Interview with Semjaza of Thy Darkened Shade

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Interview by Jason Guest

Jason: Hi Semjaza. Thanks for taking time out for this interview. I hope this finds you well. Congratulations on Eternvs Mos, Nex Ritvs; it’s a very impressive work. (Ed: Jason’s review is here)

Semjaza: Hi Jason. We thank you for your words and support.

Jason: With Thy Darkened Shade forming in 1999, Eternvs Mos, Nex Ritvs has been a long time in the making. Why has it taken so long for the band to release any material?

Semjaza: Indeed, I have been composing Thy Darkened Shade’s music since 1999, if not prior to that. I wanted to be sure that everything TDS-related would turn into an art-form that I will be proud of, in many years to come.

Apart from an obvious musical delight that I wanted to attain, first and foremost for myself, I also had the urge to reveal, as close as possible, my unconscious in the form of music, lyrics and artwork. This was difficult for me to accomplish at a young age that I was at the time. This endless stream of inspiration that is exoterically called the unconscious was boycotted by environmental debauchery and mundane ways of thought. I had to reap my skin and become anew, in order to craft something of any value.

In the beginning, my short-sighted ego was unharmed and I felt in rather odd ways that I was not ready to release anything, under the name of Thy Darkened Shade. Conversely, when my true self begun to realize its existence, my mundane ego became something that I disliked and loathed with all my heart, at that explicit moment, I established the spark to construct what later became Eternvs Mos, Nex Ritvs.

An additional obstacle, apart from my ego, was that I was living, for a period of time, in both England and Greece, on and off due to my studies. It was difficult for me to find the individuals needed, in order to finalize the first album, this was for a reason.

When I returned living permanently in Greece, I rehearsed with some drummers and singers, until I decided that Maelstrom and The A were the right individuals to transcend their prana into the first album.

Jason: Is Eternvs Mos, Nex Ritvs all new material or is it comprised of material that you’ve had around since the band’s inception?

Semjaza: I had a lot of pre-produced Shade songs during the years and instead of me choosing them, they chose their way into what we identify as Eternvs Mos, Nex Ritvs.

The album includes music that I composed from 1999-2011 and found to be as closer to my Daemon as possible. There was a feeling deep inside me, that I had to use certain musical patterns and I had to disregard other musical inspirations. Due to that, I recorded and re-recorded the album alot of times (I don’t even memorize how many) until there was a feeling, that everything was received.

Jason: How has Thy Darkened Shade’s sound changed since its inception?

Semjaza: When we started, the musical direction could be classified as epic black metal (epic Bathory, early Satyricon, early Emperor and Dissection comes in mind) nevertheless, during the years, it evolved into Eternvs Mos, Nex Ritvs and that’s what really counts.

Jason: Is there a philosophy or an ideology that drives the material, both musically and lyrically? And how does it manifest itself in your compositions?

Semjaza: Our compositions reflect what we call: Acausal Necrosophic Black Metal.

We call it Acausal, since I compose songs, inscribe lyrics, do artwork and record only when we are in a certain sacred state. This certain spiritual state portrays my insights of the Acausal realm. Since, we are this Nexus; our art has been influenced by the Dark Gods and has been a gift to the Dark Gods and forever will be such.

My view is that the Acausal realm is Chaos, the religious traditions insist that all started from it, someone can also name it: the waters of Nun or Tehom etc. I have seen changes, due to this linkage with the Acausal, that have been in unity with my only true will. These changes comprise of musical transformations, amongst other things. It is Necrosophical for the reason that we are Qayin’s descendants and we struggle to achieve Sophia and become like Him, self-created.

The ‘’code of belief’’ is thus, Luciferian, Typhonian, Ahrimanic, Promethean, Lokean etc. while it embodies the synthesis of the adversarial deities in all their manifestations during the aeons that represent the same archetypical force.

In Alchemical terms we strive for rubedo, when the male force of Lucifer will be united with His female counterpart Lilith, until Qayin is visible (higher self). It is therefore of great importance to unite within the Anima/Animus in order to ascend beyond the principles of duality, beyond good and evil.

Thus, Thy Darkened Shade’s Chaosophy stems from the path that we have been chosen to walk in this life. This path is the quest towards the unlimited potential that I found firmly rooted into what the occult world calls the Left Hand Path. The most important spiritual influences of Thy Darkened Shade are the teachings of the Temple of The Black Light, the eternal stream of inspiration that will persist to enlighten our black flames, pending the end.

This path altered my views and my existence as a whole, in such ways that I was unable to overlook. As soon as I apprehended that I possess the black flame needed to dissolve my ego into Azoth, Chaosophy became the solitary possible ‘’philosophical’’ route for this band; indicating, the endless strive for freedom and gnosis, the infinite possibilities that begin after our soul becomes liberated from the chains of the flesh and the cosmic order.

