Interview: Angrenost – Transcendence Through Entropy

Angrenost from Portugal formed in 1995. A band that represents the true essence of black metal. The Adversarial Flame is present in this work. We have had the honor of conducting an interview with “Pursan” (vocalist/lyricist) of Angrenost. Discussing various topics surrounding the Great Work and inspirations, among other discussions.

Angrenost which is also known as Isengard. Which was a great fortress and the domain of Saruman, located within a valley at the southern end of the Misty Mountains near the Gap of Rohan. This taken from the fantasy writings of J.R.R Tolkien. Is this statement correct in the origin of the name for you. Is there any specific reason you chose this name, and what does it mean to you?

Indeed, the name was chosen as it serves perfectly the ideals that the band defends from its inception in 1995 till present days. Angrenost is a word we selected from J.R.R. Tolkien’s universe, same as Isengard but written in Sindarin, an elvish language that means Iron Fortress. This is the only link it has with Tolkien, as there is no particular inspiration coming from his work.

Archetypical, however, it conveys for us what we defend as a band as well as what we believe Black Metal should be as an extreme form of art. We believe that the philosophy and values that define what the Black Metal movement stands for, should be hermetic and inaccessible. The iron fortress, apart from being designed to be impenetrable and insurmountable, only has one door to enter. This single door symbolizes to us the unique immutable and incorruptible path that Black Metal should defend at the core of its circle, inaccessible and indifferent to external forces.

In the inside of this inaccessible circle, is the tower of Saruman. The wizard, who, taken by the desire of power, renounces the light to trail his ascension. The Tower is a powerful archetype and symbolizes for us the defiance of the firmament and God. A symbolic way to unite earth and the divine by one’s own hand, the hand of man, expelled from heaven.

In a way, and to some intent, we had the foresight of choosing the name Angrenost for our art, as nowadays, the real threat to the Black Metal movement, idealized many years ago by individuals such as Euronymous, comes from so many bands abusively labeling themselves as Black Metal to promote their music.

If I really think about this subject and look back at the past, not even in my wildest dreams I could imagine that Black Metal would turn into what it is today, where for example you have bands such as Gaerea being considered the most important Portuguese Black Metal band of present times, when in my view they have absolutely nothing to do with Black Metal. It is hilarious and, frankly speaking, I feel embarrassed when I think of such cases.

One could argue and try to create many drawers and shelves to aesthetically frame all Black Metal albums and bands, but, in my view, there is only one form of Black Metal. The orthodox one, the one that is inspired by archetypes such as the Devil, darkness and negativity, the one that does not allow a single ray of light to penetrate its circle. All of these represent, in a succinct and general way, the values we defend and translate through the name Angrenost.

What would you say is the drive for a band like Angrenost?

Angrenost serves as a vehicle to explore the dark side of human nature. The problem of many religious doctrines is preaching the peregrine dogma that Man will only be worthy of transcending to the divine once all evil is eradicated of him, as if he would only be worthy if only made of light. 

Now, this notion, is in itself the negation of what the human condition means. Man is complete, imperfect, but complete, psychically and spiritually made of light and shadow. It is the negation of shadow, or evil if you will, that makes Man an incomplete being.

In Angrenost, we dive into this relation of evil and Man, and the relation of the latter with God, with the denial of God as an act of defiance at the divine dogma, in favor of one’s own discovery.

To fully know oneself, Man must allow himself to have an intimate relation with his inner demons, which is why we can say that at the core of Angrenost is the metaphysical concept of “The Devil in Man”. The adversary, the chaos as a propeller of internal growth and evolution. Transcendence through entropy.

We are also inspired by the biggest of all enigmas. The fall of Man in matter, personified in the myth of the fallen angel, the crystallization of the unmanifested and the corruption of flesh.

Where it relates to esoteric concepts, we drink from the source of knowledge and teachings typically hidden in “secret societies”, to build our own methodology. Such methodology allows us to construct a unique philosophical view of deep metaphysical concepts such as death, chaos, the Devil, God and the archetypal relation of these with Man.

Your third full length titled Magna Lua Ordem M​í​stica which translates as “The Mystical Order of the Great Moon” released November 17th 2023 via the label Norma Evangelium Diaboli. A label I have been following for many years. Many devoted and true artists tied to this circle. It is the reason I discovered your band. Any thoughts you would like to share about the opus. What is the vision and esoteric meaning behind this special release?

Regarding NoEvDia, all I can say is that it’s not by chance that it has the immaculate reputation that precedes it. Any serious band would like to collaborate with NoEvDia; however, very few are provided that opportunity. That is not by chance.

To enter a label so hermetic and exclusive as Norma Evangelium Diaboli, the music by itself is not enough. I remember the day that the first contact took place. They heard Magna Lua Ordem Mística, still the pre-mix without the intervention of Tore Stjerna (NBS / Necromorbus Studio) and were appreciative of the album, but still asked to read the lyrics and have additional information about the philosophy behind the album and the band before they shared a formal interest to work with Angrenost and release the album through EAL Productions.

