French Black Metal band, Merrimack, have just released their fifth full-length album, Omegaphilia through Season of Mist, on June 9th. We got the honor of interviewing Merrimack‘s very own Perversifier. He gave us an insight on the new album, as well as previous works of Merrimack’s discography, touring the US with Marduk, and his opinion on the modern Black Metal community.
Omegaphilia is a great album in its entirety, that I feel has no dull parts or songs that are skip-worthy. Each of the few times I’ve listened to it, I’ve been drawn in, and my top three favorite tracks on it are Cauterizing Cosmos, The Falsified Son, and At The Vanguard of Deception. I like how Cauterizing Cosmos opens with what sounds like bones jingling together, the slow, but heavy hitting of the drums, and the ritualistic chants. I also like that this intro track isn’t just some short, one minute piece, but instead, over six minutes. The short and slow-paced riff at the end of the song, that rings out, makes for a good end to a great first track.
The second song on Omegaphilia, The Falsified Son, is a track that I was satisfied with from start to finish. But what really stood out to me was the very catchy, melodic, short but sweet guitar solo from 1:34 to 1:52. It’s so good, that I’ll proudly say it’s on of my favorite guitar solos in Black Metal. I really appreciate songs that can be so raw and evil sounding, but still, have parts that sound a bit more melodic that stand out and get cemented into your brain. Although Omegaphilia is packed with a lot more of those types of parts in songs I’m describing, I think The Falsified Son demonstrates it perfectly.
At The Vanguard of Deception, the last track on the album makes for an amazing end to an amazing album. To me, it seems like a “saving the best for last,” kind of deal. I enjoy the catchy guitar and bass riffs throughout, how the bass is easily heard, and all of the drum fills. I also really enjoy the layered vocals from 6:37, up until the choir vocals come in at 7:35, how the instruments being played get more quiet until they fade out entirely at the 8:43 mark, and the choir vocals are left to end this incredible track. The beauty of this song is very difficult to put into words, along with how beautiful Omegaphilia is as a whole. It’s without a doubt a 10/10 album, and one of my favorites of 2017.
The Age Of Metal: Why are there two different albums covers for Omegaphila, and what were the inspirations for them?
Perversifier: The regular cover is the one with the crucified uterus and fetus. « Omegaphilia » can be literally translated by « love for the end », the cult of death, the worship of annihilation, which was already present in the title « of Entropy and Life Denial ». What can better illustrate the love for the end, than an image depicting the hate for the beginning, the rejection of birth, with a fetus/uterus crucified, as a sacrifice?
The alternative cover you are referring to is an insert to censor this artwork for the American market. It’s hard for us to understand why the USA has such a puritan and conservative mind, while all others countries in the world would accept such an artwork. We, as French, are very much attached to our freedom of speech, but we must comply to the narrow-minded diktat.
TAOM: How does Omegaphelia compare to your previous album The Acausal Mass?
P: This album is very different from the Acausal Mass. First of all, our 3 previous albums had been recorded at Necromorbus Studio in Sweden, but for this one, we wanted to change our sound. We wanted something less dense, less moderne, more spontaneous, easier to digest. So the decision has been taken to record it in Hybreed Studios, in Paris area, and we are very happy with the final result. We wanted something which sounds natural, for instance, there is no drum edition at all on this record.
Our intention was to come back to the roots of the second half of 90es Black Metal.
We simplified our song structures and didn’t hesitate to use simple but very efficient and inspired riffs, still with the typical Merrimack atmosphere. We also decided to make the album a bit shorter than our previous ones, so that the listener does not saturate and enjoys it from the first to the last note.
We also reduced a bit the quantity of lyrics, so that the voice is used as an instrument, at the right time, with the right feeling. We think we’ve made all the improvements that we wanted to do, and we’re sure that the fans of traditional Black Metal will enjoy this record, which has all the ingredients of what made this genre great 20 years ago.
TAOM: What are the main ideas behind Omegaphilia?
P: This world can be appreciated as a never-ending Fall, for there is no more causality. Reality has been artificially “expanded” by modern technologies and structures of liberalism, incarcerating the world in a sort of “clouding” of itself, where the Fall has been materialized and mocked. Each manifestation of God, each religion, each Fate, is a mockery of a liminal one. This is the meaning of Omegaphilia.
TAOM: In the the last album, you guys worked with Mortuus of Marduk. For Omegaphilia, you guys worked with Aldrahn of (DØDHEIMSGARD, THORNS) on the track, “Cesspool Coronation,” and Frater Stephane from NKRT on the track ‘Cauterizing Cosmos.’How did you guys become acquainted with these musicians to be able to collaborate with them?
