In the process of writing my recent review of Devouring Star‘s fantastic new EP ‘Antihedron’, I came to realise that there was a rare depth and maturity to the record, both musically and conceptually. They recently published brief explanations of some of the themes and meanings behind both their debut album ‘Through Lung and Heart’ and ‘Antihedron‘. But there are yet further depths to be explored. The band are cloaked in anonymity, however I was lucky enough to speak with JL who was kind enough to expound upon the concepts and themes at work within ‘Antihedron’, and the motivations and beliefs that inspire Devouring Star‘s music more generally. The answers shed new light on the impenetrable darkness of these records. Read on for the full interview.
What is it that motivates Devouring Star? What inspires you to create music?
Devouring Star and music in general for me are a creative platform for output of concepts, that is the sole reason it exists.
What motivates Devouring Star is Existentialism, Satanism, Adversarialism and Death.
Your new EP Antihedron tackles the themes of birth, existence, and death. Which concept would you say holds the most interest for you, personally? Why?
All of the three are bound to each other naturally, therefore it’s kind of hard for me to answer what holds most interest to me. I see them all as relevant.
There is no such thing as life without death or death without life. The concept of the release doesn’t really straight forward divide those three subjects, but goes into their relations.
Antihedron seems to implicitly refer to Satan, or something conceptually similar. The EP describes the ‘star below stars’ and the ‘unseen black flame’, for example. Is Satan or Satanism a meaningful concept to you, or do these terms represent a kind of caricature of your true beliefs?
Those references to the lyrics are related to the second song, Star Below, and you are correct they are references to Satanism, after all it’s Black metal we are involved with, the music of the devil.
Like described earlier, birth, existence and death are all related. Satanism and knowledge are generally involved with existing and observing this information in your physical form, but
what would faith and religion, or this sort of knowledge in general, be unless it was related also to the afterlife and death – to something ultimate.
Satanism is meaningful to myself and of course the meaning of the term and perspectives are so personal, that it differs from person to person how they interpret it, or from religion to religion.
‘Star Below’ is about owning your life to a path or ideology chosen, in this case Satanism to put it short.
Is death something to be feared or celebrated? Or perhaps merely accepted as inevitable?
I assume all answers are correct. We have had ceremonies for death for ages and the sole reason for religion is death, therefore it is already celebrated. To fear death depends on your perspective towards it. Death is inevitable, all things die, such is the nature of the cosmos.
Originally the artwork is from David Herrerias’ sketchbook and not a commission. I however contacted him about the artwork and after discussing the concepts, we found a link between my concepts and the artwork’s idea, therefore it was suitable for this release.
In the sense how it fits the records concepts, you would need to look at the two circles presented in the center. They can be considered a gate, but the symbol in general is called Vesica piscis. Art and symbolism I’ll leave into the eyes of the beholder.
In the booklet of the release you will find works by Ani Corvus also and additional art by Cold Poison.
What do you hope listeners learn or take away from listening to Antihedron? Is there a kernel of hope somewhere in the record?
Depends what it is what you hope for. What I hope with all my works for the listener to do, is to listen and observe. Listen to the music, look at the artwork and read the lyrics. From there on it’s up to the listener to interpret what sort of feelings and ideas does it invoke in him.
Musically, Antihedron seems to have a slower, doomier pace compared to Through Lung and Heart. What inspired this change in approach?
‘Antihedron’ has it’s own concept and it is an EP. The concept determines the soundscape of the release, it’s length and how many songs it is divided to.
The continuity of the music was the main reason why it is slower and “doomier” like said, the concept is about three things which are intertwined to each other, therefore the pace of the songs and general soundscape is the same, it isn’t a decision based on “now I will do fast black metal” or some sort of bullshit like that, what people seem to think. Rather it’s something that occurs in the writing process, when the music takes shape. Therefore the answer is, the inspiration is purely the concept of the release. In future Devouring Star works – what has been already written, and what is in the works – it is the same deal. So I can say, that ‘Antihedron’ itself doesn’t determine what sort of music there is to come from Devouring Star, although each writing process will inspire the following.
How do live shows fit into the project Devouring Star are engaged in?
Music is an artform, a creative platform. Therefore performing it live also could be considered as performance art, although of course the performance isn’t practiced beforehand, rather we are channeling the music towards the audience in the way how we would like it to be presented. In live music the key experience for me is when the sound and experience captures the atmosphere of the music and at best locks you into a sort of a trancelike feeling for the entirety of the performance.
One short passage of the lyrics really stood out to me, and I was hoping you could just add a little bit of context to it. “A whore rides the Earth in the form of a travesty, that what was intended as the image of God. Her blade has sunk deep and strong into the surface and it holds until the very end. Her children inhale the fumes of burning soil with unease, like as if fire would run out from the pits of hell or ash from incinerated bones and broken faith. They have grown blind to what they are. Those awoken by the poison saw, that the picture of Eden has grown faded here, if it existed in the first place.”
Consider it a comparison of the whore of Babylon towards the state of men, maybe from there you can approach the text from a different view.
Funny enough, this part itself is a passage to a work that is in the writing process, hence it is in the last song.
Any final words?
No final words, other than thank you.
I want to thank JL and Devouring Star again for taking the time to reply to my questions with such thought-provoking responses. ‘Antihedron’ is available now through Dark Descent Records in digital, CD, and vinyl formats.