BAL-SAGOTH Spellcraft & Moonfire

Bal-Sagoth have marked the era of 90s and beyond with their remarkable six full-lengths and their epic war-like style of playing. They have become of the the leading and the most influental British symphonic black metal bands of all time.

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Hi Byron ! How is going these days? Are you enjoying in the final days of summer?

Hail!  Aye, the air is cool with the promise of autumn. All is well here in the arboreal sanctum sanctorum of Bal-Sagoth. Many thanks! Greetings to all the people reading this in the fan group. Thanks for joining and supporting the epic Bal-Sagoth hexalogy. Cheers also to Nicky for starting the fan group, and to Marko for this interview.  Hope you’re all well in the run up to Samhain!

 From Hatheg Kla to Retrun to Hatheg Kla. How would you describe those years between 1993-2006 when yo’re recording, composing and promoting your six albums-a glorious hexology that will stand forever marking Bal-Sagoth as one of the leaders of epic metal style.

Those years were an epic adventure. A thrilling rollercoaster ride replete with glorious highs and devastating lows. From the outset, we knew we wanted to create something unique and exciting. The fusion of elaborate story driven lyrics and symphonic extreme metal was always the goal. Over the years, we encountered many setbacks and negative influences, all of which we overcame. Many of our allies fell along the way, but we battled on and completed the hexalogy. There was turmoil both within and without, but the searing prime directive of the mighty Bal-Sagoth was adhered to, and our steadfast resolve and pitiless dedication to our art won the day. We were beset by the vile machinations of thralls, nithings, naysayers, charlatans, doxies and drabs. But we prevailed. Throughout it all, the dedicated fans were by our side, lending us their unflagging support. I’d like to thank the Legions of the Black Moon for pledging their allegiance to our cause and marching with us beneath the banner of Bal-Sagoth. When I first came up with the idea for the band back around 1989, I certainly didn’t think our legacy would still be celebrated so many years later. A thousand hails to all the glorious fans of Bal-Sagoth!

Could you recall very first steps of Bal-Sagoth when still tape trading was the most important thing for the young bands? Comparing present situation and those days 20 years before technically it seems that too many things have changed, not all for better…

Indeed, I recall the old tape trading scene very well. That was the primary method which I used to promote the band back then, along with designing and photocopying countless flyers and sending them out via “snail mail”. The tape trading scene was still the dominant way of discovering and exchanging underground music. That’s how I circulated our original 1993 demo. In those days, you really had to hunt down material by those obscure bands you wanted to hear, and discovering new acts was much more of a quest. Today, everything is on the internet. New bands simply upload their stuff for the world to discover, and with the advent of cheap and easily accessible recording technology, it’s much easier for a band to record professional sounding demos and self released albums. In so many ways, things are now inestimably better for bands, and it’s much easier for them to thrive within their respective scenes. And yet, I still feel something has been lost in the transition to instant electronic musical gratification. For a start, piracy is certainly now a bigger menace than ever before, with entire albums illegally uploaded to the internet to satiate the “something for nothing” mindset which proliferates. The music industry must fundamentally change to meet these new challenges, and it’s a change which is still very much in progress. In many ways, Bal-Sagoth is a band spawned of a bygone age; the product of a more simple and innocent era.

Could you remember how did you name the band Bal-Sagoth? Were there any other names at your mind during that time? Also, on several occasions you’ve mentioned that you were very influenced by Emperor during that time. Even Vegard Tveiten (Ihsahn) has stated the same idea few times.

Ever since I read Robert E. Howard’s short story “The Gods of Bal-Sagoth” as a kid, the name Bal-Sagoth captivated me. It sounded so mysterious, primal and powerful. It was always the front runner in the list of names I had in mind to call the project when I conceived the band over 25 years ago. Some of the other names I had in mind were Hatheg-Kla, Yog-Sothoth, and Yob-Haggoth. I also designed logos for all those names, which are still here in my archival vault. Ultimately I decided that Bal-Sagoth was the most appropriate name for the band, as it seemed to best represent the dark fantasy and pulp literature aspect of the project which was the primary concept underpinning the entire undertaking. Unfortunately, for various reasons recounted elsewhere on the fan page, we were initially unable to call ourselves Bal-Sagoth until the early transitionary period had ended and the true nature of the project was unfettered and finally allowed free rein.

