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If you are looking for pure unadulterated and hate filled black metal then there are none much more ferocious than Krieg. Hailing from New Jersey USA the band have had a constantly revolving line up but one that is firmly centred around originator Imperial. 2004 has seen a burst of activity that has maimed humanity in the wake of its misanthropic destruction. The latest Red Stream album The Black House, whilst equally aggressive, leaned towards a more groove laden and some might say accessible approach. Backing it up with a nihilistic tour across Europe with Demoncy and Abazagorath, Krieg impolitely tore us to pieces before leaving the stage and telling us they hoped our children died of aids! If you missed this then it is unlikely you will get the chance to see Krieg again in the UK and from what I have heard the next album will be their last. 

Interview with Imperial of Krieg August 2004 By Pete

Greetings and firstly I have to say I was rather surprised to be asked to send some questions over to you and then find an interview popping up in Terrorizer. I was under the impression that you pretty much let your music do the talking rather than giving press interviews. Is there any reason why you have decided that the time is right to chew the fat?
I have always been active in spreading my ideals through the written forum, it’s just that now more people have taken notice in the more, I guess the only way to describe it, “mainstream” metal media. I feel that if an individual has much to say through their creations that there should be no real limit to where these ideas can be expressed. Propaganda should flow freely to minds who need a shove. 

Krieg have been spreading the plague for almost a decade now. A lot has changed and whilst 10 years ago you really had to seek hard to discover underground black metal bands, now it seems almost too easy for all and sundry to stumble across those that are truly not meant for the majority of humanity. What would you consider the main reasons for this are? Would you say that widespread use of the Internet is a major contributory factor or perhaps the mainstream press looking for something new to embrace?
I think it’s due to several reasons, of course the Internet being the primary source. Also children stumbled into black metal and saw it as a new form of shock/rebellion that Marilyn Manson couldn’t reach, and thus like the Goths of the 80s and punks of the late 70s, a new way to “fit in” was reached for these wandering youths, which is why you see such a great deal of people come and go from the scene, as their hearts were never truly in it at all. The Internet gave birth to the Internet forums, which in turn gave birth to voice. What I mean by this is now everyone can become someone “important” through these forums, spread their bedroom classics to others in the flock and feel a sense of “self” which, ten years ago, they would have never been able to achieve. The Internet is a fertile egg, which conceives close to every time someone fucks it, it seems. 

Speaking of the press and their love of giving everything a trademark and easily identifiable tag, we are seeing the phrase USBM springing up left right and centre. Would you consider this a lazy trend designed by those simply trying to create some sort of scene? 
US black metal has existed for years, it’s just recently in the last five years or so that it’s been given this wretched tag phrase and attention. Bands like Enkil, Demoncy, Profanatica, Order from Chaos, Enchanted Sorrow, Noctuary, Von etc etc lived before this tag phrase emerged. Does this make their music any less relevant before? Of course not. Now you have hundreds of bands thanks to the Internet, drum machines and “USBM” spreading their shit. Access breeds excess, and America’s certainly known for that in all other walks of life, so why not black metal as well?

There are many that like nothing better than to squabble on forums about what is true and proper within black metal circles. Do you pay attention to such things or find it all a tiresome insult to the music that you have taken time and effort to create?
It’s amusing to me because it’s such an extension of high school behaviour, not really sickening anymore since it’s now a part of black metal’s “societal” consciousness. The Internet does have its advantages, such as easier contact with those far away and a larger manner in which to promote your creations. The wrong people always had access to this genre, there was never a way to stop that, so you must just adapt to modern methods. 

Obviously the changes are contextually interesting points to be discussed but what is it that first got you inspired to create Krieg?
A need to express the emotions inside me, which were empowering, crippling and consuming. 

As I mentioned you have a bit of a revolving door policy as far as band members are concerned. Can you tell us who is currently in Krieg at the moment and does the recording line up differ from that which plays live?
I’d rather not comment on the next recording line-up until it is solidified. For the upcoming show in Chicago with Nachtmystium, my line-up will consist of the guitarist from a local metal band called Ethereal, bass by a talented female whom I am working in a doom project with, and drums by Tomas from Forever Plagued Records/ Bloodstorm. It will be an entirely new live line-up, so far the rehearsals have gone extremely well. 

