We exist to feast upon all and transcend!
After being called to light by She of the Night, Temple Below delivered their debut demo in 2008. Not wanting to rush things, it would be 2012 before their first EP, Dies Irae, appeared and was proof – if ever proof were needed – that the good stuff takes time. Here we are, four years later and their second EP The Dark Goddess is finally upon us. For more on that you can read MR’s review here.
In the meantime, here, the gates of hell are opened and the collective voice of the band, for they are legion, talk at length with MR’s Jason Guest on such delightfully dark topics as the many demons, devils and deities that summoned them into being and command their creativity, the absence of time, wormwood and sulphur, art and sacrifice, and magic and black metal before leaving us with a gift that we should cherish…
Thank you very much for taking time out for this interview and congratulations on The Dark Goddess.
zazaz zazas nasatanada zazas! Ave! The Coven of the Temple Below is grateful for its chance to spread Her rites, words and hymns via this medium! I have personally forsaken my own life during little more than 2 and a half year to delve farther down the depths in search to explore the lure, lore and rites of Lilith, its fruit will be the book called She of the Night. When it comes to Hekate, She called me in 2008 and I have written a lengthy article on Her rites and attributes that will take up half of the first issue of the magazine Alogos. With Kali I have had a close connection since childhood when I got my first terracotta figurine of Her and the Mahavidya Cchinnamasta I first got in contact with in 2009 during a long tantra and puja work which I then undertook.
It’s been four years since 2012’s four-track EP Dies Irae. What wanted to achieve with this EP?
Have it? We exist in a place where time is of no or little relevance. During these four years I have personally become increasingly eccentric, manic, mad and uncontrollable which in itself have been a sacrifice and an ordeal. This have largely been attributed to my way of life as a recluse hermit of sorts and also for the isolation which have been demanded and deemed necessary for the writing of my book for Her and the undertakings of Her rites in a suitable fashion. I have even refused to record when other living souls were around so things like that factors in. We wished with this release to commit nothing but a pure glorification of the 3 prime Goddesses which we serve, to act as a portent portal and yet as gateopener to Her mysteries! A true labour of Love and Devotion it has been to drink Her wine of Damnation and spill our blood for Her! The song Ave Trivia Ekati is a working rite that needs no adaption; me and a frater in Greece have practised it and found it highly potent. I also include a pathopening mantra here for contacting Hekate; Enovida, Propylia, Lykania, Tricephalus x minimum 13 times. The song May worlds bleed for Her honour only needs some of Her names of power for it too to be a working rite in itself, find some included at the end of this interview. Mahavidya Cchinnamasta contains Her fierce mantra within it, and when used alone should be done ca 111 times Srim hrim klim aim Vajravairocaniye hum hum phat svaha. The track can work both as a meditation, a pathworking/visualisation and as a rite in itself. Finally the fourth track is both a true portal/pathopener to the Black Madame behind the mirror as well as a transmission from Her. It is composed by the genius TWZ and he really channels tangible darkness and madness, a disturbing presence is always felt when listening to this track and as if someone is standing behind you and breathing cold mist on your neck. Listen to it in total darkness or with a single purple candle as the only source of light to align yourself to Her divine and royal line of witchdom. Sit down, close your eyes and let the darkness embrace you, feel it manifesting and seething… Open up and receive!
What kind of progression does it mark for the band?
The only progression possible, ever onward. We exist to feast upon all and transcend!
Did you have an idea of how you wanted the EP to sound, or did each of the tracks and the whole thing take shape as it was being developed?
Yes we had a quite clear vision of how it should manifest, mid-paced, keyboard leaden haunting Black Metal magic of doom. Needless to say when dealing with these kinds of forces it did not unfold like it had been foreseen. All members except me agree on that this whole recording have been cursed, many things have reminded of a light-version of ONE Grimoire of the Golden Toad and how its spirit refused its manifestation, here its rather been ordeals and various things morphing and changing beyond our control. I see it as a blessing, an unfriendly reminder that things beyond our control are running the show, a blessed curse. We have paid such high prices for its manifestation, which can’t be further discussed here. And the amazing organ parts that had been mapped out by a member from the Third Eye Rapists didn’t happen due to such circumstances nor did the mid-pace tone envelop etc. too many things to mention all. But beside that, both the music, the words of devotion and the art of the arte turned out in my not humble opinion in a perfect unity and emanating symbiotic synergy. A votive sacrifice that I with pride can lay on Her bloodstained altar!
