Glory Above & Below…
Formed in 1991 and disbanded by 1995, Greece’s Disharmony would record three demos and a cult EP, their early sound slotting into the classic Hellenic BM paradigm of militant pulses and mystical atmospheres with deep roots in traditional metal with Beheritian weirdness, ritualistic soundscaping and a thoroughly occult aura. 2017 and Disharmony have been resurrected, their long-promised debut album, Goddamn the Sun, has arrived.
Here, band founder Damien King III tells MR’s Jason Guest about his decision to resurrect the band, the new line-up, relighting the creative fire after such a long absence, the album and its concepts, and the instant effect of symbolic representation to unlock the brain and brings to surface the buried and mystic codes we all have inside us…
Thank you very much for taking time out for this interview and congratulations on Goddamn the Sun. To begin, why choose to bring Disharmony back and record again?
Hail Jason. Well, it was an enormous personal need actually. I felt kind of sick back in the mid 90’s with that black metal scene when it was becoming such a trend and everyone was copying everyone…it wasn’t meant to be this way. And I was not the only one…try to recall the infamous flyer of my dead Brother Unsane from Bestial Summoning.
I was so disappointed…I needed Time…And Time passed… I was always checking what was happening around… I even came too close for a release with Sombre rec before the owner died when he was convincing me to return… But the timing, obviously, was not proper. And we come to the day that my inner self was set aflame. I felt it. And I knew I had to return. Now is the right timing.
Deathstalker (guitars), Echetleos (bass) and N.C.M (piano/keys) are new to the line-up. What drew you to these musicians? And what have they brought to Disharmony?
Right. Deathstalker is my personal friend for over 20 years now. Amazingly talented guitarist and true warrior. Half of the songs in Goddamn The Sun are his, half are mine. And we know each other quite well and we share the same strength. Echetleos and NCM are Brothers that fate had to bring them on my path. They are great personalities and deep into black metal.
It’s been 24 years since the band’s 1993 EP, The Gate of Deeper Sleep. After such a long break, what’s the starting point for a band to make an album?
A few years ago I had a proposition from Floga records to release the High Priestess on 7” vinyl. And so it was done. Listening again to the material and dealing with the artwork, was the spark to unfold my darker side again… and I started recording 4 brand new songs for the Promo 108 that was finally included in last years’ release Vade Retro Satana LP / CD.
Did you have an idea of how you wanted Goddamn the Sun to sound, or did each of the tracks and the whole thing take shape as it was being developed?
Oh yes. I had a very clear vision of it. Soundwise, I wanted to take it from the point I stopped and have that mid 80’s – early 90’s feeling. That was the reason I had to search so much for the proper old school & state of the art recording studio for me. It should also be analog…like the old days. No drum editing or drum samples, no plug ins, no re-amping….just us, amplifiers, microphones, out board racks, a fantastic analog mixing desk and Thee Spirits. No meaning for me to do it, if the sound and the procedure wouldn’t bring back the old flame.
Is there a theme or concept to the album? If so, can you tell us about it and where inspiration came from?
Yes, there is. It is all about the Sun and his interpretations, the Traditional Biblical figure of Angel Satan, the Unholy Legions & the abandoned Heaven after the War… has of course quite a lot of mysticism inside. It could also be the continuation of the “Angels Lament” demo from 1992. I feel I somehow completed it with Goddamn The Sun.
Can you tell us about the artwork, what it represents and how it relates to the music?
It is a twist on a biblical approach reflecting the albums lyrics… The Lord of Sun and His Angels are now fallen, the Mysts took their Throne and are commanding The Dark Lord to slay and bring Chaos. On the Limited LP, there is also a poster with Angel Lucifer and The Magister taking orders after initiation to The Secrets, to gather the masses for a new beginning.
The layout and design was by Brian LeBlanc. Why choose to work with him? And how much direction was given in its design?
Brian is an awesome painter & artist. He could deliver that, almost lost nowadays, 80’s feeling I wanted to have on the front cover – Dark, Evil, Heroic with many hidden symbolisms and at the same time quite detailed… and most of all, he has a true passion for dark Art. My first question to him was if he is using any digital means on his paintings. He said: No. Then, I knew he was the Artist for me. Everything is hand painted on canvas. I didn’t want my album’s front cover to look like video game. It took us around 2 months of constant work to find the proper feeling. I did not choose from one of his ready paintings. He draw it for Goddamn The Sun.
Of course, the occult is a key aspect of Disharmony and its music. Music is a very powerful medium for conveying messages, secular and spiritual. Do you think that music is itself imbued with a power to manifest the spiritual aspects of existence as represented in your material?