We only closed a deal, once they understood what the band represents and the concept behind the album. I believe this illustrates how serious and judicious they are when signing a band under their seal. The door to access NoEvDia is quite narrow, so we are very pleased by the opportunity to collaborate with a label that is so aligned with our values.

Magna Lua Ordem Mística (Mystical Order of the Great Moon), uses the eight lunar phases, from the New Moon to the Balsamic phase, as an esoteric concept to illustrate Man’s path. From the moment of birth, where he leaves the ethereal plane to inhabit a body, to the moment of his death, where he leaves his body to return to the ethereal plane. From when the soul tears through the waters of Ain Soph and severs the bond to the divine to inhabit a body, Man begins his journey. Through the terrestrial plane, from purity to perdition, unto his death and return to the divine.

Conceptually, Man reaches the apex of his earthly experience in the lunar phase equivalent to the Full Moon (track V – Água Real: Na ampulheta o Diabo, enxofre por firmamento), when the Devil’s archetype is fully manifested, and from when Man’s decay starts, up to his death and when Moon has her last breath of life in the Balsamic phase.

The cycle is perpetual and, in this process, where Man defies the divine laws searching for his individuality and self-deification, we emphasize the concept of search for improvement through entropy, “Ordo ad Chao”.

The Magna Lua album is symbolically very profound, complex, and intricate to allow me to explain it in few words and the space of an interview, but what I can say is that it illustrates well the nature of our beliefs and philosophy as an orthodox form of art. 

Each track was thought through and conceived lyrically, musically and visually in a way that it describes each of the phases of human experience from birth to death. And for this reason, each song has been composed differently and the album should be understood to its full extent if listened while reading the lyrics and seeing the artwork; continually, from the beginning to the end, without choosing any particular song.

What are your inspirations, lyrically and musically?

Frankly speaking, while I am an avid reader, I cannot say it directly influences the writing process for Angrenost. Examples of some writers I admire are Fernando Pessoa and José Saramago, being the latter my preferred writer, who I consider to simply being a prodigious and unmatchable genius.

Without, obviously, wanting to compare to, I identify myself with the writing process of Fernando Pessoa, who, at a certain time, stopped reading other authors to write in the utmost personal and irreplicable way.

While there is a strong iconography and esoteric imagery in the lyrics of Angrenost, all that is written is done in layers and with non-direct meanings so that nothing is direct nor obvious. If on one side, it is true that the most versed is the neophyte in the occult arts, the more the content of the lyrics can be appreciated; on the other hand, the “poetry” itself gives room for each one to conceive their own images.

Where it relates to the music, it has been written by A. Ara, starting from the concept and lyrics and built within his own personal process and further inspirations. While we obviously follow certain canons of Black Metal art and the aesthetics of the second wave of Black Metal from where we come from, those are just pieces of the larger puzzle.

In my personal view, after the 90s, I consider for example albums such as “Fas – Ite, Maledicti, In Ignem Aeternum” by Deathspell Omega, or “Revelations of the Red Sword” by Svartidaudi, to state a few, as masterpieces. Still, I don’t believe there’s any direct connection between these examples or others with what we are doing in Angrenost at this time.

What goes into the creative process of Angrenost?

It all starts with the urge to philosophically explore a concept and materialize it through art.

In Angrenost, the process starts with the lyrical component… the lyrics are very important. The musical composition only starts after the concept and lyrics are defined. Only once the lyrics are finalized, the musical composition process begins, where the music “dresses” the lyrics so that there is a coherent translation of the concept as a whole.

For Magna Lua Ordem Mística, the creative process was no different than this… while each song should be composed to provide meaning to the lyrics, we wanted that as a whole it would transpire to the album an evocative and ritualistic ambiance, in a way ecclesiastic and religious.

For this specific album, the visual component was also meticulously idealized to serve the imagery that we wanted to portray. To achieve this, we commissioned from, and worked closely with, the artist Manuel Scapinello, the album cover and eight scenes, each tailored to the eight album tracks.

As previously mentioned, the album should be experienced as a whole: musically, lyrically, visually and conceptually.

Do you have any plans for playing live or not?

In the past, it was completely out of question to play live. We always defended that Black Metal should not serve as entertainment. However, nowadays, while we defend the same principle, we don’t completely exclude the option of playing live. This will, however, depend a lot on the people involved, the venue, the concept behind and will be assessed case-by-case.

It’s not really a priority for us, but who knows. The most important for Angrenost is the Creative process.

What are some future plans for Angrenost?

It is always a bit odd to project the future.

As mentioned earlier, the creative process of Angrenost always starts with a concept and the lyrical component. As we speak, we already have a concept idealized and have finished the lyrics for a future work. However, at this point, I would rather not advance any details.

Is there anything you would like to say to the supporters of your music?

The art we create is very selfish and centered within ourselves. The only thing I can assure you of is that the day a single ray of light penetrates our circle, Angrenost will cease to exist.

Once again, thank you for accepting the interview. Any final thoughts you would like to share?

As we are quite reserved and private with what we do, I would just like to thank you for providing the space to expose a bit more what Angrenost means. Nothing more to add.

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