I think it is true to say that many black metal bands are really led by one particular individual and creative force, this is certainly the case with Krieg. Do you consider this is mainly due to the fact that for you it is your vision and ideologies that are the driving force for the music? 
For me, it’s always been about my vision and my word. The only way to express that in perfection is to do it without any outside interference unless permitted. 
The caustic primitivism of your early recordings is still very much inherent on your latest album The Black House. However it has a much more fully fleshed production than that on say Destruction Ritual. Similarly the level of musicianship has upped the ante here making the song structure and music evolve to perhaps new dimensions. Was this a conscious effort and what were the contributory factors involved? Did better label support and financial backing have anything to do with this or did you perhaps just consider that the serious thematic of the album justified a better sound?
It cost about $1500 US less to record “The Black House” than “Destruction Ritual” so money was not really a matter. There was a three-year gap between the conception of both albums, so obviously that is a long time to develop new ideas and improve on older ones. Plus I had the opportunity to work with a grouping of devoted and talented musicians whom knew well the art of black
metal. These factors together melded into the audial development of the album. 

The theme of The Black House is very absorbing and dwells firmly within the dark recesses of your psyche. You describe this state as being one that is, “tortured and ripped asunder” and one illustrating your, “mental state of despondency and constant, violent agitation”. The music paints this picture and borders on the mouth of madness with stark and undeniable clarity. Do you find that by creating this it acts as a cathartic approach to regaining some semblance of balance? 
It does, but only for a short time. To experience such depths of emotional bleakness is something that will stay with you for the rest of your life. Exorcising the demons creates room for new demons to be born. “The Black House” helped ease my suffering for close to two years, but a new demon is awakening inside me that will need to be purged. I’ve fairly recently suffered a minor nervous breakdown and will probably have to return to the use of prescriptions if things don’t naturally correct themselves. As I type this interview I am on a heavy dosage of Valium to control a very violent outburst from earlier in the day, so you can see it’s a constant struggle for control in my life.

If this is the case have you considered that paradoxically by listening to the Black House by someone who is unsuspecting of what it contains and is in a fragile state of mind themselves, you could perhaps push them over that very edge? 
I think Xasthur would be more appropriate for an emotional breakdown, or any music that conveys total hopelessness for that. If I assist in a suicide or someone being thrown into the home for hapless cunts then it’s a special side effect of an already gratifying experience. 

The cover photography shows a decaying building that pretty much sent a shudder down my spine as my imagination overflowed with the unspeakable acts that surely took place within its four walls. This was heightened by the fact that by pure coincidence I was re-reading the Stephen King, Peter Straub book The Black House when the album arrived and there is an abandoned dwelling in this which is the scene of a child’s dismemberment at the hands of a particularly sadistic serial killer. Does the building depicted on the album cover have any particular history itself that you are aware of?
No, the picture was taken by a close friend of mine, Jeffrey Marcheski, years ago. He told me about it when we spoke about the album and it’s concept and showed me his portfolio with several angles of the house. It has no history other than it burned down sometime last year. It was just the perfect image for the CD/LP. I plan on working with Mr Marcheski again on some future releases, his photography is excellent. Anyone interested in using some of his work can contact him at lopan79@verizon.net Ironic that you mention that book as it helped give a name to the dream structure. 

I like the concept that each song on The Black House pertains to a different room within the building (at least this is the way I perceived things). Each pretty much contains its own monsters. The way I see things there are points where the music acts as a catalyst to different states of mind. Perhaps the rabid howls on Deviant are the rage, the swagger of the instrumentation on Nemesis could be jubilation. The sonic destruction at the peak of A Process Of Dying strikes me as complete sensory overload and Venus In Furs, well that is very obviously the dungeon. Would you care to provide us with a more exact grand tour please? 
A rather lengthy question to answer, so I will do it in a summary of what the songs/rooms represent emotionally:

