Abysmal Lord are an absolutely insane old school death/black metal band and here is a interview I did with band member Nocturnal Damanation:
How did you get into heavy metal and when did it lead to underground metal? What were some of the early bands that you liked and do you still like any of them these days?
I’ve always been into what was heavy. Most of the stuff I liked as kid was probably light-weight stuff. At some point I started going to these legendary heavy metal DJ nights here in New Orleans called Hades Night led by DJ Penetrol, DJ Panzer, DJ Michael Bateman and DJ Jordan Barlow. It was here that I first discovered a lot of bands that I love to this day, and was encouraged to see certain releases (that I may have already known about) in a more Black Metal way. Coming to the understanding that "Show No Mercy", Destruction "Sentence of Death" and Sodom "In the Sign of Evil" were pure Black Metal was an important moment at this young age.
How long was the band together before you released your “Rehearsal MMMIII” release in 2013? How many songs were on it and what sort of feedback did you get on it from the underground?
We'd all been friends for years before the band got together. I recorded the Storms EP by myself in 2012. When we started playing as a band together we thought we could release a proper demo tape first before the EP so we recorded the Rehearsal in 2013. There were five songs I believe. Feedback was good at the time.
A year later (2014) an EP came out called “Storms of the Unholy Black Mass”. Who put this out and how did the coming of the songs come together? Who puts together the music and who writes the lyrics?
It was recorded in 2012 with me handling all instrument duties before we started playing together as a full band. Of course we could have re-recorded it with the full line-up but all members agreed it was sinister enough a statement to stand as is. Hell's Headbangers put it out.
How was the response to the EP? Is it still for sale and what are your thoughts of the EP these days?
The response was good. We wanted it to be like a pre-full length EP like how "Sentence of Death" and "In the Sign of Evil" were. I could not play drums fast for very long so it has more slow passages than I would like. I think it is sold out and could probably use a re-press.
How did you come up with the awesome name “Abysmal Lord? Were any other names thrown around?
It was the first name I thought of. No other names considered. Probably it subconsciously had to do with Beherit's "Lord Diabolus" release.
In 2015, your 1st full length came out called Disciples of the Inferno”. Who released this and how was the coming of the material/music on this? How long did you stay in the studio? Who released it and is it still for sale?
Once again, HHR handled the release. We wrote the music together as a band and we recorded it ourselves in the Revelation Rehearsal Room, our practice space. I think vinyl is sold out but still available on CD from HHR.
What are your thoughts on your 1st full length these days? Was it pretty easy going into the studio to record by this time or sometimes a pain in the ass?
I think it’s definitely indicative of what we are. Its sincere anyways. Lots of black death bands at that time with huge pro-tools production sound and we put out this stripped down monstrosity reminiscent of Mystifier T.E.A.R. sound or something like that. We tried to learn the lessons from Proclamation who recorded themselves in analog rather than going to some big digital studio. The machine we did this record on kept breaking down and there were other problems. But ultimately I think it’s a totally antagonistic and malevolent record. There’s a lot wrong with it but my favorite releases often are not the ones that sound "good" in a traditional sense.
What are some of the subject matters the band writes about and what style of music would you call yourselves?
Black Metal! We write in themes that are of interest to us: war, famine, death and the black essence of Evil. The corruption of the soul from within, monastic depravity and curiosity in the mancies, Baphometic Templar madness, eschatological tradition, Walpurgis pandemonium, and visions of Hell's intrusion upon the Paradise.
A live album came out in 2018. Does the band get to play live a lot down in New Orleans? What sort of underground music scene is down there these days? Is the French Quarter still as crazy as ever?
We are not that interested to play local live gigs. There is not much interest in our kind of black death here anyways, although we have had decent shows with Caveman Cult, Morbosidad, Morbid Torment, Vimur, and Hellgoat. The French Quarter is okay sometimes if only for its display of filth and depravity, humanity reduced to its most animal nature.
This live album was called Rites of the Inferno. Why did you call it this? Is this recording all from one show or several? Do you guys like playing live and do you have any type of live show at all?
The live tape Rites of the Inferno was called this because it was a live recording of mostly songs from the full length "Disciples of the Inferno" and obviously the "Rites of Carnality" connection. Side A of the tape is all from one live show here in town and Side B is from a rehearsal a week or so before the show to practice with the equipment how it would be recorded live. We try to create an oppressive atmosphere with intense stage lights and smoke, bullets, chains and inverted crosses so that you don't see the band as human form but as possessed!
Around how much time in any given week is spent doing band related stuff whether it be answering mail, writing music, playing live, etc?
Hard to say, quite a lot though!
How has the response been to this live release and how has it been selling and are you happy with it? Who put it out?
