Interview with Luke of Maledicere
Interviewed by Wilhelm, October 2008

Maledicere is a new American band playing in a style that is very dark and aggressive; quite similar actually to Nightbringer (signed to Full Moon Productions). I was completely surprised by the quality of Maledicere's two demo tapes, with their second and most recent output showing a heavy & unique progression into territory alien to the static world of modern underground black metal. If Maledicere continues to pursue their potential to the fullest, and with the addition of guitarist Tanner Anderson who is an accomplished musician in his own right, the future for this band looks very, very good.



Wilhelm: Since your band is quite new, and unknown to most people reading this, a short Maledicere abstract would be proper.

Luke: Formed in the fall of 2006 Maledicere is the workings of two friends and Satanists based out of Minneapolis Mn. Maledicere performs heavy, aggressive yet atmospheric Black Metal. Maledicere has released two tape demos: Black Prosperity and Hate (or self titled) and Scythe of the Sun.

W: How would you define Maledicere in relation to the rest of the black metal scene in the United States? Is there anything Maledicere does that is different, better or less ingrate than your peers?

L: I do think we do things better than some of our peers, but really to define peers is perhaps where we should start. I don't pay attention to the clown distros and bands that exist on networking sites and solely on the Internet for the purpose of verbal backrubs and pissing up each others' backs. Maledicere moves only with intention, only when inspired and avoids pandering to the current trend of the digital garbage black metal that participates fully in the worst parts of the culture these people supposedly hate. On that same token we also donít avoid the world, we are not shut-ins, we perform live, we use our real names, but above all we approach our music and lives with dedication and severity which is something I feel is lacking everywhere today.

W: Let's start with the first self titled demo tape.

L: Musically more basic than my efforts with other groups, I wanted it to be straightforward and hard hitting. All the riffs were written to be played by one guitar for future live settings utilizing drone notes etc. so although two guitar tracks and bass were recorded there is little presence of counterpoint or lead passages. The interludes were pieced together from recordings I made with a handheld tape deck and assembled on my four track. As far as the lyrics are concerned I wanted them to be obvious, hateful propaganda that didn't hide behind the veil of art and obscurity. At the time they were composed I was working long days in a architectural metal shop in NYC during the hottest days of summer. Abortions had just been made illegal in South Dakota and a feeling of hatred rose in me, unmatched by any other I had experienced. The idea of thoughtless breeding supported by the flawed Christian notions of innocence and grace sickened me. I was also seeing all around me a disposable hip culture based on irony, with fads changing faster than the seasons, where the idea and extent of self is derived from how fast one can change their skin - a coked up, amplified version of everything disgusting and baseless in this society. I also was pondering how  close in the past century the west had come to shedding judeo-Christian monotheist ideology, only to be replaced by capitalist based global mono-culture with every herd characteristic of christianity left intact and expounded upon by materialism. All of this made me feel as though I needed to step out from the spiritual self exploration (of aberrant path) and attack the filth I saw in front of me.  Maledicere means to curse, or speak ill of something, which aptly applies to the crude nature of the lyrics on this demo.

W: Now, we can move on to the second tape, "Scythe of the sun".

L: Jordan and I spent most of the following summer working on the tracks that would become Scythe of the Sun.  The approach to this tape was quite similar to the ST tape using hard-hitting dissonant riffs that remain atmospheric. I feel both the compositions and lyric placement were much more thought out than the previous effort.  Lyrically this demo has to do with melding your ethos with your actions and truly heading whatís on the wind. We all live with a limited amount of time and as my belief dictates I must make the most of that. Often this means shedding those things that hold you back, remaining steadfast to your goals and aspirations and above all to remain centered in a of life of substance, in a world of lost and vapid people.

W: How have reactions been? What is something that most listeners have commented on, complimented or maligned? Do these things have any bearing on how you would approach writing music afterwards?

