A plethora of solo projects are found within the many subterranean chasms of Black Metal. Some musicians subscribe to a well-known musical formula, while others provide an inventive glimpse 1into this deeply fervent subgenre of music. Occasionally, an artist with beaucoup talent and technique rises above the mean average so as to showcase virtuosity with tormented skill. As luck would have it, your impassioned husband & wife interview team have been able to find such a powerful Black Metal project that goes by name of, KOSTNATĚNĺ. The soul of the musical harmonic discordance is harbored solely in its only member, D.L. He has graciously agreed to be interviewed for our beloved readers. Delving inside the mind and creative process behind this cacophony of horror, we hope to cast a bit of light into the darkened passages of trepidation. D.L., we thank you for allowing us access to your thoughts via this interview. Also, we offer you a friendly salut from Romania!
Thank you for reaching out to me.
What are your driving motivations behind this Extreme Metal project? Please be as honest as you can. Is it a personal outlet to express fear or anger possibly? Maybe a corridor for exploring inner demons? Express what you will to our readers about the reasons behind KOSTNATĚNÍ’s existence.
I would categorize the main impetuses behind Kostnatění into musical forces and emotional forces. On the musical side, this project exists to broaden the ever-shrinking collection of existing music that appeals to my personal tastes. Shortly after I began listening to metal, I started writing and publishing music reviews on the genre. I am not nearly as active as I used to be, but I have written several hundred to date. Critically listening to so many bands and articulating exactly what I liked and disliked about them turned me into a very discriminatory listener, while also granting me a very clear vision of how to create music that was good by my own standards. It is extremely hard for metal music to impress me nowadays (at this rate I only find about two or three new metal albums per year that I actively enjoy), and so a lot of my experience as an appreciator of music nowadays lies in examining the few sounds remaining that I find interesting and pushing them further forward or amalgamating them. Such was the case with my first public solo project, and such remains the case here. Public opinion on my music seems to lean positive, which I think means that this approach appeals to other people as well, but they are not the primary audience (although I seek feedback from others throughout the creative process).
The emotional forces are perhaps secondary in that they still color the music, but I would also probably still be writing music that sounded somewhat like Kostnatění without them. The rise of this project coincides with my worsening disillusionment with conscious being. The tedium of life has been the undercurrent for a lot of metal throughout the decades, but typically the genre responds to human hardships with escapism – mythical stories, occultism, pompous opposition of religious or social norms, etc. I do not see Kostnatění as an escapist fantasy, but rather the sound and feeling of the realization that there is no escape. It is the natural outpouring of realizing that one is trapped in a mortal body and condemned to fruitlessly strive for 70-90 years before dying pointlessly.
Compared to most black metal and its fantastical themes of Satanism, nature and paganism, I see myself more in line with a band like Last Days of Humanity or Pissgrave in terms of how they shine light on the inexorable suffering of everyday existence. Black metal that exists to fantasize doesn’t express how I see the world.
When listening to your compositions, we are stimulated by each riff, melody and drum arrangement. It is obvious the large amount of attention to detail placed on every song. Were you self-taught on each musical instrument that you perform or did you take classes/training while growing in your musical talents?
I took music classes and lessons as a child, but not in any instruments that I currently use. Otherwise, all my knowledge is self-acquired or informed through online resources or friends. I have played guitar and performed vocals for about 10 years now, so I feel like I’ve had plenty of time to pick up playing and songwriting techniques even despite long periods of inactivity within that time period.
Your latest album, “Hrůza zvítězí”, was crafted through fear as we understand. The fear of death to be precise. The KOSTNATĚNĺ Bandcamp page states that it was “...created as a monument to death.” A looming end that awaits us all. Can you elaborate on the album’s existence in regards to your personal feelings and haunting paranoia while being buried in it’s artistic inception?
Hrůza zvítězí was written during an extreme low point in my life. Personal stressors, social isolation, slaving to compulsive behaviors, and lack of exposure to sunlight in the dead of winter all contributed to a depression that tore an extremely vivid vision of my own death in my psyche. It felt like an abyss that I could loom into and then suddenly feel myself falling, encompassing all my being and granting me an unlimited and perfect comprehension of my finitude and meaninglessness.
Throughout that winter I found myself returning to it again and again like one tongues a sore inside the mouth. It was perhaps the most intense intra-psychic sensation I have ever experienced, and I was seized with artistic inspiration, feeling like Moses descending Mount Sinai, as I translated the sensation into music. The obsession with death gradually faded as circumstances improved, but I could still return to the mindset with such relative ease that, for all its intricacies, most of the album
was written somewhat effortlessly.
The album art included on “Hrůza zvítězí” is horrific in scope. The deathly face painfully staring out of the glowing embers represent this music quite well. We understand that the album title translates to English as “Horror will prevail”, just as the art reflects this idea so well. Please explain the concept and creation of the art.
