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For twenty years already Behexen occupies themselves with the creation of occult black metal. Even though they operate in similar dark alleyways as a band like Watain, they never managed to achieve a similar status. The recent Debemur Morti-released 'Nightside Emanations' is the fourth album by the Fins and the third that reached LoM. High time to give Hoath Torog, guitarist and leader of Behexen, the chance to give us a peek into the mindset and background of this staple of Finnish black metal.

By: Richard G. | Archive under black metal

Behexen has been around for quite a while already, though we have never had the pleasure yet to speak with you. Could you start off with a short description of Behexen and what the band stands for?
Behexen is a magical tool and channel formed in 1995, which brings the voices of our gods to be heard, and works as an intermediatory for their destructive emanations on this world. Our journey has taken nearlytwenty years, and has included many phases, but today our temple shines the light of our lord brighter than ever before.

Obviously Behexen operate within the black metal genre. As every band has its own perspective: what is Behexen's understanding of the concept black metal?
The matter isn't that complicated as it usually is tend to be made. When the band brings forth through their (metal) music the occult/satanic religious message, and from the heart and for the love of the nightside gods and want to work as their channel, then in my opinion we're close to the core of black metal. Too narrow musical compartmentalization is futile. Let the Lucifer - Satan light shine through yourselves. Nothing else matters.

You are about to release your new album 'Nightside Emanations' via Debemur Morti' Productions. What are some of the main themes on the album?
On my texts I bring forth the different forms of manifestations and entities of the nightside. The deities that have touched me in recent years. The most significant of them, Ama Lilith, who, when I got her blessing and went through her bloody gates, changed my life. I wouldn't say the album to be a concept album, but all the texts are written during the era when I walked in Liliths dark tunnels.

Can you tell us a bit more about the creation of the album? How did it come into being?
It took four years in overall to compose the album. The material was mainly composed as units, separately on our own. When we started having some material, we brought the ideas in our rehearsal chamber and started to edit them as more completed, working ensembles. The creation process was long and painful, and to achieve the right atmosphere, we used more time and resources than ever before. When everything was ready, we entered the studio to record. Now we can listen to what we accomplished and we're very satisfied ourselves on the black fruits of our creation work.

Did you set yourself any goals before you started out writing? What were the main influences during the writing process?
We didn't have any actual targets or precise plans. Everything came very naturally. We just let the creativity flow. Maybe the spiritual issues and losses in our own lives brought forth even gloomier tone on our music than ever before. I get influences from my own life and experiences amongst the occult. Black magic is a comprehensive part of my life, so it's natural that my inspiration comes from there.

Is there a certain mood or state of mind that you need to be in when creating new music?
Maybe there is, but that creative state must sometimes be awaken, even violently. I really don't consider it as a bad alternative at all, as sometimes dykes can be born on the way of the creative streams just for natural reasons. By breaking those dykes, usually the strong wave of inspiration is born that can be difficult to hold back. Sometimes ideas just comes from the depths of the mind irrespective of time and place.

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I actually have the same question, but then with regards to the live performance. Do you have some kind of ritual or typical preparatory act (either individually or as a group) before you go on stage?
Spiritual preparing and slowdown already start days before the performance. It's kind of meditation and silent praying. I prepare the needed incenses, sanctify the artifacts and symbols for the altar etc. All this to me is ritualistic like preparation for our dark mass. And when we finally put on our rotten robes, the serpent within me is already awaken and ignited by the flame of ecstasy.

According to you, what constitutes a great black metal song?
Hard to say. It's some part in the music, in its intonations, lyrics or in the harmony combined of all those things that can create the feeling inside me.

What bands or other art have the most influential for Behexen in general?
All esoteric or exoteric that surrounds us can inspire us. Books, religions, magic, death, music...All the things that we hear, see and experience can feed our inspiration.

Behexen seems to have a period of at least four years between albums. Is this a conscious decision?
We have never planned to release a full-length in every four years. It just turned out that way. The whole process has taken four years so far. There is never just one answer to offer why it takes four years to release an album, no, it is just a coincidence.

As a Finnish band, what are from your perspective some characteristic traits of black metal produced in your homecountry compared to some of the other Nordic countries?
I really don't know if such characteristic traits truly exist, if we look at the whole picture. The scale and style of the bands is very vast, and I cannot find the connective factor. Behexen, Archgoat, IC Rex, Alghazanth for example just to name a few. Some retard once told that Behexen sounds too Swedish to be a Finnish band!? I really don't understand why to ponder such things in general. If some teenage bands are trying to copy Satanic Warmaster, are they the Finnish 'Trademark' then? Or those who follow the primitive expression of Beherit? Or of Impaled Nazarene? They all are very different and I really don't know what could be the connective factor here that I could mention. Incomprehensible that someone makes it a problem if they can't recognize it from your musical style, that within the boundaries of what part of the world you live in. Some people really are simple.

What is your opinion on contemporary black metal bands (often from the USA) following less traditional paths mixing black metal with sounds from other genres (sludge/prog/etc.)? Is this something Behexen have ever considered?
Receiving influences from other genres is only desirable. Why does it even have to be limited only in one certain alignment. The vast musical taste of the composers brings in to the art only more possibilities and dimensions. This ain't a foregone conclusion as everyone knows. If we listen to for example 'De Mysteriis' album by Mayhem, one can find many riffs from the sixties-seventies rock bands. Maybe this is one of the reasons why that masterpiece sounded new and special back then. Therefore broke up boundaries. You need to use the influences correctly and with style, then you can achieve something very interesting. Horns have said that he's gotten some influences for example from Danzig. But who is able to hear it is yet another thing.

What are the plans with respect to promoting the album? Any interesting tours that might be coming up?
We've confirmed couple of single gigs for the next year. We haven't planned for the actual tour yet. There'll be time for it at some point, when the right time and organizer will match.

These were my questions for now. Thank you very much for your time and your answers. Hope to experience the darkness soon live on stage somewhere! If you have anything to add, please go ahead.
You can follow our moves and news from the homesite, which has been opened Friday 21st September. Then you can open your hearts for the nightside emanations and let the devils in! Hail Samael! Hail Lilith!

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