is an anti-Krieg/anti-Warhammer Records flyer. Who circulated such propaganda?

Imperial: Xasthur, who I am listening to right now. I guess Malefic was pretty pissed at Warhammer for some stupid shit which should have stayed between them and not a matter of the outside world. He just didn't like me because he felt I didn't uphold the black metal spirit or something like that. It's in the past now but I kept the flyer because it's definitely one of my favorite attempts to discredit Krieg I've seen in ages.

[Xasthur is a one-man US black metal project somewhat in the Burzum vein with its suicidal trance-inducing atmosphere. Imperial just released Xasthur’s Nocturnal Poisoning cd on his label Blood Fire Death Records. I got the Xasthur demo CDR from Jamey, so apparently all is forgiven on all sides.]

R: I got the re-release of Rise of the Imperial Hordes, which is supposed to have the Havohej cover of “Enlightened Ones.” I wish I could say it is total darkness and worthy of the original . . . but my cd doesn’t actually have the cover on it, so I haven’t heard it. I haven’t heard anyone else mention this, so am I an isolated incident, or was there some kind of mistake manufacturing the cd?

Imperial: No, you got fucked . . . contact Dark Symphonies since they were in charge of the manufacturing, I suppose.

R: While I’m on the subject of Imperial Hordes layout, I wanted to say how great it is. These passages especially: “A triumph among the moonlit stars I have achieved in this day of passing. For I pass through the gate, through the seven into eternity. I become everything. I become time. And I break all the seals.” And “When I am dead, may fire consume the earth.” Are these lyrical excerpts, or random thoughts of Armageddon which correspond to the general themes of the album?

Imperial: "When I am dead . . .” is a quote from the Roman emperor Nero, which I felt fitting to the concept of the album. I think that album is total shit myself, sloppy and too many ideas attempted with improper execution. The rest of the words in the liner notes is just something I wrote which flowed after a lonely night of drinking . . .

R: The liner notes say you hate the Imperial Hordes release. Is that meant to indicate a general dissatisfaction with the final product, or the experience of recording it? Personally I think it’s pure cult, particularly in the darkness you suggest in “The Great Black Death” and of course the destruction of “End of Time.”

Imperial: "End of Time" is the only great track, the rest is pretty mediocre and boring. It's just a fucking mess . . .

[Yeah, the first time or two I heard it, it was a bit hard to make heads or tales of, but I really got into it. I still think it’s a great release.]

R: “Coronation” is another of my favorite songs. Was that a conscious effort to compile some of the most blatant Hellhammer worship ever? Any comment on the last line of the song (“You have violated my sanctuary”) and the lyrics in general? That scream at the end is shattering.

Imperial: One of the Krieg songs I didn’t write so I can’t really say too much. I might re-record this track one day but it’s not a priority.

R: Let me ask you about the approach to writing Krieg material. You said in one interview that it was a lot of “improvisation.” How exactly does this work out? Is it a matter of recording riffs at random and then having drums added later? Are some riffs found by accident while recording?

Imperial: I go into the studio with the ideas and put them into order during the session. Nothing is random as I've already got a clear picture before I record. Some items have been written in the studio and have turned out well, others . . . have not.

R: Is it possible to adequately communicate the chaotic darkness of Krieg in a live setting? You recently participated in the North American Black Metal Invasion of Germany. What was this experience like, and how was the response to Krieg? How did it compare to playing in America?

Imperial: The tour was fucking excellent, got to finally meet some comrades face to face and quench myself with European ales. The crowds were excellent every night except for Hamburg and I must say far above the boring US crowds.

R: Speaking of Germany, you were hailed by Kanwulf of Nargaroth in one interview. Are you in contact with him? I think Nargaroth is one of the best bands in existence.

Imperial: Yes, I have contact with him and I do agree that Nargaroth is one of the greatest and most misunderstood creations in black metal. I just had the chance to see them live in Belgium and it was truly a great experience.

PAGE 2: Lord Imperial stands behind his lyrics Skull arrow


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