Jason: What was it that you wanted to achieve with the album?

Semjaza: We craved to create a classic BM album by pushing the boundaries of the genre further into the abyss of the soul, without ignoring the origins and the ideals of the genre.

Reflecting my spiritual progress at this specified time of the recordings and awakening a few individuals who possess the internal black flame, were amongst the aims.

Jason: Can you tell us about the artwork? Who is the artist and how did you choose him/her? How much direction do you give the artist for its design?

Semjaza: The artist that draws the paintings and did the layout is a person that is truly sealed with me and the choice for us to work together was instantaneous. Her name is Vamperess Imperium, of Sitra Ahra arts; she is doing right now, the layout for the new releases of Acrimonious and Dodsferd and I suppose, she is among the best artists in her field, if not the best. Her work is even more of what we have been wanting; she exceeded our anticipations making me thinking that there are no restrictions in what we craft. Hail the Vamperess! Let’s wait and witness her work, once the new Acrimonious album will be unleashed, a glorious work of Luciferian sculpture, that I am proud to be a part. Kyle Fite,  did also an outstanding work for the paintings of the new Acrimonious album.

Apart from that, we share with Vamperess, the same pneumatic beliefs and I consider her as a vital part of Thy Darkened Shade. For Eternvs Mos, Nex Ritvs, we offered her the lyrics and we discussed the pneumatic endeavors of the album for a few months, until we started to charge the sigils. We therefore, conversed first our thoughts concerning the God that each song represents and then we constructed (with an Austin Osman Spare procedure) and received the sigils that epitomize firm outcomes in the cosmic disorder. We then, charged the sigils and we conferred and experienced what our Gods offered through us.

It is sad to say, that due to circumstances beyond our and our label’s control, the artwork colors of Eternvs Mos, Nex Ritvs cd were printed so dim, that we were unable to recognize her true work. Nevertheless, our label W.T.C. supports our cause 100% and is going to re-print the booklet of the album soon enough again.

Jason: Having been involved in the scene for a long time, you must have witnessed many changes in the underground scene. For you, what for you are the most significant? Is the scene what it once was?

Semjaza: Yes indeed, I have witnessed a lot of changes in the ”scene”. There are those who believe that in the underground scene there are not trends but I have seen with my own eyes, the copycat behavior (behavior consisting of mimesis that the mainstream metal bands do) in people who are supposed to be ”true”.

For instance, there are those who blindly follow what a really respected artist (Fenriz) says. I remember when I was listening to Cirith Ungol, Omen, Manilla Road, Warlord, Heavy Load and obscure classic heavy metal bands, most of those Fenriz followers were despising me for not being true enough for them, due to my Heavy Metal obsessions. Nowadays, the same ‘’black metal purists’’ are chasing what their idol declares because of their sheep like behavior. To avoid any misunderstandings, I consider Darkthrone and Fenriz, as among those artists who are following their personal will, pushing our music back to the 80s therefore; they are among my favorite bands and always will be such.

The same goes to roughly everything in the scene, when there is a unique act or band, the sheep will chase their new leader. When suicidal BM bands started to become recognized with the likes of Shining and Silencer, numerous new suicidal BM bands appeared praising decease and suicide, faking what is true for those who created it.

When Noevdia released distinctive orthodox BM, alot of new bands and labels started to play and release the orthodox BM style that De Mysteriis, Dom Sathanas and Noevdia introduced, what a twist of fate. This situation is a double edged sword, apart from those who follow the trends; there are those who created new paths, for the sheep to follow. There are always two sides of the same coin; it lays upon the individual which side to choose. Unique inspiration, that represents the individualistic strive for personal independence or the copycat effect that stands for stagnation and un-originality?

To conclude, each time an exceptional movement among the BM scene appears then numerous bands are inclined to change their direction towards the given movement.

Either, this can aid the continuance of their own maturity (absorbing new influences into their already distinctive sound) making the scene shine with inspirational releases or it can lead to mediocrity and imitation.

The most significant event in the scene for me was the rebirth of Dissection. In the beginning, Reinkaos did not meet my expectations (apart from the lyrics/artwork that I considered as truly grand from the very first sight) but after warily listening to it, it became one of my favorite albums ever. What I really admire, is that Jon enhanced the black metal scene with true left hand path awareness and boycotted the mumbo jumbo occultism of pseudo-Satanism and well known circus based ”occult” organizations. I never met Jon in person but I believe that when others used just words to appear dangerous, Jon was actually practicing the arts that he was speaking of. Again, this was also a double-edged sword, plenty of bands tried to follow the path that Jon paved unsuccessfully, while others drew inspiration from his legacy and succeeded in releasing great music.