Deconstructing the Eternal Tombs: the title describes the dissection of my psyche, which follows
Deviant/Nemesis: rebellion
Fleshprision Monolith/Fallen Princes of Sightless Visions: descent, anger turned within
A process of Dying: instead of being “the process” it is merely one way to envision how death feels from the perspective of the dying…I also cover this in “this fading form” on the split with Morte Incandescente from a different perspective.
Sickening Voices without Speech: helplessness
Ruin Under a Burning Sky: the oldest song on the album, originally written for the Sono il Scherno album, deals with betrayal
…without Light/Rooms: loss, despondency, again hopelessness/helplessness
Venus in Furs: sexual depravity
Murder without the Burden of Conscience: title speaks for itself. 

For those who have the vinyl version, the redone version of Coronation held the meaning of returning to my old work to see if I had grown since then. So in a sense it was the dark prince returning to be crowned king. 
Where else do you take inspiration from? Would I be right in saying that films have a certain impact on your musical output? I could be wrong but guess that the Michele Soavi film may have influenced The Church EP and you certainly have sampled the directors Dellamorte Dellamore. 
The movie “The Church” was possibly Argento’s greatest work in my eyes and completely inspired the ideas behind some of the lyrics of “The Church” due to the wonderful ideal of a holy structure decaying from the inside, corrupting it’s congregation. I believe Antaeus covered similar context in their DPE LP. Film and literature are a massive inspiration, especially the “Patrick Bateman” mcd which is completely based on the novel/film “American Psycho” which is the single greatest work of fiction EVER. In my doom project the main concepts are depravity and degeneration, so something like Trainspotting (another brilliant novel) and Requiem for a Dream would come in handy. Finally while I ramble on about films, the track “Flesh Descending” on the upcoming Nunslaughter split 7 inch is inspired and littered with samples from the film “Boondock Saints” which attacks the idea of morality and killing with purpose from a very interesting angle. You might notice the idea of 
“Murder without the Burden of Conscience” is strongly based on that theme and the themes of American Psycho. Expect the final track of this series “Infinite Wisdom: Patrick Bateman III” to appear on the split 7 inch with Canada’s Lust in the near future. 

You have recently released some split EPs with Satanic Warmaster, Morte Incandescente and Basilisk also you are working on the Patrick Bateman EP. Can you tell us a bit more about these projects and is the latter title based on the American Psycho concept?
Basilisk split is still in the works. The title should be “Suicide Encouragement” with my track titled “phantoms” which is an almost ambient track like “And the Stars Fell on” from the Azaghal split. Before I speak of anything else, Basilisk is the best band in the UK next to Old Forest whom I totally worship. The split with Satanic Warmaster was a true honour as SW fit into my holy trinity of current black metal bands, the other two being Black Witchery and Antaeus. The irony of their track and also the total honesty within it has been lost on many of the more mentally deficient black metal “fan” but I think it’s a brilliant concept and I salute this amazing band. As for Morte Incandescente, this was a natural decision due to the fact that this band carries an amazing aura of fury and depression in a single package, a totally dedicated band indeed and I feel they steal the show on our split, especially with their final track. This is a band to be watched. “Patrick Bateman” as I answered above, is the interpretation of the “American Psycho” novel/film done by four souls whom understood the intent of the author’s brilliance. It is a recording unlike any Krieg recording, with absolutely no regard for musical ideas but rather sheer violence and insanity, closer to ambient done completely with metal instruments. When this is finally released it will shock people and hurt a lot of feelings, but that’s always been a positive thing for me. Once I get the masters back from Merciless, whom already have begun bootlegging the recording, it will be spread like AIDS through the black quarters of the world, and will be just as lethal. 