And yes, the early Emperor material was always a prime inspiration for the musical side of Bal-Sagoth. I first heard their early material through the old tape trading network, and as soon as their EP was released through Candlelight Records, I added it to my vinyl collection. I remember seeing them live in Bradford supporting Cradle of Filth many, many years ago. The maelstrom of aural evil which Emperor created was astounding, and their use of keyboards as a prime instrument (intrinsic to the overall spell cast by their sound) was highly impressive. Their implementation of full chords played on the synth, complementing the guitars and fully integrated into the music, was fantastic. When I was trying to explain to Jonny and Chris what kind of thing I had in mind for the music of Bal-Sagoth, I took a copy of the Emperor EP to rehearsal for them to listen to. This was a pivotal moment in the musical genesis of Bal-Sagoth, because at that point, Jonny and Chris were still quite unfamiliar with black metal. Jonny in particular was intrigued by Emperor’s use of keyboards. Ultimately, we got the opportunity to play live with Emperor during 1997, at a one off show at London’s Astoria 2, and then again a few months later on a full European tour. Emperor are a unique band and “In the Nightside Eclipse” remains one of my all time favourite metal albums.

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Could you give us a brief overview regarding all your full-lengths from debut A Black Moon Broods over Lemuria to closing chapter The Chthonic Chronicles. It would be welcome if you could unveil some interesting details concerning these albums and, of course, your point of view since you’re a creator of these recordings.

Some of this anecdotal material comes from the old “Annotated Discography” on the Bal-Sagoth website:

A Black Moon Broods Over Lemuria (1995). Our first full length album! We had about two weeks in Academy Music Studio to record this, during the midsummer of 1994. The archaic glory of analogue recording equipment! Needless to say, things were very hectic, and time was short. We of course ended up running out of recording tracks, and lots of stuff was therefore recorded on the same tracks, which resulted in a lot of fun, and slider carnage, during the final mix. I don’t think Cacophonous knew what to expect from us with this album. They initially wanted us to wait a while before recording a full opus, but I was adamant that we were ready to go ahead and record a full LP, and I was ultimately proved right. A good studio and a fair budget duly enabled us to show the world exactly what our take on extreme metal was all about, and what the Bal-Sagoth mandate truly was. The Bal-Sagoth lyrical mythos officially began with this album, and the genesis of many of the hexalogy’s epic tales was here. Angsaar! Khthon! The Shadow-Sword! Legendary sound engineer Mags helmed this one, so beginning his long and glorious association with the band. A few interesting snippets of first album trivia: the guitar solo on “The Ravening” was played by John Piras, who at that time was in Solstice, and who later went on to be in COF. Mags also played a bit of guitar here and there on this album, and also on the next one, as it happened. And finally, the album intro was composed and played by Keith Appleton, the owner of Academy Music Studio. I’d been telling Jonny for ages that we needed a keyboard intro for this album, but of course when the time arrived, nothing had been composed. So, Keith came to the rescue by giving us a piece he’d created some years earlier, which was in reality part of a musical suite for a stage production of Alice In Wonderland, but which had been rejected because it was too scary and would have freaked out the kids. Also, this album was the first and only Bal-Sagoth opus to also be released on vinyl! This album hit the metal scene like a set of adamantium claws through the chest. Only when this ferociously dark and brutally baroque work landed on the doorstep of Cacophonous did they realize the true power of the mighty Bal-Sagoth. (Still didn’t stop them taking almost a whole year to release the album, though.) Bal-Sagoth had arrived.

