Back in April, symphonic black metal gods Belzebubs release Pantheon of the Nightside Gods. I wrote our review for this record and absolutely loved it. It might be one of my favorites of the year (though there’s still a lot of 2019 left to go!). At that time, I mistakenly referred to the band as both a “web comic” and as a “parody act”. I take pride in how deeply I research things before committing pen to paper, but I got this one very wrong. Obviously, this is a documentary that is presented in web comic form based on very real people and an equally real band. Many mea culpas to Hubbath, Sløth, Obesyx, and Samaël. Please pray to the darkest of gods for my punishment, however heavy that might be.
As a result of this mistake, I reached out to the band for a few clarifying questions. The comic never really gets that deep with the band as musicians playing together, so hopefully I asked some questions that answers some things for all of you. Truly this is an incredibly unique work from a band who presents themselves in an original way, and I think we could all use just a little extra information about them. Enjoy!
Thanks for speaking with me. Could you start with how the band started? What was the inspiration?
Obesyx: The band was originally conjured together by Hubbath, Sløth and our former drummer Izkariot. I jumped onboard very early on, though, and I think there was just great chemistry there, at least between us axemen, you know. Izkariot always seemed to have his mind set somewhere else, so we weren’t exactly surprised when he said he was quitting the band.
But I dunno, Satan brought us together, I guess. Our passion for dark arts, love for the occult, lust for girls with corpse paint and et cetera was obviously enough. Didn’t hurt that we all loved the same bands and making music, of course. But I guess performing or touring was never the main thing here, we just loved hanging out and toying around with the instruments and writing songs.
There are a lot of different sounds on this record. It’s a very wide-ranging album with sounds across the spectrum. Did any particular sounds or bands influence Belzebubs?
Obesyx: Thanks, humbled to hear this, of course. I think it’s just the result of banging all our heads together, you know. We all have our little perversions and we try to embrace them rather than snuff them out. Our roots lie in more, uh, straightforward Scandinavian black metal, but we’ve boldly borrowed things from death metal, prog, film scores, etc. and made it our own.
I think we all share the same background with bands like Edge of Sanity, old school Dimmu, Mgla, Emperor, Sentenced, Moonspell, etc. but Samaël, for instance is a prog nerd. So he’s brought in some Tool, Meshuggah, Opeth, Porcupine Tree, Pain of Salvation, all those kinds of vibes. Sløth, on the other hand, mostly listens to jazz nowadays. I don’t really know how that translates over to our music, but maybe it does say something about our mindset. We’re ready to crabwalk to previously untrodden territories.
Why black metal?
Obesyx: Black metal is pure and heartfelt, and comes from a place of passion and zeal. I listen to a lot of things ranging from classical music to folk, synthwave to—dare I say it—power ballads, but when it comes to writing my own music, this kind of stuff comes naturally. It’s my voice. Black metal is all about going against the current, using your own brains and standing behind your own decisions, so I think it’s just very fitting for us. We don’t give a flying fuck what some people think about us, both inside or outside the genre, we’re doing our own thing and that’s all that matters.
The documentary can be seen as both general comedy and black metal parody. What do you think about this?
Obesyx: Oh yeah, the documentary crew is a bit of burden, of course, but we’ve sort of gotten used to it. We think openness is key anyhow, so aren’t afraid to go full monty for the public, you know. We fuck up just like everybody else, but we try to play them to our advantage. Screw ups become our little victories. Where others see comedy or parody, others see a sincere documentary of an average musician’s daily struggles. But we’re glad if both metalheads and non-metalheads are able to enjoy the documentary, of course. I know some people follow us just for the documentary and that’s fine. Some, on the other hand, just dig the music. It’s all good.
Is there a plan to take Belzebubs on the road? I could see a really cool live show in my head.
Obesyx: Of course, we’d love to do a little tour! We’re currently trying to get something together, but it’s a little early to say anything yet, sorry.
What else is coming up for Belzebubs? The trve kvltists demand content!
Obesyx: Well, I’m just focusing on writing new songs at the moment, but I’m not a 100 % sure if Sløth is cooking up something new. We’ll keep you guys updated via our social media accounts of course.