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Sotherion – “…the last spit of bile from a decaying meat sack.”

sotherion – “…the last spit of bile from a decaying meat sack.”


Sotherion becomes the obsidian ichor which leaks forth from the open stigmata, the very wound which festers with the contemptuous malice for that which bleeds light…for the very sounds emitted in its pulsations can ensnare the senses with its motion of blackened speech. To you the reader may the interview you are about to read generate the hunger in you to consume the works of Sotherion, so that you may become drunk in its stygian splendor.

Firstly I would like to express my gratitude for you taking the time to facilitate this interview, for it is most appreciated! Firstly,can you take us back to the origin of Sotherion from its infancy to where it is now? What was the purpose for manifesting this entity?
Hails. In some ways, Sotherion is the continuation of an old project of mine called BALROG. That’s something I started as a one man project in my late teens, around 1999. A few records were released under that name before I moved on to other things… After the end of AOSOTH’s activities a few years ago, I felt a fatigue toward modern sophisticated black metal, and turned myself to other genres of music, underground punk, diy hardcore, the old stuff. It is the love I developed for raw and unpolished sounds that led me to rediscover some of the most nasty and harsh black metal bands that I may have overlooked in the past, and in a way listening to underground punk made me enjoy raw black metal more, as I saw more clearly a link between both scenes. Around that time, a friend lent me his Gibson SG, which I plugged straight into the mixer through a distortion pedal, just to see if I could get close to that nasty A Blaze In The Northern Sky guitar tone, and this is basically how the project was born. First two songs were recorded, made into a demo tape,I got rid of the Balrog name since the Tolkien reference is worthless these days, since Hollywood has ruined his universe… And that is basically how it started.

Seeing as Sotherion can be looked on as another extension of your art,as you’ve been involved in many other bands, if you had to describe the ideology of this creation how would you speak on it? What exactly is the spirit of Sotherion?
Nostalgia for the way some things used to be done, disgust for the modern world, regression away from technology, modern production standards… The core of Sotherion is an overall sound that in itself expresses all of this, a sound meant to antagonize those who are not fully invested in this form of art, especially those who are trying to make Black Metal into a mainstream, acceptable, SAFE, inclusive and financially viable form of music. The lyrics are here to complement this, but I believe you can get what the project stands for ideologically without even understanding the words.

In 2022 the demo,”Schwarmgeist” was released to the masses, one thing that stood out to me was the short description used ‘Created in isolation, inspired by the mediocrity of our time’.So if I may ask what was the mindset in birthing this demo to real life? As an artist can you expand on the emotional content that was imbued onto this first offering?
The pandemic was a great source of inspiration, and watching the western world shiver, with mass hysteria from every side, end of the world scenarios, conspiracy theories, and many attempts by various opportunists to seize the moment and gain influence over all the lost sheeps in need of reinsurance… All very much fascinating. 

It contributed to strengthening my contempt for mankind as a species, and I took the lockdown restrictions, giving me the opportunity to limit my interactions with humans outside of my close circle, as a blessing. These are the conditions of the start of my work, and my mindset at the time.

During the lockdown period you did livestream performance with a full band in a sort of catacomb setting, how did this all come together? And was the transition to a live setting somewhat challenging in terms of finding musicians to represent your vision?
It wasn’t streamed live, but recorded, which allowed me to properly mix the audio later. And in a way it was also a way to test the songs in a close to live setting. The choice of musicians was quite an easy one, these are the guys who worked with me on THE ORDER OF APOLLYON. Since that band was on hold since COVID fucked up all our plans, it was obvious to me that these guys were right for this new chapter. Hard working, easy going, not overstepping, reliable…

Currently your material has been released via W.T.C (World Terror Committee), how did this relegation come to fruition in terms of working with them?
As soon as the two first songs were recorded, I sent it to a few of my peers, and to WTC. Judging from their roster and the way they do things, they seemed like an obvious choice for what I had in mind. Sent the tracks, got positive feedback, we made some adjustments, but found very easily a common ground.