Starfire Burning Upon The Ice-Veiled Throne Of Ultima Thule (1996) Back to Academy during another sweltering summer for the second album. Everything about this album was bigger and more epic, from the music to the song titles! Forget pan & scan, this was the anamorphic version of Bal-Sagoth. Just over two weeks in Academy, which was nowhere near long enough, but that was all the label would spring for. Also, they wouldn’t even foot the bill for new 2 inch reels, so we actually had to use the same reels as before and record over the first album! Unforgivable. Anyway, the temperature in the studio reached such crazy levels that the recording equipment actually broke down on several occasions. But we battled on, secure in the knowledge that we were creating something special. Elaborate orchestrations, intricate vocals, symphonic keyboards… this one really pushed the envelope and proved once again that the power and the glory of Bal-Sagoth was truly unparalleled. The cover art was painted by the famous Petagno. The lyric booklet was huge for its time, and contained the most elaborate lyrics yet seen. The saga of Bal-Sagoth truly continued with this album, and fan favourite stories like the Hyperborean Empire saga, the Obsidian Crown saga, and the Darkenhold mythos began here. We spent a long time writing this album, and it was sublimely epic in scope. Up against the clock, we pulled out all the stops and used every trick in the book to get this one completed on time, including playing a lot of the double bass drums on the keyboards (yes, you read that right). This album also featured a CDROM track, which in truth was little more than an ad for the Cacophonous roster of the time. (For some reason, it was also placed at the beginning of the album, which meant that when played in a normal CD player, the first track on the album was a fascinating journey into silence.) Dark, epic, icy, gloriously sinister and bombastic. Many consider this album something of a metal milestone. Which is fine by us.

Battle Magic (1998) Winter at the Academy, and time for the creation of episode III. Just back from a European tour with Emperor, we were ready to continue the Bal-Sagoth legend. This album was so intricate and compositionally elaborate that it pushed the facilities at Academy to their absolute limit, and almost gave engineer Mags a nervous breakdown (but he loved every minute of it and it remains one of his favourite albums)! Crazed and experimental songs pushed the boundaries still further, like the madly indulgent “Blood Slakes The Sand At The Circus Maximus”. If nothing else, this album proved that we were a band not afraid to take risks… a band who prized art and originality above all else. A different approach to the keyboards sacrificed much of the dark ambience of previous releases in favour of a more symphonic brass oriented sound, which although not to everyone’s liking nevertheless gave the third album its own unmistakable audial identity. Some said that the guitars, more refined than before, were also arguably less heavy. Whatever the case, if “Starfire Burning…” was our “The Empire Strikes Back”, then “Battle Magic” was definitely our “Return of the Jedi”. Lyrically, the grand Bal-Sagoth mythos continued apace, and still more secrets of the vast lyrical multiverse were revealed to the readers & listeners, such as the genesis of the conflict between the Hyperborean King and Lord Angsaar. Colourful sound, colourful production, colourful concepts, colourful artwork. The full spectrum of genius shone brightly here. Now secure as a firm fan favourite in the Bal-Sagoth canon, “Battle Magic” is an album which the erudite and the imaginative can savour eternally. “Ride them down!”

The Power Cosmic (1999) And lo, the fourth album! The first one for Nuclear Blast! A new record label! A new cover artist! A new drummer! A new bassist! Lots of changes here. A grand return to the hallowed halls of Academy Music Studio for the fourth chapter in the Bal-Sagoth saga. This album was the first one on which Jonny did not play drums and Chris did not play bass. A searingly clear production (some would argue too clear) and a decidedly less barbaric approach to the musical compositions meant that the fourth album was perhaps quite markedly different in sound from previous chapters, substituting much of the trademark Bal-Sagoth chaos and extremity for a more refined and crystallized soundscape. Nevertheless, this was still undeniably Bal-Sagoth. This album was the first during which the more science-fiction oriented aspects of the lyrics (heavily hinted at during the previous releases) finally came more to the fore. The millennia-spanning saga of the evil arch-fiend Zurra and the fabled Empyreal Lexicon was unleashed upon the legions of Bal-Sagoth fandom. Boasting a glorious cover by artist Martin Hanford, “The Power Cosmic” went on to become the biggest selling instalment in the entire saga, double-bladed lightsabers and all. Fourth album trivia: During the recording of “The Power Cosmic”, the band’s iconic sword Excalibur was stolen from the studio by local street urchins who proceeded to sell it, presumably in order to buy rocks of crack. Fearing the righteous wrath of the mighty Bal-Sagoth, various lowlife scum swiftly gave up the sacred blade, and it was ultimately returned to us, after having passed through at least one pawn shop and several worried owners.

