ANTRISCH is a new German black metal discovery of mine. I like what I hear and want to know more. Anders Ekdahl ©2021
Let us start with you introducing ANTRISCH to the readers. What is ANTRISCH?
MW: Hej Anders! Antrisch is Austro-Bavarian dialect meaning “strange, eerie or uncanny”, which describes exactly our understanding of Atmospheric Black Metal. Our aim is to preserve the raw coldness of the 90ies 2nd wave but at the same time augment it with 8-string created atmospheric sounds that are rather known from Djent as well as solemn melodies and a strong narrative character of both music and lyrics.
What can you tell us about the EP?
MW: First and foremost, that it’ll be digitally released on April, the 8th. It’s called “Expedition I Dissonanzgrat”, [“the ridge of dissonance”, roughly translated], a five-piece concept work about a romantic poet, who, disgusted by modern life and the low life people surrounding him, accompanies a rope party in order to ascend a [fictional] mountain. On the way up he more and more evolves his inner psychosis which finally increases to delusion. This is framed by the menacing scenery of the high-altitude mountains. There will be coldness.
To me black metal is more than just the music, much more than other genres of metal. What are your views on what black metal is and how it differs from other metal genres?
MW: Well, it is a most ambivalent issue. To me personally Black Metal as we see it today is still shaped by the imagery and the attitudes that developed along the second wave, but at the same time the character defining protagonists have gone through artistic evolutions and broadened the horizon. Of course, there are purists today as well, who stick to the dogmatics once propagated by Euronymous, yet I strongly doubt that he himself wouldn’t have developed himself and his vision of Black Metal further. The very core of Black Metal is the spirit of rebellion and the urge to push the borders further into the very depths of man and that’s the point when it outgrows being merely an extreme music genre. It bears a lot of potential of being a life philosophy rather than a lifestyle, but I think for most of the enthusiasts it is more likely to be the latter. Some say that if you don’t use the ”traditional” appearance and contents like satanism and occultism, you aren’t allowed to label your music as Black Metal at all, but regarding the lyrics of the pioneers, this argument becomes obsolete. What I suppose we can agree upon is the fact that Black Metal has a most devoted following while the meaning of it has been individualized a lot more than it had 20 years ago. I’m not sure if this particular power of attraction and binding force is unique for the Black Metal genre, but perhaps there’s a stronger totality in the nature of the followers’ devotion.
What is it that made you want to do the whole atmospheric black metal thing?
MW: I think the distinctive narrative [musically and lyrically] along with the personal taste of our songwriter Mr. Scott is the nutrient medium for our style that automatically expands the definition/abstract concept of our music. We are pretty well aware that the music itself creates an atmosphere so that it’s superfluous to name it particularly, but nowadays even Black Metal has branched out into so many different subgenres that it might be helpful to specify our general route of march.
What kind of lyrical concept(s) are you dealing with? How important is it to have a message in the lyrics?
MW: Antrisch is my vision of what impact the most extreme sceneries of the planet have on the human inner life and how isolation, despair and delusion can evolve through being exposed to hostile landscapes. I’ve a strong personal interest in historical expeditions and there’s a lot of very dark material, not regarding brutality or sanguinariness but more subtle horrors as mentioned above. I wrote the lyrics for the forthcoming Expedition I Dissonanzgrat back in 2014, so they don’t fit into our historical concept since the story is fictional. But it is nevertheless inspired by some historical figures. You can find allusions to Mallory, Whymper, Buhl and even Messner, if you want to find them.
For me it has always been of greatest importance to not only writing random lyrics but to include some kind of deeper meaning – at least for myself and my very own standard. Therefore, I often use enigmatic lyrics, symbolism and ambiguity. On the other hand, I don’t feel a strong sense of mission anymore, so nowadays I don’t care that much if anyone gets my point or not. There’s always a narrative that allows easy access so to speak and who wants to dig deeper – please feel free to do so! Subsequently I’ve become my most strict critic and beyond that I feel unaccountable.
In my look everything has to match for it to be perfect, from album title to song titles to cover artwork. How do you work to make sure that everything is perfect and how important is it that everything follows a red thread?
MW: I strongly agree on that. With our focus on historical expeditions and all what comes out of it – as mentioned above – we define a very strong leitmotif and thus every aspect has to subordinate. I’ve been thinking quite hard about the best fitting title for the first EP and after some changes I finally ended up with “Dissonanzgrat”, which is an ambiguous term for in German language “Grat” has a double meaning that is “ridge” and “fine/thin line” which refers to the mountain scenery as well as the protagonist’s state of mind. The cover artwork I used is a still picture I took from Hans Ertl’s documentary “Naga Parbat” from 1953, which – in my humble opinion – illustrates perfectly both the meaning of our band name Antrisch and the atmosphere of the whole EP. This magnificent shot from a lower angle showing only silhouettes of the ascending rope party against the dazzling sun symbolizes the gist of this narration in which I describe the slow transformation from human shape to mere contour hatching and the survival instinct being released from all will and ambition.
We live in strange times right now. How affected are you as a band by the whole world-wide pandemic?
MW: We have been living in strange times all along, as far as I’m concerned. Luckily that current situation didn’t have a negative impact on our work, quite the contrary. Expedition I was written & recorded by Mr. Scott & Mr. Шмидт during the first lockdown in Germany.
Something I often wonder about is if it is special to be a part of the metal scene, if other music styles have the same kind of underground or if that is specific to metal. What are your feelings of being part of the metal scene?
MW: That’s a tough one, because I have a slight misgiving that my answer won’t be the most pleasant one. I don’t see myself as part of any scene at all. I’m part of Antrisch and this is it.
Right now, there is not much of a live scene but if you were to play live in the future what kind of stage performance could we expect from you?
MW: We don’t have concrete plans about when to present our music to a live audience so far. And I’m afraid there’s a huge gap between what it is supposed to look like and what is realistic. So, this question remains unanswered yet.
What does the future bring?
MW: Currently we’re working on Expedition II and there’s more to come. What the future holds for us is quite uncertain, but what we hold for the future is crystal clear: There are many other extreme sceneries on the planet, historical ventures worth adapting and depths of human mind and soul to explore. Keep your eyes open and your binoculars polished.
Tack så mycket för intervjun och intressanta frågor! Cheerio.