BLACK CRUCIFIXION was conceived in Lapland, the northernmost part of Scandinavia, where the winter sun doesn’t rise for half a year. And in the summer the sun turns night into day for several months. The temperature easily varies 80 degrees Celsius during the year. Imagine that. ROVANIEMI is a city in the midst of extreme conditions. It was also the place where black metal was pioneered, before the Norwegians had a clue.
BEHERIT started their career in 1989 and released their cult tape “Seventh Blasphemy” in 1990. BLACK CRUCIFIXION began in 1991, featuring FORN (vocals) and BLACKSOUL (guitar) with Beherit members SODOMATIC SLAUGHTER (drums) and WENNSTRÖM (bass) joining them. The band debuted on August 23rd 1991 at the metal festival Day of Darkness in Oulu. SENTENCED, IMPALED NAZARENE, DEMIGOD, AMORPHIS, BELIAL and BEHERIT also performed. A heavy night, huh? SIR LUTTINEN from IMPALED NAZARENE was supposed to fill the drummer’s seat after SODOMATIC SLAUGHTER left the band. Black Crucifixion was never a project band of BEHERIT members, but BEHERIT main man HOLOCAUSTO VENGEANCE had input on the recording sessions for Black Crucifixion’s debut demo “The Fallen One of Flames” that was recorded in December 1991 as he worked as a co-producer in the sessions. The Finnish metal underground super-band was on stage for one song in July 1992 in a steamy club in Joensuu, as vocalists FORN from BLACK CRUCIFIXION and MIKA from IMPALED NAZARENE joined BEHERIT for a rendition of “Sathanas” by SARCOFAGO. SIR LUTTINEN was BEHERIT’s drummer at the time. Other bands that some BLACK CRUCIFIXION members have played in include: BEHERIT, PARADE OF SOULS, PROMETHEAN, GOAT VULVA.
Black Crucifixion was formed in 1991. Back then, I am not sure that the concept of what “black metal” is was set in stone. When the band started out, what was the motivation? Were you guys consciously playing “black metal” or was it just “heavy metal”?
The first pre-phase of BC started in 1990 until in 1991 Blacksoul (guitar) joined me. Back then there black metal was only a title of Venom’s album and song. Beherit, whom were from my city and friends, called their music brutal death metal and I guess that Mayhem was in the same lines. So for us it was a question of playing very dark music as heavy as we could. The death metal scene was very new at the time with Tampa Bay and Swedish bands leading that movement.
From the start, Black Crucifixion had a unique and eccentric sound. That’s what got me when I first listened to your music, it was so distinctive. Were you guys consciously trying to be different?
Thank you. I think our sound was a mixture of the bands we loved (Sodom, Venom, Blasphemy, Bathory, Celtic Frost, Varathron, Rotting Christ, Necromantia) and the very distant and northern surroundings that we lived in. The Greece bands definitely had an impact on our sound besides the more Scandinavian sound of Bathory. I never listened that much to Mayhem (well, they only had a bunch of songs out at the time) and of course Hellhammer also contributed to our sound.
Do you think there has always been a big influence on Black Crucifixion that comes from outside the metal realm? And I am talking about the music in the first two Eps and demo.
I would not under estimate the effect of the Lapland climate and culture. Rovaniemi is a very peculiar small city, producing weird bands and artists like us, Beherit or the monster metal band Lordi.
Your vocals were always a very important part of your sound. What can you say about your vocal delivery? Any influences?
Yes, that has been a thing that people either love or hate. Be it any type of vocal delivery that I do. I like to combine whispers, clean vocals and harder sound, depending on the song and even the feeling of the gig. I can sing the same songs in many styles and do that as well. Of course Quorthon and Tom Warrior were influences. Also Holocausto Vengeance has to be attributed as a real pioneer of using his imagination while singing. It takes a man to break conventions.
Black Crucifixion is usually classified as a black metal band. But I don’t think the band lyrics are about usual BM terms. Would you say that the band is black metal? And if so, what is your description of black metal? If you don’t consider Black Crucifixion black metal, how would you classify it?
We called our music black metal in our early flyers. Back then we even saw I fit to state that we are “true black metal”. It seemed to be an issue for young guys like us. But around Promethean Gift we realized that it would be an endless fight trying to distance us from all the bands that started to pop up like mushrooms after rain. So we started calling our sound “avantgarde metal”. Later I’ve used the term “dark metal” and now I leave it up to people to call it whatever they want. Our lyrics surely are not in the same area with 95% of the black metal bands – but who the hell would want to be? I’m really happy to find a black metal band that is interesting musically and lyrics-wise. But that is a really rare delight.
Promethean Gift & The Fallen One of Flames are absolute classics. Do you believe that time has made justice to your efforts? It seems as if both records get better with time. And the Soulseller reissues have only brought them more attention. Have you noticed a revived interest in the band over the last few years? How would you compare the current view of those albums with how they were received upon their original releases?
Thank you. In past five years I’ve met a lot of people who seem to think the same. And that is why we did the re-releases. There’s so many people who were born back then when we originally released them and I find it very rewarding to hear that they have now had the chance to get the albums. And to discover our music. We played a big metal festival last weekend and seeing the audience and front row consisting of younger people was great. When we started playing gigs again a year ago (2009) during our European tour the people who came to greet us after the gig were mostly people who had listened to us in the early nineties. But now that we have played a bunch of gigs here in Finland, the people are getting younger. That is an interesting turn of events.
