Hell in Sweden
CoC interviews Kraath of Setherial
by: Adam Wasylyk
Setherial's third album, _Hell Eternal_, marked one of the most brutal black metal albums of 1999, hands down. The Swedes have continued the legacy displayed on prior albums _Lords of the Nightrealm_ [CoC #28] and their debut _Nord_ [CoC #12], while in the present reaching new peaks of brutality and furious intensity. Offering an album full of challenging, complex riffs and drumming that detonates on impact, Setherial possess a true talent that is often duplicated but rarely exceeded. E-mail would be the answer for a proper interrogation of guitarist Kraath, who filled us in on their latest album and what he and the other band members are currently up to.

"We are very satisfied with _Hell Eternal_, I feel it stands as a very important milestone in the band's history", states Kraath on the new album. "We recorded it in the Abyss studio with [Peter Tagtgren's brother] Tommy Tagtgren, and the sound is definitely the best we've had up to date. The general style of the album is a development of the style on the _Lords of the Nightrealm_ album; we have taken the aggression one step further, but we also added a few other factors in to it."

As Kraath said, Abyss was the studio chosen to record the new album. They had done so previously with _Nord_, so commenting on how he thought the final product came out, Kraath said: "I am extremely satisfied with the results this time around, we really managed to find a sound that suited the material well, and that helped push the energy of the songs yet one step further. On _Lords of the Nightrealm_ we had some problems with making the sound suit the music, something that can clearly be heard when listening to that album, but this time around it all came together really well, making the album feel more unified than the earlier ones."

Fans of Setherial have noticed that the band have struggled over the years with their line-up. Is Kraath confident in the current line-up the band presently has? "I can only say that I hope that it will remain somewhat solid; there are no ways of being absolutely certain, though, that much I've learned through the years as a member of Setherial. I have great hopes for this line-up, though, so I hope that it will remain more or less unchanged so that we may see where it will evolve."

"The lyrical concepts of Setherial tend to evolve around Satanism in different forms", Kraath stated about the lyrics that can be found on _Hell Eternal_. "On the new album, for instance, the main theme is Hell in all shapes and forms. All songs relate back to that concept, and the title track is what holds them all together, linking the story together, if you will. We have always concentrated our lyrical work towards the darker aspects of reality, and this has not changed now, nor is it very likely to change in the future. Basically, we deal with those parts of existence that most people fear and shun, that which defines the strong and frightens the weak by its mere existence."

Setherial have been the breeding ground for other Swedish black metal bands, as some band members see it fit to seek side-projects to further express their anger and aggression. Speaking on this topic, Kraath stated: "There are a few bands involving members of Setherial, although I don't know if they are all to be called side-projects; some are more separate bands than they are side-projects, I would say. Sasrof has his own band called Diabolicum [on Napalm Records] in which he plays guitar and writes material; Choronzon is working on a project called Chaosdaemon together with a drummer from another band. I am personally involved in a old-style black metal band called Blackwinds at the moment together with Alastor and former Setherial member Zathanael."

Kraath also spoke about how the band have progressed since their prior albums, both musically and lyrically.

How about since their previous album, _Lords of the Nightrealm_?

"I think that we have progressed a lot since _LotN_, we are capable of producing much better material now and are more secure about what we want in the studio. You tend to grow more confident with each album, and this gives you strength to express yourself more freely within your art. Musically we have developed most as songwriters, I would say, we simply write better songs now than we did back then. Lyrically I would say that we have taken the entire concept yet another step further by bringing an entire album to focus upon the concepts of Hell, painting a vivid picture of that realm for all to perceive and interpret."

And how about since the release of their classic debut, _Nord_?

"I think we have progressed well since then, and I think that we have in some ways continued on the path that we started out on with _Nord_. Naturally we are faster and more directly aggressive nowadays, but you can still hear ways of arranging things, and styles in certain structures that can be considered similar in style to the ones on _Nord_. I am still very proud of our first album, we managed to make a great debut album during a period where bands after bands were releasing total crap, and I feel satisfied knowing that, especially considering our lack of experience and such things at that time."

We conclude by my asking how he thinks Setherial can grow and progress in future records, as it's apparent that the band can't go much faster physically. "We do not feel obligated to give people what they expect, we feel obligated to keep ourselves creatively satisfied. If we would somehow get it into our heads to play some soft shit, then that would be what we would be playing from that point. Naturally the intensifying tendencies you mention can only go so far, but it's a matter of looking beyond that when you try to evolve, to look around instead of in straight lines, if you will. You can evolve aggression without necessarily building speed, just as you can achieve much darkness in your atmospheres in the same manner. The progression of Setherial does not merely consist of tempo, it is a matter of atmosphere to an at least equal point."

(article submitted 5/3/2000)


ALBUMS
5/31/2006 J Smit 6 Setherial - Death Triumphant
8/28/2003 Q Kalis 7 Setherial - From the Ancient Ruins
2/5/1997 S Hoeltzel 8.5 Setherial - Lords of the Nightrealm
7/17/1996 S Hoeltzel 9 Setherial - Nord
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