Atlantis Ascendant (2001) The fifth album! Once more into the fray! Once more into the haunted labyrinthine chambers of the Academy! This album marked the first tentative steps on the path of digital recording, as Academy had begun to upgrade and replace its analogue equipment with some new digital apparatus. New vistas opened up before the band’s collective creative eye, and the digital age dawned in the kingdom of Bal-Sagoth. Continuing the long established tradition of elaborate and intricate orchestration, the fifth album was a multilayered, multi-textured exercise in dark and epic art. Mixing elements of all the previous chapters, “Atlantis Ascendant” struck a fine balance between extremity, clarity, aggression and refinement. Lyrically, the baroque saga of Bal-Sagoth continued, with the Hyperborean Empire trilogy reaching its climactic finale, and the exploits of archaeologist and adventurer Professor Caleb Blackthorne III making their debut, setting the scene for many of the events on the sixth album. Overall one of the most consistent, complete and most successfully realized of the Bal-Sagoth albums, “Atlantis Ascendant”, resplendent with its glorious artwork, further fortified the band’s undeniable legend. The fifth album provided the supporters of Bal-Sagoth with plenty to reflect upon, which was particularly important when you realize it would be a full five years until the appearance of chapter six! Fifth album trivia: “Atlantis Ascendant” was the last album to be recorded at the old premises of Academy Music Studio. As we were putting the finishing touches to the album, the studio was being disassembled around us. We even took some of Academy home with us, for old times’ sake.

The Chthonic Chronicles (2006) Patience is a virtue. All good things come to he who waits. Better late than never. The sixth album took so long because we recorded the music on the band’s own digital equipment, in the band’s own digital studio, “Wayland’s Forge”. That began in 2002. Over the years, the slow and onerous process of amassing all the required equipment dragged on, and on. And on. Deadlines were set. And ignored. The clock kept ticking. Several years, numerous fights, and a few catastrophic hardware failures later, we were ready to begin to consider the possibility of starting to think about recording the sixth album. Gradually, the music took shape. The lyrics had of course been written years before, and it was vital that the music for this, the climax of the hexalogy, reflect the thematic nature of the stories to the letter, stories such as the siege of Gul-Kothoth, the Catacombs of Ur prequel, the great sub-aquatic voyage to the Abyssal Plain, and of course the all important reprise of Hatheg-Kla which made clear my idea that the hexalogy was in essence an epic circular journey through the multiverse. Finally, in November of 2005 it was time to put the finishing touches to the album with a vocal session at the new Academy Music Studio. Then, in December 2005 we started on the final mix. I’d commissioned the cover artwork from Martin Hanford three years previously, and it had been locked away in my vault for all that time, waiting in the dark for the day of its unveiling. Finally, that day was drawing near. This one went right to the wire, with us mixing all the way up until the day the courier was scheduled to arrive. The album had to be completed. It had to be despatched. I had to take it and package it for the UPS courier, otherwise Nuclear Blast were threatening a release date delayed by up to a year. The Death Star had cleared the planet. ”The Chthonic Chronicles”, as I promised the world several years before its release, was an album darker and heavier than much of our previous work, encompassing elements from all the preceding five chapters as well as containing a plethora of new and exciting touches to thrill the listener. Truly organic sounding choirs, utterly genuine symphonic effects and unparalleled orchestral grandeur, thunderously heavy guitars and venomous vocals. Lyrically, the climactic and most malefic chapter in the entire saga, featuring both long awaited continuations of old stories and some all new tales, all set within the conceptual framework of a shunned, blasphemous and apocryphal occult grimoire. This wasn’t just the climax of five years of work, in a way it was the climax of thirteen years of work. Luckily, the world embraced “The Chthonic Chronicles” fully. Upon release, the sixth album received some of the very best and most glowing reviews of any of our works, and we finally, at long last, allowed ourselves to believe that the hexalogy was complete.

