Abysmal Specter - Sound In The Signals Interview

I recently had the opportunity to interview Abysmal Specter. We discussed how black metal is a mixture of darkness and beauty, five favorite songs from past projects, the process of writing and recording, artwork, creating Curta'n Wall's first full length record, and more. Check it out below.

You’re well known for experimenting with black metal in not only the sound but also the presentation (meaning artwork, etc.). How did you get into black metal and what influenced your desire to experiment with all the aspects of it?

I originally got into black metal in a similar way to many fans, just continuously seeking more intense and diabolical music to listen to during our most formative years, then it just became a part of my identity. I was/am intrigued by the dichotomy of extreme evil and darkness, and atmospheric beauty. It's like salty/sweet food, or when you're in a super hot sauna and you step out into the cool air and you feel a wave of relief. Two unsuspecting opposites combine to create a grand experience. Black Metal is the perfect mixture of darkness and beauty. 

What are some of your favorite songs that you’ve written up to this point in your career? Why? 

Across all my projects I'd say these are my five favorite songs:

5. Bloody Keep - Mourning Dawn

This song encapsulates my notion of vampirism more concisely than any other song I've worked on. It's Whimsical, dark, thrashy, melodic, triumphant. I was also proud of the more complex vocal cadences I accomplished.

4. Water Nymph - Yearning For Land

Water Nymph, the song. IMO I captured the hopeful melancholy of early 20th century Mermaid lore with this track.The grass is always greener, the land is always dryer, and the water is always wetter. The mermaid in this tale yearns for land, and is unable to see the magic of the beautiful sea she lives in. 

3. Curta’n Wall - The Enemy So Bold

A dynamic tale of the hope, and horrors of war. "we march towards uncertainty, our families in our prayers". 

2. Old Nick - Crisp Winter Dawn Of My Nightmoon

A fever dream of fairy tale madness, behold the crisp funeral moon. 

1. Old Nick - Vampyric Candle (Flying Ointment) 

A song that best represents why Old Nick hits the way it does. Campy, witchy occultist emanations. 

You released the Weeping Coffin album last year and it’s one of my favorite releases of yours so far. Can you tell me about the writing and recording process for the album?

I was inspired to make Weeping Coffin while Re-listening to The Ramones. I credit The Ramones as being my "First Favorite Band" and wanted to pay homage to how they have consciously and subconsciously influenced me. I also really like listening to 00's pop punk like My Chemical Romance etc. especially for the swooning guitar melodies. I think that people tend to get tunnel vision when listening/writing music, there is tons of aesthetic overlap amongst all genres. If you can tastefully peel back the layers of genre, and understand that all music is made of only 12 notes, you will deeply expand your horizon and will be able to enjoy/create like never before. 

For the writing, I record as I write music, and it usually always starts with riffs. I spent a bit of time dissecting pop punk riff structures and learning how to write pop punk/riffs.   I try my best to not overthink when writing songs. My first draft is usually my final draft. I just record everything into the DAW and fine tune levels and EQ, then its done.

You combined elements of punk and black metal to create the Weeping Coffin sound. It’s a very unique listen. Do you have a favorite lyrical or musical moment from the album?

My favorite part of the album is the main riff in "A Wolf Cried At Night" . I got to scratch a deep itch while writing that song by using those quintessential octave power chord riffs, I love those so much. When I think of Pop Punk I think of those riffs. takes me right back to '08.

Screams Of Occult Witchery” is a favorite of mine from the album. Can you tell me about writing that song specifically?

Glad you liked it! I knew I wanted to include an acoustic intro on one of the songs, and that was my chance! That riff is straight out of the sum 41 playbook. I love to create dynamic, by mixing "happy" and "sad" riffs, they usually make the other more poignant when paired together. At the end of the song I included the classic icy BM tremolo melody to create dynamic between the bubblegum opening riff. The song title was inspired by the Void Ooze track called "Screams from the Cemetery", I kind of think of it as the sister track to that song. 

The artwork is also really interesting. Who came up with the concept for it and designed it?

I got the album art from a art licensing website, where you browse art that artists post and you can purchase the license, so very modern E-dating style art curation, lol. I'll always do my best to not gatekeep art, and how artists make their money. Philipp Igumnov is very talented, so I was pleased to work with him.

I love the unexplainably gothic/Poe-ish feel it has, and that aesthetic is what was inspiring me during the recording of this record. 

You released the Weeping Coffin album on cassette and CD. Is there any chance that it will get a vinyl pressing?

Yeah, Phantom Lure is handling the vinyl for this record. There will be shirts with GSR soon as well.

Do you have plans to release more material as Weeping Coffin anytime soon?

Certainly, I really felt free while creating Weeping Coffin, and I'd love to capture that again. No concrete plans at the moment though.

You’re primarily known for Old Nick, but you have various other projects as well. What are you currently working on and what can we expect in 2023?

I am currently completely immersed in creating Curta'n Wall's first full length record, which has been a fantastic journey. I've been working with some world class session musicians, and researching new themes, in order to produce the truest form of whimsical medieval dungeon metal. Very very excited to get this project out into the world, sometime in January 2023.

Thanks so much for this opportunity, it's been a pleasure to answer these questions!! Let's keep in touch and hopefully we can work together soon.

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