The ”scene” can never be what once was, since it evolves into good/perfect and bad/mediocre directions. The spectrum of choices is wide for people to decide in which side they are.

Jason: Since the advent of the internet, the underground appears to be less underground as it’s now easily accessible. How do you think the internet has affected the underground scene?

Semjaza: Internet is a tool and being such, it can be used in equally good and bad ways.

I do not really see a big difference between tape trading and torrent downloading (apart from the obvious quicker way to listen to the albums). Having been trading tapes was indeed a great experience for me but I have similar feelings for all the releases that I have been downloading and I discovered via the net. Therefore, I try to buy most of the albums that I like, simply because owning the actual copy is ten times better than having it downloaded in my pc, I am devoted to buy bands’ records that have something to offer, in all the aspects of their art.

However, I know that alot of people do not have the money to buy releases and this is a good opportunity for them to listen to the music, this is really fine with me also. On the other hand, I cannot really stand those who are preaching about being underground, without even owning a single copy of the records they are talking about.

The internet has affected the scene in many ways, good bands become more exposed to the outer world and bad bands have better chances to be heard. This is a good thing, given that, it needs time and patience in order to discover which bands really deserves the support.

It is also a fact, that the internet situation puts pressure on the labels to release what they promote as ”better quality music” with exclusive material, in order for them to sell more, attracting buyers. Most of the labels are trying to advertise their products as something exceptional and are deceiving the audience with funny box sets, Hollywood like video-clips and plastic productions, again the follower will swallow his/her pills. We have seen, the once upon a time underground BM bands, becoming slaves to the system, following the steps of the pop music culture.

There are of course exceptions to this rule, meaning there are bands that are exposed to a wider audience that uphold the evil banners. Watain’s Opus Diaboli comes to my mind, one of the best releases I ever owned.

As for the true underground BM bands, selling records is not an issue.

Jason: Many argue that the scene has become commercial in the sense that anyone can access the music and some bands have diluted and dulled the true spirit of black metal. Do you agree? And do you think the scene can ever retain the potency it once had?

Semjaza: I do not agree, I believe that the true spirit of BM cannot be diluted or dulled by some monkeys. Yes indeed, there are bands that are trying to incorporate ideological backgrounds and sounds that are in opposition with the real essence of this divine art form but are so irrelevant for me, that I don’t pay attention.

BM becomes stronger and stronger each day; I feel that since I constantly want to buy new releases. For instance with bands like Acrimonious, Arckanum, Dodsengel, Nadiwrath, Dark Sonority, Void Meditation Cult, Ascension, Katharsis, Abyssgale, Dodsferd, Vacantfield, End, Orcustus, Serpent Noir, Craft, Mare, Bestia Arcana, Flagellant, Nocternity, Order of the Ebon Hand, Primeval Mass, Cross Denied, Dead Shell of Universe, Spectral Lore, Ravencult, Inquisition, The One, Macabre Omen, Kawir, Acherontas, Whirling (and the list can go on forever although I may not agree ideologically with all the aforementioned bands) and labels like World Terror Committee, Noevdia, Hells Headbangers, Debemur Morti, Van Records, Barghest, Terratur Possessions, Ajna Offensive the underground is as stronger as it was. However, you have to look for the relevant albums since the genre is over-polluted.

Jason: With many bands being criticised for creating music that is more style than substance, what, in your opinion, separates a good black metal band from a bad one?

Semjaza: The individuals behind the good bands are introverts; they need their music to emulate their own souls. As for the bad bands, why should we care?

Jason: The press release for Eternvs Mos, Nex Ritvs identifies a number of spiritual entities in “the eternal quest for the freedom of the pneuma (Eternal Will) and the death of life (Rites of Death) along with the end of the limited cosmic re-birth and the final restoration of what once was and what will become.” Music is a very powerful medium for conveying messages, secular and spiritual. Do you think that music, something intangible and abstract, is itself imbued with a power to enact the kind of transformation or destruction that Thy Darkened Shade represents?

Semjaza: The amount of people I know that altered their life because of their love towards music is immense and includes my own self. Think for a while, if someone grows up with the sinister sounds/images that BM bands offer, his/her psyche becomes open to values that are completely alien to society. Then, the listener modifies approximately everything and becomes an outcast; alot of BM fans will change their behavior, appearance, thoughts, and actions, due to their BM devotion. Misanthropic feelings, syndromes of superiority, an inclination towards darkness and the constant glorification of Lucifer through lyrics, start from a relatively young age to those who listen to this music. Some of them, will create in that way an anti-nomian being, which stands against the natural order, striving to find the hidden, the nameless, the arcane.

So, if a BM band without spiritual aims can achieve such things, imagine the power of the band that consciously uses mantras, sigils, formulas that are presenting the sinister. So yes, music in general and BM in particular can offer the seeds of the black flame to the receptive ones, it can destroy and create at the same time, it can destroy the old ego and give sparks of The Darkened Shade (the higher self) to find one’s personal wyrd. The more the awakened ones, the better the probability to aid the piercing of the astral webs is.