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As a matter of fact Bal-Sagoth has done many shows during the second part of 90s and also there were many performances in the very beginning of 2000s. Even some shows has become very known among the lovers and followers of black metal scene (especially these shows with Emperor). Could you recall some events and interesting details from these days?

We played quite a few shows in the old days, including several tours. Bands we’ve shared stages with over the years include Dark Funeral, Marduk, Emperor, Amon Amarth, Mortician, Vader, Moonspell, Sinister, Primordial, and many others, too. It’s often very difficult recreating the magic of the albums in the live environment. The albums are so multilayered and multifaceted that reproducing them accurately on stage is often something of an exercise in futility. The sound engineers at gigs often have no clue what to do with our sound. Also, I always prefer our shows when we use the theatrical paraphernalia such as war-paint, masks, hoods, swords, etc. That was always my intent for the band’s live shows. It was tough getting the other members of the band to join in with the theatrical look in the early days, but they eventually did it. Some of our shows have been played in normal gear, such as Wacken. Unfortunately that wasn’t a good show for us. They put us on as the first band of the day in the searing sunshine, which didn’t make for a great atmosphere. Looking back, we should have donned our theatrical gear for that show. I really missed my digital effects pedal too, and we played the songs way too fast. Also, I telephoned Ryanair prior to the gig and they advised me not to take my swords. Our bassist had his bass stolen at Wacken, too! And Jonny lost his passport the morning after the show! Luckily, he eventually found it before our return flight. Anyway, as for other gigs, some of our best shows have been played in Finland, a country where we seem to have a pretty strong fan base. Helsinki and Turku in 2008 were good shows with great crowd responses. One of our most enjoyable excursions was our European tour with Emperor back in 1997. Our keyboard player Leon left his passport in the van back in England on that tour, so he travelled around Europe without it. We ended up hiding him in storage alcoves on the tour bus whenever we went through border checkpoints!  And our trip to the USA back in 2007 was also memorable. It’s always good to get the opportunity to play shows for the fans in far flung territories. Our gear has changed somewhat over the years, too. We initially used a Korg M1 and a Roland XP-50, then we shifted to the Fantom. I remember we arrived in Finland in 2008 to find that the Fantom had been damaged in transit, and two of the keys were broken. Also, in the early days I used a Boss PS3 for the narrative effects, then changed to a Digitech V300. Chris also changed his guitar effects processor over the years, and our drummer Dave used an acoustic kit before eventually switching to an electronic kit shortly before he left to join Dragonforce. Ultimately, I’d love to play a gig with a live orchestra. Other bands have done it, but I feel we are one of the only bands that truly warrant such an undertaking. I’d also like a grand theatrical show one day involving pyrotechnics, lasers, snow and fog machines, a cast of extras, elaborate lighting, animatronic creatures, etc.  Highly unlikely to ever happen, but there you go.

After Starfire… and Battle Magic the band has become much more popular. As a matter of fact you got a deal with very big and promising label at that time Nuclear Blast. Could you recall some details concerning your dealing with your first label Cacophonous Records? Actually the label has released many albums and bands (Dimmu Borgir, Bal-Sagoth, Cradle of Filth, Gehenna) that later has become quite popular. What has happened with Cacophonous later?

