Sulphur Aeon is your new favorite band. No really, we’re just going to decide that for you right now. It’ll make your life a lot easier, trust us. We figure every few years in metal, bands come along taking the influence of bands before them and their own original vibe and blow the doors off a multitude of groups in the stratosphere. Pantera taking the torch from Metallica. Fear Factory grabbing the cyber thrash title from Ministry. Strapping Young Lad taking the torch from Fear Factory. So on and so forth. So when Sulphur Aeon came across our desk, we popped it in without knowing much about them. Needless to say, we were floored from track one of their latest album “Gateway To The Antisphere” all the way to the end. Taking influence from past greats as Hypocrisy, Emperor and Immolation, Germany’s Sulphur Aeon has forged these influences into a wonderful symphony of chaos with a fresh, modern feel. It’s brutal, huge and complex as a maze. Nearly suffocating in the best way.
We caught up with the band recently for a bit more insight into how they construct their madness and their response to the acclaim they are receiving thus far in their five years as a group.
MMF: So one of the first things we should ask is the decision to keep the names of the members to single letters. Was this done in order to keep the focus on the music or….?
T: Exactly! I don’t think that names are relevant since the focus should be on music and concept.
MMF: Upon listening to “Oceans…” and then “Gateway…” there is a level up in the production and overall vibe, we felt at least. Did you feel as a band you almost had to “one up” yourselves on “Gateway…” after the positive response “Oceans…” received?
T: I am still very satisfied with the sound on “Swallowed…” and there is no note on it that i would like to change, but the songs on “gateway…” simply demanded a more open sound. We did not intend to top our debut, but we wanted to create something that would at least be equally appealing. So there was no pressure from the outside, it was just the next natural step for us as a band.
MMF: So here is a fun one…on both records the artwork is awesome. Somehow matching the album sounds. For both did you pick the art after writing it or as you wrote the album, having a giant framed picture in the studio to stare at for inspiration? A lot of our friends were astounded at how well the music and art fit together…..
M/T: Well, when the artworks were created, the songs were already written but not yet recorded in their entirety. It was a parallel process of recording/mixing and conducting the artwork. The conceptual art is a very vital aspect of the being called Sulphur Aeon. We have given Ola Larsson a quite detailed description of what we wanted to depict, which was a lot tougher with the second album. The cover for “swallowed…” may be more iconic and focused, but that also makes it easier to describe. It’s easier to say: Paint Cthulhu in his temple in R’lyeh, than: Please paint the unholy and perverse communion of Cthulhu and Yog-Sothoth which ignites the rise of the great old ones and, ultimately, the extinction of mankind. But that man managed to nail it once again!
MMF: As a band do you feel pretty locked in on your writing process to where you know you’re aware of your influences but not to where they effect what you write? Such as “this is what we’re going for on these songs as a theme” not as “we want to sound as huge as [insert band here]”
T: I’m always quite aware of my main influences and they are nothing i try to hide, but neither do i try emulate them. There are always parts where the influences clearly shine through, but i think it is the combination of different elements that define the sound of Sulphur Aeon. Of course, M’s vocals are of major importance for the overall sound. Our main focus lies on creating atmospheric and memorable songs.
MMF: Currently the band consists of three members? Am I right on that? And you have a few live members helping out? If correct, is the plan to keep the core of the group small during the writing process so the vibe of the group remains focused or could we see Sulphur Aeon expanding its permanent camp?
T: The songwriting will also in the future be handled by me while M. writes the lyrics and D. develops his drumparts. This is the creative Sulphur Aeon. With S. and A. joining us on stage, Sulphur Aeon evolves into its second incarnation which is of equal importance. 2 different line-ups, so to say. They are not just session musicians, they are part of the band but simply not involved in the songwriting process.
MMF: Speaking of live, knowing you still haven’t been to the States yet (MAKE THAT HAPPEN PLEASE haha) we’re starting the Summer festival season. Since we have quite a few readers from the European market, are shows getting lined up or any slots on some of the metal festivals?
T: This summer we only played one show on a small but exclusive festival called “Chaos Descends”. Of course we had offers, but we are simply quite picky when it comes to playing gigs. It just has to feel right and it must be interesting for us, like who’s on the lineup and such. Concerning gigs in the States, there have been no offers yet, so let’s see what the future holds.
MMF: Last question! We know you like to explore a lot of Lovecraft-esq themes in your songs, but are there other forms of influence lyrically you explore that the listen might not see outright? Such as the world you see around you or the state the planet with all its political non-sense, using your themes as metaphors for what you see? (If that makes any sense as a question?)
M: As boring as it may sound….No. I focus entirely on the lovecraftian universe and its pantheon. Of course there is always a kind of artistic aspiration when i write lyrics. I simply don’t want to ennoble any daily news crap by writing about it. I don’t want to get political in what i do, it does not fit my personality and my musical ambition. I simply want to transport murky, dark atmosphere, eventually erupting in violent rage and back.
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