Who is the Dark Goddess? And what does she represent to the band?
We do not put = between different Goddesses, we rather explore the uniqueness within and without the lore and love of each of the Goddesses we have devoted ourselves to. As the soothsayer of the temple I personally work with a myriad of gods and goddesses and so other members of the coven, I primarily work with Goddesses, and of those these three along with Tiamat, Kali and Naamah are the prime goddesses of my home-hearth of perdition. Yes the art of the black magic arte well reflect the three Goddesses and the forth image which is made as a poster by the highly talented Nicola Samori (website) both embody the ambient gateopening fourth song and to me can also be regarded as a synthesis between all four and as a representation of Naamah Queen of the Gateways. Im more proud of this than any other release I have participated in over the last 20 years. To see that the Dark Goddess release after years in preparation finally draws nigh its point of manifestation brings a bittersweet taste like wormwood and sulphur to my foul demonolator mouth.
The artwork for The Dark Goddess is beautiful. Can you tell us about it, what it represents, and how it relates to the music?
He have done all other art for Temple Below so the choice was obvious, he match our music and perfectly understands our weird, intricate and demanding requests. We gave him quite many directives but as always he made something completely beyond what we could have imagined. He made something volatile, something that ties all together yet set it free and unbound the dormant force, his art makes the whole release come alive, thus making the totality far greater than the individual parts as with all great magic! Beside him I could only consider to work with David S. Herrerias, Denis Forkas and Timo Ketola for Temple Below, they too would be perfect matches. We are also endlessly grateful not only to Daniel (Facebook) but also to master Samori who humbled Temple Below by letting us include a painting of his of in this our sacrifice to the Dark Goddess!
How did you come to work with Iron Bonehead for the release of The Dark Goddess? And do you plan to stay with them for future releases?
I cant remember if it was someone from Vassafor or Blasphemy that mentioned them to us or that one of our coven-members had met the boss of Iron Bonehead and talked about a pact. We are very honoured to be part of a label that is serious, professional and devoted. We haven’t talked about the future but we would like to yes. Blood Harvest we have worked with before and they too do a great work. There will also be 33 ritual set editions of this release will be for sale solely through us. Full Rites will be included in the very limited Ritual edition. Instructions for one rite for each of the Goddesses we pay homage to. In addition to that I will also include a terracotta-figurine of one of the Goddesses or several as ritual focus, a seal in clay which is created within the canon of the Temple Below and there referred to simply as the seal of the Dark Goddess, the conjoined currents of the triune void and which sterile middle circle also works as a tunnel for Her black lunar menstruum. Some editions might also include a pomegranate kapala. Furthermore I will include an incense of my own making, the triune powders to open the sidereal menstruum of the void; sand from the Red Sea, grave soil and bone ash, which is to be stirred and mixed with your own blood and preferably also the black menstrual blood to activate it. Finally consecrated obsidian arrowheads are included, to; pierce our hearts, align the spirit with the cutting of the moorings to Samsara and to fixate our path. Each and every object have been consecrated and blessed under the auspices of Black Luna for a minimum of three nights and some of the ritual tools for over a year, since 11th November 2014. HAIL LILITH! JAI MAI MAHAVIDYA CCHINNAMASTA! IO IO HEKATE!
11 copies will be distributed privately amongst our own lines and circles, 11 copies of the purple LP with artcards for each Goddess, and 11 copies of the special version of the CD that also will include a pin and a patch will only be sold to those who deserve it= are serious about the religious commitments and the ritual undertakings that comes with the practising of Black Magic and living and dying for Black Metal! This according to our intent, to the dogma of Hell as preached by Euronymous and sanctified by Satan. How it was, is and forever will remain! Be gone ye profane! If you do not believe in Satan and the pantheon of Hell you are worse than the enemy for they at least believe in their god and prophets! Hekas hekas este bebeloi!
I understand the band has been in existence since 2007, yes? Can you give us some background on Temple below, how the band formed, and its musical development?