The journalist Russ Smith first put me in contact with Frater Nihil, the chief fiend behind Cacophonous, just after we completed our original demo in 1993. Nihil wrote to me asking for a copy of the recording. I sent him the demo and thankfully he saw enough potential in the work to offer us a three album deal. Initially, Nihil wanted to release the demo as a 7 inch vinyl disc before we began recording our debut album, but by that point we had already written much of the first opus and I was adamant that we were ready to press on with the recording of “A Black Moon Broods Over Lemuria”. Nihil did eventually release the demo on vinyl 20 years later on his Exhumation Records label, so in a way things came full circle, which was cool. Shortly after Lemuria, Julie Weir was appointed label manager at Cacophonous. She later went on to set up the Visible Noise label. The first three albums are still being pressed by the company, even though Cacophonous itself is no longer active as a label.

How did you come out with the long titles for various Bal-Sagoth’s songs? Indeed, these extensive titles were quite popular during very beginning of black metal but you took it with Bal-Sagoth in even more extreme way that later has become a trademark of the band.

Indeed, the long titles have garnered some publicity over the years. I’ve always used a combination of longer and shorter titles on our releases, and I suppose the longer ones did become something of a trademark. There are actually some even longer titles in my archival writings which have yet to see the light of day.

How would you like to label the music and style of Bal-Sagoth? Although that there were obvious references with some other genres, and although that the keyboards are playing quite important role, the style has always has been grim, dramaticand colossal so to say. So, thoughout all those years I always considered Bal-Sagoth as black metal band. Do you agree with me?

Yes, I do indeed agree, although many purists would vehemently contest that classification. It largely depends on whether a person uses stylistic or thematic parameters to classify a band. Whatever the case, black metal (and death metal) has always been the bedrock upon which the Bal-Sagoth sound was built.  People often have difficulty classifying or describing our sound and style, so the term black metal is often the easiest and most suitable term of reference which can be used in relation to the band. At our core, we are still essentially a black metal band, although there are clearly a myriad other influences present in our discography also.

12371138_785043781600213_1661525124218732025_oDo you have any favorite album of Bal-Sagoth or a song that is closest to your heart, that means you a lot for some personal reasons? Very the same question could go for your stories as well.

It’s very difficult to choose any favourite albums or songs, because I like them all for different reasons. Some of the songs which I think represent Bal-Sagoth best would be: Enthroned in the Temple of the Serpent Kings, The Ravening, As The Vortex Illumines The Crystalline Walls Of Kor-Avul-Thaa, The Splendour Of A Thousand Swords Gleaming Beneath The Blazon Of The Hyperborean Empire: Parts 1 and 2, A Tale From The Deep Woods, Behold, The Armies Of War Descend Screaming From The Heavens!, The Dreamer in the Catacombs of Ur, Star-Maps Of The Ancient Cosmographers, Shackled To The Trilithon Of Kutulu, The Obsidian Crown Unbound, and Six Score And Ten Oblations To A Malefic Avatar. Some of my favourite sagas include the Hyperborean Empire cycle, the Obsidian Crown saga, the adventures of Caylen-Tor, the expeditions of Professor Caleb Blackthorne III, Zurra’s quest for the Empyreal Lexicon, and many others.

Many times you’ve stated that there will be not any new recordings of the band. That the circle is closed. In a way Emperor has done the same thing just playing some shows here and there. As a matter of fact this is not usual for bands but it has become a sort of symbol for originators of black metal scene. Any comment about this?

