The official summer festival season opening for many extreme metal heads in Finland is just around the corner: Steelfest 2018 will take place in Hyvinkää at the Old Wool Factory again from May 18-19. The line-up promises a weekend full of blast beats and intense live shows. One of the bands taking the stage this year is Asagraum - a band that has made a name for itself in the past year especially with their debut album and fierce live performances. Vocalist and guitarist Obscura took the time to answer some questions - time to get into festival mood!
The Metal Phenomenon: What is Asagraum's background?
Obscura: Asagraum plays old school Satanic black metal with psychedelic influences since 2015. Our debut album 'Potestas Magicum Diaboli' was released in September 2017. We did Live Rituals in many different countries and recently we toured Latin America. Many more are to be expected.
TMP: How did the Latin-American tour go?
O: We played good shows and behaved badly, just like it should be. Latin America is the best place to tour for us, we were treated very pleasantly in every way and the nature and cultural heritage in this area are very impressive!
TMP: Back to a show in colder regions. You performed at Oration Festival in Iceland a while back. Friends that attended the show mentioned that for them your performance was the best of the whole festival, so much so that they couldn’t enjoy the other bands as much as your gig had blown them away so intensely. How do manage you bring such a performance, such an energy to the stage?
O: Well, that's great to hear! Playing live, I feel very powerful and a channel of Satan's majesty, and the same counts for my live musicians. It's great to hear that the audience can feel this energy and be hypnotized by our magic rituals!
TMP: How did you find your way to black metal?
O: I've always been interested in the dark side and Satanism and when I heard some black metal on the internet as a young teenager I was into it right away. The first bands I listened to in the early 2000's were Gorgoroth, Mayhem, Burzum...all the great classics from Scandinavia which still inspire me today.
TMP: How did Asagraum come about?
O: Asagraum started as a solo project of me, but since I can't play drums I asked Trish to play for me after writing a couple of songs. In the beginning the collaboration went well and I wrote 'Potestas Magicum Diaboli' mainly during my stay in Finland and rehearsed with her there.
TMP: Was it always planned to be cross-continental, why not just work with people close by?
O: I could work with Trish easily in the beginning because both of us were staying in Finland a lot so we could rehearse there. Nowadays we have a Dutch lineup, except for our live guitarist V-Kaos who lives in Sweden.
TMP: How have things gone with the recent line-up changes?
O: Good, I am very satisfied with our new drummer A. Her drumming skills are excellent and she fits very well with us personally, we had a great Latin America tour with her.
TMP: Asagraum is a relatively young band, where would you like to see it go?
O: We will spread the flame of Satan as far as is in our power! No limits!
TMP: Asagraum’s music sounds like very classical black metal but at the same time also modern – how do you see these two sides/elements – their importance ?
O: I do not think much about my compositions, most of it comes to me by intuition, so I can not really tell how I create my style. I just get inspired in this certain way.
TMP: How do you see the importance of rawness vs. melodies and emotion in black metal?
O: Both can be good, if the creativity of the musicians is sufficient.
TMP: Why include psychedelic influences and where does the inspiration for those come from?
O: I am a great fan of Icelandic black metal like Svartidåudi, Sinmara, Misþyrming... these bands are my main influences for the psychedelic part.
TMP: What kind of experience do you want listeners of your music to have?
O: I want my music to radiate out the majestic power of Lucifer, who's flame burns in those of us who are still connected with their animal nature and intuition. Those who can feel this power can be the god of their own universe and are aware that they create their own reality.
TMP: Why do you think the reception to Asagraum, both the album and live, has been so positive?
O: We are a new concept, also visually, an all-female band playing this harsh and agressive black metal with very skilled musicians. I expected it to be received well from the beginning. The wings of Lucifer carry us!
TMP: What does black metal mean to you?
O: The musical expression of Satan's majesty.
TMP: What does Satan/Satanism mean do you?
O: Satan is the power that makes me reach my full potential in life and gives me the strength to realise my true will, leaving behind fear, the judgement of others, and anything else I do not need. His flame burns within me and purifies me from the nonsense that makes a lot of people hesitate and not reach their goals in life.
TMP: What can people expect from your gig at Steelfest?
O: The dark power of Asagraum manifesting!
TMP: What are you looking forward to the most at Steelfest yourself?
O: Most of the headliner bands are very good, I will certainly enjoy my time there.
TMP: Future plans?
O: We are planning to release a new album through Edged Circle Productions in 2019 and schedule more Live Rituals worldwide.
Thanks for your time, we are looking forward to Steelfest!
Asagraum play at Steelfest on Saturday, May 19 at 3:35 p.m.
Asagraum online: Facebook
Steelfest online: Website, Facebook