L: Reactions have been positive, however Iíve done little to promote the releases save for this interview, sending a few copies to worm gear a few other zines and trading with distros. I'd rather work on improvements in Maledicere and the rest of my life than seek acceptance and feedback. With that said, most people who have complimented the tapes spoke of the aggressive nature of the music while also remaining atmospheric and dark.  The demos have also piqued the interest of people who would like to work with us in one way or another. As far as writing after being criticized is concerned; I like to know whether or not what Iím doing is effective but I rarely give credence to opinions outside of those few that have earned my trust and respect.

W: Namely, what bands have helped to inspire Maledicere's dark & aggressive sound? I find the band shares some similarities with the great Nightbringer.

L: Honestly I hadn't listened to a track of Nightbringer until last week, although I did enjoy what I heard. The bands that have been more influential in the past years to me are;  Hate Forest, Infernum, GBK, The Work that Transforms God by Blut Aus Nord (although the dissonance had a lasting impression for some reason I don't own this!),  Clandestine Blaze, The Moon Lay Hidden (subsequently Der Blutharsch as well) , Of the Wand and The Moon, and some Death in June to name a few.

W: The layout aesthetics for each tape are unusual when I compare them to anything else I've seen from a black metal-based band. What do some of these symbols mean, and how do they correspond with Maledicere?

L: The symbol that appears on both demos is that of the pentagram surrounded by a wreath of oak, This symbol has had several meanings for me, even before I considered my self a Satanist and partially removed from its historical context, I had always felt a certain earthbound power within the downward pointing pentagram so in this case it represents a Spiritual connection with the physical earth and therefore a conscious connection with the transcendence and equilibrium  that I find present within nature. The wreath of oak is representative of our strength, steadfast nature as well as a reference to our European heritage as the oak is sacred to the Celts and Germanic peoples from both of which I owe lineage. Other symbols used such as the variation of the sun wheel with the scythe motif points to the power of the cosmic, the nature of life in respect to death and the cyclic nature of the world. Photos are also included of the altar I perform most of the rituals that have proved an important part of the execution of my will and transcendent exploration. I would say that most of these symbols have had intuitive meaning and significance to Maledicere but for better or worse I could hardly consider myself an expert in their historical context.

W: In what ways will the third demo differ from the previous two? There's already a noticeable progression from the self titled tape to "Scythe of the sun".

L: I think the next release will realize more fully the strong and unique aspects of Maledicere and expound upon them.  As hinted in Scythe, the oppressive and brutal elements of the force Life itself will be examined. Also the recent addition of Tanner Anderson on second guitar will no doubt add dimension to the music.

W: How does Aberrant Path, your other band, differ from Maledicere?

L: That was a younger project and now defunct. I think AP had some beginner's luck as well as ambition although not the cohesive vision to back it up. There were those who appreciated the Swedish elements amongst other things.  Things just kind of drifted apart for us and we all realized that none of had the same goals.

W: If a well know underground label were to approach you now to release a Maledicere album, would you be receptive to it or not?

L: Maledicere has had offers but usually I end up being  to standoffish to go anywhere with them. It all depends though,  Ideology and trust is the most important to me, there is talk here and there but nothing concrete to speak of now.  All said I'm fairly comfortable with making my own releases.

W: Tell me something more about how Maledicere is important to you and reflects your thoughts or values, if at all.

L: Maledicere is quite important to me, I handle almost all of the music writing, all of the lyric writing as well as layouts, tape trading etc, Maledicere is the extension of my values and thoughts observing and interacting with the world around me. Maledicere has been about the friction between my core and the folly of society around me; also itís been the outward oath of my earthbound spirit and experience with the transcendent.

W: Where in particular has Western society failed, and what would be integral to something "good" that would replace it?

L: Since the industrial revolution humans have been turned into units, teeth on a cog, as opposed to full unified beings that could take (more) care of themselves. Production informs birthrate informs Production and so on. The belief that all people can be given the same basic things and can be made to have the same basic outlook has permeated every major movement of the past hundred years.  Organic bonds have been destroyed, craft and Craftsmen  have been destroyed and replaced in the "Free World" with infantile ideals of  individuality given to people who can barely tie their shoes. Necessity will replace this it and it is only a matter of time until we pass the event horizon and have to build up again from the ashes.    Perhaps smaller societies that don't behave like human anthills and that are less vulnerable to centralization would be better and as basic a suggestion I could make.