I totally agree with you. Music is such a powerful weapon. Either for propaganda or intuition or even as a healing process. Yes, it can happen. But it depends though, who is the transmitter and how sensitive is the receiver, what is the aim and how true it is. Your suggestion for example, has taken a form of ultimate flesh, blood and bones, equally music, aim & truthfulness with Vangelis – Mythodea. That opus is a barrier. Formations like Kodo for example could awaken the primeval inner Ancient Spirit, true ambient music is destined to unchain the soul and connect with the supernatural (especially when the artists are using not audible frequencies). In our music, my forms and my messages, sometimes are so direct that they tend not be obvious, still people could discover and lit a path… We show (sometimes we show the forbidden and unseen), we give, they see, they feel… Our music and artwork with its symbolisms, is the medium between the listener and the Powers Above & Below.
Even repeating my lyrics from some specific songs are an actual invocation and prayer to Thee. I strongly suggest to listeners with occult wanderings and interest, to use them and repeat after me at auspicious dates and times and they may experience the transformation of Thyself.
There’s a constant desire to explore belief systems or systems of symbolic representation that are very different to the dominant religions of the west. Do you think they hold a significance, a truth perhaps, that more established religions conceal, seek to destroy or have yet to discover?
I tend to agree with you. With one difference. They are not, deep in the core, that different in my opinion. Yes, established religions do hide the truth. Religions pass through centuries… the heads, slaves of their own benefits and carnal passions, deliberately hide elements, scriptures, reality, distort the facts and turn religions to dogmas, so to satisfy their desires & egos due to their own disabilities and greed… that makes a result totally blurred, falsely directed and mass controlling. Plus dominant religions have a huge part of older beliefs inside them at their effort to replace the Old and pass it to masses. On the other hand, the Awakening these last few decades, could be a plan to mess things even more, giving only a small part of an entity and mislead the wise into a spiritual labyrinth.
Certainly there are truth seekers around us nowadays, that is almost relieving. So, replying your question, from my spiritual point of view, the desire to explore less known belief systems can give answers and hand over to the explorer the virtue of forgotten pureness. When someone is back to the roots in a world of Itself, Thee Spirits, Magick, and connection with the unseen, could lead to self awareness and self evolution. Reveal the Destiny of each one of us has. Our eyes decode an illusion to our nerve system. What most of people are able to sense, is not the Alpha, is not the Omega. Identifying the lies is halfway to the truth.
Symbolic representation has a more instant effect. Have you ever wondered why our brain is so pleased when we see symbols? It unlocks the brain (even using complicated mathematical schemes) and brings to surface the buried & mystic codes we all have inside us in a higher or lower level. Let it Rise and you will begin to ‘See’. This symbolic representation that I also adore is quite spread throughout the history and work the work of Disharmony
Iron Bonehead released the Vade Retro Satana compilation of your earlier releases last year. How did you come to work with Iron Bonehead for its release?
Oh… it was Fate. Pure Fate. Patrick and I are under the same Sign and when we met, I felt a strong striking & vital energy from his side. He is a Blood Brother of mine and we have a connection from Beyond into this circle that opened with Vade Retro Satana.
Did you go through the material while preparing the release? How was it to return to that old material?
That was so exciting and a bit of troublesome too! To get the first demo, I had to look for my first drummer that I had not seen for 22-23 years! So difficult to trace him… Luckily enough he had an initial copy. To find a decent machine to playback the reels and clean them was also adventurous. But when I sat at the studio and listen the music again from the origins, then I felt the magick of the old times… times that unfortunately will not return.
How does the Disharmony of 2017 compare to the band of those early days?
The driving force is the same. I realised it when I started composing the Promo 108. I am also an evolved version of the same Damien King III I was in 1990. I still love underground music, I still buy demos and listen music from my cassette player, I still play my characteristic traditional 80’s metal, doom metal and early 90’s black metal… exactly the same passion like 26-27 years ago.
Do you have plans for any shows in support of the album year? If so, will we be seeing you in the UK?
Certainly. The Path is there. We must walk on it. And I truly hope UK will be part of the Path. We just need the invitations.
What would be the ideal setting for a Disharmony performance?
I love concepts in live performances. That means that it is inside me to musically and visually try to bring the atmosphere I have in my mind to the audience. But the ideal would be at an old abandoned cemetery… do a ceremony to please all the forgotten souls that rest there and meet their Spirits.
Early days I know as Goddamn the Sun is just about to be released, but what does the future hold for Disharmony? Is there more music in the works?
Believe it or not, a new theme is stuck in my mind for the next album. You know, sometimes, I do not choose the next step…Rather, the next step chooses the right time to be unveiled to me. It comes and you just know it… like enlightenment. Could also be too early, right, but it has been almost 7 months from the time we finished recordings for Goddamn The Sun… Musically, we already have 4 to 5 songs ready.
Thanks again for taking time out for this interview. Do you have any closing words for our readers?
I have to thank You Jason for the presentation and was my pleasure to reply such in depth and great questions. Glory Above & Below.