The artwork was painted by Frank Heiler. Frank was recommended to me by a friend; I don’t think the album cover exemplifies his overall oeuvre, but certain pieces of his work matched what I envisioned, so I took a bet on him and it worked out excellently. I showed him a couple tracks and explained to him the revelations of death anxiety that I had been suffering from and suggested an abstract portrait upon which to map these sensations. He resonated with the feelings that led to the creation of the album, and after just a couple of iterations he had produced the final cover art, which complements the music splendidly.
Your music has no restraints or guides. It is chaotic, yet layered with catchy melody. Please enlighten us on the actual music writing process when you’re inspired to create these raw cavernous songs.
I work in cycles of taking in new musical and intellectual inspiration and then refining it in ways that suit my own art. Most artists would probably say they do something similar. The actual songwriting process is at once a mix of applied technique and intuition. Some parts are arranged in tablature according to intuitively acquired principles of music theory and then fine-tuned, while others are recorded in jam sessions and then stapled together according to what feels right to me as a music listener. I am finding that I can now get the desired results through intuition more often, which is less tedious than arranging through tablature, so I will probably be working more in that direction until I feel I’m no longer making progress.
The dissonance is blended thick in your music. Of course, DEATHSPELL OMEGA comparisons can be made by the knowledgeable listener after absorbing your dark and psychedelic offerings. Mentally, how do you prepare yourself when composing music and performing it with an emotional burden always emerging?
To be clear, Kostnatění is the response to the emotional burden, not the impetus. Like many black metal musicians and fans, I am troubled by an inability to find meaning and happiness in the common routes of life. This music is one of the few opportunities I have in my life to be acknowledged or praised for something that isn’t essentially keeping my head down and staying quiet. It is cathartic, not draining, for me to create music that revolves around death and questioning the value of human existence, because that is how I feel whether I am making music or not.
What bands, Black Metal or other, do you draw inspiration from? The ones who have directly inspired you to be an Extreme Metal musician?
The bands that inspire me now certainly aren’t the bands that inspired me to make music in the first place (if there really were any such bands; I’ve been making music in some form or another for most of my life, even before I knew what metal was). That said, artists whose work has inspired mine in recent years include Rhinocervs (and its subsidiaries, Odz Manouk and Tukaaria), Serpent Column (whom I am very thankful to call a friend and collaborator), Lorn (the black metal band from Italy, not the EDM artist), Lykathea Aflame, !T.O.O.H.!, Erraunt, Jute Gyte, Baring Teeth, Stars of the Lid, Robbie Basho, Sun City Girls, Lana Del Rey, and folk and electronic music from Africa and the Middle East (check out the Music for Saharan Cellphones series by the label Sahel Sounds for an excellent introduction to this music). These artists are not necessarily the progenitors of their own styles (for example, Baring Teeth obviously takes heavily after Gorguts, and Erraunt after Ved Buens Ende), but it is their interpretations of those styles that have inspired me. Generally, I don’t care very much about traditional, long-running bands; rarely can they maintain my interest over an entire multidecade career. The band in that category that comes closest to inspiring me is Rush.
In reference to your 2018 Demo release, “Konec je všude”, the 3 songs found there have a luring Raw Black Metal texture on the surface, but a thickness buried deep within the layers. Blast beats, melodic progression, tormented vocals and much more greet the listener while being led through the tracks by a tsunami of guitar immersion. Will you present in detail your thoughts about the music while you were composing this debut KOSTNATĚNÍ stake for laying in the Black Metal ground?
I consider Konec je všude a true “demo” in that it was a proof of concept rather than the actualization of a theme. Around the time of its creation, I had been obsessed with the Rhinocervs projects for several years, by which time they had stopped releasing music and off the face of the Earth. I felt deeply that there needed to be more music in that vein; the atmosphere of their music was undeniably unique, and I felt that there was more room for the sound to grow from where they had left off. So, I set myself to work on tracks that I thought could sit proudly alongside their inspirations. In retrospect, there was little true “creativity” involved in making these tracks, since the mold they were being fit to was so tight, but I worked hard to make songs that didn’t perfectly reiterate “The Esophagus” or “Mythology”, and so I think the riffs and songwriting still hold up well. I consider Hrůza zvítězí to be an improvement on nearly all fronts – though, in retrospect, I like how straightforward and catchy some of the demo’s riffs are – whereas Hrůza zvítězí is often about claustrophobic walls of sound created with dense chords – and I have considered reintegrating this element of the music in the future.
Thank you D.L. for granting this interview. We appreciate your time and effort given. Any upcoming plans or music collaborations in store for you? Would you care to leave us with any final thoughts?
Hrůza zvítězí will be out on vinyl this coming March, if all goes according to plan. Expect other releases/formats at some later date. In addition, some new Kostnatění material is currently in the latter half of production. Without giving too much away, it will be a smaller release that will nod toward a potential future direction for the project. Outside of Kostnatění, I have a couple other collaborative projects with other musicians currently in the works as well.
Thank you for this interview.
Interview by Silvia and Bryant Shelby