W: Maledicere has begun to perform live at select venues; and, what I've heard from the tape you sent me, the crowd reaction was quite 'positive' to say the least. What kind of people are attracted to your performances, and how does playing live benefit Maledicere?

L: We have played a handful of times since our inception and have put together several shows around the solstices. It's hard to say what kind of people are attracted to our performances as we have chosen to do the solstice shows in houses in order to pass out large amounts of wine and practice freely other parts of our rituals, as a result we end up playing for people that otherwise might find themselves at other underground shows of various kinds in the twin cities and most importantly in these cases close friends,  other local Metalheads and Satanists.  At these shows the wine pours freely, the smell of blood and sweat hangs in the air, and I keep the demos reserved for only those I know they are deserved. These performances benefit us because they test our ability to stand for our beliefs which by virtue are not shared by all audience members. They are also a way of creating a tangible atmosphere for the music we make and we are able to feed off the energy we invoke. We donít play often and the reason is that Maledicere is a step away from the petty world and we don't compromise for money-grubbing promoters or scene politics on any side.

W: Have you ever been approached/heckled about your band by someone who was "against" what you are doing?

L: I've been approached by Christians on the street in response to shirts or talismans, but really most keep their mouth shut. I've had to deal the slimy nature of people at shows more than overt opposition which is more like trying to pin down cockroaches than confrontation.

W: Outside of Maledicere, what should someone expect of meeting you in person? And on the reverse, how do you approach others within the world in which you live?

L: Well I hope the way I have answered the other questions in this  interview  people get an idea of who they might expect to meet. I'm dedicated, straightforward, I give the decency to people that I would have them give me unless given a reason to do otherwise; I'm polite but I'll tell someone if they're wrong, I won't hesitate to do so if they disrupt me and I will make sure that its understood. I like good conversation and spend time with other productive friends. I enjoy varied experiences but approach life always with my outlook in mind.

W: How does having two others in Maledicere work out for you, and your ability to create with it? Is the band's creative control within your hands alone, or does each member play an integral part in what is written, and then, finally recorded?

L: Working with Jordan and Tanner has been great and far better than my past experiences within other bands. I can honestly say that I take on most of the creative responsibility and like holding the reins but I appreciate what Jordan and Tanner bring to Maledicere both creatively and personality wise. As I said I write a majority of the riffs and handle most aspects of creativity but Tanner is contributing riffs as well. Jordan greatly helps arranging the songs, blasts hard, and we share very similar ideologies. Jordan and I started Maledicere together and it will end with us.

W: Black metal seems to favor a more intellectual variety of bands nowadays than in years past- with that I mean ideological input and strictly expressed agendas whether from the theistic Satanist, NS or Philosophoccult have begun to replace the usual bantar of "Beer, woman & Satan" of the crop of yesteryear. Whether this is a good thing, or not, is a topic of debate- with that in mind, what is your position on intellectualizing black metal and other Satanic/underground music?

L:There is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying beer, woman and Satan unless youíre a Christian or jew, as you canít enjoy beer through a hole in a sheet. I dislike people that neglect their will and chose to remain ignorant but I donít think you have to give up the beer or bathing in the vagina of a woman to incorporate intellectual or spiritual growth.

W: Satanism is used in a variety of contexts that vary in form from LaVey's more Anarco-Atheistic approach to the direct worship of an actual spiritual deity. As a result, their is very little consensus to what "true" Satanism actually is. As a Satanist, what is it to you?

L: Satanism to me is first a opposition to Christianity and its lies, and secondly it is the pursuit of knowledge and well rounded growth, and importantly, balance in my person, It is the sacrifice of oneself for oneself. I look to my ancestry for a more informed  sense of origin, I look to the dark for balance that has been denied.  I don't worship the deity Satan but neither do I worship myself. I see no reason to grovel as a worm and I see no benefit in blindly believing yourself a god. I really find the quality of undue pride in oneself to be counter productive. You might call what I practice it spiritual atheism or earthbound spirituality, I acknowledge and seek transcendence, I acknowledge the power in nature and I acknowledge there is much more to be had than the surface the mundane world offers and I pursue what this orientation holds.

