Featuring members who have a long resume in the black arts (Forgotten Tomb, Macabre Omen, Handful of Hate, Frostmoon Eclipse), Italy's HIEMS is a study in cold precision and epic construction. Last year's "Cold Void Journey" introduced HIEMS to the black metal underground and this year will be out the second album of this great Italian act.
Hello Algol! This is Mirgilus! First, tell us the history of HIEMS, such as who founded it and when, current lineup, release history, etc.
Hi there! I started HIEMS in 1996 to give shape to my personal view of music and life. The band was a solo project since the beginning. I recorded 3 demo-tapes from 1997 to 1999, and then I stopped for some years, playing mostly with other bands. In 2004, with the help of Thorns on drums (drummer of Handful of Hate and tons of other bands) I started to work on the first full length, "Cold Void Journey", that came out in 2005 under the banner of ISO666 records. The album was a sort of compendium of the first years of activity, featuring songs old as hell. Now HIEMS returned to be a one man band, and I'm recording the 2nd full length (tentatively titled Worship or Die) all alone, after getting signed to Moribund records for 3 albums.
Where does the band's name come from, what does this name cover?
HIEMS is an ancient latin word that means "winter". It refers to the winter of life, the bitter end that awaits us all. I wrote a new song on this topic, titled Hiems...the lyrics will explain the concept behind this moniker.
I have seen on your website a link to Black Metal Invitta Armata. What is this?
It's a union born some year ago between some Italian bands. By the way I invite you to read the official statement on the website to understand better the meaning of this thing: www.signum-martis.com. We just released a digicd with brand new and inedit songs from all the bands involved.
How did you originally get involved in black metal?
Actually I came across a Burzum record, Det Som Engang Var. That album charmed me a lot, and Burzum is still nowadays one of my favorite artist talking of Black Metal.
The whole black metal underground knows that you are the bassist of Forgotten Tomb? When you get in touch with Herr Morbid first time?
Well, we knew each other since the nineties, being both active in the underground scene. I decided to meet him at one of the first Forgotten Tomb's gigs in Piacenza, his hometown. He asked me the same night to join the band, and I did! Ahah, someway the cauality of life...
Are you satisfied with the Forgotten Tomb’s new musical path?
Sure I am fully satisfied and proud. We're no more involved so much in black metal with FT as you can notice, and it's a rational choice. It seems that many people misunderstood our last album, I heard them say "sellout" and "commercial"....what?? How can you be really commercial with songs from 10 to 14 fucking minutes?? Ahah. We just did what we felt, without caring about what people was pretending from us. And I think this is totally against the word commerce! Now we're working on the next album, and as always it will be someway different from the old ones...
Hiems was formed in 1996, your first album “Cold Void Journey” came out in 2005 after 3 demo tapes. Was the band active in the last 9 years?
Yeah the band was active, but it took a long time to find the right conditions for a full length. I believe that it's better to wait and release something good (for you at least) than to record every fart you make and release it! I had also a lot of things to do with my other bands, and this contributed slowing down everything. But now I'm fully dedicated to HIEMS, and I will surely work faster.
Your debut album was released under the banner of ISO666. Are you satisfied with Leonidas label? What do you think about the re-release hysteria between the Russian Forest and Leonidas ?
Yeah I'm satisfied with Leonidas work! Nothing to claim. Thorns sent him a promo of the album and they agreed to print it. I haven't heard nothing about that topic by the way.
The guy (Unholy) behind the “Call of the Infernal Hordes” magazine branded you in some forums and on the magazine’s website that you ripped off him with money. What is the story behind?
It's a simple thing. He paid me 10 cds, and I sent the package. It seems that the package never arrived to him, and I was thinking about sending again the whole stuff...but I finished all the copies. I'll send 10 copies of the next album when it will be ready....shit happens.
I have one copie from the Cold Void Journey vinyl version, which came out only in 99 hand numbered copies last year under the banner of Obscure Abhorrence from Germany? Where come this idea to releasing this great Black Metal album only in 99 copies?
There wasn't a plan behind it, I just wanted to make a limited LP version, and Obscure Abhorrence decided to make it in 99 copies. I'm not so fixed on limited editions by the way, I just care about music.
What should we know about the ”I Choose The Path Of Inhumanity” song?
Originally that song was just an instrumental interlude, but then I decided to make Herr Morbid sing on it. He wrote also the lyrics for the song. What else to say? I'm satisfied of the result, he's a really talented musician and I love his vocal style.
Are the lyrics important in Hiems?