First of all, I assume you created the awesome Black Crucifixion logo. Without a doubt one of the best in the history of black metal. How did you get into that?
I wish I was that talented as a visualist, but the original BC-logo was only commissioned by me. The execution is by Mr. Taneli Jarva who also did the logos of Impaled Nazarene, Beherit and Sentenced. He is an exceptional person and nowadays works as a tattooist in Helsinki. Respect!
With Faustian Dream the band made a radical change. What was the intention with this album? Was there disillusionment with the metal scene or simply a will to move forward? I think Faustian Dream is one of the best dark metal album ever recorded with a great emotional vocal style!
That is good to hear. Faustian Dream is kind of our “rock ’n’ roll” album where we experienced with the more emotional side of our sound. That is why it also seems to divide people, which of course cool to see, as we have always enjoyed rebelling against people’s expectations. But not that we have been playing all our material live, the same people tell us how well for example “Master Spirit “and “As Black As The Roses“ fit in the same live set. Faustian Dream is a very satisfying piece of music and artwork for me personally. Even in our own current line-up there are guys who favor different releases from our back catalogue.
What means to you the Scandinavian Melancholy, which is the key element in your art?
The radical change of sun and darkness during the year, the mad climate (this year it has so far varied between -36 Celsius and + 36 Celsius!) has affected the Finish culture a lot. And that culture has affected us. The natural tendency to use minor chords and sing about the darker things and even with darker humor is a thing that differentiates Finnish music from the rest of the world. And thus is a perfect platform for creating metal music.
How do you think Faustian Dream fits in the current metal scene? What do you hope Faustian Dream does to the Black Crucifixion’s legacy?
Well, it shows that Black Crucifixion does music for art’s sake, not for the buying public. And that is a thing that some people will appreciate. In the short run it has also distanced many potential fans from us as it takes more time to digest and is not the easiest way to show off as a fucking dark satanic kvlt black metal church scorcher that many high school boys and girls of course want to be. Faustian Dream does not fit the current metal scene very well, but many journalists and fans have greeted it with delight because of that. A bit of fresh air and a healthy dose of fuck you maybe is the legacy to be?
What albums are you currently listening to?
Right now Bryan Ferry’s old solo album seems to be playing. “It is my party and I cry if I want to”, he moans. According to my playlist I’ve been lately listening to Triptykon, Death, Carcass, Absu, Secrets of the Moon, Satyricon, Asia, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Napalm Death, Candlemass’ latest album and King Crimson. Just to name a few. At last weekend’s festival I had the chance to both meet and witness Triptykon and Carcass which was of course a ball and a boyhood dream come true.
I'm listening now the Satanic Zeitgeist LP. Why did you released this great piece of Finnish Black Metal History in 2009 after the Faustian Dream album? Your next studio album will be again Black Metal?
The release of Satanic Zeitgeist was a way to show how logical the path has been from the very beginning. Faustian Dream is not such a surprising album if you listen to Promethean Gift carefully, it is a follow up to that mini-album. And listening to Satanic Zeitgeist you will find many of the ingredients that we used on Faustian Dream, event though the sound is so different. Our new material is not black metal in any sense that I think people view black metal – we are not going for norsecore. But surely our new material is more aggressive than softest spots on Faustian Dream. We have been playing some new songs live during last ten months and people really seem to get into them. Both the “oldskool” and Faustian Dream fans.
Tell me some crazy stories about the legendary "Day of Darkness Festival". How do you feel when listening the Satanic Zeitgeist LP after 19 years?
I feel much better about it now than back then, now that I can view it from a perspective. That night was really fun and very intense as everybody, both the bands and the audience was very young and drunk. A lukewarm bottle of Finnish vodka made sure that Blacksoul and I did not suffer from stage fright. And the audience puking to the stage did make it way too slippery for some performers of the evening.
What is the story behind of the Leaving Rovaniemi by Night track from the LP?
That song shows the side of Black Crucifixion that I and E.Henrik love. Creating an atmosphere using instruments. It is the other side to our more punch-in-you-face material.
Black Crucifixion played some live gigs last year with Heretic. What as the reaction from the public? Did you played only “new” songs or some black metal classics too?
We have been playing material from all our releases. Combined they seem to work really well and the feedback has been one of surprise from most audience. Many people just turned out to check out a cult band but ended up liking us and the material of Faustian Dream. A good experience for us. And really made the band as after the tour we have been playing totally kick ass gigs in Finland with our new permanent drummer, not the tour drummer we brought along for those European gigs, who also did the best he could for those concerts.
After 19 years you played again in Finland on the Black Curse Over Hellsinki Festival last SPRING. Share with us some stories about this show. If I’m not wrong BC played lots of early classic songs.
That was a great gig, as we never got to play in Helsinki back in the early days. As you can see from the concert photos, the gig was a really atmospheric and good one. Our original drummer Sodomatic Slaughter quested as a drummer for a few numbers and it was both an emotional success for us and the reviews of the performance were also really positive.
What’s next for Black Crucifixion? Tours, new album?
We are playing selected gigs and also have new material worth an album. And worth recording. 2011 will be the 20th anniversary for the band so I would be surprised if we would spend the whole year silent.
Our whole catalogue so far is available through www.soulsellerrecords.com so I encourage to check it out. Support Soulsellers’ great work. Promoters doing good quality concerts can contact the band though contact_bc(at)yahoo.com.