We are happy with the live release. Best live releases are Beherit's "Day of Darkness" performance and Black Witchery's side of "Desecration and Sodomy" (and obviously "Rites of Carnality"), so we tried to do something worthy like these. Rick from Cavemen Cult put this out on his tape label "Rotting Chapel Productions" and the first 100 copies he made the inserts all himself by hand. It’s a pure cult release only for Eternal Disciples.
At what point do you think you came up with the “Abysmal Lord” sound and do you think you’re an original band to a point? What would you say the band sounds like to someone who has never heard you?
Hard to say. When we started we weren’t necessarily thinking of making a totally original sound, just to play satanic noise from hell in the style that we hail. We took what we liked from our favorite Black Metal, mixing the traditions of the South American, Canadian, and Singapore cults. But I think as we continue, we somewhat develop qualities that are unique to us. Bathory was accused of a Venom clone, Beherit accused of copying Blasphemy, Proclamation accused of being a Blasphemy clone. Anyone who has ears to hear I think can judge for themselves... But to someone who has never heard us I would say it depends on what you have been exposed to. If you already are into extreme heavy metal then you have a frame of reference; maybe you already like some bands who are more about an atmosphere of evil than technical ability/crisp sound. But if you're new to this kind of stuff it might sound like just crude noise.
Who put the split out (also in 2018) with Crurifragium? How many songs do you have on there and is it still for sale? Is this new music on it?
Released by HHR and still available to purchase. The two AL songs on there are exclusive to that release.
I heard your latest release on Hell’s Headbanger’s not too long ago called “Exaltation of the Infernal Cabel”. Why this title? Where was this recorded and how much time was spent in the studio? Who paid for the recording of it?
This is the title because it was Revealed to us in this way, the success of the plot, celebration of the fiends, witches and eternal disciples: jubileum, the triumph of evil. This was again recorded by us in the Revelation Rehearsal Room, paid for by us.
I think Hell’s Headbanger’s is the perfect label for you. How did you hook up with them and how has it been working with them?
They have been completely professional so far, great to work with. Chase of HHR is a true believer. We met him on our first ill-fated tour back in 2013 and he expressed interest in releasing something after the gig. Immediately upon that first meeting we agreed to put out the "Storms..." EP under the HHR banner and the pact was made over desecrated graves and rusted steel.
Your newest release is a complete, total destruction of old school black/death metal, that in my opinion should not be missed. With so much horrible or at best average releases these days, how do you hope to stand out from the pack?
There are more bands playing in this general style than when we started, but we obviously didn't invent it. AL is continuation of a living force that has existed before under many other names and banners. We tried to learn the lessons from the black ancestors, especially the ultra conservatism of Proclamation, and that you should try to record yourself so you come up with a unique and totally fucked sound. I think that musically we're a little different (in the small details anyways) from newer bands hyped on what they think is "war metal" because, while we obviously hail Blasphemy and Conqueror, our foundation is rooted in the old tradition blessed also by abhorrences like Libation's "Sanctimonious Offerings," Impiety's "Ceremonial Necrochrist..." demo, Satanic Evil, early Mystifier, demo and 7" era Beherit, and Black Prophecies.
I know your toured the US not too long ago. Who did you go out with and how was the tour overall? Any really good and not so good shows? Have you ever had a chance to play overseas or hope to one day?
We were out with a band called from Vimur. The tour was good overall. Some great shows in places like Chicago, Detroit where we played with fellow conspirators Perversion, St. Louis, and Massachusetts where we played with the mighty Martyrvore. There were some bad shows with poor attendance but not too many. We have not played overseas but I would really like to play in Belo Horizonte or Bangkok, Thailand. Maybe I can try and get in touch with Whathayakorn from Surrender of Divinity to try to make it happen!
Do you embrace social media or do you think it is unfortunately a necessary evil for bands these days? I miss the days or letter writing, paper fanzines, tape trading, etc myself?
Necessary evil I suppose. But you don't have to do it. Witchcraft from Finland are doing just fine without it. Facebook seems the bottom of the barrel of stupidity, the dregs of modern humanity. Too young to have experienced true 80's underground-ism so I would not pretend to have done so. But I personally trade in tapes, buy paper fanzines (vatra i sumpor and bardo methodology are some good ones), and have been known to hand-write a letter to an underground comrade. (good for you my man-cf)
Are all your releases currently still for sale if somebody wants something you released? If so where can they get it from?
Some releases are sold out. But some are still available from HHR and usually in Europe Iron Bonehead will get copies when we release something. Occasionally we also sell merch through Darkness Attack Records.
Please plug any websites or social media pages you have.
Records, shirts and hoodies available from www.hellsheadbangers.com
Mega horns up for doing this unholy chat, any last words to wrap this up?
Thanks for the interview! Beware the next Abysmal Lord Black Mass, the journey into the Labyrinth, the five-fold initiation of the anti-cruciform Cathedral!
Interview by Chris Forbes