Correct. Yes the band formed with the aim to be a Black Magic Metal of Death coven. At that time we lived in 3 different countries and never intended to play live. We were welded together by our devotion and the cruel dogma for the glory of real Black Metal in eternal praise of the Gods of HELL!!!
Was there a musical vision that you had in mind when putting the band together? And if so, how did you seek to capture that in music?
To play something along the tradition of Greek Black Metal. Just by opening our souls to the Darkness and Demons within and without, to verily become the vessels and heralds of the black living flame!
Who are the band’s main influences? And how have they impacted on the band’s sound?
“There are no coincidences only magical patterns waiting to be unearthed”KJS S. Varathron, Thou art Lord, Samael, Mortuary Drape, old Necrodeath, Blasphemy (we will do a cover of Nocturnal Slayer in Spanish next rehearsal hopefully) and Mystifier. These covens at least for me offered a more active occult side to the music compared to the Devilworship and Satanism that was going on in Scandinavia in 95-96. I am of course a Devilworshipper myself I, but I quickly noticed that most claiming to be that, up here in the Borean lands, were just that for show and they definitely did not practise black magic. To me magic is the bullet in the gun, just like Satan is the prime instigator and sole requisite for Black Metal! Without Satan no Black Metal and without magic and true purpose only impotent spells and screams are cast forth via the music! This is the Devil´s music so His deeds we MUST DO!
Though who the band members are remains uncertain at this point, I assume that you are in other bands. What does this band allow that those other bands don’t?
I don’t think this coven offers aspects that the others don’t, it just offers a different form, then again I have no other bands. Three of the four founding members of the coven have other bands as well and due to the success of these bands over the last few years they have chosen to focus on them instead. I fully support them and understand their choices since those are some of the best bands in the underground right now. Since this release was largely a product of my vision, a poisonous brainchild, I have been unbearable in my possessed and hypomanic state concerning everything involved in it; from the design, to the music, to the mixing (which VK did a killer job with by the way) to the art which all may have attributed to them leaving which is fully understandable. Nonetheless being so obsessed was really worth it, as it seems we are about to reap a plentiful bounty for Her greater glory via this release.
The few things I have ever regretted in my life have dealt with compromises and for this release almost No-thing have been compromised with. In my mind the closer the manifestation of ones vision comes to that original searing lightning thought of initial gnosis when first borne in the shared psyche of sorcerer and serpent and cast forth bright and swift to the waken mind during hypnotic states of visionary madness, when these visions manifest with minimal compromising of that immaculate first ray, it means one is a step closer to the goal. It means that this filthy, confined and limiting universe of the dying weltering gaia can no longer with her loathsome filters shackle us nor pollute and dilute the thoughts of resistance and destruction harboured in the black hearts of the chosen. O´ quicken and chasten us with your fire, hasten our black inner al-Khemia! Of the founding-brothers I alone after this release remain in the coven but accompanied with the drummer who joined us for the recording of Dies Irae. Since he master all instruments he also composed parts of the Dark Goddess but he did not play drums on this release. Upon his return from India he will be the primogenitor of the musical aspect to this fierce vehicula driven by mad devotion and known as the Temple Below.
What does the act of creating music mean to the band and its members?
Since I do not compose music, I merely have visions and do the lava mantras, I cannot answer this. I assume the very act of creating both the aspects understood by its composer and those which cant nor should be grasped, all hidden agendas it entails, the various needs for manifestation along with the reason and goal will be as many as its practitioners. Rest assure we did not do it to have a good time, our blood, sweat and tears were very literally spilt for Their honour and glory!
Are there any plans for live shows?
Yes, we have just not decided how it will manifest and what would be the least filthy and degrading way to present our sonic rituals in.
In fact we have done one live ritual, 2 years ago in the legendary DeathMagiccurrent 6 or DM6 studios in Chile, but that was more of a ritual with some music in and basically no spectators, just a handful of solemn participators from Force of Darkness and Wrathprayer. My focus is not on music, but rather the arte magical, but the only endeavour, beside my own exploration of the treasures of Darkness, I have as a goal on the event horizon is this: to within the timeframe of 2 years have played a live ritual with Temple Below opening for Force of Darkness or Acrimonious. I don’t know how it would be carried out but that is the goal.