The first full length “Vermine” was recently unveiled. From my listening experience, it feels like an extension of the demo,in terms of the energy it holds,so my next question is, how were these other tracks concieved? Can you take us through the process of how the building blocks of “Vermine” came to be?
The whole thing was done within a pretty short period of time. Once I found the sound I was looking for, I went into an obsessive phase and just couldn’t stop writing music until there was enough material for a full length record. So the album is built on the same foundations as the demo, in a way the demo is just a polaroid picture of the early stage of my work for this album/project.

I want to shift to the actual sound of “Vermine” for it possesses a similar dissonance to the demo, that raw and razor-like ambience, so I must ask,what compelled you to drape the album in this skin? Regarding the atmosphere that the actual sound creates, how does it speak to you as the artist?
As mentioned earlier, the razor-like sound is the core, I may even say it’s the pretext for all the rest. The riffs on their own are not specifically original or special, except for the fact that they were designed to fit with, and highlight, that sound. The lyrics are a commentary that illustrate that sonic chaos, more than the other way around.

One of the aspect that stood out to me was the lyrical content on “Vermine”, especially the writing of such in “Flame of Deliverance” where you write, “It is without an ounce of love for the new, that I acknowledge the death of the old” as well as on the track “Le havre meurtri” , where the line reads, “What if the better half devoured the worse?What if termination was a way out of the curse!” The delivery in your writing yields an honest vehemence to its language, so if I may ask, what is the mindset when penning such words? What is the state that you must put yourself as any artist to feel these emotions and how do they find you?
Like most of my peers, I have lived too long on this earth, and as we all glamorize death, I guess keeping on living forces us to face the truth of our condition. Slow decay, watching those who kept true to their vows die, witnessing all what we based our perception of reality being torn apart by time, by this degenerate neo liberal model that deprives everything of any meaning other than financial value… Yet we live, and we turn into bitter old men. The hatred expressed in Black Metal often originates from a form of juvenile spirit of rebellion. As far as Sotherion is concerned, it’s the last spit of bile from a decaying meat sack.  

From the listener’s perspective, how would you wish them to absorb the album? How would you define the listening ritual to understand every facet of what was created? In addition to this, at the end of the album, what would you want them to take away from this?
That is not something I spend too much time worrying about, so to keep it short, I’d want the people it was directed to to immerse in it and enjoy it for the same reasons that I would enjoy an album like this. I made it this way because it was what I would have wanted to listen to then. And like I said, I would want those it is not directed to to hate it, it is my humble statement against the normalization of Black Metal.

A highlight of “Vermine” was the ambience ,for it lends itself a cavernous language to the melodies, especially the raw-like Black Metal elements. Regarding the genre, how does it impact you as an artist, is it merely more than just music? Or does it transcend the notes and lyrics into another realm for you?
That is exactly what I mean when I talk about how different from the mainstream formatted music industry I think Black Metal has to be. This doesn’t apply only to Black Metal but to most underground forms of art that require a form of investment from the listener/viewer etc… It is supposed to grab your guts, move you, bring images to your mind, or any form of manifestation like this. Not some safe entertainment you enjoy while sharing your attention with something else. The first time I heard “Si Monumentum Requieres, Circumspice” was very uneasy for me, like I was confronted to something otherworldly, way beyond the simple audio waves coming out of the loudspeakers, way beyond a simple group of people playing instruments. That is how I believe it should make the invested listener feel.

Even though ‘Vermine’ is in its early stages of its release, have you planned anything else yet for the future of Sotherion, and since you are the sole architect, where would you like to take this vessel in the times to come? What else would you pour into it?
Some live shows will happen at some point, and a split EP around September if everything goes as planned. We’ll see about the rest.

Ending with the interview, once again, it has been a pleasure preparing these questions on my end, as well as the listening journey gained from ‘Vermine’, so thank you! I will leave these last few words with you, anything you would like to say unto the readers ?
Thanks for your interest and support. Keep on supporting underground arts.