W: Why do you suppose some bands have forsaken the Occult and Satanism for "empirical" subject matter? What, does this shift in content represent? More importantly, does it impact the band's ability to compose music? 

L: I suppose I'd need an example. ha ha.

W: How do you foresee yourself, and Maledicere as an extension of you, growing creatively in a static genre that more or less has already fulfilled it's absolute greatest potential years ago? Or, is the last part of my inquiry incorrect, and what will demonstrate it to be so?

L: I will do what I feel is right for Maledicere, Iím not concerned with pushing black metal as a genre to new levels but I certainly donít feel beholden to releasing the same shit over and over again. Whether or not Black Metal is stagnant is not important to me, if it produces an effective atmosphere it doesnít matter. I think too much importance is placed on originality and often quality is replaced by being original.

W: Someone once wrote that art is a reflection of the society in which it has been created. With this in mind, black metal as a sound projection of the 21st century can both be supported- and argued against where some bands still sing about swords, 'magic' and pre-Christian values. How do the last three subjects even apply to an age of technology, much less link the genre to the current state of Western civilization?

L: Examining pre- Christian values is a good way to shedding the invasive and parasitic nature of monotheism while also paying respect to the human condition in a more holistic balanced way. Having an inability to incorporate those values into the modern condition and wasting your time feeling martyred because the current state of the world does not favor those values is where I lose interest and respect.  If you want to sing about swords in any literal sense, unless youíre a blacksmith, youíre a child.  There are bands that I feel do an excellent job of reflecting the current state of the world, the pleasurable possibilities in the dysfunction of modern living and the omnipresence of ill will towards others; Clandestine Blaze comes immediately to mind (as obvious as that might be).

W: What can you attribute to the sudden proliferation of interest in pre-Christian mythos, Pagan religions and mysticism in a era where Science and technology is the primary shaping force of post-Industrial society? Does Science withdraw a certain element of belief in some unknowable conscious force that is otherwise necessary for the human condition?

L: I think that, at this point, technology and science is used primarily as a manipulative tool to shape or dumb down our society even further than it is. I really don't  think that we generally strive towards technological improvements to better ourselves (society) in any real sense. Often times the pursuit's effect is the opposite, either by keeping people alive longer than they should live or by producing useless shit to consume. I would love to see an era where overpopulation is no longer an issue, where scientific and technological pursuit is used to expand and retain the knowledge we have now while living with more purpose and in balance with nature.  But by looking at the fall of other civilizations it seems as if humanity has often come close to where we are today only to culled in one way or another and rarely anything is left than artifacts to stupify those who remain. The general interest in neopaganism is one of escapism. people want to experience other realms and power and look to the exterior or feel a need to reinvent themselves through cheap books filled with half-baked notions and ridiculous rhetoric. I can't say that its  new; every era has its 'new agers'-- the 1830's were as radical as the 1960's in the United States as far as communal living and alternative lifestyles were concerned.  Obviously the VŲlkish movement shared the same century as the proliferation of Asatru groups in the U.S. as well. I can't see the reason for brining back paganism in a superstitious sense. As I've said, where examining paganism is primarily useful is when it is used to gain a better understanding of heritage and using pantheons as archetypes for a more dynamic and balanced understanding of the human condition that otherwise has been denied by judeo-Christian morality and dogma.

W: Is there a way in which the Occult and Science can coexist without one contradicting the other?

L: Really I think especially in the northern tradition that often observance of nature is what informed their mysticism to begin with so I don't see the contradiction the way most might.

W: I appreciate your time and patience answering my questionnaire. I'll delegate last cuts to you.

L: Wilhelm, its been my pleasure. Hails to the supporters, expect a superior release by next summer solstice.



The Maledicere Discography 

Maledicere, Demo 2007

Scythe of the Sun, Demo 2007




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