“American” and “black metal” aren’t two things that are often said together, but whenever they are, you can bet that Absu will be the subject that brings these two disparate strangers together.
Ever since the first wave of black metal exploded like a rusty nail bomb in the face of the young metal scene back in the ‘80s, black metal has always been something of an enigma: corpse paint, furious tremolo picked passages, obscure lore, pseudonyms, and the “kvlt” mentality that surrounds the black metal scene, which has done a great deal to preserve the mystique that bands such as Mayhem, Burzum and Venom cultivated around themselves. While modern black metal acts may not hold to the same aesthetic ideals as their forefathers, in the physical sense, it seems as though many of the core precepts of the genre have remained unchanged.
Proscriptor Mcgovern and Company in Absu are about as mysterious as a band can get without becoming off-putting. For a band as old as Absu, this is quite a feat and a nice reprieve from the “promote ourselves into the ground” mentality that many newer bands have adopted. Their approach is one of great consistency, there aren’t any big surprises, and that is a good thing: each album builds off of ideas and themes in a way that is truly progressive and makes sense. Each album is packed with enough ancient mythology and religious references to make a classical studies major blush.
The thrash black metal outfit hail from one of the strangest locations when one thinks of black metal, but the Texas trio have been around in multiple incarnations since the tail-end of the ‘80s, and it doesn’t seem like they plan on quitting anytime soon.
Proscriptor McGovern has led the charge from the beginning with his recognizable screams and furious drum assaults, and it’s befitting that he would be the one to conduct the interview. A transcription is below:
How was the European tour? It seems as though you guys are jumping right off of one tour and onto the next. Any reason the band chose to begin their American tour so soon?
The European excursion was a grandiose experience and a pleasant continuation from the Connexus Conjuration tour in Europe last year. We performed in territories the band has never experienced before, such as Romania and Sweden, which were maniacal, yet barbaric presentations.
Your American tour dates will be split into discography showcases and shows featuring the second phase will consist of the Tara album. Any word on which side your Brooklyn gigs will lean? Or will we be lucky enough to get both sides?
The objective is to split the performance into two sets: the first to feature an equally distributed compendium from our entire discography, excluding our fifth album, Tara. The second set will concentrate on the sophomore phase of the aforementioned album, which is titled The Cythrául Klan’s Scrutiny.
This is a very unique way to approach touring. Given the popularity of Tara, will the band ever do a tour featuring Tara in its entirety?
Yes, in the future.
This is taking a bit of a step back, but how did the 2012 Adult Swim promotional video happen? I’ve been noticing quite a few heavy metal bands have been getting Adult Swim promos.
The network approached us to not only record the song, but to contain a video aesthetically coinciding with the hymn. Some individuals are perplexed because they automatically think it is an official Absu video, which it is not. It is Adult Swim’s video featuring the music of Absu; nevertheless, it came out exceptionally well in my opinion.
Stylistically, I’ve noticed that you guys have been adding more progressive rock elements to your music on top of the folk. What sparked this experimental path?
Personally, I have been adding, yet implementing, hints of progressive music ever since the creation of the band. Progressive rock from the ‘70s period is an immense influence on not only percussive executions, but my lyrical formats as well.
Many metal band members use pseudonyms, but the pseudonyms in Absu seem to be a bit different from the usual European mythologies that inspired some of the older black metal bands. Care to touch on the naming process?
My name, Proscriptor, is a Latin-based pseudonym I created, which translates to “proscribing the words [lyrics] for the dead in a requiem.” Ezezu [bassist] is derived from Sumerian mythos as “the furious one,” as Vis Crom [drummer] is partially taken from Celtic mythology and his ancestral attributions. Crom is a [Hyborian] God of storms, death and eternity [pronounced Veesh Ken].
I know that the band has drawn from Sumerian and Norse mythology, and those are quite disparate. Any chance we might see another change in mythological leaning in the near future?
Absu’s main methodology derives from Sumerian, Mesopotamian, Akkadian and Assyrian mythology. We heavily delved with Celtic mythology during the middle portion of our career, but felt like those noteworthy fables have been well projected [due to our ancestral attributions].
Absu will play at the Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn on April 10 and 11. For more information, go to absu.us.