You recently toured Europe. How did that go for you? I believe that you stated there were some countries that you would certainly not go back to and you were even banned from playing Switzerland. What happened here?
Besides England, Paris, Spain, Belgium and Austria, the crowds were pretty docile and weak. Holland had it moments thanks to my friends in Fluisterwoud, Antaeus and Bael whom showed up for this gig. Switzerland doesn’t like me because I freely use offensive words like “nigger” in regards to the disgusting double standards and politically correct nonsense that has spread through the world black metal scene. This is a scene that encourages violence and hatred, but if you say something against anyone besides Christians it sends a lot of people into crying fits. There was one person who wrote me saying he didn’t approve of my life “affirmation” on the Satanic Warmaster split in which I, I felt very blatantly, criticised both the life loving movements and the politically correct movements, but I guess these people are too fucking involved in down syndrome to notice IRONY. Well fuck them, I don’t want the support of people who cannot read the entire idea, but rather pick at “dangerous” words. When the fuck did this stupid concern for hurting people’s feelings become an issue in black metal? I don’t remember anyone caring when Mike Ford used to attack Jews in Black Funeral interviews, nor Emperor’s use of Swastikas in their flyers. It’s become such a separated scene now that people are PASSIFIED to the point of Christian tolerance to the human virus that spreads through EVERY country. ALL PEOPLE ARE SHIT, so don’t cry if I single out a group of shitty people by using words that might scare “true Satanists” etc. As for Switzerland, we got banned from the country for using “nigger” on this 7 inch, which as I stated before, was anti political correctness, NOT PRO FACIST. But the stupid slut who organized this gig didn’t find it appropriate and thus we were forced to cancel. I’ve since gotten a lot of support from Swiss comrades who agree with my words and wish they would have gotten their tickets refunded. Fuck whatever dumb cunt decided to end the Krieg gig. As for other countries whom witnessed the gigs, it seemed the majority were more interested in social agendas or gigs with has been fakes whom in the early 1980’s used Satanism as a gimmick. This shows me that true “devotion” might not exist where I once felt it. That is all I have to say to this question, but I do thank my comrades who travelled far to see us perform, they made this entirely worth it.

What differences do you find touring Europe compared to the USA and where would you say are the best places you have played?
Well different parts of the US have different sort of crowds. Chicago and California for example have the largest groupings of metal maniacs in this country, though Chicago tends to favour the old school approach. Really there’s not too many differences except that European black metal freaks seem to take the ideology a lot more seriously. Look at a band like Katharsis (Ger), these guys completely live the black metal lifestyle and are truly dedicated to their beliefs and their craft. You can’t find a lot of people like that in the US, but on the positive side there are a lot of really creative bands like Leviathan, Bone Awl, Xasthur, Velvet Cacoon & Nachtmystium whom take black metal into new areas of ideals. Really, the world scene is surely in a state of decay but inside the rotting carcass of what black metal was, you can still find dozens of bands whom hold the true flame up high and truly believe what they are doing. The best places I have experienced a black metal ritual in Europe would be:

Serbia: most intense congregation of starved black metal fanatics in the world-truly violent and insane.
Bordeaux, France: by far our greatest performance ever, including everything needed-threats, vomit, stage destruction and a grouping of dedicated individuals to witness the spreading of Krieg’s virus
Bitterfeld Germany, our first gig there in 2001 was intense, though recent visits scar my memory

The next full-length album will be The Harmony Virus and you are writing this as we speak. Can you tell us a bit about what direction this will take and how do you perceive it differing from The Black House?
The concept is simple, though it will be explained in essay form in the release: humanity is bound by the need for companionship and peace, yet war and conflict are the natural order of life. What binds us to the ideals of friendship, love, peace and hope? The Harmony Virus is the metaphor for humanity’s need for such things and why it is a plague that has infected almost every being to some extent. Musically it will be the most depressing, experimental and nastiest Krieg release ever, with an amazing line-up of contributors from across the world. 

This is also said to be the last album that Krieg are going to release. Why have you decided to call it a day?
Because, for now, I have almost reached the goals I have set out for myself. Perhaps Krieg could return after I have pursued my next projects to their fullest. We shall see.

Thanks for answering my questions and before I leave you with the all too obvious words, “we are Live4Metal, fuck off”, have you anything else you would like to add? 
Underneath the abrasive offensiveness lies a much greater meaning that many would take the time to inspect and study. Beneath such a bitter shell lies enlightenment. IF you can fight through my venom, then you will find truly what I am spreading through the words of Krieg.