Of course, there are alot of BM fans that their overexposure to such images and expressions make them weak, mental and perplexed. As Carl Jung said the unconscious/the shadow self, influences the being in uncontrollable ways. This shadow self is the source that we want to know, like Set did, we have to acknowledge Apep (Shadow Self) in order to become Him.

Xeper I Saatet-ta

Also let’s not overlook, that music by itself can make people enter into the state of trance, which is connected with the delta brain waves, alike with the shamanic state of trance. Consciousness then, can become so lean, that even the most spiritually naive can comprehend the strengths of the unconscious (to my interpretation, Daath). According, to Frowen-Williams, this condition can create the sensations of flying (astral projection), a sense of energy (kundalini awakening), Out-of-body experiences (lucid dreaming), imagery like journeying and meeting animals (path workings).

For more you can read and judge accordingly here

In modern culture – a far cry from the realms of the black metal underworld – there’s een a significant increase in the awareness and involvement with belief systems outside of dominant religions. Do you think they hold a significance, a truth perhaps, that more established religions conceal or have yet to discover?

If we put the pieces of all religions together, we can observe that they are preaching and praising the same forces, making the demiurgic deity, the dominant figure in their belief systems. Thinking that there is a difference between praising Zeus, Ra, Odin, Ahura Mazda, YHVH or Marduk is ahead of my understanding. For me, they represent exactly the same force that stands for inertia, restriction and the cosmic order, among other disgusting things.

It is really interesting to perceive, that many of the religious fanatics, are doing entirely nothing for their divine expansion. The majority of the Christians I know are just praying to their god, without having a clue about widespread spiritual practices, such as Kundalini awakening or Sephirotic initiation or any sort of chakra balancing or reiki. Practicing systems like the previous will not formulate any proper spiritual distinction in their vacant lives but it explains their blindness towards the cosmic order and what they have been taught that exists.

The right hand path, clearly teaches that to be one with the ceaseless universal nihility is an ultimate goal, though, the antinomian ways of the left hand path, teach that one must ascend towards the black sun and develop into a god among the gods. In exoteric words, the left hand path deities teach us the process of Individuation.

The legacy of the Watchers, the fire of Prometheus, Qingu’s black blood, Apep’s seed in Shu and Tefenet and other deific forces, develop into an inborn mark and they cannot be concealed. Dark Gods’ essence is in our blood, it is what we strive in this life and in other lives also, not to be imprisoned, actually be free from the restrains of the cosmic disorder.

The only obsession that we possess due to the false pseudo-gods of light is the imprisonment of our black flames in human bodies that brought the illusion we call earth into existence.

Here is suitable to cite a passage that my blood brother C.L from Acrimonious wrote:

Hail Thaumiel’s Star, Hail Redeeming Wrath!
Hail, Solar King of Crimson Flame, the son behind the Sun- Untamed.
Hail Lucifer! I ascend to your blazing Heights unburned,
An Icarus with Wings of Gold, grant me entrance to your Star –Twofold.

Jason: What does the future hold for Thy Darkened Shade? Do you have plans for more albums? And will we have to wait so long for the next one?

Semjaza: I am composing the songs, for what is going to be, the second Shade album and I suppose, we are going to capture it around November, and so I am quite confident that a new album is going to be released in 2013, via World Terror Committee. Moreover, right now, we are recording 2 new songs for a 7 inch release therefore; I don’t think that the wait will be so long again but who really knows?

Jason: Will Thy Darkened Shade be playing live? What would be the ideal setting for a Thy Darkened Shade show? And will we be seeing you in the UK at any point in the near future?

Semjaza: Thy Darkened Shade will perform live, given that we have found the individuals needed to execute such a task but it will take a while in order for me to divulge that we are prepared to proceed on that stage.

Hopefully, we are going to visit UK soon, since I value British legacy extremely, having offered really ground-breaking music for me like Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Venom, Angel Witch to name just a few and strictly inspiring occultists such as Aleister Crowley, Anton Long, Austin Osman Spare, Peter Carroll and Andrew D. Chumbley.

The ideal setting of Thy Darkened Shade live will be revealed at the time of its culmination.

Jason: Thanks for taking time out for this interview. Is there anything you’d like to say to our readers?

Semjaza: Awake your higher self.

Thanks alot for the fascinating interview, it was inspirational for me to answer these questions. This is most likely, the longest interview ever, there were further things that I craved to add but I limited myself into this small piece of answers, hehe.

Thanks once more.

Jason: We look forward to hearing (and perhaps seeing) more from Thy Darkened Shade. Thanks again for taking time out for this interview.

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