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Myrrdin Interview (Albion Metal: Wessex, England)

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As just he likes to say,  “MYRRDIN plays black albion metal and dungeon music”, or “dark soundscapes”. Check out the interview with this one-man act from Bournemouth, England, UK.

Please, describe the music and aesthetics of Myrrdin.

I make both raw, punishing black metal with melodic riffs, and music from a fantasy dark age. All with an uncompromising DIY aesthetic.

0004275713_20How long this project have been active? Your bandcamp page lists lots of releases so far.

Ha! Yeah… That’s because I just recently unearthed some old tapes, which I thought were lost. (A lesson to never archive music on CD-r as they perish faster than goldfish, and yet the tapes have survived). Having spent most of my winter vacation ripping cassette audio to digital, I decided to post them online. So yeah, that Bandcamp page now has a full 12 years of Myrrdin recordings on it…

The start of the project was in 1999 when I bought a beat up bass guitar from my school’s music department. The first song I wrote on that was what would become “Lichen” on the Profane Metaphysics demo.

The first recording I made as Myrrdin was some synth parts of “An Haeleth Binnan Grene” (“A Knight in Green”) from Cold Air, in 2003. I was in my final year at university and very bored and so I got an audio sequencer software for my PC.

It cost about £20; I can’t even remember what it was called, but it was complete shite. The horns and the twinkly sound from that song are the oldest bits of Myrrdin that you can still listen to. I added the other layers to it later on, once I’d found some better kit.

I was listening to your last release “Gods of Ancient Times” and it sounds brutal! It reminded me of the second wave of BM bands but with a fresh, yet raw taste. What’s your main influences? Do you think of a special kind of music when you’re writing?

Thanks. I started on that one in 2010, right after seeing Von reform at Armageddon fest, which most people thought was a fucking disaster but I didn’t think was so bad. For a year or so I thought about transforming Myrrdin into a live band, and wrote some intense, blasting pieces that are needed to provoke energy and intensity in a live situation. I’ve put that idea on hold again now, but the results worked well on record.

I listen to lots of bands with the old, decrepit sound: Tormentor, Darkthrone, “Morbid Visions” era Sepultura, Mortuary Drape, Root, Sarcofago, etc. And most of what I do retains an influence of the ’90s bands that got me into the music: Enslaved, Mayhem, Immortal, Mortiis, Ulver.

Digipack.aiStill speaking of “Gods of Ancient Times”. It was released in cassette on a 100 copies edition, which I think is a kind of big run for a cassette release. Do you have a big audience interested in cassettes? Do you think that tapes work well with black metal?

It depends. Album sales are all fucked up these days, and from every angle. On the one hand I put most of my music out there as free downloads, and I can expect with fairly good accuracy that only about one in every ten downloaders will ever pay anything.

On the other hand, some labels choose to cover themselves against downloading by making all their physical releases artificially limited, so each copy goes for silly money in online auctions. So who’s really being ripped off in this situation?

I like the idea of music being available in a physical format for people who want it though, and I have full respect to Infernal Kommando (who are putting out the tape) for making a run that doesn’t try to contrive some phony cult status through artificial scarcity. So 100 tapes should stay around in distros long enough for anyone who wants a copy to find one without a problem.

The reason for cassettes is simply because the opportunity was there, and I think that type of music sounds better when it’s slightly squashed and rumbling.

You’re the first band from the UK on this blog. How is the black metal scene over there? Do you think it’s bigger on Europe’s mainland and in North America?

Both of those territories are geographically much larger than the UK, so it’s inevitable they have more to offer overall. Despite that, I think Britain is expected to punch above its weight in most music and, for that reason, bands from here are judged quite strictly. Ukraine is seen as perhaps the strongest European scene, for example, but really it’s fewer than ten prolific bands, and most of those are all by the same people, too….

That’s not to diminish Ukrainian bands, who’ve made some of the best post-2000 black metal. More an answer to the lazy cliche “Britain has no black metal”.

It [Black metal] seems much stronger in the USA than anywhere else now, though. Maybe because it became prominent there comparatively late, so bands still have that enthusiasm for the music. But I am basing that wholly on what I see online, and nothing of any value happens in front of the public gaze. There are still undergrounds within music, and it’s the nature of gold that you have to dig to unearth it…

Would you recommend some good underground local black metal related bands?

Gladly. There is no “UK style” thankfully, so you can get into British bands whatever type of metal you listen to:

Self Inflicted Violence – Their old stuff is some of the most suicidal black metal you’ll find. And they put out a new album recently that was more like that urban black metal style.

Portent – They play heavy and deep, often guttural and slightly abstract black metal.

Ghast – They make slow and lumbering black doom earworms.

White Medal – This band is sort of like Britain’s answer to Ildjarn. Impenetrably raw and DIY approach to black metal. A massive cult that gets respect from all corners.

Instinct – Gloomy and impassioned black metal with a streak of cold ambience, and a sense of real meaning festering below the surface.

Spearhead – Black/death metal, with a certain Bolt Thrower influence. For moments when you really want some kick drums.

Necro Ritual – They always seem to be on the lineup of any show I see. Their back catalogue has everything from Norway worship to orthodox sounding material.

Cruciamentum – Death metal, but very dark and evil. And a genuine cult band.

Thank you for the interview, now you can say whatever you want.

Thanks for your time and your comments on the last album. I handle all my own music dealings personally so any questions / contacts, (no trade offers) about the band can go straight to me at: akousmatikoi@gmail.com.

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