P: We have toured in the US in 2009 with Marduk, and became good friends with them. Since « The Acausal Mass » was recorded in Stockholm, we had some drinks one night with Mortuus and proposed him to make a guest appearance on the record, and he accepted our offer.
Aldrahn was in Paris a few months ago, and since we have some common friends, A.K hanged out with him one night, and during the conversation, Aldrahn explained that he was really much into Merrimack, he owned some albums and was fond of them. So We thought of proposing him to record some vocals on Omegaphilia.
For Frater Stephane, we knew his work and thought it would match the state of mind of this album, and that he would be the perfect guy to make an intro. Some members absolutely wanted an intro, and some others, like me, thought that intros were boring and useless. So this was a good compromise, since his ritual is fully a part of the first song and is quite short, so one doesn’t have to skip the first track if he doesn’t like long out of context introduction songs.
TAOM: This is your first album with Season of Mist, how has been the experience of working with them, and how did Merrimack end up signing with them?
P: We have nothing to complain about, SoM is a very professional label, probably the best we had so far. There is a full team dedicated to work on the releases, and that’s quite something new for us.
I guess we went through a pretty normal process for getting the deal with them. A few months ago, we recorded a pre-production of 3 songs we intended to record on our album, and sent it to several labels that we had selected.
We got several positive answers, and SoM was one of them.
TAOM: Due to the current events in your native city (Paris) and all over the country and even the world, did you add any kind of reference to those events within your lyrics on this record?
P: No, not at all. Our lyrics are based on personal experiences, philosophy, and ideology, not on political situations or current events and news.
TAOM: How was it doing the 2002 split with Sargeist? If you could, would you go back and make it more than two songs?
P: This record is an anecdote in our discography. Sargeist and Merrimack signed more or less at the same time with Moribund Records back then, and since I was already in touch with Shatraug, this split happened. I honestly don’t even remember whose idea it was.
The idea was to make a split EP, so 2 songs are indeed the maximum. We are not fans of split records, it’s of little interest for me, since you’re not supposed to like the second band when you want to buy a record of a band you follow. But for an EP, it’s OK. The investment is small for the listener, so he takes the risk to buy it even if doesn’t know or particularly like both bands. Also, the EP is in quite limited quantity, so it’s more a collectible.
TAOM: Do you think the Black Metal community has changed for the better or for the worse? Would there be anything you’d change about the modern Black Metal community if you could?
P: Everything has changed. The music itself, the people doing it, a number of bands and labels, the communication means, the gigs, the technology, thus the sound and production, etc… In my opinion, the main factor for this change was precisely the rise of Internet. The information started to be easy to find, and the mystery faded away. Too many people discovered this genre which became very popular. Everybody started playing in a band or creating a label, a fanzine, and thousands of useless bands were created each year. The quantity quickly replaced the quality, it became easy to sign a deal with a shitty label, and for the listeners, it became more difficult to find the jewels in this pile of mediocrity. What I hate in this scene now, is that there is nothing elitist in it anymore. Every kid now creates a logo, makes photos, and setup a Facebook page, even before having composed a single song.
I can’t really see anything which is better now that it was then.
So if I could change something, it would be the over-exposure that the Black Metal suffered from.
TAOM: Since Merrimack has had a few different vocalists, guitarists, bassists, and drummers over the years, do you think that’s had an impact on your fan base at all?
P: Let’s say that I’m the warrant of the cohesion of the band, I know best what Merrimack should sound like, and in what direction I want it to go. I’m considered by the other members as the leader of the band, but I give them a lot of space for expression, and everyone contributes a lot to the band shape.
Vestal writes the lyrics himself, as for the music, it’s composed by Daethorn, A.K. and me. I can even say that I composed less on this album than on the previous ones. I have the final word when one has to decide if we should keep this riff or abandon that one, or if this song structure must be modified. But I almost never have to use this privilege, we always find compromises quite easily. There is a real cohesion in the band.
So indeed, Merrimack has evolved, and grown up, thanks to what all members bring into the band. I think it’s a natural evolution. Who knows how the band would sound if all the original members were still in it ? 25 years after our first release, it would probably sound very different as well.
TAOM: Do you have any plans to tour in support of Omegaphilia?
P: We hope to tour for promoting the album, yes, but it’s not that easy to find a good opportunity. We try to work on it.
TAOM: The last time Merrimack toured the US was in 2009. Would you guys consider touring the states again?
P: We would like that, for sure. If Trump let us enter your territory.