Sure, the lyrical aspect is really important to me. I like to write about the negative side of life, about real feelings and real pain. I don't see the point in searching something evil in fantasy-oriented bullshits, everyday life has enough negativity!! And from my side, I have enough sickness in my brain...let's say I'm not so proud of this, but hey it's a part of me so I have to deal with that.
Last year you signed a deal with the famous US black metal label Moribound Cult for 3 albums. How get in touch with them and when will be out the new album?
Yeah, they had my first album in their distro and they liked it a lot, so I received a mail from them asking me to sign a contract. I did, also because they offered the right conditions for Hiems. I'm sure that this collaboration will make the band grow up in the right way! Regarding the next album, I'm still recording it...I'm a bit late but when you have many things to do time begins to be short. I hope to release it really soon! This album will mark a great progression in the sound of the band, I'm fucking proud of the result by now.
Are there real similarities between Satanism and heathenism? How serious is the Satanism in the black metal scene?
I don't think satanism can be really serious coming to music, apart from few exceptions. And yes there are similarities: both are mostly a trend today!
How does grave desecration fit into your ideology?
No interest for that kind of things, beside the metaphoric side.
How would you describe your own views on Satanism?
Satanism is a tool, nothing more. It's useful to remove all the catholic shit from you mind. All kind of religions seems to me just an easy and blind way to sedate the primordial fear of death that lurks in everybody's soul. Look at this: lions have muscles and teeths, snakes have poison and speed, but what about man? We developed our brain to survive, but way too much, and this made us aware of ourselves and of our common destiny. From this point man needed religion to answer himself questions that cannot be answered. Sometimes I think that religious guys are lucky, just because they have an easy painkiller when they need it. But most of the time I prefer my disillusion to their blindness...it's painful but at least it can give you a kick and make you live THIS life the way you should.
What is your attitude towards traditional Satanism and devil worshipping?
I'm not interested so much in these topics.
What bands have influenced your music and what are your most favorite bands? Are there other styles besides black metal that you are listening to?
I listen to tons of different stuff! I like doom, sludge, black, blues, rock, indust, classical....everything that has a good feeling in it, everything that has something to say. My main inspiration for HIEMS? The first and second BM waves...like Celtic Frost, Venom, Bathory and then Carpathian Forest, Gorgoroth, Satyricon...too many names to mention them all!!
Can you describe how a typical HIEMS song is composed?
Usually I write tons of riffs, and when I'm in the right mood I begin to put them together creating a structure. Then, after recording drums and guitars, I compose and record bass parts and keys, and finally I write the lyrics...it's always the last thing I do.
Is there any philosophy that you consider as important for your life?
Do you like to play live? What is more important in your eyes, playing live gigs or recording music for albums?
Sure, I like to play live - I played tons of gigs in these years with other bands. But coming to the artistic side, I prefer a lot the recording process...I mean, you're creating something that could last for years, even if the energy of a live show is really powerful and mean. One thing that I'm beginning to dislike is the usual stuff before and after a gig...maybe I'm getting old...
Despite the massive decline of the church’s power in the last century Christianity is still very dominant in Italy. Do you also see this as a problem? In how far does Christianity influence your life?
Christianity is just like another religion to me, I try to live my life keeping myself distant from that shit.
What’s your opinion on suicide? Do you enjoy being alive? And what will happen to you after you have left this carnal life?
No comment on suicide. I try to enjoy as much as I can this life, but it's not easy when you have a fucked up mind like mine. I just say fuck you to all the morons that spit on life just when they feel good...try some real pain and you will discover your love for life ahah. "Lifelover"...this word is commonly used as an insult in the scene, but I wonder, they have parents and they buy presents for them. They eat and shit like everyone. They go to the doctor when they feel ill, they try to be someone. So what???! Here's my answer: I love life, but that bitch hates me a bit. After death? "Just let me rot".
Euronymous once wrote in an interview, when being asked about anal sex “I refuse to fuck the normal way, because it is god’s gift to humanity and if you do it, then you do the ultimate life worshiping ritual!”. Your comment:
The guy found a smart way to fuck girls in the ass ahah...
What is your opinion of the European Union? And what is the border of Europe in the East, for you?
I don't care about politics.
What would it mean for EU to accept Turkey’s membership?
By the way…tell me something about your other band The Tombers. Is still active? Are you enjoy to play death metal?
Yeah we're recording our first official album, I think it will be out at the end of 2008. I like to play heavy and pounding stuff, of course!
Thanx for your time and thoughts. I hope you enjoyed this conversation.
Sure, thanks to you.