Nightbringer: ”The pinch harmonics were a last minute addition which I feel really added character to the track”

Lucifer Trismegistus (from the album Hierophany of the Open Grave) – best black metal song of the year? A labyrinth of unrivalled riffs and dark atmosphere. Since it is such a great track, I had to ask Nightbringer – how did they make this work of art?

Naas gives us the musical details, Ophis and ar-Ra’ad al Iblis explain title and lyrics:

Please explain in detail how Lucifer Trismegistus came about – like where and when and how!
Naas: I wanted to make something that was very wicked with a haunting baroque sound that was both aggressive and atmospheric. I was also experimenting more with the duel B and E tunings between guitar one and two. I feel the result was very effective. The pinch harmonics were a last minute addition which I feel really added character to the track. The drumming was all handled by VJS. The vocals were placed last per usual. ar-Ra’ad al-Iblis had contributed some of the lyrics for this track so we thought it would be fitting to get his vocal contributions as well given he is an exceptional vocalist. The duel vocals added a lot to the dynamics of the track I would say.

What did you aim for with the atmosphere of Lucifer Trismegistus, e.g. the choirs and the tranquil drumless part?
– Again I was attempting to capture something between a baroque sound and something more aggressive yet overall dark and sinister. The choirs just seemed fitting given the lyrical context, as it is a hymn of sorts to Lucifer. The drumless section was VJS’ idea and I think it worked out well as it is a very atmospheric riff and served to break up the track a bit and let it breathe.

What part of the song came first?
– The opening riff. Everything was built open this initial part.

How long did it take to make the song from scratch?
– I composed the majority of the music for Lucifer slowly over about a six month period as I was working on other tracks off and on as well. The opening riff is even older by a couple of years. The bulk of the composition was done in about a three month window with lots of changes and refinements.

The chorus riff with the pinch harmonics is incredible – how did that come about?
– This is really the main driving riff. We try not to be too repetitive and when there is repetition of an idea that reoccurs at a later point we typically make sudar-Ra’ad al-Iblis subtle variations. In this case I did this with the choral part adding the higher vibrato female vocals, which gave it the haunting and dramatic sound I was looking for. I think the result was very climactic.

When did the song feel complete?
– I would say that once the harmonics and choirs were added that it felt complete.

What about the title and the lyrics?
Ophis: The part of the lyrics that I authored was inspired by several sources. The title is of course taken from the epithet Hermes Trismegistus, a designation for the founder of the Hermetic Tradition.  He is ”thrice-great” as ruler of the three worlds: the corporeal, the subtle, and the causal. In subsituting Lucifer for Hermes I am indicating Lucifer as our antinomian ”source,” ”god-form” and inspiration.

– The first line of the lyrics was derived from the Azoetia: ”Those soley of the Clay, knowing not the Arcana of I, are the Feast of all Nature [. . .] Thus are They given in sacrifice unto That which gave them Substance.” This is also reminiscent of Vedic tradition, according to which those who follow the Way of the Ancestors and not the Way of the Gods go to the moon after death, where they provide sustenance for the gods.

– The emphasis is on spiritual realization through death, without which there can be no true survival after the end of the body’s life. The ”smagdarine” crown-stone refers both to the ”emerald tablet” and to the tradition according to which the grail was actually a jewel which fell from Lucifer’s crown after his fall. This also refers to the awakening of the Ajna chakra or ”third eye” and the vision of eternity which destroys illusory appearances, the Edenic state reclaimed. Lucifer is referred to as ”janus-faced,” the hermetic Androgyne, lord of the two subtle currents of solve and coagula,  whose third face is however unseen and thus central, the third eye as was just mentioned.  Beyond this state, what arises is the vision of the Absolute, symbolically Silent, Void, and Black (to be understood as light surpassing).

ar-Ra’ad al Iblis: The second half of the lyric that I wrote was mainly thought to represent the paradoxical nature of Lucifer as the bestower of spiritual illumination as well as the wrathful destroyer of illusions. Also it is somewhat a meditation upon the mythological aspects of the Lucifer connected to the ”hidden” sephirah Daath, which can be thought of as an abyss of endless potential, paradox and possibility and is seen as a secret path to the highest sephirah Kether as well as what Michael Bertiaux calls ”Universe B”.

– This is linked to the luciferian archetype uttering the primal negation by refusing to submit to the binary current of creation (”The lie” or the zoroastrian term Druj), thus surpassing the universal order and opening the gate of formless perfection that is the ”stead of the Dragon” (AZ or Tiamat/Tehom). Although in itself being the formulation of duality (diversity in lower worlds), it is also the vehicle unto the boundless totality of the Absolute which is both ALL and NONE in union.

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