From a cold
and swampy nightmare this Dutch Black Metal band raises, bringing a black
flame of destruction and desolation… Their demo debut “Moerasghesomp” is an
fascinating travel to the depths of Hell, basing their music in ancient
pagan belief and early 90’s Black Metal savagery; they reach a quite unique
and remarkable sound… Black Metal fans, be aware… The night of Walpurgis has
would like to thank you for giving us this interview… Can you tell us about
Walpurgisnacht beginnings? …I understand you have been active as a band
(under different names) since ’96…
Heer Halewyn (guitar):
In the beginning Houtekiet, Marchosias, and I came together with some other
guys to play a number of songs from other black metal bands. Later
Marchosias wrote some songs, but he got involved in other bands and so our
band never really became serious. Then Houtekiet started writing songs and
in 2002 he had enough material to resurrect Walpurgisnacht. Mor de Naere
(vocals) and Malcus (bass) joined soon after.
reading about the origin of the name Walpurgisnacht and I was really
surprised when I read Walpurgis was a Christian saint; an English religious
woman who lived in the VIII century… and due pagan reminiscences the
festivity of Saint Walpurgis took an entire new meaning and become the
witches Sabbath…Why you choose this name? What it means to you?
Walpurgis was indeed a missionary, stationed in what we now call Germany.
The Christians named April 30 the day of Saint Walpurgis. But for the pagans
the following night, May Eve, already had a special meaning. It was the
beginning of spring, the reawakening of nature, and in that night magic was
strong. It is unclear how it became known as Walpurgisnacht but in arts and
literature, for example Goethe’s Faust, the Walpurgisnacht is associated
with the activities of supernatural beings. Therefore the name fits
perfectly within the concept of our lyrics, which are about the folkloric
tales of the region where we come from. They tell of creatures like gnomes
and goblins dwelling in the moors and woods, spirits of the dead floating
through the swamps, and witches practicing their secret rituals. The
contrast of the words Walpurgis and nacht (night) also symbolizes the two
faces of nature, beautiful and perilous.
I have read some great critics about “Moerasghesomp”…Are you satisfied with
this reception? Why you decide to release it as a promotional demo only?
number of good reviews was very satisfying, especially for a rehearsal demo.
But our intention from the beginning has been to record an album with a more
professional sound quality. Now finally our debut album will be released and
we are looking forward to the reviews.
tell us about the recording process of “Moerasghesomp”? Although is a
rehearsal it has a pretty good sound…
“Moerasghesomp” was recorded quite primitively, since it was initially not
supposed to be used as a demo. We placed a microphone in the middle of the
rehearsal room and recorded everything on one track of a portable recording
unit. Houtekiet removed the stuff between the songs, then he did some simple
mastering, and that’s it. We were surprised by the sound quality and
therefore decided to release it as a demo.
lyrics talk about? Please tell to the bunch of people who doesn’t speak
Dutch… including me.
HH: The main
subject of our lyrics is the “Peel”, a once vast area of swamps here in the
southeast of the Netherlands. We write about the history and legends of this
area and about our personal connection with what is left of its nature. It
would be impossible to express the same feelings in any other language than
our own. It will also be difficult to translate the lyrics because they are
written in the form of poems. Too much will be lost after translation.
understand you took the inspiration from a swampy area near your home-place.
I guess this place must be full of history and legends… What’s the most
interesting or curious tale you have heard of this place?
HH: There is
a legend of a knight who came this way a long time ago, leading a gang of
robbers. With primitive weapons, such as sticks and shovels, the peasants
attacked and slaughtered the robbers. Only the knight and his shield-bearer
escaped, but they were driven into the swamp and were never seen alive
again. It is told that they drowned and that their spirits are doomed to
wander there until the gold sword of the knight is found. On stormy nights
you may hear the knight cry for help, but this is only to lure you into the
swamp. If a person mysteriously disappeared there, people used to say that
the knight had taken revenge. Our song “Vanden Doolenden Ridder” (“Of the
Errant Knight”) is about this legend. In 1910 a local peat-cutter found a
Roman centurion’s helmet buried in the peat. So it was thought that the
knight from the legend was a centurion. Recently, however, archaeologists
proved that the swamp was not deep enough to drown in when the Romans were
here. They now think that the helmet was an offering to a Germanic god. But
either way a centurion was probably killed and robbed of his helmet.
Musically you seem to be very influenced by the early 90’s Norwegian Black
Metal scene… What band (or bands) defined your intention of making music?
inspiration for our music comes from within us. The initial riffs and song
structures evolve in the mind of Houtekiet. Then the other members bring in
their own ideas. We don’t try to sound like other bands, but of course we
may be influenced by them. I think that our songs show rather diverse
influences. There are for example similarities with the early Gorgoroth but
also with Dissection.
about your live shows? You have played with some great bands such Negura
Bunget, Cirith Gorgor and Kampfar… How has been the audience’s reception?
had lots of positive reactions from the audience, but sometimes the sound
quality was bad and people were less enthusiastic. Fortunately most people
understand that this is not our fault. In general, we have made a good
impression, especially on the small tour with Kampfar. We believe that the
upcoming album will convince even more people.
your opinion of today’s Dutch Black Metal scene? I have heard very good
bands form there… What new underground band can you recommend us?
There are some great bands in the Dutch underground. I would recommend
Cirith Gorgor and Fluisterwoud, who are quite well known already, Urfaust,
which is also gaining a strong reputation. Besides black metal, you should
check out Zwartketterij (necröthrash), Grimm (pagan folk metal), and
Gramschap (atmospheric synth music).
your opinion about the rising National Socialist Black Metal scene? …Have
you, as Walpurgisnacht, some special ideology or belief?
Walpurgisnacht has nothing to do with NSBM or politics whatsoever. The
only belief that we express with our music and lyrics is the belief in the
power of nature.
tell us about your forthcoming album? Can we expect more compositions in the
vein of “Moerasghesomp”?
The album will be released in December. It contains an intro, four songs
from “Moerasghesomp”, and five new songs. People who liked our demo will
definitely be amazed by this album. The old songs got more refined and the
new songs are at least as good as the old ones. The album will also have a
much heavier impact because of the better sound quality, but it is still
very raw and atmospheric.
get involved with Folter Records? …Do you contacted them directly or you
send several promo-demos to various record labels?
HH: In 2004
we made a promo-cd, which Houtekiet sent to various labels. Most of them
liked our music, but didn’t know when they would have enough money to
release a new album. Jörg from Folter Records immediately made it clear that
he wanted to wait till after the “Under the Black Sun” festival, when he
could afford a new release. He stayed in touch with Houtekiet and in August
we went into the studio.
“Moerasghesomp” is completely sold out… is there any chance of re-release
this work under Folter Records?
It is being re-released on tape by Lafawijn Records. You can find a link
to them on our website (see below).
you future plans with Walpurgisnacht?
There are some gigs planned for 2006 already. More will follow. Of course
we are also working on material for a second album.
again for your words… Is there anything else you want to add to this
Greetings and thanks for the interview.
Anyone who is interested in Walpurgisnacht should check out our website (www.walpurgisnacht.nl).
Hopefully we’ll see you on tour some time, somewhere. Keep the underground