Even though I loathe most people who come to concerts I must say that the only thing good about the last years “cloak, hood & seals” trend is that people at least try to take things more serious and pretentious. As long as pretentious does not take away the violent untamed force I have no problem with it. As long as that not escalate or rather deteriorate into becoming a trend whose hallmarks are attempts to “look the most evil in a corner with my books and red wine” thing, for then the rabid essence and flame of Black Metal has perished. Black Metal must never become impotent and safe, it should not be a welcoming experience you are met with at a Black Metal live ritual. Black Metal was, is and thus should always remain a sabbatical experience, like whirling around the flames in trance, drunk on blood and welcoming demons for possession of the flesh, possession of the mind! I am also convinced that the acausal flame residing within Black Metal has been placed there by our Master and intended to be made use of and this should be presented live in for the full effect of the trance and possession and who are we to question the intents of Our Gods?
What would be the ideal setting for a Temple Below performance?
In Chile in a ghost town close to a volcano, the town was laid to waste by an earthquake some years ago and its church have a big crack in it, so to play there was one of our visions of later years when considering playing live and yes that would in so many aspects be a close to ideal setting. We are also investigating playing in a deserted granite-quarry in Sweden, the quarry have a natural amphitheatre and there would be no spectators, we would only play for our Gods, a bit like a Black Metal version of live at Pompeii. We have also considered playing live where I hold my pujas outside, a place where great Horned Owls make their nests and gather their young in the shadow of Lilith.
There are very few bands whom I share even a similar or close to same religious devotion, dedication in damnation and vision with that would be apt to share stages with. Beside the bands mentioned above probably only these below would suit to play live with; Acrimonious, Force of Darkness, Trepaneringsritualen, Void Meditation Cult and Nightbringer. There are 2-3 more covens but those would probably be the covens which the old members reside in.
What does the future hold for Temple Below? Early days, I know, as The Dark Goddess will be released on 22 January, but is there more material in the works, an album perhaps? And will we have to wait another four years for the next release?
It might depend on the response this release will get, but a full-length album should be in the works. There will certainly be some kind of live ritual once we find members enough and a nexus worthy of opening the vortex of the Void to Tehom and Tiamat in. Both the Black and the Red Dragon seethes and dreams, within and without, beyond and between!
Thanks again for taking time out for this interview. Do you have any closing words for our readers?
Yes I do, here are some Names of Hers as a gift. These have been unearthed during my 2,5 year long research for the book She of the Night. These all be names connected to Lilith: ”I have nineteen names. One, Vestitza; second, Novadaria; third, Valnomia; fourth, Sina; fifth, Nicozda; sixth, Avezuha; seventh, Scorcoila; eighth, Tiha; ninth, Miha; tenth, Grompa; eleventh, Slalo; twelfth, Necausa; thirteenth, Hatav; fourteenth, Hulila; fifteenth, Huva; sixteenth, Ghiana; seventeenth, Gluviana; eighteenth, Prava; nineteenth, Samca”.
Another set are the following: ”My first name is Gylo, the second Morrha, the third Byza, the fourth Marmaro, the fifth Betasia, the sixth Belagia, the seventh Bordona, the eighth Apleto, the ninth Chomodracaena, the tenth Anabardalea, the eleventh Psychoanaspastria, the twelfth Paedopnictria, the half name is Strigla”.
Also the names Obizuth, Avezuha and Avestitza should be regarded as holy to us. Alongside with the sinister blackthorn, willow-tree, the pine-tree, patchouli and the bramble and briar.
”The first is Miduch, second Edilta, third Mouelta, the fourth they call Lilitha and Malvitha”. ”My first name Geos, second Edilta, third Lambros, fourth Martlos, fifth Yamnos, sixth Samyos, seventh Domos, eighth Dirba, ninth Apiton, tenth Pegogha, eleventh Zardvech, Lilitha, Malvitha and the strangling-mother of children”. Hear ye well these names of yore! ”Hear: Satrina, Lilith, Abito, Amizo, Izorpo, Kokos, Odam, Ita, Podo, Eilo, Patrota, Abeko, Kea, Kali, Batna, Talto and Partasah!”
Io Io Hekate! Io Io Hekate! Io Io Hekate! Goddess Vāmamārga She carves my eye of Three! Mahavidya Cchinnamasta I owe it all to Thee! May ye one and all nightly bleed for Her honour! Hail the Dark Goddess!