While there are no new Bal-Sagoth albums planned for the immediate future, the possibility has not been ruled out entirely. It’s true that the Hexalogy is complete, but that doesn’t mean that the legend of Bal-Sagoth is over forever. I certainly don’t believe that we are resting on our laurels, as some have opined. I honestly feel that we have achieved a vast amount with the hexalogy, and our legacy thus far is something of which we can be proud. And yet, there inevitably comes a time when it’s right to gather your forces, strengthen your resolve, reflect upon your achievements and prepare for the next assault. That’s why Bal-Sagoth is currently on hiatus. It’s that simple. It’s a regenerative period, a time of contemplation and restoration. Indeed, I have borne the brunt of the slings and arrows from that decision, but that is fine. When the universe speaks to you, only the foolish do not pay heed. At any rate, I have all the lyrics, titles and even the cover artwork ready for albums 7, 8 and 9, including the continuations and final chapters of the stories which began on the previous albums. But now is not the time. This is the eye of the storm. Mayhap one day soon, when the stars align, the Third Trilogy shall be unleashed upon the world.

Moreover it seems that 90s were quite inspiring for many bands and that you have , alongside with many others, created and crafted music and style which becomes very hard to be just copied. There was a quite unique atmosphere during 90s around the scene, bands and it also has left the mark at your recordings. Could you say us somethign about that?12376076_784679604969964_2153161083457418847_n

The early to mid 90s were quite an exciting time for extreme metal. There were a lot of great bands active during those years, many of whom released iconic works and went on to dizzying heights of success. Quite a few of them are still around, although some have transmogrified so far beyond their original incarnations that they’re now virtually unrecognizable as the same outfits. Bal-Sagoth has always been a relatively insular band and we only drew inspiration from a select few classic acts, but it’s certainly cool that so many bands have been inspired by our works over the years. It’s quite gratifying to know that our material has been in any way influential to other artists. However, at the time we didn’t consider ourselves pioneers as such. We were just three guys sharing our peculiar vision of extreme metal with the world.

As a matter of fact only A Black Moon Broods over Lemuria has vinyl version and now demo recordings from 1993 (Apocryphal Tales) have been printed on vinyl. But, it will be more then welcome if the other records could be available as LP. Are there any plans or deals that could lead us finally to vinyl versions?

The vinyl edition of the first album does seem to have become something of a rare collectible item over the years. Amusing, because I used to see it in second hand record stores fairly regularly during the mid 90s! At any rate, I can disclose that the entire Hexalogy will be getting the limited edition vinyl treatment quite soon. There are currently two different companies which are being granted the licenses by Cacophonous and Nuclear Blast, so keep checking the various Bal-Sagoth pages, sites and blogs over the coming months for further information.

Do you remember how did you get into worlds of fantasy and fiction in general? i guess that at the very beginning, during your childhood days, you were much more focused on movies, cartoons, comics and alike and that later much serious literature has come (Lovecraft, Robert E.Howard etc).

Fantasy and science fiction captivated me at a very early age indeed. I recall that it was cartoons, TV shows, Marvel comics and various classic movies that first ignited my love for the genres, which ultimately led me to the prose works of the iconic authors in the field. Additionally, the artwork of masters such as Frank Frazetta, Boris Vallejo, the Brothers Hildebrandt, Earl Norem, John Buscema and Jack Kirby gave me a powerful appreciation for all things fantasy orientated. That passion has stayed with me ever since.

How do you look at your life and your life opus from this point? Are you satisfied by the result? If you could, would you change something in your career?

I would change nothing. If people have derived any modicum of pleasure or enjoyment from the works of Bal-Sagoth over the last 21 years, then I have accomplished that which I set out to do.

Byron, I would like to thank you for your music and art during all those years. I am quite sure that also there are lots of others that have followed the band and the scene since 90s and that are really greatful for all your efforts. Do you have any final message to many devoted fans and followers of Bal-Sagoth’s music?

Many thanks indeed for this interview, and thanks for your support of Bal-Sagoth. It’s greatly appreciated! I’d also like to thank the legions of fans who have pledged their allegiance to us since 1993. Without them, the dark crusade of Bal-Sagoth would not have been possible. A thousand hails to you all, and epic regards! Blodu Ok Jarna!

  • BYRON: October 2014 (C.E.)
  • Interview by Marko Miranovic
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